Mermaids amongst the Cables: The Abstracted Body and the Telegraphic Touch – Clare Pettitt (Seminar, King’s College, 9 October 2013)

King’s College Research Seminar series in the history of science, technology and medicine:
Professor Clare Pettitt
Mermaids amongst the Cables: The Abstracted Body and the Telegraphic Touch
Wednesday 9 October at 5-6.30pm in S8.08, Strand Building.

This paper uses two paintings of mermaids form the 1880s to think about the emergence in the late nineteenth  century of what Paul Virilio has termed ‘tele-contact’: Evelyn De Morgan’s ‘The Sea Maidens’ (sometimes called ‘The Sea Sisters’) of 1885-6, and Edward Burne Jones’s ‘The Depths of the Sea’, which was exhibited in 1887.

Reading these paintings in the context of the rapidly ramifying underwater cable network, the compromised material form of the cables themselves, and the much-reported dredging and sounding experiments of the Challenger Expedition of the 1870s, the paper suggests that new communications technologies, new scientific information, and an ever-widening contact network were driving aesthetic form into new patternings and stretchinesses, new concepts of surface and depth, and new kinds of coding.

All are welcome.

About Centre for Medical Humanities

Centre for Medical Humanities
This entry was posted in Seminar and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s