The Open Arts Journal (OAA) is a new online open-access initiative in the Department of Art History at the Open University, situated on the existing Open Arts Archive website, and due to launch at the end of 2012.
We are now seeking abstracts – or expressions of interest – from art historians and other academics, as well as curators, critics and artists, for texts in the form of articles, interviews, statements, etc., addressing the question 'what is a pavilion?' This issue will consider pavilions in architecture and exhibition culture, but also their representation in visual media, in any period or cultural milieu.
The word pavilion has its roots in the Latin Papilion, for butterfly; Papilion was a word used to describe the ephemeral look of those martial tents set up temporarily in Roman encampments. From the Renaissance period onward, pavilions (e.g., tents, kiosks, follies, mock ruins, bandstands) were often placed in gardens on a slightly more permanent basis. Here, they often served as ornamental or playful additions, buildings of diversion, amusement, entertainment, and so on, within the lifetime of the estate's owner, and sometimes beyond that. Implicit, then, is a sense of transitoriness, migration, nomadism, characteristic of globalization.
This journal issue seeks to raise several questions about pavilions. To what extent, for instance, has an historical fascination with transitory buildings endured, at a time when it would appear that most building is no longer intended as permanent? How are today's pavilions similar to or different from those of yesterday? What form and function do pavilions assume? Are they spaces for display, or objects of display in their own right, laboratories for experimentation, showcases for material and structural innovation? What is their purpose or context? What if anything do the structures built by sculptors and installation artists, and the buildings put up for mega-events – international expositions, art fairs and the Olympics – have in common? What is the value of such buildings? Is this value purely utilitarian, with a prescribed purpose and date of expiry? What are the politics of pavilions? What is their value after they have disappeared, and only available as textual or photographic records? Why build something that is not meant to last, or to last that long?
Please see further particulars on the Open Arts Archive website for the form submissions should take.
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