3rd Meeting “Leakiness of the World: Ecology of Fluid Materials”

Bibliotheca Hertziana – Max Planck Institute for Art History, Rome
March 12–14, 2020

In the third meeting, the research network focusses on aspects of mobility and self-activity of (fluid) materials with special regard to their ecological entanglements and interdependencies. The starting point of our discussion is the hypothesis that the world of materials is neither fixed nor self-contained; rather, it is restless due to open-ended sympoietic processes of exchange. Within complex and mutable milieus materials act according to their immanent tendencies and dynamics – and their behaviour is often unpredictable. This restlessness and mutability concerns the “ecology of materials” (Ingold) in general. Due to their inclination to reach out into their environments, to mix, mingle and dissipate, fluid matter and substances are particularly interesting when it comes to the „leakiness of the world” (Morton) and its systemic relations. Moreover, our reflections on the ecology of fluid materials is related to current discussions about the „new climatic regime” (Latour) in the age of the so-called Anthropocene. In this context, the issue of material agency has to be reconsidered (and with it the human position within the world of materials). We have to take into account that we are deeply involved within material processes of circulation and exchange rather than being merely surrounded by inert and separate materials.


Semi-public symposium “Mobile Materials. Currents, Circulations, Metabolisms”

Marcel Finke (Tuebingen): Materials in Motion. Fluids, Art History, and Material Ecology

Hannah Baader (Florence): Liquid Materialities. Thomas Demand and Titian

Franz Mauelshagen (Potsdam): The Dirty Metaphysics of Fossil Freedom

Friedrich Weltzien (Hannover): Fluidity as Mode of Organization. On Form and Formlessness


Reading material

Baader, Hannah: “Livorno, Lapis Lazuli, Geology, and the Treasures of the Sea in 1604”, in: Espacio, Tiempo y Forma: Serie VII. Historia del Arte 5, ed. Avinoam Shalem, 2017, pp. 141167.

Mauelshagen, Franz: “Die große Stoffwechselanomalie”, in: Transformationsgesellschaften: Zum Wandel gesellschaftlicher Naturverhältnisse, ed. Michaela Christ, Bernd Sommer & Klara Stumpf, 2019, pp. 17–46.

Mauelshagen, Franz: “The Dirty Metaphysics of Fossil Freedom”, in: The Anthropocenic Turn: Interplay between Disciplinary and Interdisciplinary Responses to a New Age, ed. Gabriele Dürbeck & Philip Hüpkes, forthcoming.