MARS Materiality


Organised by Laura White
Wednesday 6 December, 2017 @ 14.00-17.00. Prep sessions on: Tuesday, 14 November @ 15.00-17.00 Tuesday, 21 November @ 15.00-17.00 Tuesday, 28 November @ 15.00-17.00
MARs Materiality is a project organized by Laura White, with prep sessions lead by PhD students Rowena Harris, Kate Pickering and Laura Burns, and guests Juliette Kristensen and Florian Roithmayr.
The aim of MARs Materiality is to open up new ways of thinking and talking about materiality – materiality as the subject rather than a vehicle for the non-material and theoretical.
Is it possible to talk about materiality in and of itself, without reference to other subject areas? How can we talk about materiality insightfully and intelligently without falling into a dated language of formalism? How does the digital environment affect/influence our material environment, and can we separate the physical from the virtual anymore?
Each session will begin with an observation of, and interaction with, things/objects/matter. Giving time and space to this specific material engagement and to the conversations and responses (linguistic, sonic, gestural) arising from it, we will work to become responsive to the things/stuff/objects/bodies in front of us. In doing so, we will reverse a more familiar use of materials/processes to describe an idea/concept, instead starting with materiality, its unique qualities and processes, to generate language and ideas.
Throughout the sessions we will also draw from a broad conversation involving material culture, design, anthropology, material science and physics in order to extend the language of materiality within art practice. In this way, MARs Materiality begins with a specific material engagement, whether physical or digital, and ends with a journey all its own!
Prep Session No1: Tuesday, 14 November @ 15.00-17.00 Lead by Laura Burns
Please bring an object / material / substance – not something that you have a lot of invested meaning in or know a lot about, but something that you are curious about for its material qualities.
We will engage in embodiment exercises involving sound and simple movement to activate ourselves for material listening in a multiplicity of ways. Please wear comfortable clothing. No experience required.
We will read and discuss some text material. [Texts will be added to dropbox before first session.]
If we consider language and sound as magical utterance, do we open any new constellations which might dislocate the marriage between knowledge and language, allowing us to find new possibilities for considering material processes, engagements and meaning? Through what mediums, gestures, actions, substances (where language might also be a substance) might tacit knowledge and material consciousness get communicated? How do we construct the frameworks necessary for positing language as a third space not restricted to a Western epistemology which separations representation from that which is being represented? How might we understand intuition as a process which arises knowledge in the body during processes of making? How might we consider the possibilities of articulating this?
Prep Session No 2: Tuesday, 21 November @ 15.00-17.00 Lead by Kate Pickering
Through this workshop, Kate will facilitate a collective exploration of embodied materiality in the enmeshing of body, voice and site. The session will move between states of listening, speaking, reflecting and writing. Together, we will flesh out the following structure:
Starting with the micro and working our way to the macro, we will begin in the interior, listening to and projecting outwards the rhythms and vibrations of our own lively materiality.
Moving into the boundary between inside and outside, how bodily sensory perception allows us to interface with the outside world, we will consider the impact of listening to various forms of vocalisation to create embodied affects inside our bodies.
Lastly we will project the exterior into the interior through writing, exploring how site impacts bodies, how particular environments give rise to certain affects. What aliveness or liveliness is apparent in those sites, how do they materialise in our bodies and how do site and body become enmeshed?
Prep Session No 3: Tuesday, 28 November @ 15.00-17.00 Lead by Rowena Harris
Part A - A visualisation exercise in free-falling. We will start in the ether and descend through various strata of the atmosphere, hurtling with no parachute, until we land - winded, befuddled, and not entirely convinced of where the limits of our own body lie - into a field of fertile ground located somewhere between the realms of materiality and digitality.
Part B - Reading group After being primed by our free-fall experience, we will be discussing a small collection of texts including issues relating to bodily senses, materiality and technology, and potential overlaps therein.
FINAL Session: Wednesday, 6th December @ 14.00-17.00. Lead by Laura White.
Starting with an interactive workshop to explore objects and materials where some senses are denied – for some of the participants they are asked not to touch the objects and others are blindfolded. This shared but very different experience is then explored through language and discussion.
Guests Juliette Kristensen (design researcher, historian, theorist and lecturer at Goldsmihts and RCA) and Florian Roithmayr (artist and lecturer at Reading University) join in the session and present ideas around their relationship to materiality.
Florian shows research images and discusses the relationship of model, mould and cast to formulate three questions: addressing dialogue, recognition and defects in working with materials, and Juliette talks about SLIME. (See Tenderfoot Invitations ‘Pockets of Slime’)
MARs Sessions bring together researchers within Art, across disciplines, between institutions and beyond higher education for intentional, concentrated discussion and sharing of research. Each small-scale, curated event engages around 12-15 people in conversation, all of whom share a research interest in common. The sessions are organised and run by members of academic staff along with MPhil/PhD researchers in the Department of Art at Goldsmiths, keying into specific research interests.
The MARs sessions were initiated by Professor Kristen Kreider, who is Director of the Art Research Programme at Goldsmiths College, University of London.