Mellon Senior Fellows 2004

Martin Kemp
Research, March 2004 to April 2004

Martin Kemp
University of Oxford, United Kingdom

Martin Kemp is interested in asking is why the distinguished periodical Nature looks like it does now, and how this look relates to its past appearances. Nature, founded in 1869, has undergone many reincarnations, signalled by the multiple redesigns of its cover—a process that has occurred ever more frequently as design fashions and technologies have changed at an accelerating rate. And there is a special message carried by each of the resulting design solutions—embodying what we call the style of the thing—that can tell us a huge amounts about the processes of visualization, the intended modes of visual communication to the supposed audience, and the whole aura of the enterprise in which the content or subject (science in the case of Nature) and the form or vehicle (the weekly journal in this case) are complicit. For instance, no science magazine could now present itself seriously without openly brandishing a high-tech air on its cover.

The CCA Mellon Foundation Senior Fellowship Program was established in 2001 to encourage advanced research in architectural history and thought. With the generous support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the CCA has welcomed distinguished scholars for residencies of one to eight months, culminating in a public lecture.

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