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36ème Congrès du CIHA - Lyon 2024

Parrainé par le Ministère de la Culture,
le Ministère de l'Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche,
le Ministère de l'Europe et des Affaires étrangères

Queering Materiality

Petra Lange-Berndt 1 , Nadine Hounkpatin 2
1Universitaet Hamburg - Hamburg (Germany), 2Independent Curator and Cultural Producer  - Benin (France)

Sujet en anglais / Topic in english

This session stresses the politics involved when focusing on the materials of art: To consider the processes of making also means to address power relations. And this perspective has not only emancipatory impulses but is also firmly situated within gender politics. As philosopher Judith Butler (1993) has famously discussed and as art historian Monika Wagner (1996, 2001) has specified, matière, matter, matérialité, or materiality have been coded feminine (see also Didi-Huberman 1999; Lange-Berndt 2009; Auther 2010; Weddigen et al 2011, 2017). Within this rich field, we would like to focus on instances where binary models, for instance soft ‚female‘ wool or hard ‚male‘ granite, shift into a trans materiality (Barad 2015). This discussion is overdue: Since the 1960s, but especially after 1989, materials, which are connected to queer phenomena, have been increasingly appearing in art. One could name sticky or abject stuff, formless substances, genetically, hormonally, or chemically modified bodies, organisms dissolved into data clouds, glitter, the non-human, or magical materials and animism (Kristeva 1980; Bois / Krauss 1997; Preciado 2000; Hauser 2008; Rübel 2012; Suárez 2014; van Roden 2019). Taking up this impulse, from the perspective of agential realism and new materiality, the stuff that art is made of points to the whirling complexity and entanglement of diverse factors in the digital age, in which ‚material‘ is an effect of an ongoing performance (Deleuze / Guattari 1980; Plant 1997; Barad 2007; Bennett 2010; Braidotti 2013; Lange-Berndt 2015).

Likewise, the process of queering is meant to be critical of stable concepts of identity. It points to an investigation of social strategies of norming and normalisation and their regimes: Queering is a celebration of the indeterminate, an open web of possibilities, dissonances and resonances, or excesses (Sedgwick 1993; Jagose 2001; Ahmed 2006). While these discourses and their many politics clearly have been gaining momentum in the humanities and art practices alike, it would be timely to discuss the state of this debate within art history: Despite this rich theoretical discourse, there has been no thorough discussion of 'queering materiality'. In this panel, we would like to give a survey over this field. We invite academic and non- academic articles, experimental formats, as well as contributions from artists, from different temporalities and from all regions of the globe - in particular from Africa and its diasporas, at the intersection of new theories of materiality involved in current artistic practices that critically address this process of queering meant to critique concepts of identity stability. Exactly how can matière, matter, matérialité, or materiality be considered queer? How could this contemporary concept be historicised? Where – in a global context and within diverse cosmologies – do the materials of art disrupt or interfere with social norms, allowing for repressed, messy or unstable substances and impure or contagious formations to surface? What would the implications be for artistic work, for the art world, for art history? What does it mean to be complicit with and to follow a queered materiality?