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Technological Animation in Classical Antiquity

A Department of Classics and Ancient History conference
Date6 - 7 December 2019
TimeEvent spans several days
PlaceReed Hall

The conference venue will be Reed Hall on 6th December and Forum Exploration Lab 2 on 7th December. The hotel will be the Queens Court Hotel in Exeter.

Supported by the Leventis Foundation. The conference aims to bring together scholars from the fields of ancient technology, philosophy, archaeology and art. Specifically, the conference focuses on the living/moving artifact and the synesthetic experience that it might offer, as the outcome of a technological procedure that exempts it from its association with illusion and artifice.

While some work is already done on the living/moving artifact as a metaphysical metaphor (emphasizing its naturalistic dream), the materialistic and technological character of this phenomenon remains unexplored. In this context, the living/moving artifact is not a perceptual mistake of the viewer nor it is tied to the supposed skills of an artist; rather, the fascination of this type of living artifact, by exploring e.g. how the one kind of movement becomes another kind of movement or how motion becomes light or sound, rests in its technological and material conditions. With the latter I refer to the mechanical properties of the materials in general and material’s deformation ability in particular.

At the same time and while operating along with the ancient obsession with naturalism, the living/moving artifact as the product of - in a way- para physinprocedure opens up a new dimension for creating and conveying artifacts, i.e. it reveals new aesthetic possibilities, marking a shift in aesthetic style or preference; this, moreover, trains receivers of art/artifacts into a new method of looking at manufactured objects in general and moving objects in particular; in the latter case users even have a stake in moving artifacts taking place.

The decision to exclude from the discussion the influence of magical/religious animation techniques on the narrative of the moving artefact, though it is too reductive, serves exactly to highlight and launch the possibility of a third way to approach living/moving matter beyond ritual.

Abstracts: to be finalised

Programme: to be finalised


Alexia Petsalis-Diomidis (St-Andrews)
Antje Wessels (Leiden)
Arthur Harris (Cambridge)
Carol C. Mattusch (George Mason University)
Colin Webster (UC Davis)
Courtney Roby (Cornell)
Deborah Steiner (Columbia)
Dunstan Lowe (Kent)
Gabriele Galluzo (Exeter)
Ian Ruffell (Glasgow)
Jane Draycott (Glasgow)
Jean De Groot (CUA)
Karen Ni Mheallaigh (Exeter)
Maria Gerolemou (Exeter)
Richard Seaford (Exeter)
Ruth Bielfeldt (Munich)
SeungJung Kim (Toronto)
Tatiana Bur (Cambridge)

ProviderDepartment of Classics and Ancient History
OrganizerMaria Gerolemou

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