Material Thinking

17 May 14

On May 17th as part of the public programme for Sarah Browne’s exhibition, Hand to Mouth, there is a special screening and discussion event at CCA. Browne is joined by writer Sadie Plant and philosopher Aislinn O’Donnell to discuss the research and decisions made in the production of the works in the exhibition.

In a change to the original programme for this event, Sadie Plant is joining us remotely to speak about her book ‘Zeros and Ones’, which offers an alternative, feminist account of the history and nature of digital technology.

Aislinn O’Donnell frames the event with a presentation of her recent work on ‘material thinking’, examining the ‘de-materialisation’ of labour and the proliferation of generic ‘skills-talk’ in the precarious conditions of contemporary capitalism. She suggests that thinking is always embedded in a concrete and specific context and the genesis of thinking is informed by an ongoing interplay with its material. This requires attention to both the matter of thinking and the ways in which thinking is material. Thinking is material not just because it needs something to ‘think about’ but because thinking as a practice is responsive to the different expressive potentials of the matter at hand.

Returning to the exploration and representation of subsistence economies, the talks are followed by a screening of The Gleaners and I (2000). This lo-fi experimental documentary by Agnès Varda, shot on digital video, follows a number of ‘gleaners’ or scavengers in rural and urban France. It also positions the filmmaker herself as engaged in a process of ‘gleaning’ ideas, materials and images.

Hand to Mouth continues at CCA Derry~Londonderry until May 24th, 2014.