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Entanglements of Material and Virtual Worlds in Medieval and Early Modern Material Culture

Conference Report

Karoline Döring, Salzburg

Empfohlene Zitierweise: Karoline Döring, Entanglements of Material and Virtual Worlds in Medieval and Early Modern Material Culture, in: VIRMA. Weblog des Forschungsverbundes Virtualität und Materialität. https://virma.hypotheses.org/377, online seit 14.02.2023.


Introduction

From 19th to 21st September 2023 the Interdisciplinary Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IZMF) and the Institute for Medieval and Early Modern Material Culture (IMAREAL) at the University of Salzburg held the first conference dedicated to VIRMA. It was organized by the network members Christina Antenhofer, Elisabeth Gruber, and Alexander Zerfaß and aimed to understand the “Entanglements of Material and Virtual Worlds in Medieval and Early Modern Material Culture.”

Elisabeth Gruber outlined in her introduction the framework for further discussions, taken from the network’s mission statement which formed the basis for the call for papers of the conference: Materiality and virtuality do not form an irreconcilable binary opposition. Rather is it their productive interaction that produces the texture of meanings from which ‘realities’ are made. Based on the assumption that people generate culture in ever new processes of negotiation in the interplay of virtuality and materiality, the contributions to the conference explored how people generate virtuality, and how far they need sensual points of reference and a connection in and with the material world. In this context, the speakers also reflected on the potential associated with the virtualization of research data and the various stages of modeling and analysis, in particular the challenges associated with the digital transformation of material objects.

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Materiality and Virtuality

Entanglements of Material and Virtual Worlds in Medieval and Early Modern Material Culture

Conference of the Interdisciplinary Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IZMF) and the Institute for Medieval and Early Modern Material Culture (IMAREAL), University of Salzburg

Date: 19. – 21. September 2023

Venue: Krems/Donau

Organisation: Christina Antenhofer, Elisabeth Gruber, Alexander Zerfaß

The IZMF/IMAREAL conference 2023 is dedicated to the relationship between materiality and virtuality in the pre-modern era.

Materiality and virtuality do not form an irreconcilable binary opposition, it is, in our view, their productive interaction that in fact gives rise to the fabrics of signification in which ‘realities’ consist.  Based on the assumption that people create culture in continuously self-renewing processes of negotiation in the interplay of virtuality and materiality, the contributions explore how people generate virtuality, and how far they need sensual points of reference and connection in and with the material world.

In this context, we also reflect on the potential associated with the virtualization of research data and the various stages of modeling and analysis, in particular the challenges associated with the digital transformation of material objects.

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Der Körper als Schnittstelle von Materialität und Virtualität

 

Christina Antenhofer befasst sich in ihren Arbeiten mit Mensch-Objekt-Beziehungen im Mittelalter und in der Renaissance sowie mit Digital Cultural Heritage. Hier reflektiert sie über Körper, Materialität und Virtualität.

Empfohlene Zitierweise: Christina Antenhofer, Der Körper als Schnittstelle von Materialität und Virtualität, in: VIRMA. Weblog des Forschungsverbundes Virtualität und Materialität. https://virma.hypotheses.org/304, online seit 18.07.2023.


Der Körper spielt eine zentrale Rolle für Fragen der Virtualität und Materialität. Merleau-Ponty (1966) sah den Körper des Menschen, insbesondere die sinnliche Wahrnehmung, als vermittelnde Instanz zwischen den Konzepten Materialität und Virtualität. Dualismen wie Leib und Seele, Kopf und Hand, Geist und Körper verdeutlichen die eng im Körper angelegte Spannung zwischen materiellen und sozialen Aspekten. Sie verweist auf ein grundlegendes Wechselspiel zwischen materiellen und immateriellen Gegebenheiten, das historisch unterschiedlich benannt wurde. In den aktuellen Debatten übersetzen sich diese meist in die Gegenüberstellung zwischen materiell und digital oder weiter gefasst virtuell. Körper sind dabei weder vorsozial noch natürlich gegeben, sondern vergesellschaftet. Sie sind Zeichenträger, diskursiv geformt, historisch bedingt. Wie Körper definiert und verstanden werden, ist somit kontextabhängig. Der Körper lässt sich zudem nicht als ein Ganzes verstehen, sondern als eine komplexe Konfiguration (Mol 2002). Stuart Hall betrachtet den Körper als eine Art Naht, die das fragmentierte postmoderne Subjekt über eine Positionierung in Ort und Zeit zusammenhält (Hall 1996: 11; Cranny-Francis et al. 2003: 91).

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Virtualizing Hell

Invited by the IMAREAL, the specialist in German literature and theater studies Matthias Däumer has been working since November 2022 on a research program that deals with Medieval German-language afterlife journeys and their forms of reception in the courtly novel. His focus is broad and includes theories of space and perception as well as the possibility of describing the literarily depicted afterlife experiences as preliminary stages of the perception of virtual reality. 

Is there a virtuality avant la lettre? And how would one think about it in the Middle Ages?

This systematic project intertwines with several projects at IMAREAL that observe comparable interactions on the basis of medieval artworks and thus provide indications that virtuality did not first enter the world with postmodernism. The same applies to the sensory stimulus (sensing), which virtually takes place not because of the material, but because of its simulation.

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News

Materiality and Virtuality

Entanglements of Material and Virtual Worlds in Medieval and Early Modern Material Culture

Congress of the Interdisciplinary Research Center for the Medieval and Early Modern Period (IZMF) and the Institute for Medieval and Early Modern Material Culture (IMAREAL)

19. – 21. September 2023 in Krems / Donau

Please register via e-mail: sekretariat.imareal@plus.ac.at

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About

VIRMA

Taking approaches drawn from cultural studies and particularly from new cultural history, the network Materiality and Virtuality is dedicated to an interdisciplinary historically and anthropologically focused understanding of the interdependencies between virtual and material realities. Materiality and virtuality do not form an irreconcilable, binary opposition; rather, in our view, it is their productive interaction that produces the texture of meanings from which “realities” are made.

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