12. 3. 2014, 6pm, Esther Leslie, Birkbeck College: From Sea of Ice to Liquid Crystals: Trajectories of Anomalous States of Matter

Venue: UCL, Department of History of Art, Gordon Square no. 20, London WC1E 6BT, room 3/4

Esther Leslie (Professor in Political Aesthetics, Birkbeck College) tracks a curious line between Caspar David Friedrich’s painting Sea of Ice, from 1824 and the discovery of the fourth state of matter, liquid crystals, in the late 1880s. It asks questions of scientific method and the  legacy of German Romanticism in scientific research.  A coda explores the emergence of the Liquid Crystal Display screen as return to Friedrich’s hyperrealistic yet symbolically freighted vision of eco-disaster.