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Mabe Bethonico, Ursula Biemann, Uwe H. Martin et al.
World of Matter

Water. Coltan. Coal. Oil. Air. Lithium. Fish. Rice. E-waste. Soil. Gold. Plastic. Cotton. Tantalum. All these extensively mined raw materials are the focus of the international research, exhibition and weaving project World of Matter. Drawing reference to notions such as “a world that matters” as well as the world of material processes, World of Matter offers a forum to artists, photojournalists and documentary filmmakers, architects and programmers who have already worked extensively in the field of raw materials and its related local policies to cooperate with theoreticians who conduct research in geography, art history and cultural theory. 

In view of the “limits of growth” reached today, the interdisciplinary research project addresses the complex cycles or ecologies of raw materials. World of Matter challenges the term “resource,” because it assumes an anthropocentric perspective that views raw materials exclusively as something available for human consumption. On the other hand, the project strengthens concepts of “ecologies.” Not focusing on the human being, these convey an understanding of non-hierarchical interactions and cycles between manifold forms of life, matter and technology. 

The artistic-scientific development and production of new visual materials, texts, cartographies, public programs, a publication, internet platform, and exhibition is set to contribute to liberating the concept of resource from its hitherto predominantly economic-industrial evaluation and to incorporate its aesthetic and cultural-theoretical context. 

(Translated from German text by the Institute for Theory (ith), Zurich University of Arts:

Title: World of Matter
Year: 2011 – 2018
Format: Internet, Online, Database
Material / Technology: Webseite
Acquisition: Acquired 2019, Inv.Nr. S0065.