materiality   1039

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The world, experienced through the hands of a maker is a malleable place. Making things and making things happen, are means of exploring what we don’t know. Our studios provide space for our ideas to unfold. Conveniently organized tools at hand, everything is in it’s right place. The studio provides infrastructure, power, shelter. Working in our studios, the days slip by. But the walls of our studio also confine our practice to a particular place. What can we experience when we pack up our tools and take our practice outdoors?

A Wearable Studio Practice is a collection of wearable and portable items that make it easier to become nomadic in your practice of making and manipulating the world. But foremost it is a mindset, of making as a means of experiencing the world.
studio  tools  materiality  making 
4 days ago by shannon_mattern
Manifesto for a study of denim* - Miller - 2007 - Social Anthropology - Wiley Online Library
This paper considers the challenge to anthropology represented by a topic such as global denim. Using the phrase ‘blindingly obvious’, it considers the problems posed by objects that have become ubiquitous. While there are historical narratives about the origins, history and spread of denim, these leave open the issue of how we make compatible the ethnographic study of specific regional appropriations of denim and its global presence in a manner that is distinctly anthropological. Ethnographies of blue jeans in Brazil and England are provided as examples. These suggest the need to understand the relationship between three observations: its global presence, the phenomenon of distressing and its relationship to anxiety in the selection of clothes. As a manifesto, this paper argues for a global academic response that engages with denim from the global commodity chain through to the specificity of local accounts of denim wearing. Ultimately this can provide the basis for an anthropological engagement with global modernity.
fashion  anthrodesign  materiality  material_culture  supply_chains  ethnography 
19 days ago by shannon_mattern
Rocks, ruins and landscape art | Apollo Magazine
Roger Caillois, arch-dissident of French Surrealism and an investigator of what the novelist Marguerite Yourcenar termed the ‘mysticism of matter’, was a great lover of stones, collecting many during his lifetime and writing two books about them, Pierres (1966) and L’écriture des pierres (1970). In the latter, Caillois plunges into reveries that freely traverse time and space, finding in the cut and polished surfaces of onyxes, limestones and agates impossible calligraphies, Cubist faces, or Arctic landscapes. These geological specimens are (in Barbara Bray’s translation) ‘witness to the fact that the tissue of the universe is continuous, and that in the vast labyrinth of the world there is no point where apparently incompatible paths […] may not intersect’. Even more so than the fossilised remains of living beings, these rocks formed in the furthest reaches of the earth, absent of any signature of life, echo for Caillois a ‘call from the center of things; a dim, almost lost memory, or perhaps a presentiment […] of a universal syntax’.

This ability of geology to connect immeasurably distant points, whether or not in the mystical mode that Caillois approached, continues to fascinate contemporary artists. It’s particularly interesting to note the ways in which the geological – that apparently most dense, immutable and material of kingdoms – has appeared in the work of artists using ephemeral or time-based forms such as performance, audio art and digital media....

Two intertitles divide her work into three sections: in the first, Nkanga’s copper hair sculpture forms a basket for several crystals: we see the performer’s hands select one, present its lustrous bluey-green to the camera, carefully place it between her teeth and close her mouth. The first intertitle intervenes, reading ‘From where I Stand I See you South’. In the second sequence, the camera roves over a backdrop of fractured rock planes, before focussing on Nkanga’s hands as she scatters glittery powder through the air and across her costume of angular crystalline shapes. There is a soundscape of gentle finger-snaps and vocal humming drones, over which Nkanga reads a poem. ‘Our future is to live with bruises – uneven, hackly, splintery, earthy,’ she recites. The second intertitle is in Nigerian Pidgin: ‘As I tanda so, my eye dey Torchlight una for North.’ The intertitle opens like a door; the camera pulls back and we see Nkanga standing with two rough-cast metal spikes. She sings a song, also in Nigerian Pidgin and based on the words of the intertitle, as she punctures and destroys her cardboard-crystal costume. The finger snaps are replaced by the harder, more uneven percussive sounds of pierced card....

