Conference: Iconophobia? Rethinking Order and Disorder in the Mosaics of Jordan

Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies, Albertstrasse 19, 79104 Freiburg, Germany, 31 January-1 February 2019

The churches in Byzantine and Umayyad-era Jordan and Palestine attest to a fascinating change in visual culture in their significant alterations of mosaic pavements. The tesserae of animal and human figures were removed, shuffled, and reinserted to pixelate faces and other body parts.

In the relevant field of study these phenomena have so far been summarized as ›Iconophobia‹ and too narrowly considered as damage or loss of the initial archaeological record. Instead, the manipulations and restricted recognisability even reinforce the visual and medial capacities of these images and evoke a stronger artifactual presence. These noisy surfaces have a retarding effect on perception and perpetuate the process of manufacture. This perspective holds significant potential for future archaeological research concerning the aesthetics of abstraction, the interplay of ornament and figure, text and image, order and disorder.

The FRIAS Project Group SurFace explores new methodological approaches to describe, analyze and (hope)fully understand the complexity of such multi-layered image-artifact relations.

For further details, see the programme: Iconophobia Workshop (Uni Freiburg)