As part of last week’s Ordered Universe symposium in Dublin, Seb Falk and Giles Gasper gave a talk about the work of the project (Giles) and medieval understanding of the night skies, and the instruments for measurement and observation available in the period. It was a lovely venue – in the Long Room Hub at Trinity College Dublin, an attentive audience, and a testing series of questions (!), finished off with Seb’s demonstration of how to use an astrolabe. An especially fascinating and Continue reading
January 2019 – if you’re in or around Napa California, drop into the Napa Lighted Festival which runs in the second two weeks of the month. Various members of the Ordered Universe team will be participating with a series of talks and activities in the afternoons and evenings of the 17th, 18th, 19th. We’re thrilled by the invitation to work for and with the Festival, which came about through Ross Ashton and Karen Monid of The Projection Studio. With a festival theme of Beyond, we’ll be working with Ross and Karen on a new projection show drawing on Grosseteste’s cosmological treatises: Horizon. On the Six ‘Diffeertiae’, On the Sphere, and others will feature in the new piece, under development at the moment. Taking research from the seminar-room to a different audience, in partnership with artistic collaborators is a fascinating and exhilarating experience. We’re very much looking forward to working with the Parks and Recreation Department in Napa to bring the best that we can to the city. Continue reading
News of the next public talk from the Ordered Universe, which takes place in Dublin, at the Trinity College Long Room Hub, Neill Lecture Theatre: Tuesday 18th September 2018, 18.00-19.15. The talk, ‘Getting Hands-on with Medieval Science’ will be delivered by Professor Giles Gasper (Durham University) and Dr Seb Falk (University of Cambridge). Giles will introduce the Ordered Universe project, its blend of medieval studies and Continue reading
After our summer breaks, Ordered Universe members will be convening for our next symposium. This time we are hosted by Laura Claver at Trinity College Dublin. We’re very much looking forward to being in Ireland, and have a full schedule of texts to examine. Meeting between 17th and 20th September, we’ll be looking at Grosseteste’s treatises On Light (familiar to many!), a final reading of On Comets, and second readings Continue reading
A third item of news from the creative strands connected to the Ordered Universe project is that Alexandra Carr’s beautiful sculpture of the medieval cosmos, Empyrean, produced during her Leverhulme Artist in Residence at Durham University (2017) with Giles Gasper, is on display at Ushaw College. This is entirely appropriate given that it was at Ushaw that the piece was conceived and took shape. It formed part of the Dante Continue reading
Just over a week ago Ordered Universe (28th June) members joined colleagues from the National Glass Centre, most of whom are part of the project, but it was brilliant to meet new colleagues as well including Joanne Mitchell. And we were joined by other colleagues from Durham University’s Department of Earth Sciences, Drs Ed Lllewellin and Fabian Wadsworth, specialists in volcanology. The meeting opened with a collaborative reading of Grosseteste’s beautiful treatise On the Impressions of the Elements, in which the question of heat and the nature of bubbles are investigated. These were all pertinent themes and phenomena for the gathering, and a lively conversation took place, showing again how stimulating these gem-like treatises from the early thirteenth century are, 900 years later.
We then enjoyed our first introduction to the hot glass studio, with a fabulous rendition of Grosseteste’s treatise in glass by Colin Rennie. Bubbles blown, and attached, and the piece came together before our eyes, in all the wonderful shimmering, changing colours of the glass as it cooled. And we had our own try and drizzling molten glass onto damped paper to create a variety of effects…abstract, pungent, a lot of fun, and a very interesting experience in learning to manipulate the medium (which you have to do fast!).
Lunchtime, a different location, and a different sequence of talks – catching up on the various lines of shred interest and the legacy of previous work and exhibitions, a paper by Josh Harvey on his work on material perception with material from medieval Norwegian polychrome sculpture provided by Kaja Kollandsrud, and then a demonstration by Fabian and Ed of volcanoes in action. Not with lava but with syrup and a cherry favoured carbonated drink. Glass and its properties, naturally in volcanoes and as worked in the studio, hot or cold, provoked a long discussion: the similarities and differences in the scientific and artistic approach to the medium were striking, and a lovely example of knowledge exchange.
Then came our time in the hot shop again, to make paper-weights. This time, we had the experience of holding the glass, shaping it and learning to hold the equipment in the right place (because metal conducts heat…easy to forget in, well, the heat of the moment), The feeling of the heat coming off the ball of viscous, moving, radiating material which we were attempting to mould was extraordinary. And it made Cate and Colin’s skill all the more awe-inspiring. The results were kiln-cooled, and look very passable – all credit to our teachers and guides. We then watched Colin make a first draft of a piece of glassware inspired by medieval models…more on that to come.
A super day, one to treasure, and full of possibilities for future collaboration. We’re very grateful indeed to Claire Todd for organising, and to Cate, Colin and all at the National Glass Centre for sharing their experience and time. And can’t wait to see Grosseteste in glass, again.
For those unable to see the real thing, two videos below of Northern Lights, the first a view to the Heart of Yorkshire, the second the view of the show onto the nave ceiling. Obviously please note that these are not the professional videos that the Projection Studio will release, and the filming was not the work of the Projection Studio: as soon as the official versions are available we will put them onto the website. However, we hope that these films below will allow you to enjoy the wonderful invention, technical mastery and immersive nature of the projection.
Designed by Ross Ashton and Karen Monid, Northern Lights at York Minster was an outstanding success. Playing to the public on the 16th and 17th June, 2018, and to a fundraising event on the 15th organised by the York Minster fund, the projection is a major feature in a campaign to preserve and protect the world-famous medieval glass of the Minster. Northern Lights dazzled the audience, showcasing the medieval glass-work and the medieval heritage of York, curating a journey from creation stories, nature and the cosmos, and thinking about the afterlife, hell and the apocalypse to the beauty of contemplation. A truly immersive experience, in the magnificent setting Continue reading
May is the season for the Annual International Congress on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo. This year, the 53rd congress, saw the Ordered Universe present two panel sessions on Structures of Order in Medieval Science. The first, Experience and Authorities featured Nicola Polloni (Durham but imminently the Continue reading