1  Tim Ingold, “Materials against Materiality,” Archaeological Dialogues 14, no. 01 (June 2007): 7, doi:10.1017/S1380203807002127.

2  Werner Stegmaier, “Anhaltspunkte. Spuren Zur Orientierung,” in Spur: Spurenlesen Als Orientierungstechnik Und Wissenskunst, ed. Sybille Krämer, Werner Kogge, and Gernot Grube, 1. Aufl, Suhrkamp Taschenbuch Wissenschaft 1830 (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 2007), 82. [English translation MK]

"Like all other creatures, human beings do not exist on the

'other side' of materiality but swim in an ocean of materials.

Once we acknowledge our immersion, what this ocean

reveals to us is not the bland homogeneity of different shades

of matter but a flux in which materials of the most diverse

kinds - through processes of admixture and distillation, of

coagulation and dispersal, and of evaporation and

precipitation - undergo continual generation and transformation."1


Material in the artistic process


The materials used in a work of art are not necessarily determined from the start. The contemporary artistic work process involves a great deal of experimenting in order to arrive at the most suitable material to realize an idea. In this test phase one also risks altering the complete work, its parameters, characteristics, and not least its final appearance. This process of material-based transformation has a two-fold effect: first, on the artwork itself (its haptic conditions), and then on its perception, which in turn influences the specific form of aesthetic recognition actuated by the artwork.

The objective of this dissertation project titled “Performative Materiality” is to investigate and specify these processes of transformation and effect with the aim of implementing these moments of change in the own artistic practice.

During the course of the first semester I was able to identify the following questions as starting points to work on:


- How can material and materiality be defined?

- How do material, space and form relate to each other?

- How does the process of materializing an artwork proceed?

- What is the role of the artist's body in this process?

- How does the method of performative research (as conceptualized for this dissertation) work in practical terms?


The aforementioned questions result from practical working processes. In it, a set of perception-vectors point in different directions, such as recognizing the different appearance of materials, their interconnected behaviour in space, the relation of the artist's body to those materials and its own interconnected materiality, and so on.

As an additional layer, the working process is being recorded and interpreted in different media. As the results are reintegrated into the very working process this method cannot be seen as a linear proceeding, but as a meshwork of linked activities such as drawing, taking photos, writing, observing. Having different intensities throghout the process, these activities refer to traces of the working process and are always present. As such one can say that „Traces initialize. They show that there is something to find, but do not tell what, where and how. They indicate pathways, but leave open if they pursue. Therefore one initially adheres, but in turn does not take the compliance for granted.“2