Material as Experiment / 2017
A Participatory Laboratory Situation at Bauhaus Dessau Foundation
What makes a material “smart“? How do materials influence our lives?
How do we work with them in order to shape our present and future?
The interactive laboratory “Material as Experiment“ at “Stahlhaus" in Dessau-Törten, focused on research into materials in several disciplines. Together with Julia Wolf and Veronika Aumann of the Weißensee Academy of Art Berlin, I curated and developed a three-month interactive exhibition
that aimed to transfer knowledge between science, art, design and the
general public through participatory design methods. Current knowledge
from material sciences about so-called “smart materials“ was translated
and juxtaposed as well as merged with contemporary material experiments
of designers and artists. Therefore the concept of an “exhibition“ was turned into a
transdisciplinary laboratory and questioned the current state of material
research as well as the roles of curators and visitors.
Based on the inclusive idea that everyone is a researcher depending on their
access to or their perspective on gaining knowledge, the laboratory invited the
diverse actors to a discourse through experimental research methods. All participants were enabled
to immerse themselves into the material research in a collaborative process
as well as discussing social, political, ecological and cultural contexts. A
diverse supporting programme including workshops, talks and symposia
with collaborating universities and art schools like the Anhalt University of
Applied Sciences, Zurich University of Arts and University of Art and Design
Halle, scientific research institutions like the Fraunhofer Institut, Ruhr University
Bochum and Technical University Freiberg, material experts like Dr. Manuel Kretzer, Mareike Gast, Reinhard Ose, Clemens Winkler, Luke Franzke, Lapatsch|Unger, Paula van Brummelen and Franziska Müller-Reißmann, Bauhaus Artists in Residency Marit Wolters and Wagehe Raufi as well as
miscellaneous actors from Dessau together with international visitors brought
life into the knowledge transfer.
“Material as Experiment“ was part of the transdisciplinary two-year research
project “smart materials satellites“ of the smart3 network funded by the
German Federal Ministry of Education. Research partners were the Bauhaus Dessau
Foundation, the weißensee kunsthochschule berlin, the
Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology IWU, the
Technical Collections of Dresden and the SYN Foundation Halle.