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Annual Conference | Constant Change: The Temporal Dimensions of Materialities in the Arts

Jul 05, 2023 - Jul 07, 2023

Organised by Research Area 2: "Travelling Matters"

3rd Annual Conference of the EXC 2020 "Temporal Communities: Doing Literature in a Global Perspective", Freie Universität Berlin

In 2023, the Cluster’s annual conference will be dedicated to materialities in the arts and their temporal dimensions. Research Area 2 “Travelling Matters”, which will host the conference, places particular emphasis on a cross-disciplinary perspective between literature and various arts. Arts – be they texts, books, images, films, or performances – travel through time with their materialities constantly changing. While the spatial dynamics of travelling materialities have already been conceptualized in a variety of ways, the conference will shift attention primarily to material mobilities in time: Materials move through time, they are transferred and transformed, they decay and are restored, repaired, conserved, revalued; they are in constant flux and are used in seemingly endless repetitions.  Even where works of art appear stable and durable in their material structure, their appearances are based on material processes into which change is inscribed. What role does the mutability of the material play in the practice of the arts? What opportunities lie in this material mutability and what unpredictability? How do material transformations effect the perception of artistic works, but also the production and experience of time? How are the relations between materials and times negotiated in theories and discourses of the arts? How does the professional stance towards materials change over time – for example from the perspective of artists, writers, performers, curators and conservators? The conference will discuss these questions drawing on contemporary and historical examples.

Based on these discussions, the conference will also provide contributions to the Cluster’s ongoing research on temporal communities. Communities need material resources, need infrastructures, and throughout history and the present the arts have provided forms and models for such material ways of community building. How do collectives and communities in the arts materialize today? How can communities sustainably and fairly manage the material resources that are indispensable for (never exclusively) their existence and for (never exclusively) their future continuity? What do the arts contribute today by, on the one hand, pointing to the indispensable material foundations of any form of sociality and communality, and, on the other hand, by critically reflecting on the pressing ethical, political, ecological, and economic problems that result from material (co)dependencies?

The issue of temporal dimensions of materialities in the arts refers to the diverse new materialisms that have emerged over recent times. We want to explore these references from the perspective of the humanities and particularly of the disciplines related to the arts. A key question in this context is how different concepts of temporality can be negotiated in the arts, and how they manifest: What are the challenges when relating concepts, such as deep time, to the materialities of the arts? What temporalities are specific to the arts? What possibilities do the arts create to question and relativize traditional, rigid time regimes that are often even considered "natural"? How are the arts themselves transformed by new conceptions of temporality and their material ramifications? We would like to bring perspectives from art history, philosophy, literary studies as well as performance and film studies to bear on these questions.


Time & Location

Jul 05, 2023 - Jul 07, 2023

Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin
Humboldt-Saal
Unter den Linden 8
10117 Berlin