Departmental Event - The Balloonist and the Mapmaker
Wednesday, December 04, 2019, 04:30pm
Dr. Mark Rosen, Associate Professor of art history and Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies at the University of Texas-Dallas, is an art historian and historian of cartography specializing in late medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque Europe.
The late eighteenth century witnessed the rise of the hot-air balloon as mode of transport and as an instrument of spectacle. Crowds gathered to watch aerialists embark on their journeys, which often were celebrated with retrospective prints and published narrative accounts. The balloonists of the eighteenth century were the first to achieve a true aerial prospect, but their modes of seeing were in many ways conditioned by the maps and views of preceding centuries that approximated or imagined ways of seeing from above. The tension between firsthand experience and conventional visualization can be accessed in the writings and images from the earliest balloon voyages, in which aerialists resorted to metaphors and signification drawing heavily from the language of preexisting cartography rather than accounting for the embodied viewing this newly available phenomenon afforded. The techniques and materials discussed in this talk concern both conscious and unwitting adoptions of a cartographic vocabulary to an incommensurable new experience.
There will be a reception following the lecture in the graduate student lounge in Vorhees Hall