The dioptase crystals in Nkanga’s performance, and the image on the backdrop, come from a mine she visited in Namibia which is known for its rare minerals. That country’s brutal colonial history, which has its parallels across the continent, is not mentioned directly in the performance but its presence is tangible. When she asks ‘Would we be able to resist the stress, of the crushing, tearing, bending and breaking?’, ‘we’ is both rock and people, similarly subjected to extractive violence. In this context, the linguistic fracture-line that runs across the performance is significant: Standard English speaks to those who look from the North to the South, while Nigerian Pidgin speaks to those who look from the South to the North. Nkanga was born in Nigeria, and her song addresses a particular language community, those who share a lingua franca created by colonial conditions (language, like geology, allows the past to surface in the present). She creates opacity within global English – an opacity which, in the thinking of Édouard Glissant, is no less than a right. q
geology  materiality  rocks  geological_art 
5 weeks ago by shannon_mattern
The Monograph Is Broken. Long Live the Monograph. - The Chronicle of Higher Education
Devote more resources to digital: tagging, metadata, indexing, citation, etc. We need to establish new standards to improve discoverability and track usage.

Embrace new ways of promoting scholarship, such as organic (e.g., nonpaid) search-engine optimization.

Support — via participation and sponsorship — innovative experiments, such as:

The University of North Carolina Press’s Sustainable History Monograph Pilot, working to establish acceptance of a new publishing model for specialized scholarship.
The University of Michigan Press’s Fulcrum and the University of Minnesota Press’s Manifold, open-source platforms, which offer authors the opportunity to create interactive monographs.
MIT Press’s PubPub, a hosting platform for the multimedia-enhanced publishing needs of journals, books, labs, and conferences.
The University of British Columbia Press’s and the University of Washington Press’s RavenSpace, a collaborative site for indigenous-studies publishing.
publishing  books  materiality  multimodal_scholarship 
6 weeks ago by shannon_mattern
Dust to Dust: A Geology of Color -
art is chock-full of sediment and geological material, but as it turns out, how we experience art—and how we form aesthetic experience itself—also grounds our biological capabilities, informing and transforming our very being. In other words, pigments are our co-evolutionary partners and affect our everyday lives.

I want to give a personal account of how pigments impact our lives through a practice I call aesthetic reception. There’s a lot of ground to cover. First, what are pigments? What are they for? Why search for them? Unlike other gathering, gleaning, or tracking practices, such as mushroom foraging, there isn’t a commonly understood knowledge of foraging for “pigments,” nor is there a distinct awareness of what pigments do.
color  materiality  geology 
6 weeks ago by shannon_mattern
The Case for Working With Your Hands - The New York Times
Many of us do work that feels more surreal than real. Working in an office, you often find it difficult to see any tangible result from your efforts. What exactly have you accomplished at the end of any given day? Where the chain of cause and effect is opaque and responsibility diffuse, the experience of individual agency can be elusive.
- - - - - - -
Put differently, mechanical work has required me to cultivate different intellectual habits. Further, habits of mind have an ethical dimension that we don’t often think about. Good diagnosis requires attentiveness to the machine, almost a conversation with it, rather than assertiveness, as in the position papers produced on K Street.
hands  craft  analog  materiality  work  labor  agency 
7 weeks ago by rachaelsullivan
e-flux journal 56th Venice Biennale – SUPERCOMMUNITY – Planetary Computing (Is the Universe Actually a Gigantic Computer?)
If the laws of the universe can be reduced to binary code, say, on a subatomic level, there might be no actual difference between the universe and the computer.

Take 3D software for instance. In order for objects to move through space and time convincingly, the software needs to have the laws of physics installed into it.

If the physics are the same, then maybe, as in the case of the atom bomb, computing hacked into the deep structure of the universe, and that’s what we peer into each day through screens.
geology  computing  materiality  digital_labor 
10 weeks ago by shannon_mattern
Spray | Somatosphere
At the heart of spray technologies are two processes: the joining of liquids to solids in ratios of reconstitution that bring chemicals to “life,” and the pressurized conversion of those liquids into a mist that can be readily dispersed. Sprays are everywhere. From the personal misters that some carry to keep cool, to aerosol cans that spray paint, to the bottles and tanks filled with chemical concoctions that individual consumers purchase, they are a commonplace. In both tropical and temperate agriculture, cultivators rely on sprays for the efficient delivery of fertilizers and pesticides, for the dispersion of both organic and synthetic compounds. It is the “granularity [of these compounds that] is both the peril and the promise....

