Herewith some of Liz's Surface Studies highlights since our last post.
I was very pleased that Dr Anuradha Chatterjee was able to find time on her research visit to Lancaster's Ruskin Library in February 2014 to discuss her new collection of essays, Surface and Deep Histories: Critiques and Practices in Art, Architecture and Design (2014), which includes contributions by Anuradha Chatterjee, Molly Duggins, Anna Daly, Stella North, M Hank Haeusler, Peter Kohane, Chris Brisbin, Flavia Marcello and Ian Woodcock. Dr Chatterjee was a virtual participant in Cristián Simonetti and Mike Anusas's 2-day panel on Surfaces: contesting boundaries between materials, mind and body at August 2013's IAEUS Conference, and it was splendid to talk about surfaces with her in person.
In March 2014, I was equally delighted to meet Sarah Gilligan at Lancaster University's Screening Style: Costume, Cinema and Performance symposium organised by Bruce Bennett and Catherine Spooner. I enjoyed preparing my talk on 'Outlaw Style: Surface, Screen, Sensation (1580-1980)', and the event included many papers which scrutinized surfaces - for example fur (Bennett), plastic (Spooner), and wool (Gilligan) - in theoretically stimulating ways. Donatella Barbieri's plenary, 'Absences and re-encounters: archived costumes and the performances they hold', was a broadly phenomenological exploration of select objects in the V&A's archives. Her discussion of the costumes worn by Harry Payne, the nineteenth-century clown, was particularly memorable. An earlier version of her paper is available in the V&A Online Journal 4 (2012).
I managed to catch the final day of the Cheapside Hoard: London's Lost Jewels exhibition at The Museum of London (April 2014). I was intrigued by the ways in which the juxtaposition of twenty-first century technology and early-modern craft fashioned surfaces for display. I'm currently working on an article called 'Shakespearean Surfaces: (Touch)stone, skin, stage, screen (1599-2006), thus I was especially interested in the exhibition's curation of the means by which Lydian stones were used to test gold alloys. It was great to see Werner Jacobz van den Valckert's Portrait of a Man with Ring and Touchstone (1617) placed amongst the objects themselves.
The combination of Nigel Stewart's paper 'Turning Bodies and Textures of Light: Russell Maliphant's Afterlight' at the Screening Style: Costume, Cinema and Performance and my first visit to the new Sam Wanamaker Playhouse to see the Edward's Boys production of John Lyly's Galatea (c.1588) on 27 April 2014 has initiated my interest in photology and surfaces. In the wake of Stewart's provocative discussion, I was alert to the ways in which the candlelit performance of the early-modern drama rendered the actor's bodies.
There will be news about our latest Surface Studies activities in the not-too-distance future.