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Date

5-7-2020

Description

The Art and Music Library at the University of Rochester houses an unexpected object. At the center of the library is a mosaic from Daphne, a resort town next to the ancient city of Antioch. Created in the 3rd century CE, the object is almost 1800 years old. However, it is not the only Antioch mosaic in Rochester; its sister mosaic is currently displayed in the Memorial Art Gallery. Though these objects seem idle, they moved through space and time to be where they are today. They took on different functions throughout its lifetime and affected people in different ways. First pavements of a luxurious villa in ancient Antioch, they are now an educational aid to the University of Rochester students. Unlike most written documents, objects can tell a history that spans thousands of years from a variety of viewpoints. These objects not only tell us about the extravagant lifestyle of wealthy Antiochenes, but also tells us about the politics of an archaeological excavation that rediscovered them in the 1930s and how they played an important role in mediating university relationships in the 1940s. My research aims to construct object biographies that explore the different phases of these mosaics. I argue that these mosaics are lived and living objects, collecting and absorbing history, and ultimately objects that produce actions.

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May 7th, 12:00 AM

Object Histories: Tracing the Lives of the Antioch Mosaics in Rochester

The Art and Music Library at the University of Rochester houses an unexpected object. At the center of the library is a mosaic from Daphne, a resort town next to the ancient city of Antioch. Created in the 3rd century CE, the object is almost 1800 years old. However, it is not the only Antioch mosaic in Rochester; its sister mosaic is currently displayed in the Memorial Art Gallery. Though these objects seem idle, they moved through space and time to be where they are today. They took on different functions throughout its lifetime and affected people in different ways. First pavements of a luxurious villa in ancient Antioch, they are now an educational aid to the University of Rochester students. Unlike most written documents, objects can tell a history that spans thousands of years from a variety of viewpoints. These objects not only tell us about the extravagant lifestyle of wealthy Antiochenes, but also tells us about the politics of an archaeological excavation that rediscovered them in the 1930s and how they played an important role in mediating university relationships in the 1940s. My research aims to construct object biographies that explore the different phases of these mosaics. I argue that these mosaics are lived and living objects, collecting and absorbing history, and ultimately objects that produce actions.