|Very Cool Project|
"[I]t was as though the very world had shaken herself and cast off her old age, and were clothing herself everywhere in a white garment of churches."
This shot of beautiful Conques reveals the idea of concentration that my students put forward. It's the combination of both citing cathedrals as bacteria, and of noting that humans are drawn to resources - that that's where they leave their mark, their artistic gesture. The white mantle of churches is, now that I think about it, an intermediary of performative scale: in its cloaking (meant to be comforting?) gesture, it is somewhere between the rapacious colonizing of bacteria and humans. Does all of this make the white mantle more sinister, less sweeping a gesture? Of course, but it keeps the aestheticization of the gesture. You get an image when you think about it.
|Same Cool Project|
It's late, and there's still much grading to be done, but I can't help but wonder about the artistic gestures of bacteria on medieval art: on wood, on sculpture, on paint, on ivory, on manuscript) - or of other tiny micro-organisms. Those traces left behind by the presence of these micro-organisms as they wear on the work of art; or the dependence medieval artists had on these micro-organisms to make/preserve their art (enzymes in human saliva to clean alabaster, for example). The smallest scale of medieval artistic production that I can think of are the bees who make (ah, what else?) a cathedral inside their hive, after someone has secreted a consecrated host there (where is that miracle from? is that from Caesarius of Heisterbach? ooo, I'd love to know/remember). We flock to our resources, and we make art there - we gather and collaborate and leave shadows; from chemical signatures in the galaxy to cathedrals in a Petri dish.