Prof. Dr. Patricia Ribault


Genealogies of Techniques and Materials

In parallel to the course “History of Gestaltung”, this block seminar will revisit the way we can teach a history of design in yet another way: by considering the very materials and techniques used in the manufacturing of our world (therefore in art and design) through a material genealogy—or rather through various material genealogies.

We will see how elements (air, earth, water, fire) and materials (fibers, wood, sand, clay, pigments, minerals, leather, …) are deeply imprinted not only in our technicity, but also in our imagination and in the very processes of building our civilizations, both literally and figuratively. We will dig deep into the many ways we relate to these fundamental components of our world, as well as how we use and transform them. We will study their raw states of being, how we gradually discovered their potential and experimented with them, but also some of the tales, images and figures that we invented from them.

In other words, we will see how they shape us as much as we shape them. And we will bridge these sometimes-immemorial ways to relate to matter and materials with contemporary approaches by artists, craftsmen and craftswomen, engineers and designers.

The block seminar will be organized in two parts: first we will take some case-studies such as earth, fire, metal, water, glass and ceramics, and, together with two or three guests, we will unfold several possible material genealogies and histories. Then you will be invited to choose a material or a technique, research about it, and to tell your own history or genealogy, based on the examples we will have studied over the semester, but not only: you may use your own practice as a designer or an artist and your own interest in some ancient or contemporary materials (biomaterials, nanomaterials, plastics, …) and try to make sense of their contemporary expressions by connecting them to a possible origin and/or history.

This seminar will be held in English.

• Dates:

- 19/10 and 16/11, from 2 pm to 4 pm

- 23/11 & 24/11, from 10 am to 6 pm (all day)

- 16/01 & 17/01, from 10 am to 6 pm (all day)

• Place: KHB, Cluster MoA, online

- Credits: 2



19th October, 14.00 to 16.00 (KHB, Prof. Mensa): Presentation of the seminar by Patricia Ribault and Jörg Petruschat.

16th November, 14.00 to 16.00: Second introductory session (P. Ribault)

November 23rd & 24th (tbc): 10.00 to 18.00 (Cluster MoA and KHB)

January 18th – 19th: 10.00 to 18.00 (Cluster MoA and KHB)


Subject group: Theorie und Geschichte / Design theorie

Semester: Winter term 2023 / 2024

When: See above

Exam performance: Presentation

Course language: English

Subject group: Theorie und Geschichte



Winter term 2023 / 2024

Course language

Prof. Dr. Patricia Ribault
Prof. Dr. Jörg Petruschat

Wintersemester 2023/2024

alle Studiengänge

Ort : n.n.

Teilnehmerzahl : 0 (0)

Wochenstunden : 2

Creditpoints : 2