Contributors

Shapour Pouyan

Power, history, politics, craft, decoration, clay, death

Jussi Parikka

Matter, technologies, infrastructure, weather, media, scale

Ashwini Bhat

Body, clay, rhythm, repetition, connection, gesture

Elena Khurtova

Soil, excavation, bodies, hands, clay, becoming

Tessa Silva

Milk, waste, history, feminised protein, craft, material culture

Feifei Zhou

Atlas, anthropocene, forests, scale, ecosystems, colonialism

Christian Keeve

Time, seeds, plantocracy, decay, memory, history, archive

Hannah Rowan

Flux, water, slippery, ice, touch, glass, time

Nolan Oswald Dennis

Decolonization, systems, language, diagrams, space, time

Faber Futures

Biotechnology, design, systems, microbes, textiles, futures

Robin James Sullivan

Time, mass, neurons, landscape, flux, maps

Heather Barnett

Slime mould, ants, organisms, intelligence, behaviours, observation

Dr Jareh Das

Clay, non-passive matter, transformation, body, black women, performance

Matthew Rowe

Humanism, philosophy, hoards, waste, behaviour, culture

Pei-Ying Lin

Viruses, knitting, spike protein, biomimicry, performance

Glossary

Anthropocene

"The Anthropocene Epoch is an unofficial unit of geologic time, used to describe the most recent period in Earth's history when human activity started to have a significant impact on the planet's climate and ecosystems” - Definition from National Geographic.

Axonometric

"An axonometric projection is a common method in architectural drawings to depict a three-dimensional object at a skewed angle onto a two-dimensional plane. Axonometric drawings are based on three orthogonal axes at a consistent scale. This forms a perfect grid that provides a unique viewpoint that human eyes cannot perceive; it shows a perspective that only exists in our imaginations." - Definition from Feifei Zhou.

Bioindicators

Organisms that can help detect changes (often stemming from human activities) that take place in living systems. Some examples of bioindicators or fungi, lichen, clams, muscles, termites, ants and earthworms, and they might be detecting changes in for example soil or water.

Becoming

Gilles Deleuze’s concept of becoming can not be wholly summed up in a short text, however one area of the topic is relevant within several Mater contributions. Becoming reflects the idea that nothing is a singular, definable thing, but a network of interconnected processes at various stages of becoming, with no start or end point. This is particularly helpful when thinking about materials, where things do not become on their own, but in response and interaction with stuff around them. Because there is no start or end point, there is potential for growth and change. We can visualise a dissolving of categories between people, animals, species, materials and stuff. Another helpful description is: "Becoming-" is a process of change, flight, or movement within an assemblage. Rather than conceive of the pieces of an assemblage as an organic whole, within which the specific elements are held in place by the organization of a unity, the process of "becoming-" serves to account for relationships between the "discrete" elements of the assemblage. In "becoming-" one piece of the assemblage is drawn into the territory of another piece, changing its value as an element and bringing about a new unity. (link to source). For further research into Deleuze’s becoming, you can find a description in The Deleuze Dictionary, p.26

Feminised Protein

Carol J Adams who coined the term, describes how: “​​We all get our protein from plants. Some people get it directly, and some chose to let animals process it for them. I coined the term feminized protein for eggs and dairy products: plant protein produced through the abuse of the reproductive cycle of female animals. Feminized protein is taken from living female animals, whose reproductive capacity is manipulated for human needs.” (Source)

Humusities

Oxford Dictionary states: “Humus is the amorphous aspect of soil, of plant & dead matter breaking down.” When thinking through Humusities, in an article for e-flux, Harraway writes: “All the tentacular stringy ones have made me unhappy with posthumanism, even as I am nourished by much generative work done under that sign. My partner Rusten Hogness suggested compost instead of posthuman(ism), as well as humusities instead of humanities, and I jumped into that wormy pile. Human as humus has potential, if we could chop and shred human as Homo, the detumescing project of a self-making and planet-destroying CEO. Imagine a conference not on the Future of the Humanities in the Capitalist Restructuring University, but instead on the Power of the Humusities for a Habitable Multispecies Muddle!”. From Tentacular thinking: Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene, D. Harraway (link to source)

Interbeing

"If you are a poet, you will see clearly that there is a cloud floating in this sheet of paper. Without a cloud, there will be no rain; without rain, the trees cannot grow; and without trees, we cannot make paper. The cloud is essential for the paper to exist. If the cloud is not here, the sheet of paper cannot be here either. So we can say that the cloud and the paper inter-are. “Interbeing” is a word that is not in the dictionary yet, but if we combine the pre-fix “inter” with the verb “to be,” we have a new verb, inter-be." Thich Nhat Hanh, excerpt from Teach Breathe Learn by Meena Srinivasan Read an excerpt here or the book.

