07W Material Discourse Emerges

Please meet in the DMC gallery for this class.

Nam June Paik, Magnet TV, 1965

In last week’s Brainstorming session we explored the theme of Materialising the Digital and following are the broad areas/ ideas that we arrived at:

  • Expressing Digitality
    • Textuality and expression
  • Variable Materiality
    • Materials and immaterial processes
  • Multisensory Interaction
    • Light, shadows, and displacement
  • (Re)configuring Spacetime
    • story-telling through sound,  image and interaction
  • Generativity: Difference and Repetition
    • Algorithm and Reproducibility

To move forward, we need to dive into a material discourse through (re)making an existing work and explore its materiality (technically, physically, experientially etc.) through the frame of the identified theme and find the right questions to ask.

We will do/ make/ undo/ remake together, collaboratively. You will continue to build on your MVP for week 8.

Choose one broad theme listed that excites you. We have added some keywords and questions beyond each theme. You are encouraged to add your own keywords, questions and references as you explore the theme further.

With 3 other people who are interested in the same theme, choose one work listed under your selected theme to re-create/ re-stage.

A word about collaboration – resist the temptation to work with your friends, instead choose your teammates who have skills/ interests different from you, this way you have the potential to build a stronger/ more resilient collaborative relationship.

Expressing Digitality: Textuality and Expression

  • In a sensations-saturated society, what is the power of text?
  • What are the relationships between texts and meanings, communication and expression?
  • What is the role of written texts today? What are their possibilities?

Young hae Chang’s Samsung means to come  (or other works)

Ignas Krunglevicius, Interrogation, 2009

Jenny Holzer, Sienna 2009

Jenny Holzer, Sienna 2009

Variable Materiality: Materials and Immaterial Processes

  • Technologies have allowed us to produce and reproduce materials through immaterial processes: what are these immaterial processes?
  • What kind of experiences can these immaterial processes create?
  • What happens when these processes are re-purposed?
  • What happens when these processes are disrupted?
Julian Popp's Bitfall

Julian Popp’s Bitfall

Julie and Ken Yonetani, Sweet Barrier Reef 

Prokop Bartoníček & Benjamin Maus, Jller 

Multisensory Interaction: Light, Shadows and Displacement

  • The play with light and shadows has a long history of fascinating the public by creating spectacles that displace physical surroundings.
  • What happens to our senses when we are immersed into these light and shadow plays?
  • What are these large spectacles used for today? What are their effects?
  • What can they be used for?

Diana Thater, Life is a Time-Based Medium, 2015

Olafur Eliasson's Your Uncertain Shadow

Olafur Eliasson’s Your Uncertain Shadows

James Turrel, Afrum


(Re)configuring Spacetime: Story-telling through Sound, Image, and Interaction

  • Reconfiguring spacetime through sound, image and interaction to tell stories has been the domain of the cinema.
  • How can we re-configure spacetime to create layered experiences or narratives in other ways?
  • How do we create new spacetime through the use of sound and image?
  • How do we open up story-telling as an activity by configuring human senses through the media of sound and image?
  • What kind of stories can be told? What kind of stories should be told?

Bill Viola’s He Weeps for you

or Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, Storm Room or The Dark Pool, 1995


Generativity: Difference and Repetition

  • Algorithms form the backbone of how human society functions. Have the increased use of algorithms in different facets of our lives change the way we live/ behave/ act?
  • When do algorithm reproduce sameness? When do they generate difference?
  • What does this ability to reproduce sameness and difference mean for us (as humans)?

Irving Penn’s Corner Portraits

Alvin Lucier’s I’m sitting in a room

Erica Scourti’s My Life in Adwords

Re-creation, Re-stage, Re-interpretation

Use any technical equipment and materials available to re-create the work. If you find that it is technically difficult to do so, break down the material process(es) of production into procedural instructions. Then think whether you can change the scale of the work? Or whether you can use a different medium/ media to create the same work? For example, what happens when you use humans instead of machines in the process?

Remember that the works listed under each theme can easily fit under other themes – meaning that  they do definitively explore the categories. The theme is there to give you a frame to explore how the materials/ processes are used. There may be other works you know/ come across in your research process which are more fitting – talk to these works.

We will focus our discussions in the last 1.5 hour of the workshop on how the works manifest the ideas/ themes you are exploring.

Tasks (in your blog):

  • Document your re-creation, re-interpretation, and re-staging of the work
  • Document the discussions around the work when you presented to class
  • Write down your own thoughts/ reflection.
  • Find out: What other works may also fit into your chosen theme?
  • Explore: What other possibilities can the work have?
  • Develop: your MVP in response to your experience this week.

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