Mater is a research platform exploring materials.
Mater is the curatorial project of Maddie Rose Hills
Mater is a live research project exploring materials. Supported using public funding from Arts Council England, Mater has so far commissioned 15 artists, writers, philosophers, seed keepers and more to produce new pieces of writing which can be read here.
We have now launched Mater Collects, an extension of the project, which is a platform selling work directly from the studio of artists. A percentage of all sales will go towards the commissioning of exclusive and groundbreaking new texts for Mater.
Website design & build by Victor Hwang:
“Often the internet is treated as a neutral medium for delivering content – but it has a shape and grain just like any other material. With Mater I’m hoping to expose that materiality. Like any form of construction, getting to grips with the material is a necessary step to making something that’s ecologically conscious.”
Considerations that keep Mater’s ecological footprint low —
Mater is built as a static site. Instead of making a request for data every time someone visits ( the way most websites work), all the pages are pre-built, reducing data sent per visit. We use Eleventy to do this, which outputs the smallest files of any static site generator.
Contributors were asked to avoid video, which often have file sizes hundreds of times that of images, audio or text. All images were converted to .webP, a highly efficient file format, and all audio was compressed.
We use Times New Roman, a system font. Most websites use custom fonts which are downloaded in the background, increasing the file size of the website.
A low-carbon headline image (~10kb) has been generated for each contributor, which is then layered with text and colour using simple HTML and CSS. This is hundreds of times smaller than a typical headline image.
Complex animations or calculations, which can cause your computer to work harder and consume more energy, have been avoided.
We tested and iterated on the carbon cost of each page, using Website Carbon as the site was built out. A live calculation of the carbon cost of each page can be seen in the footer.
Our host Cloudflare runs on 100% renewable energy.
The live launch: Maddie Rose Hills in conversation with Jareh Das, Hannah Rowan and Victor Hwang
Matthew Rowe in conversation with Elena Khurtova and Shahpour Pouyan
Presentations and Q&A with Heather Barnett, Christian Keeve, Robin James Sullivan
Esther Leslie in conversation with Tessa Silva & Pei-Ying Lin
Chapter One: Mater commissioned 15 pieces of research, drawing together words, conversations, sound bites & images that shift perspectives and decentralise notions of power. Mater sheds new light on material research, zooming into microbial, cellular and insect life, new and old technologies, and material-centred stories. Mater rethinks how we engage with materials, and highlights why this research is now more important than ever.
Special thanks to collaborators FAD Magazine and QUAD