A few ideas for upcoming issues of Materiality…

Upcoming issues of Materiality will be themed. Here are some ideas we’ve had so far – if you have others, please get in touch!


  • The relative value of materials – why are paintings more valuable than prints? Why is gold more valuable than silver? What other factors influence the value of a physical object?
  • The politics of materiality – blood diamonds, iPhones, gold – why do we desire them? Why are we willing to sacrifice and exploit to possess them?
  • Sentimental value – nearly without fail, the first thing people would save of their possessions in a disaster are their photographs.  What do they represent to us, that we’d be willing to risk our lives for them?


  • What makes a clock tick, anyway? (I personally would like to see a lot of close-up photographs. I wonder if we could even get some video?)
  • The physical changes in timekeeping mechanisms – from sundials through to digital watches.
  • What does time do to materials? When we say we want something to last “for ever”, what do we really mean? Will the physical record of the 20th century last in the manner of the physical record of the ancients? What will survive? What will future generations make of our physical record?


  • Hair can be the most beautiful of things, or the most disgusting – depending on where you find it (e.g. your lover’s head, your soup).
  • Hair is inextricably linked with our ideas about health, strength and beauty. What makes it so powerful? Why do we want to remove it from some places, and regrow it elsewhere? What is it, anyway?
  • What makes curly hair curly?
  • Wool vs hair – wtf?


  • Pigments: Their history & manufacture, their meaning – political, personal – throughout history.
  • Cultural meanings attached to colours – e.g. the Chinese red wedding dress vs the Western white wedding dress.
  • How advances in colour have changed our lives – e.g. the paint tube, the colour pencil, colour printing, colour photographs, colour film.

My grandmother's box of pastels - valuable (to me), a time capsule of colour