Re-enchanting volcanoes: the rise, fall, and rise again of art and aesthetics in the making of volcanic knowledges

Dixon, D. P. and Beech, D. J. (2017) Re-enchanting volcanoes: the rise, fall, and rise again of art and aesthetics in the making of volcanic knowledges. In: Fearnley, C.J., Bird, D.K., Haynes, K., McGuire, W.J. and Jolly, G. (eds.) Observing the Volcano World: Volcano Crisis Communication. Series: Advances in volcanology. Springer: Cham, Switzerland, pp. 665-675. ISBN 9783319440958 (doi: 10.1007/11157_2016_41)

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Current day volcanology largely tends to an instrumentalist view of art as, in its mimetic form, capable of providing proxy data on the timing and unfolding of particular volcanic events and, in its impressionistic form, of conveying the sublime grandeur of volcanic events and scenes. In this chapter, we note that such a reductionist view of what science is unhelpfully glosses over a much more complex disciplinary lineage, wherein both art and aesthetics played a key role in knowledge production concerning volcanoes. Using the work of Sir William Hamilton and Mary Somerville as case studies, we emphasise that art and aesthetics were part and parcel of both an 18th and 19th century approach to the study of volcanoes, and the making of particular scientific audiences. What is more, it is this lineage that provides a creative reservoir for more recent efforts that cut across scientific and arts divides, such that the ‘communication’ of the nature of volcanoes becomes a multi-media, multi-affective endeavour that speaks to a diverse range of publics.

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Dixon, Professor Deborah
Authors: Dixon, D. P., and Beech, D. J.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Published Online:15 March 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 The Authors
First Published:First published in Observing the Volcano World: Volcano Crisis Communication: 665-675
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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