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Materials Lab

Updated: Sep 29, 2019

MATERIALS LAB

An ideas hub led by Dr Christine Checinska

RCA, London

21st November 2019, 30th January, 19th March, 28th May 2020

6.00 – 8.00pm

Objects become invested with meanings through association and usage. Every object has the potential to tell many stories. Materials Lab aims to explore the relationship between people and the things that they make, customise, consume and collect, and to theorize and investigate materiality and immateriality, its nature and how we experience it. Through a series of interdisciplinary, cross-cultural exchanges, using a range of sources, we will discuss:

• Public/private/personal archives as contested sites of meaning and interpretation:

The ways in which material culture has the potential to trigger personal and/or collective ‘rememorying’, to cite Toni Morrison (2007, Beloved)

The ways in which every-day objects preserve traces of the histories, aspirations, relationships and intimacies invested in them by their owners

• Everyday objects in creative research and studio practice

How creative and cultural practitioners use material culture to challenge normative notions of racial, cultural and gendered identities

The role of material culture in processes of ‘self-making’ and ‘self-telling’

• ‘Thinking through Materiality’

‘Thinking through materiality’ as a methodology – applicable to making and/or theorizing; self-expression through material culture as a form of creative agency, as a means to disassociate oneself from western or colonial objectification and disempowerment

• Immateriality – the spectres (or ghostly presences) that lie in the archive’s absences, exclusions and silences; unspoken testimonies, dislocated voices and lost narratives; traces of perished/unravelled/unpicked materials; memories

Questions might include:

What is the place of material objects within the global flow of identities, concepts and ideas that map contemporary cross-cultural entanglements?

How might we use the close reading of material objects as a critical tool to explore diasporic histories of movement and migration, and concepts such as ‘difference’, ‘post-coloniality’, ‘hybridity’, ‘creolisation’ and ‘globalisation’?

How does the notion of ‘thinking through materiality’ inform creative practice? What might ‘materials led’ practice look like?

With the above themes and questions in mind, symposiums may take the form of an ‘in conversation’ with an artist, designer, writer, curator working with material objects, or a presentation of current research/practice, or a discussion around an object.

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