Applying Documentary Frameworks to Material Literacy

SESSION C.1: Artist Talk: Time, Space, Matter
Day 2. Friday, 28th October.
16:00 – 18:00
Venue: CCCB: Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona

This presentation explores a major component of the materiality of art, namely, its documentation. In this presentation, I will help to shed light on the important roles played by documents, and our practices with them (documentary practices) in the creation and instantiation of the kind of information that is or can be considered as art (or so-called art information).

Diana Coole and Samantha Frost observe that “for the most part we take…materiality for granted, or we assume that there is little of interest to say about it” (Coole and Frost, 2010). Similarly, information’s materiality tends to be taken for granted, or assumed that there is little of interest to say about it, and as soon as we think about it we seem to distance ourselves from its materiality.

This presentation foregrounds the materiality of documentation to help (re)configure our understanding of art information, as something not immaterial and intangible, but something material and tangible. This presentation contributes to the fields of art history and new materialism by introducing a documentary approach to help analyze and understand art information’s materiality.

This (re)orientation also serves as a response to Ann-Sophie Lehmann’s call for greater material literacy to help us better learn and understand more about our material surroundings. Lehmann argues that we need to have more awareness of and appreciation for the basic materials of our daily world. This presentation takes up Lehmann’s call by raising awareness of documentation’s role in the materialization of art information. It therefore argues for a more materialist (re)orientation in considerations of art information, by drawing attention to the role of documentation in its materialization and use.

Marc Kosciejew
University of Malta

Dr. Marc Kosciejewa is Head of Department and Lecturer of Library, Information, and Archive Sciences within the Faculty of Media and Knowledge Sciences (MaKS) at the University of Malta. His current research interests include the study of documentation; records and information management; the intersections of society and technology; concepts and practices of information; and, the histories of memory institutions and information. In 2007 he conducted research in North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) on the Communist state’s library system, becoming one of the first English-speakers to present and publish on this specific topic.

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