Francesca Bewer and I have been invited to deliver a master class for MA and PhD candidates at Utrecht University which will be followed by a public colloquium. This event will offer a unique opportunity to find out whether the materiality of bronzes has something in common with the unfolding matter of media art. What is the matter, material, and what the materiality in media art? Can time be considered a “medium”?
Casting New Light on Old Bronzes: Matters of Interpretation
Dr. Francesca G. Bewer, Research Curator for Conservation and Technical Studies Programs and Director of the Summer Institute for Technical Studies in Art, Harvard Art Museums
Gazing at bronze sculptures, one could imagine them to have sprung forth, perfectly formed and finished from an artist’s hand, much as Athena is said to have emerged from the head of Zeus. Indeed, traces of the making process are most commonly removed or concealed. But we shall see through a closer look at a diverse sampling of works that they preserve all sorts of clues to the complex translations and transformations that are involved in their production and that bronzes continue to undergo over time. How one might identify such evidence and make sense of it will be discussed as well.
The Medium of Time and Transition
Dr. Hanna Hölling, Lecturer in the History of Art and Material Studies, University College London
“The essence of the medium is time,” maintains the American Video artist Bill Viola referencing artistic video. He continues “Its basic underlying characteristics are change and transformation … The medium unfolds itself in time.” Taking this statement as a point of departure for the analysis of intermedia on the intersection of art theoretical, historical and conservation discourses, my presentation examines how the affirmation of the transitoriness of artworks offers a fruitful ground to scrutinise this portion of cultural heritage which refuses fixity and stasis. Using examples of video, film, and multimedia, I will argue that the legacy of intermediality not only challenges the established rhetoric of material authenticity that for a long time dominated conservation and the museum collecting and exhibiting practices but it also radicalises time. Time, here, becomes an indicator of these works’ identity.