Session 101 – wednesday 2nd September – 11 am – 1 pm.
presentation of Yvonne Dröge Wendel, Independent visual artist, Emilie Gomart, Independent writer and curator, Dieter Roelstraete, independent writer an curator, and Clare Butcher, curator at CRESC 5th Annual Conference 2009: Objects – What Matters? Technology, Value and Social Change, 1-4 September 2009, ESRC Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change. University of Manchester.
The Object Research Lab:
We want to design and present in real time, in front of people ‘s eyes, an encounter of humans and objects. There are no papers given, or read about.
This is an inter-disciplinary presentation where object, artist, designer, sociologist and philosopher bring their respective skills, vulnerabilities and sensitivities to this event: each one is seduced, constrained, influenced in a different way, tied and attached to the objects and to the humans in different ways.The novelty of this panel of presentations is not that objects are invited to the conference – they have been present at other conferences- more or less directly. The difference is between talking ‘about’ them and setting up an arena where humans and objects are let loose with each other in front of an audience.We are not going to present outcomes. We do not aim to present a completed scientific concept or discovery. What we want to do is to open up the black boxes of different fields (materiality / art / philosophy etc.) to identify the inner workings of each: what are the governing issues, the main biases, the methodological preferences of each; how do their reflections evolve; what questions emerge, what techniques evolve in each setting.
Object Number One – Grey Green Colour and the Blob Shaped
Object Number Two – Grey Green Colour and the Blob Shaped
Object Number Three – Grey Green Colour and the Blob Shaped
Object Number Four – Grey Green Colour and the Blob Shaped
These Objects come in various sizes, some are larger than humans, and heavier than humans, others small, both heavy and light. Some of these objects are ‘educated’ and carry information others are unskilled.
All objects have the same unassuming neoprene surface. This surface is a constraint that entices the viewer to investigate them, walk up to them, bring her body- and all its skills- into contact with the objects, weigh them, look and touch at them, even ‘care’ for them. The grey green colour and the blob shapes exercise a calculated force: it attracts, but it does not plan out for the viewer what she will think or do with the object. The colour and shape are ‘generous’ because they are ‘just enough’: not so strongly appealing that they over-determine our encounter with the object but also not weak so that they cease to intrigue and puzzle us. These objects have ‘just enough’ qualities to allow and to initiate and support our open investigation of them.
The fifth annual conference of CRESC will tackle Objects – What Matters? Technology, Value and Social Change. As contemporary social theorists continue to signal the need to reconfigure our deliberations on the social through attention to practice, to object-mediated relations, to non-human agency and to the affective dimensions of human sociality, this conference takes as its focus the objects and values which find themselves at centre stage. And we ask, in the context of nearly two decades of diverse disciplinary approaches to these issues, what matters about objects? How are they inflecting our understandings of technology, of expertise, and of social change? How has a focus on objects reconfigured our understandings of how values inflect the ways in which people make relations, create social worlds, and construct conceptual categories? How have objects become integral to human enthusiasms and energies, to transformational ambition, or to the transmission of values across time and space? How do objects move between ordinary and extraordinary states, shade in and out of significance, manifest instability and uncertainty? How do moral and material values attach to objects as they move in space and time? What dimensions do they inhabit and/or reveal?