Lay summary

What is a textile? This project explores the history of the textile from the Middle Ages until the present day. Textiles are amongst of the oldest and most significant cultural technologies which are highly present in today’s culture, yet they still receive relatively little scholarly attention. The textile is a flexible and mobile hybrid between material, technology, medium and metaphor which crosses historical periods, cultural spaces and types of artifacts. The project aims at reconstructing the historical and multi-faceted aesthetic discourse of the textile from the Middle Ages until today. The disciplinary approach is art historical, because aesthetic textile artifacts and their representations imply a reflection on ‘textility’ itself. By retracing the historical identity of the textile medium from visual works of art and textual sources, the project aims at fostering Textile Studies, opening a more global view onto Art History, and bringing together the two cultures of the museum and the university.