Session #2 - Laura White - Materiality

Laura White, Materiality


Session #2 - 6 December 2017

MARs Materiality was a project organized by Laura White, with prep sessions lead by PhD students Rowena Harris, Kate Pickering and Laura Burns, and guests Juliette Kristensen and Florian Roithmayr.

The aim of MARs Materiality was to open up new ways of thinking and talking about materiality – materiality as the subject rather than a vehicle for the non-material and theoretical.

Is it possible to talk about materiality in and of itself, without reference to other subject areas? How can we talk about materiality insightfully and intelligently without falling into a dated language of formalism? How does the digital environment affect/influence our material environment, and can we separate the physical from the virtual anymore?

Each session began with an observation of, and interaction with, things/objects/matter. Giving time and space to this specific material engagement and to the conversations and responses (linguistic, sonic, gestural) arising from it, we worked to become responsive to the things/stuff/objects/bodies in front of us. In doing so, we reverse a more familiar use of materials/processes to describe an idea/concept, instead starting with materiality, its unique qualities and processes, to generate language and ideas.

Throughout the sessions we also drew from a broad conversation involving material culture, design, anthropology, material science and physics in order to extend the language of materiality within art practice. In this way, MARs Materiality began with a specific material engagement, whether physical or digital, and ends with a journey all its own!


Laura White’s practice focuses on a negotiation with the world of STUFF, i.e. interactions with materials and objects, exploring ideas of value, profile, association, meaning and behavior of materials, individual and collections of objects.

Things are explored both as material stuff and anthropological signifiers, that are capable of revealing the human condition - vulnerabilities and capabilities, value systems affected by consumerism and material status, and object/human dependencies.

Her works occupy a fluid space, on one hand demanding critical discourse, and on the other their own ambiguous and intuitive logic.