The Ordered Universe project featured today at Durham University’s Celebrating Arts and Humanities Research Day. The second annual event of its kind, the day showcased research from the past year from all of the departments within the Faculty (History, English, Classics, Theology and Religion, Music, Philosophy, and Modern Languages and Cultures). Continue reading
The next Ordered Universe symposium takes place in the week to come, May 17-19, at Pembroke College, University of Oxford. It will be great to be back at Pembroke, one of the original homes of the project, and to be broaching two new treatises for collaborative reading. These comprise the De cometis – On Comets and the De impressionibus elementorum; the latter connected to argument on the genesis, nature and activity of comets, the latter a discussion of meteorological phenomena, mostly watery (dew, hail, snow and rain). The reading sessions will be using the edition of the De cometis by Cecilia Panti, with translations of the two works, and a draft edition of the De impressionibus by Sigbjørn Sønnesyn. We will be welcoming some new participants to the group, as well as Ross Ashton and Karen Monid from the Projection Studio. The treatises under scrutiny reveal Grosseteste more at home with Aristotelian methodology, and articulating a more scientific approach to physical problems. Key aspects of his thought on sublimation, on light and on grounds for verification and falsification make their appearance, as do a range of different sources alongside Aristotle. The symposium organisation is principally by the Oxford team, under Hannah Smithson, and the project is extremely grateful to the efforts of Joshua Harvey, Tim Farrant and Clive Siviour, as well as the College conference staff. Set course for Oxford and we’re off! Look out for reports on the progress of the meeting – a copy of the programme is appended here in PDF and also available at Issuu.
So, the advance party for the Ordered Universe conference at Georgetown, Washington D.C. has arrived, and caught some of the amazing cherry-tree blossom. The conference proper starts tomorrow, and takes place over two days. Tomorrow afternoon 16.30-18.30 is the public talk featuring Neil, Tom, Giles and Projection Artist Ross Ashton, on the project in light of medieval studies, modern science and artistic creation. If you are in the Georgetown area, and there have been inquiries on twitter, please come along – the event is free and it would be great to see you. The conference itself will look at one of the central features of Grosseteste’s intellectual framework, and one that develops a central and standard model from antiquity, the early church and most of the medieval period, namely aspect and affect. Attempts to explain these terms and their meaning are fascinating and complex, and go to the heart of medieval notions of experience of, and interaction with, the world, understanding and action, and, we will find out, have sharp and powerful resonance with some modern notions of the same. We’re really looking forward to hearing all of the papers, learning a lot, and enjoying the stimulating, challenging and supportive environment of the project. And, wonderful to be in the US again, the last time Ordered Universe presented across the Atlantic was the Kalamazoo Medieval Congress, last year, and the New York CUNY public lecture in 2013. We’ll keep you posted on how things go!
A public lecture coming up at Georgetown University. March 31st, 16.30, with full details below. Neil Lewis, Tom McLeish, Giles Gasper and Ross Ashton will be talking about the project, its recent research and collaborations with projection artist Ross Ashton. It will include a public showing of the sound and light shows created by the Projection Studio.
Ordered Universe is extremely grateful to Georgetown University Department of philosophy for funding and hosting the conference to which this lecture is attached, and to Durham University for additional travel funds.
A shortchanged film montage of most of Spiritus – we’ll have an official copy for the website in due course: this is to give the impression of how beautiful the piece was. Ross and Karen attended the latest Ordered Universe workshop together, in Durham in September last yea. This took the treatises On the Sphere, On the Six Differences and looked over those On the Liberal Arts, On the Generation of Sounds and the Seven Liberal Arts. The fruits of this collaboration are wonderful: a show meditative than World Machine, contemplating the different notions of creation between the Middle Ages and modern cosmology. Music is used, wholly consonantly with the place ancient and medieval authors gave to it in discussions of the harmony of the universe, and its rational, ratio-laden structure, to move the show forward, human voices entering only at the end. Different spurs for creation are considered too, natural explanation and spiritual, with the whole experience an immersive treat for the senses.
Next week, Friday 10th February is the opening of the Bouygues UK e-Luminate Cambridge Festival 2017. The Festival runs until the 15th, and features a wide variety of artworks, projections and related events. It is particularly exciting for the Ordered Universe project: one of the featured projects is part of the continued collaboration between the project and Ross Ashton and Karen Monid of the Projection Studio. Forming part of the Project Cosmos the new projection is entitled Spiritus – Light and Darkness, and well feature on the facades of Senate House and the Old School in Cambridge for the duration of the Festival.
Taking inspiration from Isaiah 45:7 “…I form the light, and create darkness…”, Ross and Karen have based the show around Grosseteste’s astronomical, cosmological and optical treatises. The new projection compares and contrast the works on Cosmology and Light by Grosseteste with the most up to date interpretations of the Universe and its formation. Ordered Universe work on the De sphera – On the Sphere, De sex differentiis – On the Six Differences, De luce – On Light provide the foundation for the exploration, with a captivating array of medieval images, from Hildegard of Bingen, to scientific diagrams, and angel carvings and statues form the Berlin Nikolaikirche. Alongside these the projection features three-dimensional ‘maps’ of real and dark matter which attempt to explain how dark matter must be distributed to create the universe that we see. These ‘maps’ have been produced in collaboration with the Institute of Computational Cosmology at Durham University.
Spiritus – Light and Darkness brings together, then, the latest research from Ordered Universe, on Grosseteste’s astronomical works. Ross and Karen were able to attend our last symposium, in September 2016, to share with us, and and their own insights on, and interaction with, the text. Together with the dark matter modelling at the ICC, led by Richard Bower, these very different projects have opened up fascinating areas of similarity, and artistic development. From World Machine at the Durham Lumiere Festival in 2015, our engagement with Ross and Karen has provoked challenging thoughts about scientific investigations in the past and the present day. How these ideas are expressed, harnessed and their significance explored and presented, is an important element in modern discourse on science and its place in culture. To see the strangeness of the phenomena discussed, to experience the cascade of imagery and sound, is, we hope, to invoke wonder and curiosity.
(Image used: from https://www.cambridgelivetrust.co.uk/e-luminate/2017-theme)
The Ordered Universe has another artistic collaboration up and running. Project Cosmos, funded by Durham University, is a collaboration with projection artists Ross Ashton and Karen Monid from The Projection Studio. Drawing on previous experience of working together for World Machine, in tandem with the Durham Institute of Computational Cosmology, for Durham Lumiere 2015 (returning in 2017), the project will create another light and sound show fusing the past and present. Continue reading
Ross Ashton and Karen Monid from the Projection Studio recently took part in the prestigious Berlin Light Festival 7-16 October. Using elements of the World Machine created in collaboration with the Ordered Universe and the Institute of Computational Cosmology, their projection Spiritus deals with the themes of lights and darkness, and the angelic in creation, making particular use of Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179). Ordered Universe material, as well as the modelling of the universe from the ICC all feature. The Continue reading