New Materialisms IV

IV Annual Conference on the New Materialisms: Movement, Aesthetics, Ontology

School of History, Culture and Arts Studies, University of Turku, Finland
16-17 May 2013

Katve-Kaisa Kontturi, Milla Tiainen & Ilona Hongisto,
Conference Convenors

New materialist approaches are increasingly announced, articulated, exercised and contested across a gamut of often entwining research fields from art theory, media studies and feminist philosophy to sociology, gender and sexuality research, and science and environmental studies. In addition to the cross-evolving discussions in these areas, there is growing need to consider the connections but also the specificity of new materialisms in relation to many contemporaneous intellectual developments, such as new forms of realism or post-human(ist) thought.

To encourage inquiries of this kind, we invited scholars and postgraduate students to submit for this conference proposals in reference to three concepts: movement, aesthetics, and ontology. Variations of them seem to inform much of the research done in the name of new materialisms or linkable with these approaches. Far from suggesting them as prescriptive closures to what new materialisms involve, we wanted to offer the concepts as condensation points of concerns that incarnate very differently depending on the context in which they are engaged. Movement pertains, for example, to the primacy given in many new materialist pursuits to process, emergence and the vibrancy of matter, whereas aesthetics may refer to the importance of sensation, affect, inter-/amodality or new sense- and feeling-based conceptions of politics. Ontology implicates a range of neomaterialist themes and affiliations from nature–culture continua to non-representational thought. These notions bring substance and consistency to new materialist modes of thinking and intervention – in ways both currently manifest and yet to be discovered.

The work of our distinguished keynote speakers – Barbara Bolt, Estelle Barrett, Patricia Pisters, Jukka Sihvonen, Iris van der Tuin & Cecilia Åsberg – is exemplary of the ways in which movement, aesthetics and ontology matter to and through new materialist examinations of the arts, the body, gender, technology, entanglements of materiality and sociality, and human–non-human relations.

We were happy to receive a large number of proposals ranging between theoretical, empirical, practice-based and activist approaches. We are convinced that each one of the selected presentations will contribute to the exploration and elaboration of the formative stages, recent actualizations and future potential of new materialisms. They constitute an exciting assemblage of theories, practices and experiments that is bound to make the conference an inspiring event for all.

We are absolutely delighted to welcome you all in Turku!



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