At its simplest, materiality can be understood as a feature or attribute of physical objects being physically tangible substances, like ice, stone or concrete. Materiality can also be understood as material thinking, thinking about our practical relationship with the material surrounding us (see Bolt 2012, Mäkiranta & Timonen 2015). Materiality is also affiliated with the material imagination. Pauline von Bondsdorff (2010, 145–161) has applied Gaston Bachelard’s (1957) concept of the imagination of the matter to the Reima Pietilä’s architecture. The imagination of the matter rests on the physical experience of the material as it appears in the work. Material processing is both working with the matter and working on the matter—co-operation and resistance. The imagination of the matter emphasises the physical and quiet—often unthematised—experiences. The matter imagines in us (Bondsdorff 2010, 149).
In this article, materiality is a fluid concept connected to the understanding of art as processes. The Australian philosopher Elizabeth Grosz (2010) has found that, although we see the world as firmly composed by integral things and objects, beneath this solid surface, there is a continuous movement of the material—the smoothness orsupplenessof the world. The suppleness appears as movement, vibration and change (Grosz 2010, 150–151).
A simple example in my case is the constant movement processes of the ice. According to its temperature, ice takes the form of water, water vapour and solid ice. It is also constantly moving, raining down to the ground and being transported rivers to the sea. In addition, ice-related materiality is closely related to culture: Although ice has its origins as a natural phenomenon, the materiality of ice is not isolated from the symbols of the culture; rather, the material and symbols are inseparably intertwined and form a culture (Lehtonen 2014). Thus, we can see several constantly changing processes in ice.
Working with ice requires being aware of the different material dimensions of ice and how the meanings and materials are interweaved. In my case, the ice appears in the photographing process as a physical material, as a manufacturing material and as material presentations.