Upcoming Material Collective Events

We have organized two sessions at the upcoming BABEL meeting in Boston (September 20-23), which focus on the Staffordshire Hoard. Here’s the lineup. 

Hoarders |  Session 19, Saturday September 22, 10:00-11:30am.

  • Brian Castriota, Leon Levy Fellow in Archaeological Conservation (NYU – Institute of Fine Arts), “Maintaining Aura: Conservation of the Staffordshire Hoard”
  • Karen Overbey, Art History (Tufts University), “Garnets, Gold, and Bronze: The Edges of Materiality”
  • Nancy Thompson, Art History (St Olaf College) and Ben C. Tilghman, Art History (Lawrence University), “The Hoard Speaks”
  • Jennifer Borland and Louise Siddons, Art History (Oklahoma State University), “From Hoarders to the Hoard: Giving Disciplinary Legitimacy to Undisciplined Collecting”
  • Charles Fetherolf, Graphic Novelist, “Thieves and Reivers”
  • You (yes, you), “A Performative Think-Fest”

Hordes  |  Session 21, Saturday September 22, 1:30-3:00

  • Jennifer Borland, (Oklahoma State University) and Barbara Robertson, (Seattle Art Museum), “Crafting the Hoard”
  • Gale Justin, Educational Technology/History (Pratt Institute) and Diane Marks, English (Brooklyn College-CUNY) “Unpacking Meaning in the Hoard: ‘Somebody now forgotten had buried the riches of a high born race in this ancient cache,’ (Beowulf) and we see it today through our imaginations and our training”
  • Asa Mittman, Art History (California State University, Chico) and Patricia MacCormack, English, Communication, Film and Media (Anglia Ruskin University) “Rebuilding the Fabulated Bodies of the Hoarders”
  • Anne Harris, Art History, Jim Mills, Geosciences, and Daniel Gornon, Biochemistry (DePauw University), “Stimularcrum: virtual stones and real desires”
  • Carlee A. Bradbury, Art History (Radford University), Karie Edwards, Photographer (Radford University), and Courtney Lee Weida, Art Education (Adelphi University), “Violent Remains: Past and Future”

Past Material Collective Events

International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, May 2012

Burn after Reading: Miniature Manifestos for a Post/medieval Studies (A Roundtable)

Sponsor: postmedieval: a journal of medieval cultural studies
Organizer: Eileen A. Joy, Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville

All members of the Material Collective who were present at the session read our Manifesto. Click here to see us in action

Active Objects I: Optics and Transparency

Sponsor: International Center of Medieval Art (ICMA)
Organizer: Karen Overbey, Tufts Univ.
Presider: Maggie M. Williams, William Paterson Univ.

Active Optics: Carolingian Rock Crystal on Later Medieval Reliquaries
Genevra Kornbluth, Kornbluth Photography

Copper-Alloy Substrates in Precious Metal Treasury Objects: Concealed and Yet Excessive
Joseph Salvatore Ackley, Institute of Fine Arts, New York Univ.

Crystal Words: Transparent Objects in Medieval German Literature
Bettina Bildhauer, Univ. of St. Andrews

Between Optics and Preaching: Pacino di Bonaguida and the Artistic Mediation of Vision
Christopher R. Lakey, Johns Hopkins Univ.

Active Objects II: Agency and Phenomenology

Sponsor: International Center of Medieval Art (ICMA)
Organizer: Benjamin C. Tilghman, George Washington Univ.
Presider: Asa Simon Mittman, California State Univ.-Chico

The Inner Life of Objects: Materiality as Agency in Medieval Art
Gerry Guest, John Carroll Univ.

The Instrumental Pictorial Cross-Sign in Troyes, Bibliothèque Municipale MS 960
Beatrice Kitzinger, Harvard Univ.

Materia Meditandi: Tactile Pleasure and Spiritual Signification in Parisian Ivory Virgins, 1300-1330
Alexa Sand, Utah State Univ.

1st Biennial Meeting of the BABEL Working Group, University of Texas at Austin, November 2010

Transparent Things

Co-Organizers: Maggie Williams, William Paterson University and Rachel Dressler, University at Albany, SUNY
Chair: Maggie Williams

When we concentrate on a material object, whatever its situation, the very act of attention may lead to our involuntarily sinking into the history of that object. Novices must learn to skim over matter if they want matter to stay at the exact level of the moment. Transparent things, through which the past shines!” —V. Nabokov, Transparent Things (1972)

Visual objects entice us with the promise of experiences — emotional, visceral, mnemonic, intellectual, spiritual. Abbot Suger spoke of the upward-lifting, anagogical potential of medieval stained glass, just as Vladimir Nabokov allows us to slip, helplessly, into the depths of an imagined history. As students of visual images, we sometimes step laterally, through the looking glass, into a boundless realm of unspoken artistic intentions and cultural memories demanding to be narrated. We see ourselves reflected in mirrored surfaces, and we pass back and forth through the membranes of viewer and scholar, historian and contemporary citizen. This session offers a dialogue on the question of how our encounters with material things spark a process, and how images might allow unique collisions between the past and the present, the human and the inanimate, the practice of history and lived experience.

Tantric Art History
Karen Overbey, Tufts University

Encountering the Inauthentic
Jennifer Borland, Oklahoma State University

Anchoritic Encounters: Communicating with the Past Through the Touch of the Material Object
Angela R. Bennett Segler, New York University

Experiencing Stained Glass
Nancy Thompson, Saint Olaf College

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