Tag Archives | Material Properties

Occasional Paper 6: Destructivistas

Joel Cahen (2012, revised 2016)

With our present day awareness, the arts as we have known them up to now appear to us in general to be fakes fitted out with a tremendous affectation. Let us take leave of these piles of counterfeit objects on the altars, in the palaces, in the salons and the antique shops. They are an illusion with which, by human hand and by way of fraud, materials such as print, pieces of cloth, metals, clay or marble are loaded with false significance, so that, instead of just presenting their own material self, they take on the appearance of something else. Under the cloak of intellectual aim, the materials have been completely murdered and can no longer speak to us.

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The Mechanical Postcard

Adam Drazin, UCL Anthropology

  • • Is it possible to communicate material properties and senses across long distances?
  • • How do exchange and sharing play a part in the understanding of material properties?
  • • How can artistic work help us understand material culture?

In April, a collaborative Skype workshop, The First Encounter, was held between members of the School of Material and Visual Culture, Massey University in New Zealand, and UCL Anthropology  in London.  During the workshop, we presented a year’s worth of work on material properties conducted by working with various heritage artifacts made of different materials.  The intention was to discover if, and how, we could think about the evasive cultural topic of what properties are, and whether we could use the stimulus of having to communicate across the breadth of the globe to find new ways of thinking about and representing them.…

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