European New Materialisms Embracing the Creative Arts

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Karolina Kucia (2010) Hair and Woolies of Tero Nuha’s Students While Working With Lygia Clark’s String + 1 Uneizz Cable Phone

Text taken from the website of New Materialism: Networking European Scholarship on ‘How matter comes to matter’

WG3 brings together European researchers, artists, museum professionals, and other activists with a keen interest in the material, corporeal, processual and relational aspects of contemporary arts and creativity. We engage with architecture, crafts, dance, film, digital media, landscape, musics, performance, sound and visual arts. We construct and assess new materialisms across these fields. Our approaches explore and intersect artistic practices, academic analyses and art-as-research.

The starting points shared by the group include a fascination with the specific agentic materialities of different practices and media; multisensoriality and affective politics of perception; and material reconsiderations of place, relation, temporality and memory. We pursue intra-actions between movement (human and non-human material, experiential, ecological) and thought, and between creative practice and new materialist theory-making, ethics and politics.

In these frames, the group focuses particularly on the following issues:

– What constitutes the concepts of art and creativity in contemporary societies?

– Critical study of creative industries, innovation and arts & therapy discourse, new commodification and anti-commodification of art.

– How might New Materialisms redefine arts and creativity through their attendance to affect, matter and the non-human?

– The changing social roles of the arts: wellbeing, everyday creativity, sustainability, democratisation in post-socialist Europe, and resisting instrumentalized understandings while forging more transformative and experimental approaches to arts

– New materialism-inspired methodologies, research and teaching, curricula, curating-as-research, research-art continuums

– New materialist enhancement of gendered and feminist perspectives and models of embodied subjectivity

– Critiquing ethnocentrism within new materialisms, non-western ecologies and cosmologies, cultural and epistemic heterogeneity

– Pushing participation and the political beyond conventional understandings: how can art revisit pasts and create communities to come?

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