Intra-activity

Karan Barad describes intra-action as “a mutual constitution of entangled agencies”. She also writes “agency does not pre-exist separately, but emerges from the relationships in intra-actions”. In comparison to ‘inter’ meaning among, ‘intra’ means within. "When two bodies interact, they easily maintain a level of independence. Each entity exists before they encounter one another. However, when bodies intra-act they do so in co-constitutive ways. Individuals materialize through intra-actions and the ability to act emerges from within the relationships not outside of it.” (link to source)

Mater

The word “material” derives from the Latin “materia”, meaning "substance from which something is made". Materia derives from the word “mater”, meaning “mother”.

Microperformativity

“The concept of microperformativity denotes a current trend in theories of performativity and performative artistic practices to destabilize human scales (both spatial and temporal) as the dominant plane of reference and to emphasize biological and technological microagencies that, beyond the mesoscopic human body, relate the invisibility of the microscopic to the incomprehensibility of the macroscopic. Microperformative positions enquire how artistic methods can engage critically with technologies that exploit life on a microscopic and molecular level to merge bio- and digital media.” — see Jens Hauser & Lucie Strecker, On Microperformativity, Performance Research 25-3 : pp.1-7.

Oddkin

Kin meaning family relative; the idea of oddkin being that we can choose our kin, and this can be anyone or anything. A useful lecture on Donna Haraway’s oddkin can be found here.

Plantocracy

“A plantocracy, also known as a slavocracy, is a ruling class, political order or government composed of plantation owners.” (Link). Plantocracy is cited in Christian Keeve's contribution, Keeve refers to Clyde Woods for a deeper understanding and contextualisation of the term. This essay outlines some of Woods' discussion around the Plantocacy.

Pluriquality

Coined by Nolan Oswald Dennis. A contingent description written by the artist reads: “Pluriquality: the condition of simultaneous multiplicity1, where difference is not a series or network of other qualities, but a disposition of possibility. Like a very modest gravitational singularity, things (human and non-human) are already full of expansion and transformation, we have a pluriquality, the question is through which relations any material possibility might transform into appearance.” 1. see Achille Mbembe, On the Postcolony, 2001, pg 146-149

Ur-substance

The Ur prefix means "original, earliest, primitive," from the German ur- "out of, original," (link to etymology). In the use of Ur-substance in Tessa Silva's contribution, is a reference to Crassirer via Melanie Jackson and Esther Leslie. In other texts and conversations, Jackson and Leslie reference Goethe's Urpflanze: “The Urpflanze - or primal plant - is Goethe's imaginary plant that contains coiled up within it, the potential to generate all possible future plants.” (link). Another understanding of Goethe's Ur-plant reads: “Shortly before Johann Wolfgang von Goethe published Die Metamorphose der Pflanzen in 1790, he was exploring the concept of the Urpflanze, which he speculated was an archetypal prototypical plant, that contained within it, all the plants of the past, present and future.” (link) And a full conversation between Jackson and Leslie can be found here.

Reading

Heather Barnett

Dr Jareh Das

Christian Keeve

Elena Khurtova

  • Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene, Donna Haraway

  • Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning, Karen Barad

  • Diffracting Diffraction: Cutting Together-Apart, Karen Barad

  • Involutionary Momentum: Affective Ecologies and the Sciences of Plant/Insect Encounters, Carla Hustak and Natasha Myers

Nolan Oswald Dennis

  • Being Black, Angel Kyodo WIlliams

  • Life in the indexical present, Adrian Piper

  • Undersong, Audre Lorde

  • The Order of Time, Carlo Rovelli

  • The Universal Machine, Fred Moten

  • Steps to an Ecology of Mind, Gregory Bateson

  • Being-black-in-the-world, Manganyi Chabani

  • Parable of the Sower, Octavia E. Butler

Jussi Parikka

  • Material Witness: Media, Forensics, Evidence, Susan Schuppli

  • A Geology of Media, Jussi Parikka

  • Insect Media: An Archaeology of Animals and Technology, Jussi Parikka

  • Words of Weather, Ed. Daphne Dragona and Jussi Parikka

Shahpour Pouyan

Hannah Rowan

Tessa Silva

  • Unreliable Matriarchs, Melanie Jackson and Esther Leslie

  • The Mechanical Calf: On the Making of a Multispecies Machine, Richie Nimmo

  • Cheese Making at Home [film] 1918

  • Growing a Nation: Milk Consumption in India Since the Raj, Andrea S Wiley

Feifei Zhou