What are the Politics of Material Agentiality?

Workshop organized by Kristina Pia Hofer, Eva Kernbauer and Marietta Kesting

The recent ‘material turn’ has sparked lively debates on how to integrate matter-oriented perspectives with feminist/queer film and media criticism that focuses on the politics of representation. While these latter frameworks readily provide instruments of political critique, it is not yet clear how exactly material agentiality figures in the world of emancipatory engagement, which is – in large parts – a world of social structures, human agency, language-driven discourses and symbolic exchange.
In this workshop we will explicitly ask for the emancipatory potential of material agentiality: What exactly can an artwork’s material dimensions do, which dynamics can they set off? How are the radically open futurities – that much of material criticism suggests as its prime potential – to be thought together with tenacious normativities and inequalities? We will discuss these questions for moments in film and video that make historicity perceptible with obsolete technologies and media formats.


Introduction: A Matter of Historicity – Eva Kernbauer, Marietta Kesting
Q & A: New Materialism, Old Media – Kristina Pia Hofer and Axel Stockburger
The Museum of Trance –
Henrike Naumann
Archival Romances: Found, Compressed, and Loved Again –
Laura Marks


Dead Technologies and the Politics of Temporality
– Andy Birtwistle
Concluding panel with all participants – Moderation: Marietta Kesting

With Andy Birtwistle (Canterbury Christ Church University) Henrike Naumann (Artist, Berlin) Laura Marks (Simon Fraser University, Vancouver), Axel Stockburger (Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna) and Kristina Pia Hofer, Eva Kernbauer and Marietta Kesting (all University of Applied Arts Vienna).

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