Material and Knowledge


International Symposium within the Framework of the Exhibition
Object Lessons. The Story of Material Education in 8 Chapters
January 13, 2017, from 9 am until 6 pm.

Object Lesson Nr. 9 – the symposium – brings together international experts, who explore the place of materials and material knowledge in institutions devoted to collecting, learning, and creating in close dialogue with the objects on view and against the background of theories of the material turn.

Knowledge about materials, their origins, properties and possibilities is in high demand. And material knowledge is hard to come by: traditionally considered the domain of highly skilled experts in craft, industry, art, and sciences, it is not only kept secret, but also perceived as tacit rather than explicit.

Today, industrialization, globalization, and digitalization have further limited direct contact with materials and processes of production. Attempts to recapture material knowledge for the public domain on the other hand appear limited, as the Do-It-Yourself movement is confined to niches and sustainability written off as a marketing hype and discredited as “greenwashing”. How then is material knowledge made accessible to the public on a large scale; and how can one become materially literate?

There has been, in fact, an explicit education about, with, and through materials since at least the 18th century. It propagated materials as a condition to understand the world yet its history and objects are little known. The Exhibition Object Lessons. The Story of Material Education in 8 Chapters reconstructs the story of material education in science, craft, and industry, at home, in literature and popular culture, in the archive, and the museum for the first time.



09:00 Kaffee & Tee/Coffee & Tea

09:30 Begrüßung/Welcome
Ann-Sophie Lehmann (Groningen) & Imke Volkers (Berlin)

10:00 “What Not to Collect? Materials, Objects, Stories…”
Sharon Macdonald (York/Berlin)

10:45 “Muster & Wissen. Materialsammlungen und Materialbildung im Museum der Dinge”
Imke Volkers (Berlin)

11:30 “Die Stoffe vergangener Lebenswelten.
Referenzmaterialien und deren Bedeutung als Quelle für Lehre und Forschung in der Konservierung und Restaurierung”
Ruth Keller (Berlin)

12:15 Mittagspause/Break
Rundgang durch die Ausstellung/Visit the Exhibition

13:30 “Words on Things. The Red Thread Through the History of Material Education”
Ann-Sophie Lehmann (Groningen)

14:15 “Object Lesson und bürgerlicher Realismus. Stifters Nachsommer”
Christian van der Steeg (Zürich/Wien)

15:00 Kaffee & Tee/Coffee & Tea

15:30 “Josef Albers, Material Instruction, and the Development of Intuitive Perception”
Jeffrey Saletnik (Indiana/Berlin)

16:15 “Von Bezoar bis Kunstharz. Materialbildung im Materialarchiv”
Franziska Müller-Reissmann (Zürich)

17:00 Diskussion/Discussion

Lectures in English or German (see title).




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