News & Events

 

Living in a world of enchantment

Posted on 2017-02-16 in Arts & Culture, Politics & Society

Frank Klaassen

by dee Hobsbawn-Smith

Frank Klaassen (associate professor, Department of History) has collaborated with David Porreca (University of Waterloo) on a new exhibit about magic that reveals the intersections between the medieval and modern worlds.

Porreca’s fellowship and the exhibit “Magic Ancient and Modern: Materials and Imagination” were funded in part through the support of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Culture and Creativity (ICCC). The exhibit runs Feb. 17 to Apr. 21 at the University of Saskatchewan’s Museum of Antiquities.

“The closer we look, the more we realize we are not very different from people in the medieval past whom we think of as living in a highly enchanted world,” said Klaassen. “Modernity is not about getting rid of magic, but about a disenchanted place.”

Klaassen specializes in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and is deeply interested in magic. “In my first-year class, a lot of students come in thinking I am interested in debunking magic,” he said, “and are surprised to learn that I am interested in understanding why it is compelling, why people felt it works, and why it does sometimes work.”

Klaassen and Porreca have designed modern digital interpretations of eight historic examples of pre-modern magic: for example, an iPad screen will simulate the ancient Greek Homeric Oracle with the user receiving a randomly selected line from Homer that they can interpret. Another display uses chiromancy to guide the viewer in interpreting his or her own palm.

“I’m interested in the ways in which people create magic. The creative moment is when you, the reader, do something with it,” said Klaassen. “I’m also looking at some modern magical tools that make this happen.”

“We enchant the world in modern ways and use scientific language to explain it,” said Klaassen. “This exhibit will help us ask and understand the creative processes that go with magic and see them in modern terms.”

 

Back to News Listing

Related Articles

REVEAL Indigenous Art Awards honour six alumni and faculty

Posted on 2017-06-26

Arts & Science alumni are among 150 laureates who received Hnatyshyn Foundation Indigenous Art Awards


Summer of social justice in India

Posted on 2017-06-15

Delegates from the college lend their expertise at an intensive workshop for graduate students in India


National Post: Should Tinder selfies come with an ‘object may have been manipulated’ warning?

Posted on 2017-06-12

Department of Psychology researchers examine tricks used on Tinder to shoot more appealing selfies


Women of Distinction

Posted on 2017-06-01

Professor of History Erika Dyck and four other U of S women receive PotashCorp YWCA Women of Distinction Awards


Saskatoon StarPhoenix: Indigenous theatre students mark completion of program with original show

Posted on 2017-05-30

The class of wîcêhtowin, which means living together in harmony in Cree, will share what it has learned in a show called Reigniting the Fire