Wednesday 27 October 17:00 - 18:30

The Courtauld Institute of Art
Lecture Theatre 1
Vernon Square, Penton Rise

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Trying to Listen to Medieval Architecture : Between Audiences and Settings

Performing & Visual Arts

This event is hosted by The Research Forum at The Courtauld and organised by the Medieval and Renaissance Cluster.

Please note this event will be live streamed to allow those outside London access to the event. All those who wish to access the event via this online method should book an ‘Online’ ticket rather than ‘Lecture Theatre’ ticket.

Booking closes 30 minutes before the event start time.

In the humanities – and especially the so-called digital humanities – the study of sound and music in original settings has become an academic field in its own right under the umbrella of ‘soundscape’ studies. But though we may be capable of recreating sounds and settings in our own heads, it is much harder to translate these into virtual reality projects that seek both visual and sonic ‘authenticity’. Indeed, for the Middle Ages it has been argued that we should think instead about more complex ‘sonic systems’ (or ‘sound systems’), that enrich study of historical acoustics with considerations of structures, hierarchies and boundaries. The sonic image of a medieval building cannot be understood simply by projecting the desired sound from a computer onto a virtual sound model of the building, and any analysis must be clear about the differences between buildings in their modern and historical states. This talk reflects on the need to consider what role historical knowledge of architecture should play in the study of architectural soundscapes.

Eduardo Carrero Santamaria is titular professor in the Departament d’Art i Musicologia at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) and visiting professor at the University of Bristol. His many publications have addressed the history (and historiography) of art and architecture of medieval Iberia and beyond, with a particular focus on function and liturgy. Recent books include La catedral habitada. Historia viva de un espacio arquitectónico (2019) and two co-edited books, Aragonia Cisterciensis. Espacio, arquitectura, música y función en los monasterios de Císter en la Corona de Aragón (2020) and Respondámosle a concierto: estudios en homenaje a Maricarmen Gómez Muntané (2020).

This talk will be followed by a drinks reception and the launch of the recent Courtauld Books Online publication Towards An Art History Of The Parish Church, 1200–1399, edited by Meg Bernstein.


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