From Scrolls to Scalar: the History of the Book

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Tuesday, April 6, 2021 11:59 pm
Wednesday, April 7, 2021
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Wednesday, April 7, 2021 - 17:00

Paper is a technology. And paper technology has endured from Renaissance Europe through the 2020 pandemic spring as a platform for making, holding and disseminating knowledge. Now we find ourselves in a moment of transition in which personal meetings are replaced by Zoom and paper gives way to PDFs. So are technologies of paper and the digital terminally incompatible? Applying a polymathic approach demonstrates quite the opposite, rather that the two technologies intertwined can produce knowledge heretofore unseen. 
 
Scalar Creative Director Erik Loyer and Professor of Art History Lisa Pon join our polymathic community to explicate the ways and spaces where text and the digital intersect right here at USC.  With the Remastering the Renaissance Project, for instance, the USC Libraries’ special collections, the School of Cinematic Arts, the Classics and Art History Departments, and the Ahmanson Lab form just one of several polymathic collaborative ensembles where the application of virtual technologies illuminates ancient texts to speak and disseminate new and profound forms of knowledge.  Scalar, a platform for media-rich scholarly publishing, facilitates similar functions and is a tool that all of our polymaths can learn and apply to their own scholarship—in any and all disciplines across the university.  We are limited only by our imagination with the discoveries to be made by the intersection of technologies of the past (ie: paper) with the emerging technologies of today and the future (Multimedia, VR, AR, GIS, AI to name a few). And polymaths are, indeed, of the imaginative sort.

Lisa Pon, Professor of Art History

     Lisa Pon specializes in early modern European art, architecture, and material culture, focusing on the mobilities of art, artistic authority and collaboration, and the Renaissance concept of copia or abundance.  Her first book, Raphael, Dürer and Marcantoni Raimondi: Copying and the Italian Renaissance Print, was published with Yale University Press in 2004; Cambridge University Press published her most recent monograph, Printed Icon: Forlì’s Madonna of the Fire, in 2015; and she is co-editor or co-author of three additional volumes.  Her articles have appeared in venues including Art Bulletin, Art History, Word & Image, Print Quarterly, Renaissance Studies, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, Boletín del Museo del Prado, and Journal of the Acoustical Society of America.

     Currently Pon is working on two book projects. One book manuscript examines fears about contagion, both biological and moral, in early modern Venice.  The other project explores artistic collaboration in the Renaissance, especially across media. Forthcoming essays draw on these projects, as well as her interest in color in religious ritual, partnerships in print media, and ancient literature published in Renaissance books.  She also leads the 2019-2022 USC Early Modern Studies Institute seminar, Paper and Other Early Modern Media Platforms.

     With co-directors Tracy Cosgriff, Curtis Fletcher, Andreas Kratky and Erik Loyer, Pon heads the interdisciplinary research project to digitally reconstruct the library of Julius II, virtually returning the experience of Julius' books to their intended site in the Vatican Palace, the Stanza della Segnatura.

     Her research has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities; Renaissance Society of America; the College Art Association; the American Council of Learned Societies; the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; Spain’s Ministry of Culture; the John Rylands Research Institute, Manchester, UK; the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation; the New York City Public Library; the American Philosophical Society; the Bibliographical Society of America; the Warburg Institute, London; and the Getty Research Institute.  

Erik Loyer, Creative Director-Scalar

Erik Loyer builds apps and tools that help people make, tactile, emotional connections to stories and ideas. He is active in the digital humanities as Creative Director of the popular scholarly publishing tool Scalar, and as the designer and developer of over a dozen interactive non-fiction works in collaboration with leading scholars, artists, and organizations, including the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute. He founded the interactive label Opertoon in 2008 to explore tactile storytelling, releasing the interracial love story Ruben & Lullaby, the touchscreen meditation Strange Rain, and the digital graphic novel Upgrade Soul, which have garnered critical acclaim and over half a million downloads. Through Opertoon, Loyer has also originated a pair of creative tools — Panoply for digital comics, and Stepworks for electronic literature — which have been utilized in classrooms and workshops across the United States and Europe, as well as in commercial releases. Loyer is also co-founder and Chief Experience Officer of TunesMap, a media startup that delivers cultural context around streaming music. A two-time Webby Awards Official Honoree, his work has been exhibited in the Americas and Europe, and he has been commissioned by the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.