Studio 2: Materiality / Immateriality
Through field trips, making artwork and discussion about artworks this studio has looked at what the terms 'material' and 'immaterial' mean to us now - how the definitions of these words may have changed over time. There is no primary or secondary in making and thinking: they are the same thing. This studio understands that not knowing is not more creative than knowing.
Perhaps since the production of the Model T Ford, our understandings of materiality and production changed at a very fast pace. For over half a century artists have been outsourcing production of artwork to fabricators based elsewhere. In fact, this type of displaced production has become the norm. Dematerialisation was a hot topic in the late 1960s. Driven by the refusal of both an aesthetic canon and a dominant, conservative market, the disintegration of traditional ‘matter’ was in part motivated by a democratising principle. Some turned to language as the primary vehicle for art. At the same time actions and processes became more important than the objects that resulted.
Issues around dematerialisation and immateriality are now very different, informed by contemporary art debates on ‘participatory practice’ and the presence of immaterial labour everywhere, not just in art. In our time partly due to the economic crisis, and also to growing ethical/ecological consciousness, many artists now focus again on making work with a transient quality, even using their own body as ‘material’ or as an object or membrane.