Space, Art and Architecture between East and West: the Revolutionary Spirit
Space, Art and Architecture between East and West: the Revolutionary Spirit, conference at the Acropolis Museum, Athens, Greece (18-20 March 2021), deadline 30 September 2020.
The emergence of modernity coincided with the geographical expansion of Europe and its influence through the discovery of the continents, trade, and colonialism. In the process, the perception of global space in geographical, cultural and artistic terms was radically changed. Exoticism, Chinoiseries, Japonisme, Egyptomania, India and the Americas, among others, influenced deeply the West, shaped modernism as a dominant art and architectural movement, and meant the demotion of the Mediterranean in matters of trade though not of cultural focus. All this can be portrayed, indicatively, in the works of Eugène Delacroix, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Frank Lloyd Wright, Vincent van Gogh and Paul Klee.
How we define ‘the East’ and ‘the West,’ whereby the East has been regularly identified with backwardness and tradition, while the West with dynamism and modernization, as Edward Said has shown, is subject to historical-geographical changes. This is witnessed in the case of Greece: Cradle of the Western civilization for its classical period, it became an Ottoman province for four centuries after the fall of Constantinople, gravitating between a dystopian East and an ideal West in the geographical imaginations of Europe which participated multifariously in its return to the ‘Western’ sphere. These geographical re-orientations, power relations and antagonisms have often involved all kinds of clashes over resources, predominance, religions and cultures, some of which continue unabated, despite recent cultural movements such as post-modernism and concomitant explorations of otherness, as processes of globalization are fiercely resisted nationally.
The international conference Space, Art and Architecture between East and West: The Revolutionary Spirit, organized by the Module Art-Architecture-Urban Planning, Hellenic Open University, intends to explore the spatial and creative aspects and impacts of the above processes both diachronically and in the present. More particularly, the following relevant dimensions will be pursued globally:
- Competing cultures: ‘East’-‘West’ dialogues, rationalities, spatialities, perceptions, artistic and architectural creativity, old and new colonialisms, clashes and upheavals.
- Processes of exchange during the beginning of modernity, starting from the 16th century.
- What and where was the Renaissance in regard to appropriations and interpretations of Byzantium and the East.
- Edward Said’s Orientalism and cultures of travel: The present narratives.
- Eastern art and architecture as Western history of art and architecture.
- Post-war cultural dynamism of the USA as the new ‘Western’ frontier of art and art history.