Where do White Temples come from?
Fabio Barry, Stanford Department of Art and Art History
According to Fabio Barry, we take often take it for granted that the ancient world was teeming with buildings, especially temples of white marble. Ancient Rome, he claims, was the exception, not the rules, to brilliant temples of white marble. Why did the Greeks build temples in marbles at all? When temples were first erected in ancient Greece, at the end of the 8th century, they were built in wood and terra cotta with polychrome patterns. The Greeks were likely inspired by the limestone and sandstone architecture in Egypt, as there was no known communication with other architectural civilizations in the Mediterranean.
The crepidoma, a series of usually three steps leading up to ancient Greek temples, likely arose from the stepped pyramids constructed previously. They functioned to raise up the Earth to sky, forming a sacred plateau, turning the temple into a supernatural object, like a new Mt. Olympus. White marble resonated the strongest, emanating purity and beautify as if it is made of light. To learn more about ancient Greek temples and its history with white marble, watch Fabio Barry's talk "Where do White Temples come from?"
Morning Larks and Night Owls:
Differences in Human Circadian Rhythms Shed Light on How our Clock Works
Carrie Partch, UCSC Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Carrie Partch studies the biological basis of which our bodies measure time and uses that to control biology and behavior. Intrinsically, we have mechanisms in our bodies that keep track of time, coordinating and synchronizing our biology with that of the terrestrial Earth. Different organisms have evolved different ways of interacting with light, created a wide breadth of circadian rhythms. Take sunflowers, for example. Throughout the day, a sunflower tracks the sunlight, and during the night, it goes into a dormant state. As it prepares for the morning sunlight, it turns toward the East, so that it can receive as much light as possible when the sun rises.
Circadian rhythms can be summarized as the power to anticipate the coming of the next day. Single-cell bacteria, up to plants, insects, and of course humans, coordinate their biologies with this 24-hour clock. At her lab, Partch studies the "core clock proteins" that drive gene expression and provide the molecular basis of our internal clocks. To find out more about Partch’s work and why some people need alarm clocks while others don’t, watch her talk “Morning Larks and Night Owls”.
Beyond the "Whole Earth"
David McConville, Buckminster Fuller Institute
The Whole Earth Catalog, which first published the image of the whole Earth, drew connections between our lives and our planet, investigating whole systems. Buckminster Fuller's insights and ideas are credited by Brand as being a catalyst for the catalog. Today, though, we take these and other images of our planet for granted. To learn more about the "Whole Earth Catalog" and Buckminster Fuller, watch David McConville's talk "Beyond the ‘Whole Earth”
Amanda Hughen, Visual Artist, Half of the collaboration Hughen / Starkweather
Fascinated by maps, Hughen and Starkweather embrace their roles as laypeople and consult many experts on their topics of focus in order to build a solid foundation of knowledge. With a foundation built, the artists allow their intuitions and impressions to take over, melting their mountain of facts and research into abstractions of places, ideas, and history. The result is multimedia pieces rich in texture, with attention to lines, patterns, color, and shape. Topographic markings and shapes from maps make frequent appearances. To see Hughen / Starkweather's art, and hear more about their approach to making art, watch Amanda Hughen's talk "Shifting Shorelines".