In the end, though, it is both this spray and that one, both the dispersion of chemical molecules close to the skin and the dusting of them far away from it, that forges our bodies’ material entanglements with chemical commodity chains. As solids become liquids, then liquids become mists in the bottles and barrels of sprayers, inert chemicals change form—they are readied for incorporation. The dynamics of their ingestion and egress, of absorption and release, are compelling concerns at a moment when so many people, in Martinique and elsewhere, are seeking effective ways to “detox.”
materiality  spray  entanglements  chemistry 
11 weeks ago by shannon_mattern
Sociality & Technology for Social Manipulation - Printed Matter
Human sociality is affected by devices subtly designed to program behaviors and profile citizens. SOCIALITY contains over 250 selected patents Cirio found by sifting through over 20,000 inventions he published on the website The artist organized the patents into chapters such as Discrimination, Polarization, Addiction, Deception, Targeting, Control, and Surveillance. With this artwork, Cirio exposes inventions that employ devious psychological and profiling tactics through artificial intelligence, algorithms, data mining, and user interfaces.

As artistic provocation, the Coloring Book of Technology for Social Manipulation proposes the cathartic, childlike exercise of coloring to both educate and inform through the visually rendered compositions of outlined flowcharts and patent titles.
patents  privacy  technology  bias  suveillance  things  materiality  user_manuals 
12 weeks ago by shannon_mattern
Carter’s “Metafilm” and the Affect of Sociological Virulence :: AEQAI
Carter argues that the films he has chosen reflect on their inherent forms re: construction, distribution, and audience engagement, as they emphasize material design and the economics of rhetoric in ways many films do not. Carter also responds to Professsor Laurie E. Gries’s new materialist approaches, which she outlines in “Still Life with Rhetoric.” Gries forges “actor-network theory” and rhetoric that implores how moving images and digital circulation incite “circulation and emergent activities” (Gries 72). According to Gries, who employs iconographic tracking in her research, icons of visual culture illustrate how collective images inspire life via actualization. Consequently, they are also applicable as prescient research tools for “studying rhetoric as a distributed, generative, and unforeseeable event” (Gries 90). Gries’s claims that empirical investigations foreground distributed relations, which attend to nonlinear processes of materialization, necessarily ground vital materialist approaches with agential realism and social ontology, emerging to help give immaterial factors their due (Gries 82).

“One Train Can Hide Another: Critical Materialism for Public Composition” by Tony Scott and Nancy Welch focuses on the Kony 2012 phenomena, which was birthed from a video where the U.S. charity Invisible Children exposes a history of atrocities in Uganda. The video presses for the arrest of Joseph Kony, a warlord known for abducting youth and forcing them into military service. After describing the video’s viral spread and its reputation for empowering young people, Scott and Welch note its value for teachers of rhetoric and writing. Classes include “students blogging about the video through Aristotle’s appeals, Lloyd Bitzer’s rhetorical situation, and Michael McGee’s ideographs,” all of which suggests a “public-writing pedagogy” that is poised to reestablish the relevance of rhetorical education (563).
rhetoric  materiality 
april 2019 by craniac
ichnos info page | Mysite
Without even realizing it, I had become a type of archaeologist. I was doing what an archaeologist would do to unearth the past of a found archaeological object: I was trying to reveal the older traces, moving away the unwanted elements, while preserving others. Far beyond aesthetics, I reflected on issues of social and anthropological interest, trying to figure out how people use their environment and organise themselves into households and social groups. A process of interpretation of elements hidden underneath the layers of plaster and floors had emerged. Moreover, the traces of the past had become voices of human appearance, fragments of memory and messengers of meanings.

Ever since, I have found myself connected to archaeology, investigating the thought behind the human practice presented visually. Through photography, I try to capture the different layers of human activity and the small and often subtle—or not so subtle—additions dictated by certain needs, and to document visually the ephemeral traces of the distant or recent past. But on a different level, an artistic level, new shapes are being produced: new lines, a whole new geometry and a self-contained abstract world are born. The narratives derived, fragmentary in their contemporary context, are open to interpretation.

