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Giuliana Bruno

Surface: Matters of Aesthetics, Materiality, and Media
Monday, March 10, 2015 at 7PM
Theater

Theorist Giuliana Bruno spoke about how the physical appearance of surfaces holds deep meaning for us as they are part of cultural contexts established by architecture, visual art, cinema, and philosophy. Arguing against the prevailing association of surfaces with shallowness and superficiality, Bruno used examples such as faces and facades, as well as screen surfaces, to suggest that surfaces are carriers of information, history, and politics. Surfaces constitute a connective tissue, serving as meeting places, interfaces, sites of transformation, and intimacy. By their very nature, surfaces contain a depth of meaning. Giuliana Bruno, professor of visual and environmental studies at Harvard University, explores the intersections of film, the Visual Art, and architecture. Her seminal work Atlas of Emotion: Journeys in Art, Architecture, and Film (Verso, 2002) won the 2004 Kraszna-Krausz Book Award in Culture and History—a prize awarded to “the world’s best book on the moving image”—and has provided new directions for visual studies. She is also the author of Surface: Matters of Aesthetics, Materiality, and Media (University of Chicago Press, 2014), Public Intimacy: Architecture and the Visual Art (MIT Press, 2007), and Streetwalking on a Ruined Map (Princeton University Press, 2002).

This series of talks focused on materiality and time—how material and passing time can be seen as reciprocal conditions for each other’s qualities. It is inspired by the thoughts of French philosopher Henri Bergson:

“If I want to mix a glass of sugar and water, I must… wait until the sugar melts. This little fact is big with meaning. For here the time I have to wait is not the mathematical time, which would apply equally well to the entire history of the material world…. It coincides with my impatience, that is to say, with a certain portion of my own duration…. It is no longer something thought, it is something lived.”

Bergson’s text has punctuated philosophical discussions since it first appeared in 1908. The series brought together material scientists, biochemists, architects, philosophers, curators, and media theorists to unravel the relationship of time and materiality within each discipline.

Giuliana Bruno, professor of visual and environmental studies at Harvard University, explores the intersections of film, the visual arts, and architecture. Her seminal work Atlas of Emotion: Journeys in Art, Architecture, and Film (Verso, 2002) won the 2004 Kraszna-Krausz Book Award in Culture and History—a prize awarded to “the world’s best book on the moving image”—and has provided new directions for visual studies. She is also the author of Surface: Matters of Aesthetics, Materiality, and Media (University of Chicago Press, 2014), Public Intimacy: Architecture and the Visual Arts (MIT Press, 2007), and Streetwalking on a Ruined Map (Princeton University Press, 2002).

Dates + Tickets

Talk
Giuliana Bruno
Surface: Matters of Aesthetics, Materiality, and Media
Monday 9
7:00 PM
March 2015
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