Giuliana Bruno

“Surface: Matters of Aesthetics, Media, Materiality”

Thursday, April 10, 2014, 5pm
Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts B04
24 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA 02138


What is the place of materiality in our visual age of rapidly changing materials and media? How is it fashioned in the arts or manifested in virtual forms?

In her new book, Giuliana Bruno investigates the space of material relations, examining how they appear on the surface of different media—on film and video screens, in gallery installations, or on the skins of buildings and people. The object of visual studies, she contends, engages the surface as a place of material contact between people and art objects. In surface encounters, one senses the fabrics of the visual—the textural qualities of works of art, whether manifested on canvas, wall, or screen. Bruno illuminates this modern surface condition at a time when façades are becoming virtual screens and the art of projection is reinvented on gallery walls. Showing how technologies of light produce new forms of materiality, she treats the screen surface a site where different forms of mediation, memory, and transformation can take place.

Surface addresses contemporary visual culture, revealing new object relations and material connections across art, architecture, fashion, design, film, and new media.


Giuliana Bruno is Professor of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard University. Her books include Atlas of Emotion: Journeys in Art, Architecture, and Film, winner of the Kraszna-Krausz Book Award in Culture and History for “the world’s best book on the moving image;” Public Intimacy: Architecture and the Visual Arts; Streetwalking on a Ruined Map, winner of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies book award; and Surface: Matters of Aesthetics, Materiality and Media, forthcoming by the University of Chicago Press in May 2014.