For David Scott, Professor of Textual and Visual Studies,
Trinity College Dublin.
The DS Project, for David Scott, proposes an alternative, digital approach to the festschrift, or collection of essays traditionally offered to university professors by their former students at their end-of-contract. In 2015, after forty years of a distinguished career at Trinity College Dublin, which has encompassed academic, curating, and sporting achievements, David Scott moves from his position of Head of the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies, to the position of Professor Emeritus. To mark this occasion, The DS Project brings together David Scott’s current and former postgraduate students and colleagues to showcase new interdisciplinary research across the fields pioneered by him at Trinity College Dublin.
The DS Project: Image, Text, Space/Place, 1830-2015. Concept, curation, and editing by Sinéad Furlong-Clancy. Web design by Alex Bradley. Logo design by Robin Fuller. Suggested citation: Sinéad Furlong-Clancy (ed.), The DS Project: Image, Text, Space/Place, 1830-2015, 2015. http://thedsproject.com/ .
The DS Project was launched at a special event in Trinity College Dublin’s Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute on 26 June 2015.
It seems particularly apt that the contributions to The DS Project are informed by the spirit of David Scott’s intellectual curiosity. Beyond merely looking at images or reading texts, through critically assessing them, provoking debate about them, and trying to understand the processes behind and which govern them, David Scott’s guidance as a mentor and advice as a colleague has been and continues to be invaluable.
Over the decades, since his arrival in Trinity College Dublin as junior lecturer in 1975, with the accolade of the creation of a personal chair (Professorship) in Textual and Visual Studies in 1995, the Headship of the Department of French (1993-96; 2006-2012) and the Headship of the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies (2012-2015), he has encouraged his students to traverse interdisciplinary fields with intellectual freedom and that same sense of curiosity, while remaining rigorously focused on the details of their objects of study, whether poetry, prose, painting, photography, posters, graphic design, art criticism, semiological and philosophical texts, travel writing, translation.
Building on his 1970s doctoral research on French Symbolist poetics, his work moved in the 1980s towards textual and visual studies, and led in 1988 to his book Pictorialist Poetics: Poetry and the Visual Arts in Nineteenth-Century France (Cambridge University Press, reprinted in paperback, 2009), the setting up in 1988 of the MPhil in Textual & Visual Studies, which he led for the following twenty years, and his secretaryship (1993-1999) and presidency (1999-2002) of the International Association of Word & Image Studies, for which he organised the triennial conference in Trinity in 1996. After 1990 his focus on semiotics in studying representation in a range of cultural fields resulted in books on Surrealist painting (1992), the postage stamp (1995), travel writing (2004), boxing (2009), and the poster (2010). A complete list of his publications is available on his website.
The diverse range of DSP contributions is testament to his career, which has bridged the worlds of academia, curating – as curator of the Trinity College modern collection (1976-1992) and with other exhibition projects internationally – and sporting achievement. He has also been a kind, generous, compassionate, and efficient supervisor and Head of Department, all of which qualities are highly valued by the student body, whether during the periods of relatively plain sailing during the course of an undergraduate or postgraduate academic career or at times of the inevitable and unexpected stresses that go with the same.
It is further testament to David Scott that so many of his former students and current colleagues wished to be a part of this project and responded wholeheartedly to the innovative model which is at the heart of The DSP – The David Scott Project. There are fifteen contributions: for the most part academic essays in English, with two essays in French; a visual arts piece, a translation, and a series of short poems and photographs linked to travel writing. An abstract for each contribution is to be found by tapping/clicking on each contributor’s name in the website’s index. To summarise the content briefly, and in alphabetical order of contributors:
Lissia Amach’s contribution (in French) explores the myth of Salomé in the photographic and literary works of Surrealist Claude Cahun. Alan English focuses on the ambiguous and changing relationship of Paul Verlaine to the sonnet. Robin Fuller explores some of the semiotic theories utilised by David Scott, highlighting points of comparison and contrast in his work on literature, and on graphic design. Sinéad Furlong-Clancy examines academic and curatorial approaches to nineteenth-century French art history and fashion history in a discussion of the painting of Parisian modernity. Elizabeth Geary Keohane’s discussion of ekphrasis considers three texts – by Michel Butor, William Carlos Williams, and W. H. Auden – which focus on the painting traditionally attributed to Pieter Brueghel the Elder, Landscape with the Fall of Icarus. Sarah Gubbins explores Gérard de Nerval’s engagement with tarot images, in order to elaborate different ‘selves’ and creative roles, in one of his early stories, La Main enchantée. Mags Harnett’s contribution is a visual arts piece inspired by ‘Let me come into your story,’ David Scott’s English translation of Stéphane Mallarmé’s sonnet ‘M’introduire dans ton histoire.’ Benoît Heilbrunn’s discussion of the work of the street artist Zevs on liquidated logos (also in French), connects with ideas from David Scott’s books on stamps, logos and posters, and asks ‘what is the meaning of visual identity, when logos become liquid?’ Gillian Jein’s essay takes the strands of aesthetics, politics and affect to examine the interrelation between street art and urban renewal in re-making ‘place’ in the Paris banlieues. Greg Kerr explores the legacy of Irish engineer Peter Rice, evident in his contribution to a variety of the grands projets which were erected throughout the city of Paris in the closing decades of the twentieth century. Robert Kilroy’s contribution aims to performatively problematise the concept of ‘the selfie’ in relation to psychoanalytic theory and art criticism, with a focus on Édouard Manet and Charles Baudelaire. Áine Larkin considers the importance of food, and its preparation, to the protagonist’s literary vocation in Marcel Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu. Claudio Sansone’s contribution is a translation, a verse rendering of the boxing match from Apollonius of Rhodes’s Argonautica (third century BCE). Maria Scott’s essay focuses on making sense of Jacques Lacan’s theorisation of the gaze in the seminars that are collectively entitled ‘Of the Gaze as Objet Petit a.’ Luke Sheehan’s ‘Twelve Stones Thrown’ is a collection of short poems and photographs from his current travels in China.
The DS Project has been in preparation for two years, with many meetings and discussions over that period. It is an immense pleasure now to see the website so beautifully realised with the help of our web designer Alex Bradley, and to know – in the sense of the French constater – that the process was as much a part of the project as the final product.
Dublin, June 2015.
Thank you to all the DSP contributors, with special thanks to Robin Fuller and Alex Bradley. To David Scott, Rachel Hoare, Jackie Sharpe, Donna Canada-Smith, Juergen Barkhoff, Sarah Barry, Sarah Dunne, Caroline Murphy, Yvonne Canning, Luke Tuohey, Paul Doyle, the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultural Studies, the Department of French, and the Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute, Trinity College Dublin. To the National Gallery of Ireland, the National Gallery London, the Jersey Heritage Collections, the Réunion des Musées Nationaux, the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique. To Penelope Currier and Megan Welchel, The Frick Collection, New York. To The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the National Gallery of Art, Washington D. C., and The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. To Nicolas Fève. To Louise Prévot, Marie Morillion, and the Inside Out Project, New York. To Adam West-Watson and France Cartes. To Zevs and Depury & Luxembourg. Thank you.