Technological Animation in Classical Antiquity

Department of Classics and Ancient History, University of Exeter, UK

Supported by the A. G. Leventis Foundation

6th – 7th December 2019

Convened by Maria Gerolemou

The conference aims at bringing together scholars working on the living/moving artifact from the fields of ancient technology, philosophy, archaeology and art. Specifically, the conference focuses on the living/moving artifact and the synesthetic experience that it might offer, as the outcome of a technological procedure that exempts it from its association with illusion and artifice.

While some work is already done on the living/moving artifact as a metaphysical metaphor (emphasizing its naturalistic dream), the materialistic and technological character of this phenomenon remains unexplored. In this context, the living/moving artifact is not a perceptual mistake of the viewer nor it is tied to the supposed skills of an artist; rather, the fascination of this type of living artifact, by exploring e.g. how the one kind of movement becomes another kind of movement or how motion becomes light or sound, rests in its technological and material conditions. With the latter I refer to the mechanical properties of the materials in general and material’s deformation ability in particular.

At the same time and while operating along with the ancient obsession with naturalism, the living/moving artifact as the product of – in a way- para physin procedure opens up a new dimension for creating and conveying artifacts, i.e. it reveals new aesthetic possibilities, marking a shift in aesthetic style or preference; this, moreover, trains receivers of art/artifacts into a new method of looking at manufactured objects in general and moving objects in particular; in the latter case users even have a stake in moving artifacts taking place.