Power of Material / Politics of Materiality

Macht des Materials / Politik der Materialität

DO 25.10.12 –
DI 05.02.13

Interdisziplinäre Vortragsreihe
des cx centrum für interdisziplinäre studien an der Akademie der Bildenden Künste, München (DE)

Die Vortragsreihe beleuchtet und diskutiert die Wirkung und Handlungsmacht von materiellen Phänomenen, die Dynamik und Vitalität von Materie und Material sowie deren Status als Akteure in den Beziehungsgeflechten von Kultur und Natur. Sie setzt die gegenwärtige Aufwertung materialer Komponenten in Kunst, Design und Architektur in Dialog mit den gesellschafts- und geisteswissenschaft­lichen Ansätzen eines „New Materialism“ sowie mit neueren Kon­zepten der Materie oder des Embodiments in den Natur- bzw. Kognitionswissenschaften.

Die Vorträge finden jeweils um 19 Uhr statt, in deutscher oder englischer Sprache.
Im Anschluss an die Vorträge ist eine moderierte Diskussion geplant.

Donnerstag, 25. Oktober 2012, 19 Uhr
New Materialisms
Diana Coole, Prof. für Politik- und Sozialtheorie, Birkbeck, University of London
Weitere Informationen
Historische Aula im Altbau | Akademiestr. 2

Dienstag, 06. Nov. 2012
Das neue Bild der Materie
Harald Lesch, Prof. für theoretische Astrophysik, LMU München
Weitere Informationen
Historische Aula im Altbau | Akademiestr. 2

Dienstag, 13. Nov. 2012
Materielles Unterfangen
Sofia Hultén, Künstlerin, Berlin
Colin Renfrew, Disney Prof. em. für Archäologie, Cambridge
Weitere Informationen
Auditorium im Erweiterungsbau | Akademiestr. 4

Dienstag, 27. Nov. 2012
Die Ökologie der Materialien
Tim Ingold, Prof. für Sozialanthropologie, University of Aberdeen
Max Lamb, Designer, London
Auditorium im Erweiterungsbau | Akademiestr. 4
Fotos zum Workshop mit Max Lamb auf der Website seiner New Yorker Galerie
Weitere Informationen

Dienstag, 11. Dez. 2012
Materielle Umwertungen
Manfred Pernice, Prof. für Bildhauerei, Universität der Künste, Berlin
Historische Aula im Altbau | Akademiestr. 2
Weitere Informationen

Donnerstag, 20. Dez. 2012
Embodying – Materialisierung von Gender
Sigrid Schmitz, Prof. für Gender Studies, Universität Wien
Ian White, Performance-Künstler / Filmkurator, London / Berlin
Auditorium im Erweiterungsbau | Akademiestr. 4

Donnerstag, 10. Jan. 2013
Die (Im)materialität der Ökonomie
Anja Kirschner und David Panos, Künstler/in, London / Athen
Costas Lapavitzas, Prof. für Ökonomie, SOAS, University of London
Auditorium im Erweiterungsbau | Akademiestr. 4

Dienstag, 15. Jan. 2013
Text und Stoff – materielle Übersetzungen
Cornelia Ortlieb, Prof. für Allgemeine und Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft / Komparatistik, LMU München
Bitte abweichenden Veranstaltungsort beachten
LMU, Schellingstraße 3, Raum K0 4b
In Kooperation mit dem Lehrstuhl für Komparatistik der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München organisiert.

Dienstag, 22. Jan. 2013
Das Versprechen intelligenter Werkstoffe
Thomas Schröpfer, Prof. für Architektur und nachhaltiges Design, Singapore University of Technology and Design
Nicola Stattmann, Produktdesignerin und Materialexpertin, Frankfurt a. M.
Auditorium im Erweiterungsbau | Akademiestr. 4

Dienstag 05. Feb. 2013
Vom historischen Materialismus zum spekulativen Realismus
Diedrich Diederichsen, Prof. für Theorie, Praxis und Vermittlung von Gegenwartskunst, Akademie der Bildenden Künste Wien
Historische Aula im Altbau | Akademiestr. 2

Novel Forms & New Materialities

‘Novel Forms & New Materialities’ explores the radical transformations to our material world provoked by contemporary science and technology. It asks how engagement with new forms and modes of material performance promises to conjure into existence unseen materialities, narratives and possibilities.

