|Abstract LIQUID THINGS
/ Roman Kirschner:
Materials have always been transmitters of messages. Today they have acquired a new relevance as a result of the increasing
flows of information that shape our societies. Consequently, many scientific fields are simultaneously developing ways of
expanding the potential of matter to handle these flows. On the road to realizing concepts like “programmable matter” or “adaptive
architecture”, research groups on “mediated matter”, “transitive materials” and “metamaterials” have recently emerged. However,
these young realms are characterized by a mechanistic way of thinking which leaves promising aspects of these novel, active
and metamorphic materials unelaborated.
Considering Gaston Bachelard’s poetic essays on the influence of matter on imagination and that fact that our culture has
been charged with ideas about transformations since the apparition of Ovid’s “Metamorphoses” two thousands years ago, we propose
a practical and critical approach to the genuine advances in this field made by computer and materials sciences, physics and
chemistry to face questions regarding issues such as the physical resonance of materials becoming active or their potential
to cause a renegotiation of our material reality.
We take both referential contexts, namely the scientific developments and the imagination applied to transformations of matter,
and combine them to present new ideas, concepts and concrete actions with the intention of expanding artistic perspectives.
The project “Liquid Things” is organised in three modules: Material/Thechnology, Theory/Reflection and Art/Process, each including
several international invitations for concentrated, time-limited cooperations ending in individual presentations. The first
module focuses on experiments with novel materials; the second deepens the context and sets the theoretical framework for
our research; and finally, the third, consists of the creation of artistic prototypes. The main outcomes are presented in:
two workshops on the artistic manipulation of active materials, a symposium that reflects on the theoretical and practical
field adressed in the project in relation to art-based research, an exhibition that places the prototypes in a public venue
for open discussion and a final published book, which summarizes the processes, collaborations, activities and results of
the project. The three modules are deeply intertwined and allow the development of a critical and simultaneously deep and
original collaboration with matter.