Working with pictures taken from contemporary pieces of our everyday lives which demonstrate human intervention is my own way, as an artist, to keep records and collect details of the applied human expression. It is a continuous personal story, a work in progress and my own kind of archaeological action and effort at preservation. In so doing, a metaphorical space where art meets archaeology and archaeology meets art is created.
archaeology  maintenance  maintenance_art  materiality 
march 2019 by shannon_mattern
Material Noise | The MIT Press
Material Noise
Reading Theory as Artist's Book
By Anne M. Royston

September 2019
. . . . .

An argument that theoretical works can signify through their materiality—their “noise,” or such nonsematic elements as typography—as well as their semantic content.

In Material Noise, Anne Royston argues that theoretical works signify through their materiality—such nonsematic elements as typography or color—as well as their semantic content. Examining works by Jacques Derrida, Avital Ronell, Georges Bataille, and other well-known theorists, Royston considers their materiality and design—which she terms “noise”—as integral to their meaning. In other words, she reads these theoretical works as complex assemblages, just as she would read an artist's book in all its idiosyncratic tangibility.

Royston explores the formlessness and heterogeneity of the Encyclopedia Da Costa, which published works by Bataille, André Breton, and others; the use of layout and white space in Derrida's Glas; the typographic illegibility—“static and interference”—in Ronell's The Telephone Book; and the enticing surfaces of Mark C. Taylor's Hiding, its digital counterpart “The Réal: Las Vegas, NV,” and Shelley Jackson's “Skin.” Royston then extends her analysis to other genres, examining two recent artists' books that express explicit theoretical concerns: Johanna Drucker's Stochastic Poetics and Susan Howe's Tom Tit Tot.

Throughout, Royston develops the concept of artistic arguments, which employ signification that exceeds the semantics of a printed text and are not reducible to a series of linear logical propositions. Artistic arguments foreground their materiality and reflect on the media that create them. Moreover, Royston argues, each artistic argument anticipates some aspect of digital thinking, speaking directly to such contemporary concerns as hypertext, communication theory, networks, and digital distribution.
Anne.M.Royston  materiality 
march 2019 by asfaltics
Symposium—Conserving Active Matter: Materials Science - Bard Graduate Center
When one examines a painted surface, whether a New Kingdom Egyptian sarcophagus or a John Singer Sargent portrait, it appears as though the paint is dry, and is therefore no longer interacting with itself or its environment. Nothing could be further from the truth. Paint is constantly active, responding to its surroundings and reacting with (for example) the water, light, and oxygen in its local environment. This can result in fading, darkening, or any number of other visual and physical phenomena including chalking and spalling. Other works of cultural heritage are similarly restive, from medieval stained glasses to modern and contemporary works prepared from a diversity of alloys and plastics. Objects that appear stable (such as a bronze with a green patina) can be rapidly reduced to dust in the wrong environment. More than one type of museum object (such as ancient Egyptian faience and cellulose nitrate film) have been known to degrade via explosion, and in the latter example to also “infect” their neighboring objects through the production of volatile corrosive gases. While one can easily identify a “dirty dozen” of artists’ pigments that are among the most active (such as Vincent Van Gogh’s infamous geranium lake red), the constant innovations of artists, chemists, and materials scientists means that there is a ready supply of challenging new objects and systems for art conservators and cultural heritage scientists to study and preserve. The input of art historians, historians, anthropologists, and archaeologists in this type of object-oriented study is critical to understanding the interpretation challenges represented by these altered works. Join us for two days of discussion about object change, from the molecular to the catastrophic to the magnificent, and learn about the surprising afterlives of works of art that are made from continuously evolving materials.
preservation  materiality  decay 
march 2019 by shannon_mattern
Ontogeny - Wikipedia
Ontogeny (also ontogenesis or morphogenesis) is the origination and development of an organism, usually from the time of fertilization of the egg to the organism's mature form—although the term can be used to refer to the study of the entirety of an organism's lifespan.
anatomy  biology  cells  change  concept  continuity  definition  development  evolution  growth  identity  ifttt  information  life  materiality  matter  mutation  ontogeny  organic  organism  pinboar 
february 2019 by therourke

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