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Tapestry of Light: Intersections Across the Gulf
Design Research Institute RMIT
University Publication "Convergence"



Early tapestry is reinterpreted through recent advances in photonic activity at a nanotechnology scale, linking explorations in art and science


Manuscripts and tapestries rely to different degrees on the brilliance of their pigments – qualities which have changed in the contemporary era to scientific concepts of hue, saturation and intensity. In Tapestry of Light the art and science of light are explored from the viewpoint of collaboration between a practicing artist with an interest in systems and in interpreting the history of art illumination in a contemporary context, and a practicing scientist interested in photonic materials and systems.


Einstein clearly establishes “mystery as the common origin of both true art and true science”, while the German philosopher Karl Kraus notes “Science is spectral analysis. Art is light synthesis”. Here, this link between art and science is explored in a modern synthesis of early tapestry, as well as reinterpretations of the photonic activity expressed at the scale of the new nanotechnologies that underlie recent advances in what is possible. Hence the Tapestry of Light becomes The Art and Science of Lux, Lumen, Illumination and the Photon. In 2014, the Tapestry of Light is being woven in Belgium at the Flanders Tapestry workshop, who have constructed major pieces by leading artists including Chuck Close (USA), Turner prizewinner Grayson Perry (UK) and Craigie Horsfield (UK). The Tapestry of Light joins this lineage of artworks and becomes one of the only known full Apocalypse cycles designed and orchestrated by a female in over

500 years. 

Tapestries of Light Symposium 2013
Design Research Institute RMIT University 
Project Team: CI, Dr Irene Barberis, Professor David Mainwaring, Professor Emerita Michelle. P. Brown, Professor Bernard Muir and project guest, Professor Emeritus Magaret Manion. 




8.30 - 9 am coffee and register. 


9.15 Irene Barberis, MC. 

Introduction to the day, project and guest speakers. 


Michelle. P. Brown 

Keynote paper: 'Let your Light Shine: colour, aesthetics, science and faith in Insular manuscript illumination' 



Michelle P. Brown FSA is Professor Emerita at the School of Advanced Study, University of London, and is a Visiting Professor at University College London and Baylor University (Texas). She was formerly the Curator of Illuminated Manuscripts at the British Library and a Lay Canon of St Paul's Cathedral, London. She has lectured, published and broadcast widely on medieval culture and her publications include The Lindisfarne Gospels and the Early Medieval World, The Luttrell Psalter, The Holkham Bible, The Book of Cerne, The Lion Companion to Christian Art, A Guide to Western Historical Scripts and The Book and the Transformation of Britain. 


Margaret Manion 


Paper: ‘The Angers Tapestries: the Apocalypse in the light of history’ 


This paper discusses some of the ways in which the fourteenth-century Angers Tapestries express the text of the Apocalypse in terms of medieval narrative and allegorical imagery. 



Professor Emeritus Margaret Manion is an an honorary professorial fellow in the School of Culture and Communication, The University of Melbourne. She is an art historian with specialist interests in the Medieval illuminated book. Margaret Manion is co-author with Professor Charles Zika of the recent book, Celebrating Word and Image 1250-1600. Illuminated Manuscripts from the Kerry Stokes Collection, published by Australian Capital Equity and Fremantle Press, Fremantle, 2013. She is also the leader of the Australian Research Council Linkage Grant: Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in Australia: Researching and Relating Australia’s Manuscript holdings to new technologies and new readers (2010-13). This project involves the digitisation and online presentation of some forty Medieval and Renaissance manuscripts in Victorian collections and the contribution to updated research profiles on manuscripts throughout Australia. 


BREAK: Morning tea 


Irene Barberis 


Paper: The Tapestry of Light: Lux Lumen and Illumination; a history 



Dr Irene Barberis is an Artist, Senior Lecturer at RMIT School of Art, Founding Director of the international arts research 'satellite' Metasenta ®, The Global Centre for Drawing and is Co Director of the contemporary Gallery Langford120. She has initiated many international arts projects in collaboration with artists and institutions in the UK, USA, the Middle East and the Far East, curating significant exhibitions around the globe. Dr Barberis exhibits and publishes widely also directing Metasenta Publications, an international publishing initiative for artists, architects, poets and designers. As a painter, installation and new media artist, she has held over forty solo exhibitions in Australia and abroad, and participated in eighty group exhibitions. Her work is held in many public and private collections including the Sol Lewitt Collection, New York. Irene also works in Public Art and has completed and won large commissions both in Australia and in the UK. 


BREAK: Lunch 


1.30 pm 


David Mainwaring 


Paper: The Art and Science of Illumination: the Science of Perception and Self-Illumination in the Tapestry of Light. 



David Mainwaring is a Professor within the Faculty of Life and Social Sciences at Swinburne University. Previously he was the Research Leader for the Digital Design & Manufacture Stream at RMIT's Design Research Institute. He is currently working across many scientific ground breaking global projects. 


Bernard Muir 


Paper: Transitions of information; from Papyrus to DVD applied in the Tapestry of Light 



Bernard J Muir is an Honorary Professorial Research Fellow at The University of Melbourne, where he taught medieval manuscript studies for 30 years. He is known internationally for his pioneering digital facsimile editions of important literary and historical manuscripts. His later work is a scholarly facsimile edition of The

Peterborough Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. 


BREAK: Afternoon tea 


Open forum for Discussion / Guest to ‘sum up’ the day – all presenters and public. 


Conclude at 5.00 pm. 

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