‘Novel Forms & New Materialities’ has been organized by the Arts Catalyst, London, in june 2012.

Video footage of the event:
Science writer Philip Ball sets the context and considers what cultural,sociological and scientific factors have enabled these technological advancements, and our changing relationship with materials in this new “invisible era”.

read more about the event on the website of the arts catalyst.

Liquefactions, Conference Berlin

Liquefactions. Aesthetic and semantic dimensions of a topos.
International and Interdisciplinary Conference
(Berlin, 23-25 Nov 12)

From Zygmunt Bauman’s “Liquid Modernity” to Zaha Hadid’s “Total
Fluidity”, the topos of Fleeting and Flowing is experiencing a surge of
interest as a sign of cultural (post)modernism, with technologisation
and psychologisation having led to a ‘liquefaction’ of borders and
orders of the most varied kind. Still, such metaphors reach back much
farther, with the famous saying, “all things flow”, expressing one’s
belief in the ever-present change in universe. Romanticism followed
this positive interpretation with a substantial imagery of the Flowing.
Yet at the end of the century, the spirit changed, with the Liquid
being a potentially ambivalent topos that articulates an unsettling
modern experience of physical, psychological, technological und
perceptual processes. Given novel media and materials in the 20th
century and today, these moments of crisis are reflected with an eye on
the material, formal and semantic implications of the Liquid. The
conference discusses the aesthetic and semantic dimensions of the topos
since Romanticism, considering its impact on different scientific and
artistic fields, and its changing historical interpretations.

Universität der Künste Berlin
Hardenbergstr. 33
10623 Berlin
Raum Ha110

Sounding, Composition, Retransmission


Thoughts on Sarat Maharaj’s notion of sounding in the context of Art Research (a response to Maharaj’s keynote lecture during the SARN conference “We, the Public!”)

From Ghandi to British student protests, from experimental Volvo factories to the ongoing institutionalization of Art Research, from the meaning of research to its embedded model of labour, from problems of verbalization to the invention of methods on-the-fly, from retinal or cerebral regimes to modes of know-see-feel: we followed Sarat Maharaj‘s keynote lecture and felt his attitude, his outreaching openness, his affinity to language, his power to create spaces and possibilities for further development, his drive to deepen the entanglements with his chosen topic and his wish to make offers instead of imposing solutions.
In reply to the question of how critique would fit into his perspective on Art Research, Maharaj deployed his notion of sounding. He proposed sending out impulses and receiving a topological image of the surroundings as a reply – similar to sonar or ultrasound. Since several years he has applied the method of sounding to approaching complex subjects in a communicative sphere that is riddled with incompatible ways of living and knowing and filled with cultural difference and intranslatables (1). Critizing in such a sphere, which does not provide consistent cognitive parameters, languages and modes of experience, seems problematic and short-sighted. His rejection of critique parallels the arguments of Bruno Latour who claims that ”critique did a wonderful job of debunking prejudices, enlightening nations, and prodding minds, but […] it ‘ran out of steam‘, because it was predicated on the discovery of a true world of realities lying behind a veil of appearances.” (2) Furthermore Latour proclaims that what uses the sledgehammer of critique cannot also repair, take care, reassemble and stitch together. He thus propagates a ”compositionist” approach that does not rely on any world of beyond, but acts in conscious immanence and on the ruins that critique left behind. Compositionism takes the heterogenity of the assembled parts into account, has a close relationship to composition in the arts, and flirts with compost and its active de- and recomposition. As a further matter, it is open to compromise and in constant search for the Common (3).
The present attempt of trying to combine sounding and the Common led to a concert Chris Watson gave in the Brussels Museum of Natural Science in 2010. Watson is an experienced and versatile sound recordist who has worked on numerous BBC documentaries in the most unaccessible regions of our planet. He is specialized in recording wildlife and natural phenomena. In the museum‘s whale room, he played his latest sounds of Orcas which he recorded during his recent expedition to Antarctica. Sitting under the collection of whale skeletons, suspended from the ceiling, Watson explained to the audience how whales use echolocation for hunting. They emit frequent clicks from a complex of nasal sacs in the blowhole region. The clicks are reflected from the environment and received by the whales. Their brains can turn these sound-based responses into an image or map of the surroundings. Moreover, Watson explained that some biologists believe that whales cannot only emit the initial clicks but also retransmit the spatial response. This does not seem to be impossible, considering two facts: Firstly, the response merely consists of a sequential sound pattern. Secondly, whales have considerably bigger brains than humans and are highly specialized in communicating via sound and in using sound for navigation. The hypothesis even proposes that Orcas hunting in groups might be able to share their view on a scene with others that are positioned in different angles. Combining their perspectives into a collective three-dimensional map might result in considerable advantage.
Even if this supposition of a shared, – or to use Maharaj‘s expression – ”agglutinative” perception/thinking of whales does not prove to be actually the case, it seems to be a good starting point to ponder about collective sounding, compositionism and further modes, channels and formats of exchange between people involved in Art Research and thus involved in creation.


