The lecture series takes up the ambiguous role of materials in future-making practices along with the possible geo and bio-political precarity they may generate. Different materials from sand, water or air to living cells and whole ecosystems are the objects and interface of a range of technologies that generate images of the future. Their probabilistic methods prepare the ideational and physical ground for large and small-scale design interventions (e.g. climate-resilient infrastructures). And yet, these materials often stubbornly evade the efforts of technical experts to tame their unruly behavior. More than highlighting failures, such frictions can also alert us to the various ways in which materiality affords new forms of political practices around envisioning and enacting common but contested futures. Such political gatherings may even include participatory procedures for assembling more-than-human collectivities emerge.

With contributions from fields like cultural history and theory, social and cultural anthropology, design, arts and media studies, the lecture series ›Dis/Entangling material futures‹ seeks to render visible the multiple entanglements and disentanglement associated with the making and unmaking of material futures. Contributions also highlight a variety of methodological approaches, knowledge constellations, and modes of critique emerging at the intersections of the humanities, social sciences, arts, design and curatorial practices. They require addressing what is at stake when conducting material research, from inside as well as outside of established institutions (academic or otherwise).

The lecture series is organized by Prof. Dr. Claudia Mareis, with Michaela Büsse, Anke Gruendel, Léa Perraudin, and Amanda Winberg in cooperation between the Cluster of Excellence ›Matters of Activity. Image Space Material‹ and the Department of Cultural History and Theory at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

Semester: SoSe 2022