Selvedge to Selvedge - Textile Arts and Textility from Antiquity to the Present, Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz, Max-Planck-Institut, May 9–10, 2014
A Start-Up Workshop of the Joint Research Projects "An Iconology of the Textile in Art and Architecture" (funded by the Swiss National Scientific Foundation (SNSF) at the University of Zurich and directed by Tristan Weddigen) and "Networks: Textile Arts and Textility in a Transcultural Perspective (4th-17th Cent.)" (funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and directed by Gerhard Wolf)
Organized by Vera-Simone Schulz and Gerhard Wolf
From an anthropological point of view, there is hardly a genre of artifacts that is closer to us than textiles. Across cultures, time and space, we are quite literally surrounded by them, from birth to death. Yet, despite a growing interest in recent scholarship, the study of textiles remains a marginal field. The aim of the research projects "An Iconology of the Textile in Art and Architecture" (University of Zurich) and "Networks: Textile Arts and Textility in a Transcultural Perspective (4th-17th Cent.)" (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) is to take up this challenge and to study the aesthetics of textiles and their vital role as agents of cultural interaction during the three-year collaboration.
This first exploratory workshop seeks to propose an intellectual framework for this endeavor: to give insights into individual research projects, to stimulate discussions about specific methodologies and topics relevant for the projects, and to open up future themes and research perspectives. It will investigate textiles in regard to their materiality, surface structure, ornaments and figuration, including notions of framing, fragmentation and seriality, as well as performativity. It will draw attention to the specific qualities of the textile medium, to issues of transmediality and transmateriality, to the technologies of textile production and to the multi-faceted ‘biographies’ of textile artifacts. Easily transported and of high esteem in Asian, Mediterranean, and Northern European societies, textiles were a privileged field for the elaboration of cross-cultural artistic languages. The workshop addresses this migration of textiles, raw materials, techniques and patterns from China to the Mediterranean and Northern Europe, from Antiquity to the present, including the mythologies, origin stories, the historical discourses and narratives of textiles through the centuries, gender issues, and the modernity of the textile arts.