‘Conversing WITH Materials’ - How do we converse with materials and other beings to co-design equitably?

Authors: Jane Norris, Elvin Karana, Nithikul Nimkulrat

peer-reviewer conference paper, 2018

How do we converse with materials and other beings to co-design equitably? In this Conversation, we aimed to host an event that acted as a catalyst to reanimate our mutual relationships with materials. It sought to identify fresh tactics for designing and ‘constructing’ objects. We offered for consideration two ‘materials-as-co-performers’ of design practice that operate as team members together with humans. Through activities such as sonic fictional design and performative design, this Conversation explored a more-than-human approach to making. During this event, emphasis was placed on listening to materials and considering their intimate performative relationship to us. Questions for discussion were: In what ways can we listen to materials? How do materials inform the hand and mind? How can we co-perform with materials? With this Conversation, we sought to start a debate where we begin to map out a nascent material vocabulary relevant to co-making in the anthropocene. The format of a Conversation (rather than an address or lecture) was particularly appropriate for co-producing new understanding and for formulating equitable relationships amongst human and non-human beings.

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Suggested Citation: Norris, J., Karana, E., & Nimkulrat, N. (2018). ‘Conversing WITH Materials’ How do we converse with materials and other beings to co-design equitably?. In S. Prendeville, A. Durrant, N. O' Murchú, & K. Leahy, A. (eds.) Book of DRS2018 Conversation (pp. 35–43). Limerick, Ireland: University of Limerick. DOI: 10.21606/dma.2018.711.