Course Offerings

Prof. Dr. Patricia Ribault


Tracking Materiality 2. On the Geo-Bio-Politics of Material Transformation


• To better understand our material culture through various processes of formation and transformation of artefacts, as well as the geo-bio-political context of their production

• To give a theoretical and practical overview of the processes of giving form

• To foresee possible futures for materiality


Following on the winter semester seminar “Tracking Materiality 1. Gestures, Techniques and Artefacts”, the block seminar “Tracking Materiality 2. On the Geo-Bio-Politics of Material Transformation” will be held in collaboration with the Institute for History and Theory of Culture at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin (Dr. Michaela Büsse). In preparation of the forthcoming exhibition Material Legacies at the Museum of Decorative Arts (Kunstgewerbemuseum Berlin), we will examine selected artefacts from the museum’s collection and explore their historical, geological and economic entanglements.

We will also study various processes at stake in transforming an idea, a project, a wish into artefacts, images, devices… From ordinary gestures and forms to formidable projects, or from matter to materials and objects, we will study the logics and techniques of production used to create and make. We will pay attention to mental processes and follow their paths of transformation, from ideas, sensations, or imagination, to concrete realisations, through different concepts, figures and examples from the fields of art, science, industry, design, architecture, engineering, crafts, medicine, literature, performing arts, etc.

We will visit the collections of the museum with Curator Claudia Banz and you will choose one artefact (or group of artefacts), then “track” their materiality at different periods and under the different forms they take, by investigating on the context of their production, both technically and culturally, and by relating it to contemporary questions and situations. In mixed groups (art, design and cultural studies) you will contextualise your findings through essays, audio-visual works and other mixed-media formats.


- The seminar will be based on artefacts from the collections of the Kunstgewerbemuseum and a corpus of different texts, films and references.

- Students will be invited to present a case-study, and to speculate on the becoming of materiality, based on their investigation and their own field of practice.

- For students in Art or Design, from 5th semester on

- Max 15 participants

- A seminar in English

Planning: on Thursdays

2 Introductory sessions:

• 21/04: 14 to 16.00 - Humboldt Universität, Institute Fur Kulturwissenschaft, Georgenstrasse 47, Berlin

• 28/04: 14 to 16.00 - Hörsaal, KHB

3 full-day sessions:

• 05/05: 10 to 18.00 — @ Kunstgewerbemuseum

• 19/05: 10 to 18.00 — either @ the Cluster MoA, or @ HU

• 23/06: 10 to 18.00 — @ Aula + Hörsaal, KhB

Final presentation:

30/06: 14 to 18.00 — @ KGM, KHB (Kunsthalle) or @ the Cluster MoA

Subject group:
Theorie und Geschichte

KhB or HU

Sommersemester 2022

2. Studienabschnitt

Location : n.n.

Number of participants : 0 (0)

Hours/week : 2

Credit Points : 2