Sacred Technologies: Calligraphy and Illumination in Practice

Date: May 21, 2024 at 7–8:30 pm | Epiphany Chapel

Abstract: This presentation will be speaking to sacred writing traditions from the ancient Greek, early Christian and Byzantine worlds. My main premise is to illustrate threads of continuity in the writing of peoples, from antiquity to contemporary practices. In this lecture, I will demonstrate how writing, or calligraphy, is art and how it, like illumination and the arts in general, have an ancient and beautiful lineage worthy of safeguarding at a time when modern technologies are quickly racing forward. My discussion hopes to kindle a re-enchantment of this most important of cultural tools, showing how writing is still relevant even in a digital world. For example, many of the typefaces we use are designed by calligraphers and the practice of calligraphy, though always a niche activity, continues to grow in popularity. The importance of preserving handwriting is highlighted in schools, where children often learn to write with computers rather than with a pencil and paper. The loss of writing by hand raises some concerns about what kind of culture we would be advancing and what may be lost in our haste to give up the pen for the keyboard.

Georgia Angelopoulos was introduced early on to calligraphy and illumination by schoolteachers in the British Arts & Crafts Revival Tradition and by family in Greece involved in the Arts. She is interested in historical letterforms, iconography and gilding. With a background in art history, Georgia considers writing practices as technologies that talk about the cultures that developed them. Her research enriches and deepens her practice as well as exploring and bridging the richness of cultural identity.

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