The fabrication of textiles is one of the oldest cultural technologies. The objective of the proposed interdisciplinary research project is to investigate the historical meanings and functions of the textile medium in art and architecture from the Middle Ages to the present. The exploration of this specific art medium should result in a historical theory or iconology of the textile. The project focussed on the textile discourse engages in a new, complex, and challenging field of research situated between art and architectural history and within cultural and visual studies, involving also other disciplines such as literary studies and social history. Moreover, it aims at connecting the two scientific cultures of the universities and museums, and it draws transdisciplinary expertise from contemporary art. The framework of the project can be described by seven interconnected subject areas which are dedicated to specific questions and which share categories of objects such as figurative tapestries, installation art, literary texts, or architectural materials. This requires a variety of instrumental methods ranging from gender studies to textual analysis, from iconography to anthropological approaches. Two postdoctoral researchers and one doctoral candidate will work on a topic related to one or more of the subject areas. The team s aim is to perform basic research in an innovative and contemporary field, independently of traditional institutional constraints, in order to contribute to the establishment of the history of textile art as an academic discipline and to the advancement of art and architectural history towards a general history of images, media, and artefacts.
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