1 Maharaj, Sarat, „Merz-Thinking – Sounding the Documenta Process between Critique and Spectacle“, 2005, in „Curating Critique“, ed. Drabble, Richter (Frankfurt/Main: Revolver, 2007)
2 Latour, Bruno, „An Attempt at at Compositionist Manifesto“, 2010, in „An Envelope for arts, sciences, politics and us“, ed. Deifel, Kraeftner, Widrich (Wien: Springer, 2012)
3 Latour contrasts his Compositionist Manifesto from the Communist Manifesto in many substantial ways, but admits that what they both share is the search for the Common. ”The thirst for the Common World is what there is of communism in compositionism, with this small but crucial difference that it has to be slowly composed instead of being taken for granted and imposed on all.“ (Deifel, Kraeftner, Widrich: p.35)

image: Chris Watson recording Orcas in the Ross Sea, Antarctica, 2009

What’s New about New Materialisms?

UC Berkeley

May 4-5th, 2012

The social sciences and humanities have long been engaged in the study of matter, materiality and materialisms. So what to make of recent announcements of the arrival of a variety of “new materialisms”? This conference brings together scholars from across the university to discuss a multiplicity of orientations and critical approaches to the use—and in some cases misuse—of the term and conceptual apparatus of “new materialisms” in their own work. Intentionally named as a question, What’s New About New Materialisms? is intended as an exploration of the benefits and limitations to “new” modes of thinking about and through the material. The four questions that guide contributors’ presentation are: What is new about matter? What is a method adequate to a new matter? Do ‘new materialisms’ mark the limit of discourse? How might we attend to materiality as a property of the digital? The first day of the conference will feature faculty presentations, including two keynote addresses, and the second day will feature papers by graduate students.

What’s new about New Materialisms?

Aesthetik der Materialitaet

Karlsruhe, 25.04. – 11.07.2012

Vorlesungsreihe “Ästhetik der Materialität”

Die Vortragsreihe „Ästhetik der Materialität“ strebt an, die natürlich-künstliche (Um)Welt des Menschen aus verschiedenen Perspektiven zu betrachten. Dabei berücksichtigt sie sowohl die mehrsensuellen Wahrnehmungsweisen von Materialität, die gerade auch das Taktile, aber auch Geruch und Geschmack umfassen, als auch die verschiedenen Gestaltungs- und Verarbeitungsdimensionen. Sie fragt damit sowohl trans- als auch interdisziplinär nach den kulturellen, sozialen und technologischen Dimensionen materieller wie immaterieller Substanzen, die die Lebenswelt des Menschen konstituieren und beeinflussen: Was ist Materie und Material aus physikalisch-technischer-gestalterischer Sicht? Welche Rolle spielen sie in der praktischen Realität des Alltags, in der Ökonomie- und Technikhistorie sowie den Künsten? Wie beeinflussen sie konkret unser Leben und unser Verhältnis zur Um- und Mitwelt?

Organisation und Konzept: PD Dr. Christiane Heibach (HfG Karlsruhe, DFG-Projekt “Epistemologie der Multimedialität”) und PD Dr. Carsten Rohde (KIT Institut für Literaturwissenschaft)

Weitere Informationen unter: