Call for Journal Contributions for
Interstices #14: Immaterial Materialities - Materiality and
Interactivity in Art and Architecture
Materiality has recently claimed centre stage in architectural
discourse and practice, yet its critical meaning is ever receding.
Tropes like material honesty, digital materiality, material
responsiveness and dematerialisation mark out an interdisciplinary
field where scientific fact and artistic experimentation interact, and
where what in fact constitutes materiality is constantly re-imagined.
As a reaction to developments in science, materiality came under
scrutiny with the emergence of nineteenth century German aesthetics and
the early avant-garde projects. Initiating an epistemic shift in art
and architecture, these works pointed point to the connection between
the concrete material properties of objects and their interaction with
the inhabitant through psycho-physiological effects. These ideas
re-emerged transformed in the work of the Neo-avant-garde of the 1960s
and 70s, and surfaced again in contemporary architectural debates.
ATMOSPHERE+EXPERIENCE Gernot Böhme thematizes the idea of
'immateriality' under the heading of 'atmospheres,' which he sees as
the fundamental concept of a new aesthetics in architecture. Similar
considerations on our relationship with atmosphere and weather have
informed recent projects, which deploy materials as mediators or
activating agents that probe the relationship between audience/user and
the physical environment: Spatial investigations with
phenomena-producing materials interact with audiences, and 'weather
architectures' (Hill), or 'atmo architectures' (Sloterdijk),
technologically re-create nature as spatial experience and spectacle
(Diller and Scofidio).
MATERIAL POLITICS Traditional materials such as timber have been
re-imagined through new technologies and connect the present to the
material traditions of regional architecture. In East Germany, material
experimentation with cast concrete generated an aura of cosmopolitanism
that challenged the visual monotony of the iconic 'Plattenbauten'
promoted by the government (Ulrich Müther); whereas in 1950s Bosnia,
Juraj Neidhardt argued that a systematic re-arrangement of
architectural elements could facilitate an interactive relationship
between the heritage built fabric and the new Communist society.
MATERIAL TECHNOLOGY+AESTHETICS Architectural experiments in
material-oriented computational design explore the design potential of
conventional construction materials. Waste, artificial and natural
materials are fused chemically to produce new composites with changed
material and aesthetic properties that replace the traditional visual
language of tectonics and give rise to a plastic aesthetic that rejects
discrete structural elements in favour of homogeneity and gradient.
MATERIAL REFERENTS In contemporary art, Liam Gillick uses architectural
elements that reference the universal modernism favoured in corporate
architecture: plexiglas, steel, and colour aluminium. These material
fragments can be read as "partial images that call to mind a range of
other moments and environments" (Verhagen). It is precisely this
"calling to mind of other moments and environments" that Philip
Ursprung detects in Hans Danuser's photographic representations of
Peter Zumthor's architecture - images that evoke seemingly incompatible
associations with the problematic, post-industrial concrete
architecture of Alpine power plants.
All these approaches probe boundaries - between material and
immaterial, art and science, practice and theory, representation and
experience, tradition and innovation, and producer/object/user, giving
rise to the following concerns:
- What is the validity of different approaches to materiality in
relation to the vital problems of our time?
- Where do materials allow us to cross disciplinary, cultural, or other
- Can materials be deployed to create environments which predict user
behaviour and control social relations and experiences?
- Which trans-historical correspondences can be detected in
contemporary approaches to materiality, and how do these challenge,
imitate and expand on previous thinking?
For the refereed part, we welcome submission of 5000 word papers, and
visual submissions with an accompanying text of approximately 500
For the non-refereed part, we welcome papers up to 2500 words, and
project reports and reviews of up to 1000 words related to the issue
Please visit the website and check out the 'Notes for Contributors' for
details about the reviewing process, copyright issues and formatting:
Please send your submission to Sandra Karina Löschke
(sandra.loschkeuts.edu.au) by 3 March 2013. Authors accepted for the
reviewing process will receive confirmation and a schedule in mid-March
and the journal will go to publication in November 2013.
CFP: Interstices #14: Immaterial Materialities. In: ArtHist.net, Dec 21, 2012 (accessed Mar 31, 2023), <https://arthist.net/archive/4431>.