A shape is a statement of pattern and meaning, capable of conveying both beauty and bigotry, observation and oppression. Drawing shapes can be an exercise in inquiry, a tool to think with. It can also be an exercise of power, demarcating land and resources and people, marketing vision as reality and story as fact. Many different disciplines use shapes to explore and assert. Joseph Burkhart will show how he has used shapes across multiple disciplines in his career. He will talk about visual reasoning in the mirror-world of stereochemistry, the colourful vibrations of ancient metal nanoparticles, the syntax of architectural space and the colonial violence of maps in archaeology. There will be racist, electric and innocuous shapes, and some beautiful ones, too.
Joseph Burkhart is a multidisciplinary scientist with a background in classics, chemistry, materials science and archaeology. At academic and governmental labs, he has investigated radiological mechanisms of drug degradation, the kinetics of isotope exchange reactions in earth-abundant minerals, and the optoelectronic behavior of noble metal nanoparticles. Outside of labs, he has studied the social dynamics of metatheatre in Roman comedy (BA thesis) and the causes of the data publication crisis in Mediterranean archaeology (MA thesis). Having worked on archaeological excavations in southwestern Turkey, Tuscany and the lower Fraser Valley, Joseph is currently employed as a GIS data steward at The Firelight Group.