The Event of Archaeology: Pompeii & Volcanic Geography
This event is the fourth in a series of lectures, workshops and screenings titled ‘The Event of Archaeology’ organised by Dr Ines Weizman, and research students of the MPhil/PhD Programme, School of Architecture, Royal College of Art,
Location: Goethe Institut, 50 Princes Gate, Exhibition Rd
9 May 2024
10:00 am – 8:30 pm
Royal College of Art
The Open University
From Prussia to Pink Floyd: Performing Pompeii in European culture from the 19th century to the present day
Joanna Paul, is a Senior Lecturer in Classical Studies at The Open University. Paul’s work looks at the influence of ancient Pompeii and Herculaneum in contemporary art, film, music and culture today. She is particularly interested in the influence of the classical past within contemporary popular culture, especially cinema. She published ‘Pompeii in the Public Imagination from its Rediscovery to Today’ with Dr Shelley Hales, investigating the impact of Pompeii in art and culture in modern history.
The Open University
Archaeology and Volcanology in the New (Catholic) Pompeii
Jessica Hughes is Senior Lecturer in Classical Studies at The Open University. Her research focuses on the cultural and religious history of the southern Italian region of Campania, especially the area around Vesuvius and the Campi Flegrei. She is interested in how the traces of Greco-Roman antiquity co-exist and intertwine with other elements of local history and geology, particularly the material culture and practices of vernacular Catholicism. In 2023-24 she has a British Academy/Leverhulme Senior Research
Fellowship – during this year, she is writing a book about the Catholic Shrine of Our Lady of the Rosary in the modern town of Pompeii, and its evolving relationship with the neighbouring archaeological excavations.
University of York
Roman Cyborgs (tbc)
Eva Mol is lecturer in Roman Archaeology in the department of Archaeology at the University of York. Her interests in archaeology include archaeological history, Greco-Roman religion, digital archaeology, Greek and Roman art history, and museum and heritage studies related to the ancient Mediterranean. She is interested in how digital methods change our way of thinking of ancient Greek and Roman history and religion, having written her dissertation on Crusader Castles in the Near East and computational analysis. Her PhD research investigated Egyptian material culture in Roman domestic contexts in Pompeii,
and has since collaborated and worked on a number of Mediterranean archaeological fieldwork projects, in Pompeii, Rome, Cyprus, and Greece. Her recent publication ‘Roman Cyborgs! On Significant Otherness, Material Absence, and Virtual Presence in the Archaeology of Roman Religion’ (2020) explores the different ways archaeologists can contribute to and learn from the digital world through a post-human framework of creative computational technologies.
Royal College of Art
The Villa of Mysteries Revisited
Marisa Müsing is a PhD student at the School of Architecture and a transdisciplinary artist & designer from Tkaronto, Canada. She has a background in architecture, having received her Masters of Art in Architecture from the Royal College of Art. Constantly driven by the process of fabrication and making, her work ranges from architecture, furniture design, 3D animations, fashion, painting and sculpture. Marisa has lectured and taught at Parsons School of Design, Harvard GSD, Rhode Island School
of Design and ELISAVA Barcelona School of Design and Engineering.
Royal College of Art
Vision, extraction, empire. The Archaology of Franco’s Spain
This presentation considers the entanglements between the surface of the image and the depth of the earth. In the face of ecological disaster and extractive ruination, a heightened attention to the underground sees a parallel in the centrality of the ‘deep’ in relation to AI systems and processes of automated perception such as deep learning, machine vision or data mining. The paradigm of depth extends from geology to the domains of machinic cognition, yet this extension is not purely metaphorical: it is precisely through ‘deep’ ways of sensing and knowing that humans can see, and excavate further, the depths of the earth. Departing from an analysis of the colonial genealogies of geology and image-making, I argue that the contemporary entanglement of extraction and vision regimes cannot be understood without a critical examination of the historical co-production of the imperial scopic and geological imaginations. To this aim, this paper discusses the entwinement between two paradigmatic
cases corresponding, respectively, to the beginning and the end of the Spanish Empire: i) the chief moment of primitive accumulation around the imperial mass-scale extraction of silver in Potosí, present-day Bolivia, and ii) the technological and aesthetic apparatus supporting the contemporary civic efforts to render visible and excavate the mass graves of more than 20,000 victims of Francoist repression in the Spanish State. Through a series of methodological considerations and notes from ongoing fieldwork, the paper explores the ways in which an entangled understanding of vision and extraction contributes to unsettling the oppositions between surface and depth, representation and operation, visibility and invisibility.
“17 Volcanos”: Reenacting Geology
Between 2015 and 2017 we, and interdisciplinary group of artist, architects and scientists climbed 17 Volcanoes on the island of Java. We reenacted some expeditions conducted in the mid 19th century by the German-Dutch explorer Franz Junghuhn (1809-1864). In 2016 we reenacted the reenactment in the Harz area of central Germany, near Junghuhn’s birthplace, and produced an artificial eruption on the volcano-shaped slag heap of a former copper mine. In 2023 we presented part of our work in an exhibition in Dresden, near the famous Grünes Gewölbe. This baroque Wunderkammer, packed with gemstones and precious artifacts, is at the core of the European museal display system. An accumulation of precious objects, based on colonialism and extractivism it keeps haunting the imagination of the Western museum. How can we make productive this tension? How can we connect the current
climate of opinions in the curatorial discourse with the early phase of volcanology? Can we depict the work of exploration in the 19th century, the labor of mining, and our own mining of meaning one representational level? Who can break the spell of the Grünes Gewölbe?
Philip Ursprung is an art historian specialising in art and architectural history particularly from the late 20th and 21st-century Europe and North America. His research focuses on the relationship between architecture and art in political and economic frameworks. Active as a historian, critic, and curator, Ursprung has taught at the University of Zurich, Hochschule der Künste Berlin, Columbia University, and Barcelona Institute of Architecture and Cornell University. He edited ‘Herzog & de Meuron: Natural History’ (2002) and is author of ‘Die Kunst der Gegenwart’ (2010), ‘Allan Kaprow, Robert Smithson, and the Limits to Art’ (2013) and ‘Joseph Beuys: Kunst Kapital Revolution’ (2021). He is a professor of history of art and architecture at the Department of Architecture at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, where he served as Dean of the department from 2017-19. In 2023 Ursprung represented Switzerland together with Karin Sander for the 18th Architecture Biennale Venice.