On Friday, January 13, The Tate Britian will host a symposia titled Landscape and Eschatology, the study of the apocalypse. This free one-day conference, organized by Joy Sleeman, UCL and John Timberlake, Middlesex University with the Tate Research Centre: British Romantic Art, brings together a range of high-profile artists and researchers to discuss the lasting cultural legacies of John Martin’s landscapes, and the relevance of themes of apocalypse both in Martin’s time and today.
Friday, January 13, 2012: 10:00 am-6:00 pm
Session 1: City and Apocalypse chaired by John Timberlake
11.00–11.30 Philip Shaw, University of Leicester, Embodied Violence: Turner, Terror and The Field of Waterloo
11.30–12.00 Chris Coltrin, Shepherd University, West Virginia The Wounded Landscape: the Politics of Urban Destruction in John Martin’s ‘Mesopotamian Trilogy’
12.00–12.30 Luke White, Middlesex University, Nature, the Metropolis and the Apocalyptic Sublime
12.30-1.00 Matthew Beaumont, UCL The Annihilated City: Pandemonium and the Utopian
Session 2: Landscape and Apocalypse chaired by Joy Sleeman
2.00–2.30 John Timberlake, Middlesex University Zones of Tension: Desertification and Despoilation in Frederick Sommer’s Arizona Photographs 1939-1945
2.30-3.00 Mathilde Nardelli UCL The Desert, Time and the End, c.1962-1975
3.00-3.30 John Beck, The Purloined Landscape: Militarised Space and Concealment as Spectacle
3.30-3.45 coffee break
3.45-4.30 Richard Misrach
4.30-5.15 Closing remarks
Richard Misrach Keynote speaker will be speaking on the apocolyptic nature in his work particularly in relation to his series and recently published book Destroy This Memory (Aperture, 2010), an affecting reminder of the physical and psychological impact of Hurricane Katrina. Taken in New Orleans between October and December 2005 in the wake of the storm, the photographs capture messages left behind by rescue workers and residents scrawled on roofs and walls, cars and trucks, fences and trees that reveal a range of individual reactions from despair to dark humor, giving a human face to the wreckage. Arranged in a powerful narrative sequence, the images express, in the artist’s words, “people pleading for help, then defending their turf, then suffering human loss, then animal loss, then despair, then humor, then anger at the political establishment, then anger at the insurance companies, and finally determination and hope to survive and perhaps recover.” Taken with a 4 MP pocket camera, the photographs are an affecting reminder of the physical and psychological impact of Hurricane Katrina as told by those on the ground, and seen through the lens of a contemporary master.
The Tate Britian Auditorium
Free, booking required
Tickets can be booked by calling 020 7887 8888.