Hello there! Might I commend you on your excellent taste in blogs?
Communing With The Ages is the title of the project I will be undertaking as a recipient of the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship for 2015-2016. For more information on the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, click here. There are many other fantastic Fellows, and I highly recommend you check out the site.
I presented my Fellowship to the Watson Foundation thusly: My Watson Year will be an exploration of the sacred object from the point of view of an art conservator. All over the world, traditions nurture their spirituality and preserve their identity through the care of objects. The need for discretion and cultural awareness is paramount among conservators, because the power and meaning of sacred objects is based on the interaction between object and viewer. Whether this interaction occurs through visual or physical contact, sacred objects have a quality of “interactivity” that relies on understanding the object’s power, spirituality, and continuing significance to a spiritual community. I am captivated by objects that rely on interaction to maintain meaning and by the challenges caring for them presents. How can conservators, who are trained as artists and scientists, learn to revere objects properly, if our goal is to care for them analytically? In the end, this is the goal of my Watson year: to engage with and learn from sacred objects and the people who care for and venerate them to understand how sacred objects are relevant in a modern world.
To accomplish my exploration, I will be outside of the U.S. for 12 consecutive months, travelling to Spain, Turkey, Japan and India. I do not leave for my year of exploration until early July, 2015, so it is unlikely that I will be updating this blog until then (unless plans change drastically.) So, until July!