Manipulating Light in Pre-modern Times

Manipulating Light in Pre-Modern Times. Architectural, Artistic and Philosophical aspects

Manipolando la luce in epoca premoderna. Aspetti architettonici, artistici e filosofici

International Exploratory Workshop (SNSF)

November, 3 – 4, 2011

Organized within the research project ‘From Ravenna to Vals. Light and Darkness in Architecture from the Middle Ages to the Present’ the international workshop will take place at the Accademia di Architettura Mendrisio, Università della Svizzera italiana. The conference will mark the opening of the new Istituto di storia e teoria dell’arte e dell’architettura.

Light renders architecture its functionality. Layers of meaning, from the sheer functional to the utmost transcendental ascribed to built structures have been, throughout time, underlined by the conscious use of light. The present workshop intends to contribute a developing topic in current academic scholarship: the historicization of the employment of light as a dynamic factor (daylight and artificial light) in sacred spaces in a “longue durée”-perspective until the shift due to the introduction of electrical illumination.
Religious architecture and visual art in Eastern and Western Mediterranean areas will be in focus in order to elaborate, by comparison, similarities and differences in the modes of regulating natural and artificial light as well as in the meanings attributed to its effects. By providing an international discussion forum with a spectrum covering a time span of one millenium (from Late Antiquity to Baroque) and reuniting art historical, archaeological, technical, theological and philosophical approaches, the meeting will not only facilitate an interdisciplinary and inspiring exchange of ideas and methods, but will also allow promising researchers to present and discuss their current work with established authorities of international reputation.
The first two sections of the first day are reserved for architectural aspects such as orientation of the building, size, position and form of the windows, window screens and contemporary theorization of light, space and vision related to specific time periods. The two sections of the second day are dedicated to the reflection of the theme in theological and philosophical writings, respectively technical details of the different artistic matters and “media” (mosaic, wall painting, stained glass). Thus the meeting has a structural coherence meant to offer a comprehensive and new view of the subject.
Schedule, informations on the exact location as well as short abstracts of the presentations will soon be available on this web address.

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