Tag Archives: AVISTA

CFP: Enchanted Environs: Architecture, Automata, and the Art of Mechanical Performance, International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, 10-13 May, 2018

l27horlogedesapience28theclockofwisdom29fromabout1450Call for Papers: Enchanted Environs: Architecture, Automata, and the Art of Mechanical Performance, International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, 10-13 May, 2018.
Deadline: 15 September 2017.

Sponsored by AVISTA (The Association Villard de Honnecourt for the Interdisciplinary Study of Technology, Science, and Art).

Organized by Zachary Stewart (Texas A&M University) and Amy Gillette (The Barnes Foundation).

Medieval spaces were often sites of spectacular performances animated by various kinds of mechanical installations—the most complex of which featured automata or self-operating devices. Some items survive in material form; the most notable examples are the famous mechanical clocks of Central Europe. Other items survive in textual form; examples range from the singing birds in the palace of Caliph al-Muqtadir, the dancing monkeys in the garden of Count Robert II of Artois, and the bowing angel in the coronation pavilion of King Richard II of England to the Throne of Solomon of Middle Byzantine Constantinople, the ritual statues of late medieval Spain, and the liturgical set-pieces of late medieval Italy. This session, enriched by the work of scholars such as Jean Gimpel and, more recently, Scott Lightsey and Elly Truitt, seeks to revisit the issue of mechanical installations as it relates to the history of the built environment—an area of academic research in which studies of human performance are many but studies of non-human performance are few. The working conceit of the session will be that of the Wunderkammer. Participants will deliver a series of shorter papers in order to facilitate a wide-ranging exploration of mechanical invention in the medieval world: Latin, Byzantine, and Islamic. Possible topics of inquiry may include individual case studies, modes of production and/or reception, and larger questions of historical evidence (physical, textual, and visual) and/or historical significance (political, social, and economic). Especially desirable are contributions involving technical reconstructions (analog or digital), theoretical speculations (phenomenological or ontological), and, in keeping with the mission of AVISTA, investigations of famous polymaths such as Ismail al-Jazari, Villard d’Honnecourt, and Leonardo da Vinci.

Please send an abstract (500 words max) and a Participant Information Form to Zachary Stewart (zstewart@arch.tamu.edu) and Amy Gillette (agillette@barnesfoundation.org) by 15 September 2017.

AVISTA is pleased to offer the annual, merit-based Villard de Honnecourt Award for the outstanding paper by a graduate student in an AVISTA session at the ICMS at Kalamazoo. It is based on evaluation of the candidate’s abstract and CV. This award, which comes with a $500 honorarium, is intended to further young talent in the study of medieval technology, science, and art. The Society is also pleased to offer up to two $500 grants-in-aid to graduate students or independent scholars to defray costs of attending the ICMS at Kalamazoo. Application for one of these grants consists of a 300-word statement of need and CV, which should be submitted to the session organizer(s) by September 15, 2017, together with the paper abstract and PIF form.

CFP: Ritual, Performance, and the Senses (AVISTA Medieval Graduate Student Symposium, March 23-24, 2017)

Call for Papers: Ritual, Performance, and the Senses
AVISTA Medieval Graduate Student Symposium
University of North Texas
March 23-24, 2017

Deadline: 1 February 2017

The proliferation of images painted onto monumental structures, the illuminations of manuscripts, the intricacies of ivory carvings and the construction of architectural sculpture in the Medieval Period evince a highly visual culture. As such, medieval scholars have focused heavily on visual reception theory to ascertain the role of the visual within the fabric of medieval society.  Key to many studies is the pivotal role of rituals within the society, particularly in terms of how the medieval person would have absorbed their culture, namely the other senses. As performances would have involved not only the visual, but also the tactile, the aural, gustatory and olfactory, the combination of the sensory experience created a transitory environment within – or outside – the architectural structures that delineated the medieval world.

Ritual and the beginning of performative drama not only created a sensory experience but served to support pre-conceived societal distinctions. From the most exclusive performance, the mass, to the most public ritual, the intercity procession, rituals both enforced and challenged the social barriers of the time. As such, the development of rituals have a history all their own, from the most mundane acts of lay piety shown through blessings, to dramas focused on the lives of the saints and the life of Christ, to the most important feast days, and to the imperial rituals associated with the temporal sphere. Rituals were not confined only to the monastic or ecclesiastical environments, but permeated all segments of society.

The 2017 AVISTA Medieval Graduate Student Symposium at the University of North Texas invites papers from all disciplines and all medieval eras on any topic, but preferences those that address topics of ritual, performance, or sensual experience. Such topics may include but are not limited to:

  • The interconnected use of the senses
  • Ritual history
  • The notion of Medieval Performance Art
  • Lay ritual/noble ritual
  • Manuscript as a performance
  • Sensual props, cues, and rubrications
  • Societal divisions created by rituals
  • Architecture as stage and backdrop
  • Processional routes/pilgrimages
  • Music and sensual stimulation
  • The archaeology of the senses
  • Landscape and topography of performance
  • The language of the senses
  • Sensual cosmology
  • Sensual deprecations

Send papers to: Dr. Mickey Abel (mickey.abel@unt.edu)