“My ABC is active”
March 23 to April 23, 2023
From March 20 to 23, Iva Rešetar and Léa Perraudin of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin’s interdisciplinary research group Matters of Activity rearranged the holdings at the Sitterwerk within the framework of the series “My ABC is …” Their intervention in the collections of books and materials is guided by activity in materials and the mechanisms of control and cooperation in our handling of them, as well as beyond the area of human influence and perception.
They interrogate the way in which materials are connected to their contexts, how they reveal processes, and how they change over the course of time. They thus call into question in particular the generally prevailing understanding of materials as stable and standardized units. Material archives as a store of knowledge are often limited to the collecting of stable and isolated samples and concentrate on practices that ideally exclude or prevent changes. But indications of material flows and broader socio-ecological contexts are found specifically in this. During their research residency, Iva Rešetar and Léa Perraudin examined the way in which archives facilitate access to and experience of such activities in materials—such as phase transitions, growth, or weathering—and how the samples make reference to material processes outside of the collection.
The overview is the preliminary result of a search for traces and can be consulted point by point as well as be read from left to right or interactively. Narratives of materials and their use, processing, and legacies are interwoven between the tables, the floor, and the shelves situated behind them. One focus is on questions of scale, which range from the biological growth of cellulose materials and the symbiotic and collaborative production of bacterial cellulose, to finishing techniques that control and functionalize material properties on a molecular basis. In addition, growth is dealt with as a central concept that includes both organic growth and inorganic accumulations (dust, condensation) and also socio-economic growth and its limits. Moreover, material-political relationships of tension with a global scope—infrastructures and processes of change in the Anthropocene—are addressed and a site-specific look is directed back at the Sitterwerk based on remnants and weathering as well as practices related to collecting and maintaining the collections.
Christian Hörler and Angela Kuratli provided the exhibition furniture—originally conceived for the project Shifting Cascades at the Propstei St. Peterzell—for the overview of the books and materials.
The series of workshops is supported by the Cultural Department of the Canton of St.Gallen / Swisslos, Stiftung Temperatio, and the TISCA Tischhauser Stiftung