Attuned illuminations: On the cultural practices of illuminating spaces - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Attuned illuminations: On the cultural practices of illuminating spaces

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Frank Davis Memorial Lecture Series
Frank Davis Memorial Lecture Series

Attuned illuminations: On the cultural practices of illuminating spaces

The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London

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Glow. Photo Mikkel Bille

  • Tuesday 22 November 2016
    PLEASE NOTE: This Date Has Passed
    5:30 pm - 6:30 pm

    Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre, The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 0RN

Speaker

  • Dr Mikkel Bille - Roskilde University

Organised by

  • Dr Tom Nickson - The Courtauld Institute of Art
  • Dr Stefania Gerevini - L. Bocconi University

Light does more than simply illuminate spaces. It fills them with a tone; a ‘something’ that may seize us emotionally as an atmosphere. The use of light to create such atmospheres is however not simply a matter of universal aesthetics. Light is entangled in notions of class, style, security, intimacy, even morality that are at the very core of cultural analysis. While light has often been approached in terms of effect on biology, individual sensory organs and psyche, there are important insights to be gained by looking at the social life that light takes part in. For instance, light holds a central place in religious metaphors, but it may also be a highly ritualized and habitual way of dealing with the perils and joys of everyday life. This lecture will explore how light takes part in marking time, space and atmospheres, by exploring cultural practices and meanings of illumination in all its varieties of glow, shadow, luminance, and darkness. From the home to the street, from the amusement park to the church, light matters.

 

Associate Professor at the Department of People and Technology, Roskilde University, with a PhD in anthropology, material culture studies, from University College London (2009). He is member of The Young Academy under the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters. His current research centres on the cultural conceptualization and orchestrations of atmospheres through light in a time of energy saving technologies. Publications include articles such as Anthropology of Luminosity in Journal of Material Culture (2007), special issue of Emotion, Space and Society on ‘Staging Atmospheres’ (2015), and edited book Elements of Architecture (Routledge, 2016).

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