The material turn in scholarship is a reconceptualisation of the role of materiality in shaping culture and society. This panel will address the implications of these encounters that allow artists and anthropologists to retool their relation to the study of 'things' in general.
Over the past twenty years, researchers have been increasingly preoccupied with materiality as a field that unites the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, one that calls into question the binarism and anthropocentrism of critical theory and the cultural turn. The material turn in scholarship is a reconceptualisation of the role of materiality in shaping culture, society and more-than-human cognition. The questions we wish to address on this panel pertain to the implications of these encounters and the potential for links with contemporary art that allow artists and anthropologists to themselves retool their relation to their own field and to the study of 'things' in general. Artists and anthropologists alike are at present broaching many different materialist approaches, developing processes that echo wider materialist ruptures. Fowler and Harris describe a schism between materialists who regard materials as singular and composed, and those that view materials as processes, as things that grow and move, a co-relationist/realist division that remains very evident within both artistic and ethnographic research. Are the differences of approach irreconcilable; need they be reconciled? This panel wishes to consider the possibility of an intermedial zone between practice-based and practice-led research wherein artefacts may emerge from technê, and technê from artefacts. While differences of approach persist in this zone, there is much that might be gained by bringing these disciplinary differences together in a shared research environment. What shape might such a shared intermedial environment take? Could it adopt a familiar model?