Material Culture

Research leader: Christina Zetterlund

The research field of Material Cultures takes its departure in different forms of materialisations and makings. It is about the formation of and the interaction with a material and visual world. The field is very broad, as materials and makings are central to how we shape and organise the world around us. Objects, identities, societal norms and national borders are materialised and guide us in the present as well as the past. The making allows us to investigate things that exist and to formulate alternatives. By highlighting and questioning that which is evident, we create new opportunities for discussion, production and ways to look at, but also to act in, the globalised world.

Material Cultures is an interdisciplinary research field that organises both artistic and academic research. This includes different forms of making and mediations looking at and testing a physical, material world. In the understanding of the material, aspects such as time, place and body become significant. This makes situating knowledge and experiences through historical perspectives essential. For this reason, historical studies of material and visual cultures also take place within this research field. These are studies that contribute to an in-depth understanding of the past and of how these cultures fit into our times. 

Today, historical perspectives can be seen in many forms of artistic processes. In those processes, history becomes a way of investigating and testing that which exists. There is an intimate bond between past, present and future. History has increasingly become a tool for asserting political positions, creating communities and shaping identities.  Testing the existing historiography therefore constitutes a component of social development.  From this perspective, history becomes an action that investigates and tests how materials and practices have been understood and structured in the past. It is a form of organisation that is now contributing to shaping subjects, in addition to facilitating contemporary practices.

Projects:
Folkhemskommersialism (description in Swedish only)
En svensk boktryckstyp 1897-1930  (description in Swedish only)

Updated: 17 April 2013
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