International Symposium
Object Lesson Nr 9. Material and Knowledge.

January 13, 2017, 9am – 6pm
Detail aus Object Lesson Box, Woolen Thread

Detail from Object Lesson Box, Woolen Thread. Image: Armin Herrmann.

International Symposium within the Framework of the Exhibition
Object Lessons. The Story of Material Education in 8 Chapters
January 13, 2017, from 9 am until 6 pm.

Knowledge about materials, their origins, properties and possibilities is in high demand. It promises creative autonomy and a sustainable human-environment relation. But material knowledge is hard to come by: traditionally considered the domain of highly skilled experts in craft, industry, art, and sciences, it is not only kept secret, but also perceived as tacit rather than explicit. Today, industrialization, globalization, and digitalization have further limited direct contact with materials and processes of production. Attempts to recapture material knowledge for the public domain on the other hand appear limited, as the Do-It-Yourself movement is confined to niches and sustainability written off as a marketing hype and discredited as “greenwashing”. How then is material knowledge made accessible to the public on a large scale; and how can one become materially literate?

There has been, in fact, an explicit education about, with, and through materials since at least the 18th century. It propagated materials as a condition to understand the world yet its history and objects are little known. The Exhibition Object Lessons. The Story of Material Education in 8 Chapters reconstructs the story of material education in science, craft, and industry, at home, in literature and popular culture, in the archive, and the museum for the first time.

Object Lesson Nr. 9 - the symposium - brings together international experts, who explore the place of materials and material knowledge in institutions devoted to collecting, learning, and creating in close dialogue with the objects on view and against the background of theories of the material turn.

Ausstellungsansicht Object Lessons, Foto: Christian Richters

View of the Exhibition Object Lessons, Image: Christian Richters.


9 am
Coffee & Tea

9.30 am
Ann-Sophie Lehmann (Groningen) & Imke Volkers (Berlin)

10 am
“What Not to Collect? Materials, Objects, Stories…”
Sharon Macdonald (York/Berlin)

Detail aus Object Lesson Box, Ginger

Detail from Object Lesson Box, Ginger. Image: Armin Herrmann.

10.45 am
“Muster & Wissen. Materialsammlungen und Materialbildung im Museum der Dinge”
Imke Volkers (Berlin)

11.30 am
“Die Stoffe vergangener Lebenswelten.
Referenzmaterialien und deren Bedeutung als Quelle für Lehre und Forschung in der Konservierung und Restaurierung”
Ruth Keller (Berlin)

Detail aus Object Lesson Box, Limpet

Detail from Object Lesson Box, Limpet. Image: Armin Herrmann.

12.15 pm
Break/Visit to the Exhibition

1.30 pm
“Words on Things. The Red Thread Through the History of Material Education”
Ann-Sophie Lehmann (Groningen)

Detail aus Object Lesson Box, Needles. Foto: Armin Herrmann.

Detail from Object Lesson Box, Needles. Image: Armin Herrmann.

2.15 pm
“Object Lesson und bürgerlicher Realismus. Stifters Nachsommer”
Christian van der Steeg (Zurich/Vienna)

3 pm
Coffee & Tea

3.30 pm
"Josef Albers, Material Instruction, and the Development of Intuitive Perception"
Jeffrey Saletnik (Indiana/Berlin)

4.15 pm
“Von Bezoar bis Kunstharz. Materialbildung im Materialarchiv”
Franziska Müller-Reissmann (Zurich)

5 pm

Talks in German and English (see title).

Detail aus Object Lesson Box, Quills. Foto: Armin Herrmann.

Detail from Object Lesson Box, Quills. Image: Armin Herrmann.

The symposium is open to the public. Free Participation.

There is a limited amount of seats.
Please register (fully booked, waiting list only): hoenle|at|

Supported by Hauptstadtkulturfonds.