In this interdisciplinary one-day colloquium, historians, art historians, archaeologists, museum professionals, folklore specialists, electricians and engineers will present the evolution of artificial lighting from antiquity to the present. Their approaches will vary; some will rely on archaeological finds, historical sources and surviving artefacts; others will present measurements of the luminosity of ancient Greek light sources (performed using replicas), shedding new light on private spaces in antiquity.
Moving from Late Antiquity into the Middle Ages, the lighting devices used by Christians, Muslims and Jews in the eastern Mediterranean to illuminate their secular and religious buildings will be placed into focus. Furthermore, the enduring symbolism of light (and of the naked flame in particular) in religious practice will be examined.
The introduction of electricity resulted in the most significant change in the history of public illumination in Greece. This change took place in the late 19th - early 20th century. Research will focus on the irregular distribution of access to electricity in various parts of Greece, an irregularity that accentuated social differentiation. Turning to the present, electromechanical engineers will suggest innovative ways of illuminating archaeological sites and the most advanced lighting equipment for museums and artefact displays.The conference is also accompanied by an installation made by the BEFORELIGHT group, presenting their work, at the cafe-restaurant (07/03/2012 - 01/04/2012).