This episode features an interview with Bissera V. Pentcheva, Professor of Art History at Stanford University. She has published three books with Pennsylvania State University Press: Icons and Power: The Mother of God in Byzantium, 2006 (received the Nicholas Brown Prize of the Medieval Academy of America, 2010), The Sensual Icon: Space, Ritual, and the Senses in Byzantium, 2010, and Hagia Sophia: Sound, Space and Spirit in Byzantium, 2017 (received the 2018 American Academy of Religion Award in historical studies), and has edited the volumes Aural Architecture in Byzantium, Ashgate 2017 and Icons of Sound: Architecture, Music and Imagination in Medieval Art, Routledge, 2020.
Her work is informed by phenomenology, placing the attention on the changing appearance of objects and architectural spaces. She relies on film to capture this temporal animation stirred by candlelight. Another important strand of her work engages the sonic envelope of the visual: music and acoustics and employs auralizations that digitally imprint the performance of chant with the acoustic signature of the specific interior for which it was composed.