Josefine Baark joined the University of Warwick in 2018 as a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow at the History of Art Department. Josefine’s recent research has traced the production and provenance of Chinese musical and mechanical models in Europe and the USA. She is interested in how miniature automata combined aesthetically pleasing design with their consumers’ tacit knowledge of the unseen, mechanical interior. Such tactile and beautiful technologies play a major part in how people view and respond to the world, whether it be Chinese automata or other intricately designed devices, such as a smartphone. She has used the dialectic by which inventions borrowed from one culture are adopted to suit another in the process of aesthetic hybridization as a basis for exploring how the processes and rituals by which techno-aesthetic ideas circulating in early modern global trade could be governed by the culturally commensurable concept that socio-political structures could be reflected in miniature models.
After receiving her PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2015, she lectured at the Department of Fine Art at the University of Hong Kong and worked as Visiting Assistant Professor at Lingnan University in her hometown of Hong Kong. There, she lectured on the relationship between the arts and sciences and conducted research into collections of mechanical clockwork in Asian museums. From 2017 to 2018, she was a Mad Øvlisen Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Copenhagen, where she hosted a workshop on the history of technology in art and produced a full-length documentary. In 2019, she will be producing a second documentary film, focused on the clockwork found in the Palace Museum in Beijing, supported by a grant from the SC Van Foundation and the UK-China Humanities Alliance.
Seventeenth and eighteenth-century art and visual culture; Global art, particularly in China; Automata and mechanization; Portrait sculpture; Miniaturization and scale
Teaching and supervision
- The Making and Meaning of Art in Early Modern China
Josefine Baark, ‘The Tranquebar Palampore: Trade, Diplomacy and ‘a little amusement’ in Early Modern Indo-Danish Relations. Eighteenth Century Studies 52, no. 1 (2018): 69-92.
Josefine Baark, ‘A Home Away from Home: Sophie Magdalene’s Clockwork Chinoiserie’, The Material Cultures of Enlightenment Arts and Sciences, edited by Adriana Craciun and Simon Schaffer, Palgrave Macmillan (2016), 171-189.
Josefine Baark, “Decorum: Courtly Posturing in the Visual Economy of Indo-Danish Diplomacy,” in Visual Histories of India: New Methodologies and Perspectives on South-Asian History, ed. Annamaria Montrescu-Mayes and Marcus Banks (New Delhi: Primus, 2018).
- BA (York)
- MPhil, PhD (Cambridge)