Material Strategies

In this research project we want to look into ways of practicing materiality in relation to artistic processes of creation. Artists are always dealing with materials, but most often taking them for granted as means to be shaped into artistic visions and expressions formed by human imagination. With reference to new materialism’s ethical call to relate to material in ways that demand another kind of listening, this research project will investigate the consequences for performance practice.

As is commonly known much of object oriented philosophy is questioning the anthropocentric (and what has been labelled the antropocene) worldview. New Materialism (represented by thinkers such as Rosi Braidotti, Jane Bennett, Manuel DeLanda and Karen Barad) is concerned with how a materialist view affects subject formations, our relationships to our environments, and human activity. To a large degree, this strand of thinkers build on feminist theory in their focus on the body as materiality, where the sensorial capacities are central reference points in the perception of reality. New materialism is questioning what life is, and what has life, pointing to objects and things having self-organizing agency that gives shape to our environments. These further affect and shape human life, as much as humans tend to give shape to things. It represents a co-dependence and points to the entanglement between all things, animate and inanimate. It alters our ethical relationship to the world around us and creates new perceptions of the real.
With an object oriented thinking as a philosophical and ethical ground, the proposed research project will investigate voice and body as material in relation to spaces, architecture and objects. How can we as artists to a greater extent listen to the agency of the material and let it shape the human performer equally to the ways the artists shape and use space and objects? How do human ideas, emotions, visions and memories come into play when relating to material in a way where humans have less control and power in the creation process? How are performative and material practices articulating the embodied nature of memory in relations between bodies, voices, objects and spaces?