Best known for his “City Abandoned” work, Philadelphia photographer Vincent Feldman will be talking about his Shanghai project as part of the University of the Arts’ China Series. Also speaking will be Dr. Bejnamin Olsin, a historian of cartography, who will discuss the new book, “The Mysteries of the Marco Polo Maps,” which address the veracity of existing documents regarding Polo’s travels.
The talks will be held in the Connelly Auditorium on the UArts campus on Wednesday, October 14th from 5 – 6 PM.
A full description of the event can be found below.
“Vincent Feldman: Shanghai”
The imprint of Western architecture on the Chinese city of Shanghai drew photographer Vincent Feldman to its former colonial districts in 2005. Concentrating on the French Concession, The Bund and Hongkrew, Feldman made photographs depicting the late Victorian, Art Deco, and early Modern buildings put in place when the city was held by a constellation of European and American interests. These pictures capture Shanghai at a time where the remnants of half a Century of benign neglect yield a fascinating architectural time capsule.
“Designing the Far East: Strange Maps and the Voyages of Marco Polo”
A chronicle titled “Il Milione” — later known as “The Travels of Marco Polo” — recounts the journey in the 13th century of this Italian merchant and explorer from Venice to East Asia. While this text would go on to be read by and inspire notable mapmakers and explorers, including Christopher Columbus, scholars have long debated the account’s veracity. Some have argued that Polo never even reached China. A new book, “The Mysteries of the Marco Polo Maps” (University of Chicago Press, 2014) reveals new evidence concerning this historical puzzle: a very curious collection of 14 little-known maps and related documents said to have belonged to the family of Marco Polo himself. In his discussion of his book, University of the Arts faculty member and historian of cartography Benjamin B. Olshin will offer an analysis of some of these artifacts, as well as a look into the complex nature of the research that these materials demanded — ranging from deciphering peculiar Latin texts to studying centuries-old Chinese legends.
Photo credit: Vincent Feldman