Friday Forum of UCL’s Arts & Humanities and Social & Historical Sciences Faculties Institute of Graduate Studies (Joint FIGS)
Properties are often ascribed to materials and are distinct from the kinds of qualities which apply to objects as forms. The cultural variety between material properties is particularly difficult to unpack and can appear in a scientific sense to be inevitably associated with or fixed to particular materials.
Rather than being fixed in materials, properties comprise ways of knowing and ways of experiencing potentialities and limitations, which become relevant at specific moments, places, times, and with particular people. Thus material properties are not simple constructs, but are often socially transformative, existing in practice as a compound of persons, objects, practices and knowledge.
At a time when new materials are being created and used inventively and experimentally, this Forum asks what we can learn in both historical and contemporary contexts by examining materials first and foremost, as opposed to starting with artefacts or processes.