S. Worthen (owlfish) wrote,
S. Worthen

Of sunshine and astrolabes

After a heavy breakfast, made better for running into fellow Avista-folk, I went over to the other end of the conference, to the university-owned conference hotel bracketing the other end of the extended site. Arriving there would normally entail a ten-minute walk over playing fields and a motorway with no crosswalk, but my company was taking the shuttle, so I did too.

This morning's plenary explored what the naming of fifteenth-century artists reveals about their relationships with the Master painters with whom they studied, particularly the sort of artists that Vasari wrote about - Giotto and Cimabue, for example. I missed very little of it, but what little I missed was due to the rustles and turning of pages which interrupted the hush protecting the audibility of the lecturer, her voice quiet, her points clear.

I'm still working through the aftermath of jetlag, so slept for the next session. The brown-bag lunch was sadly lacking in drink, but otherwise perfectly adequate, involving far more than enough food; still, it reminds me how tempted I am to try out one of Leeds better restaurants come Thursday night. Perched in the shade by the main building entrance, eating, my colleague and session organizer came by; our work has a great deal in common; I walked with her across the fields, and we talked about the history of invention and of research projects for which she's recruiting help.

For the afternoon, I attended both Avista-sponsored sessions, talks on alchemy, goldsmithing, and astrolabes. The finale was a demonstration - a brief lesson - in astrolabe use. With so little an introduction, I would be clumsy in its use - but better off than I was a few hours ago.

With the air-conditioning fixed, the computer lab is no longer miserably hot and unusable as it's been for much of the last day. Rumor has it I could use the 'net in my room, had only I thought to bring an ethernet cable; three differnt phone cables do me no such good. There are at least a dozen Torontonians here, many faculty; indeed, one of my fellow grad students here is someone I almost only manage to catch up with at conferences! The day has cooled into sun-drenched pleasantness outside, the sessions dissipated into wine hour, after dinner drinks, and loitering on the lawn.

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