Conference | The Production of Ornament

Posted in conferences (to attend) by Editor on January 26, 2014

From the conference website:

The Production of Ornament: Reassessing the Decorative in History and Practice
University of Leeds, 21-22 March 2014

Registration due by 28 February 2014

The descriptive terms ‘decorative’ and ‘ornamental’ are in many ways synonymous with superfluity and excess; they refer to things or modalities that are ‘supplementary’ or ‘marginal’ by their very nature. In the West, such qualitative associations in made objects intersect with long-standing and inter-related philosophical oppositions between ‘form’ and ‘matter’, ‘body’ and ‘surface’, the ‘proper’ and the ‘cosmetic’. Accordingly, this has weighed both on determinations of value in artistic media, and on the inflexions of related histories – particularly histories of ‘non-Western’ art, design and culture, where a wide range of decorative traditions are deemed unworthy of critical attention.

Yet such frameworks are no more historically stable than they are culturally universal. To take one very clear and ‘central’ counter-example, decoration in some strands of Renaissance architectural theory (Filarete, Alberti) emerged as a rigorous codification of meaning, as an essentially functional (political) language. In many ways the history of ornament may itself be seen as a process of marginalisation of such ways of thinking, and the separation of ornament from any form of social practice.

This two-day conference seeks to explore the various ways in which ornament might be regarded as itself productive of its objects and sites. How might the technologies, techniques, and materials of ornament be related to the conception and transformation of modes of object-making? How might ornament be understood to inform its objects, disrupting the spatial categories of ‘surface’ and ‘structure’, and the temporal models in which ornament ‘follows’ making? What are the relations between ornament and representation, and what is at stake in the conventional oppositions between these categories? What are the roles of ornament in larger dynamics of copying, hybridisation and appropriation between things? In what ways have practices and thinking on ornament staged cultural encounters, and engendered larger epistemological and social models?

Tickets cost £15/£8, and include lunches and refreshments. To book a place email Dr Richard Checketts and Dr Lara Eggleton at production.of.ornament@gmail.com by Friday the 28th of February.

F R I D A Y ,  2 1  M A R C H  2 0 1 4

10:00  Coffee/tea and registration

10:45  Richard Checketts and Lara Eggleton (University of Leeds), Welcome and Introduction

11:00  Emma Sidgwick (University of Leuven), ‘Late Antique Strigillation: The Abstract Iconography and Embodied Mediation of a Holy Productive Power’

11:40  Catherine E. Karkov (University of Leeds), ‘Entanglement, Enchantment, Stone: The Materiality of Ornament in Tenth-Century Leeds’

12:20  Carol Bier (Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley / The Textile Museum, Washington D.C.), ‘Is Ornament Ornamental? Geometry Made Manifest in Islamic Architecture’

13:00  Lunch

14:30  Soersha Dyon (Independent Scholar), ‘Unravelling the Arabesque’

15:10  Jason Nguyen (Harvard University/ Institut national d’histoire de l’art, Paris), ‘Communauté ornament: Law and Labour in Late Seventeenth-Century Paris’

15:50  Coffee and tea

16:30  Keynote 1, Alina Payne (Harvard University)

S A T U R D A Y ,  2 2  M A R C H  2 0 1 4

10:00  Keynote 2, Susanne Kuechler (UCL), ‘The Quest for Affinity: The Ornament in Perspective’

11:15  Coffee and tea

11:30  Todd P. Olson (University of California, Berkeley), ‘Sticky Figures: Reconciling Pattern and Mimesis in Early Modern Prints’

12:10  Elizabeth Athens (Yale University), ‘Monstrosity, Ornament, Ecology: William Hogarth’s Natural Knowledge’

12:50  Frances S. Connelly (University of Missouri-Kansas City), ‘Rogue Ornament or Poetic Monster: Giambattista Vico and the Ornamental Grotesque’

1:30  Lunch

2:30  Sabrina Rahman (Northumbria University), ‘The Politics of Ornament: Historiographical and Ethnological Practices of the Austrian Werkbund’

3:10  Mark Crinson (University of Manchester), ‘The Ornamented Ceiling in New Brutalism’

3:50  Closing remarks and discussion

5:00  Drinks reception

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