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What the materials murmured

Thursday, 02 November 2017


Jane Bennett, political theorist and author of Vibrant matter: A political ecology of things proposes that collectively we need to live more materialistically by acknowledging the energy invested in ordinary things. Bennet argues that the most ubiquitous things, such as plastic water bottles or toilet paper rolls, contain millions of years of evolution in their material makeup. As the result of human ingenuity and design, and production developments, Bennet claims such functional things should not be so easily discarded.

Bennett’s assertion that we need to be more mindful of relationships with the material environment that sustains all 7 billion of us resulted in Spatial Studio students reimagining and restructuring selected waste materials of their choice. The works in What the materials murmured are the outcomes of practice-led research and reveal haptic experiences as compelling, patterns as mesmerizing, and resulting forms as spatially complex and variable. Drawings and videos materially, philosophically and temporally explore relationships between mind, body, and thing, and reveal a new respect for so-called waste.

Respect for things, including waste, can help minimize waste of energy and materials. To Bennett, “thing power” is the acknowledgement that everyday objects and materials have significance in that everything, living and non-living, is part of the web that connects us all.


Winston Addon * Victoria Bennett * Stephanie Bird * Briony Blair * Georgia Chamberlain * Alaura Chapman-Williams * Sarah Cheers * Olivia Colja * Daisy Friedl * Nicole Keenan * Rebecca Kerbey *  You Ting Kuo * Chun Hee Kwon * Rafael Leone * Colin Madden * Sophie Robinson * Kristy Scaddan * Alexandra Spargo * Courtney-Jade Tester * Hannah Woolmer

Dr Nien Schwarz, is an artist, Senior Lecturer, the VIS2130 Spatial Studio unit coordinator and curator of What the materials murmured. We’d like to thank Claire Bushby, Amanda Allerding, Paul Godfey, Louise Gan, Graeme Burge, Vanessa Wallace and Ben Waters for their assistance in facilitating this exhibition.

Event details

What the materials murmured will be open to the public from Tuesday, 7 November to Saturday, 11 November at Spectrum Project Space, Mount Lawley Campus, Edith Cowan University.

Celebratory event

Date: Friday, 10 November 2017
Time: 5.00pm - 8.00pm
Venue: Spectrum Project Space, ECU Mount Lawley Campus, Building 3, Room 3.191

Open hours

Tuesday to Friday 10.00am - 5.00pm
Saturdays 12.00pm - 5.00pm


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