The Aesthetics of Scripts Workshop (2024)

The Intersection of Form, Perception, and Meaning


7th June 2024
Sala Poeti, Palazzo Hercolani
Str. Maggiore 45, Bologna

The aesthetics of script in its myriad forms offer a unique blend of visual, perceptual, and semantic dimensions. Across cultures, whether it is the intricate strokes of Chinese characters, the flowing elegance of Arabic calligraphy, the figurative precision of ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs, or the contemporary stylings of Latin typography, each script represents a confluence of artistic expression and linguistic function, observable in the scribal practices and experiments with writing and art. Among these, the Chinese script stands out as a particularly rich subject for exploration, as it inherently integrates with an aesthetic ethos and the encyclopedic culture. This applies to the evolution of the form, style, and arrangement of its characters– whether engraved on bones, cast in bronze, brushed on paper or silk, or incorporated in contemporary visual art forms.

For this Workshop we have invited experts in aesthetics, art history, ancient writing, and modern and contemporary forms of calligraphy. We will discuss the role of aesthetics and cultural significance of writing, with a special focus on the Chinese script, to delve into how it engages readers on multiple levels of embodied experiences. These experiences include the visual, the kinetic, the perceptual, and the cultural, thereby offering a unique lens through which we can understand the intersection of form, perception, and meaning in writing. Our discussion will not be confined to the Chinese script itself; comparative analyses will be showcased to illuminate the unique characteristics of script aesthetics. 

The Workshop is organised by Dr. Ludovica Ottaviano ( and Dr. Daniele Caccin (, and financed by the ERC INSCRIBE project (PI Prof Silvia Ferrara) and the ERC WRITE project (PI Prof Adriana Iezzi), in collaboration with the Department of Classical Philology and Italian Studies and the Department of Interpretation and Translation at the University of Bologna. 

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