Material, materiality

Material, materiality


Art에 있어서 물질성 개념의 변화를 살펴보자.
특히 clement greenburg이후로 물질성이 중요해졌다. 그는 매체의 순수한 매체성을 강조했다. 회화는 회화의, 조각은 조각의 물질성에 집중해야 한다고 주장했다. 모더니즘 미학과 미니멀리즘 Michael Fried로 이어지는 물질성 개념. anti-avant-garde. Fried는 미술에 있어서 물질성은 그저 재료적 속성이라고 보았다. 이 의견은 나와 아주 반대된다.
이 담론들은 1960년대 매체미학의 등장과 함께 또 다른 전환점을 맞이한다. McLuhan이 매체 그 자체가 message가 된다고 주장한 것을 시작으로 Kittler는 매체간 transversible 한 것에 주목하며 매체의 피상성, surface에 초점을 맞추었다.

One significant symptom of the extended meaning of material is sensed in the field of the fine arts and art criticism. Walter Benjamin questions the lack of “aura” in the work of art in the modern technical reproduction that is indefinitely reproducible through printing and photography.

The discourse on the “material turn” in the field of art in the early twentieth century can hardly be missed. While Benjamin was to a degree nebulous in the shifting mode of technical production and re-evaluation of art, Clement Greenberg, as an art critic, made an enormous effort to redefine the value of the work of art. Greenberg’s emphasis on the significance of physicality in visual arts as such came out of his defense of the avant-garde art that was undergoing the tendency to reveal the “materiality” of pictorial space often times through the use of incongruous materials for the effect of differentiating the surface.

Inherited from Greenberg, Michael Fried continued to evaluate art in its pure form in defense of avant-garde art against the newly emerging minimalist art of the 1960s. By suggesting the binary opposition of “art” and “objecthood,” Fried is concerned with what should be retained in “art”–the quality that goes beyond the condition of being non-art. “Like the shape of the object,” says Fried, “the materials do not represent, signify or allude to anything; they are what they are and nothing more.” [10] Thus, although Fried inherited much from Greenberg, the battle here reveals that the focus of the discourse on material was shifting dramatically. Material that had been merely part of form, as opposed to content/meaning of an art, became the defining factor of what is art and what is not.

The second half of the twentieth century saw an interesting amalgamation of the very Marxist notion of material and the Heideggerian reception of the material and things: material that is immaterial. The significance of the notion, conveying the quality of being material despite its being non-material in actuality, has been recognized in the burgeoning media discourse of the 1960s. A prominent example is found in Marshall McLuhan‘s notion of media as “extensions of man,” which includes any material in unfixed form, or even formless material, such as electricity.
Here, the notion of materiality plays a crucial role in locating the media as a paradigm, which is articulated by its relationship to form and content of a medium. By emphasizing the “content” of the electric light, McLuhan underscores the materiality of this seemingly contentless as well as formless medium that shapes and controls the scale and form of human association and action.

Friedrich Kittler‘s delineation of diverse mediums in his discursive historiography of modern media captures this aspect well: “Sound and image, voice and text are reduced to surface effect.” As Kittler connotes, the “surface effect” is one of the multifaceted features of the materialities of modern media, which implies that “any medium can be translated into another.” [17] The notion of materiality also plays a significant role in differentiating modern media from “new media.”

For instance, Lev Manovich‘s overemphasis on the “newness” of media derives from his limited reception of materiality in its literal sense; by dismissing the materiality of new media such as a computer, of which the functioning process itself embodies specific materialities, Manovich underestimates the common ground shared by modern media and “new” media.

The most extreme perspective on the materiality of medium is found in Jean Baudrillard‘s provocative characterization of a medium as a system administered by the code that is interwoven with a technical apparatus (sound,image, etc.) and a corporeal one (gesture, sexuality, etc.). ” Reciprocity comes into being,” says Baudrillard, “through the destruction of mediums per se.” [19] Composed of the “immaterial” code, yet still to be “destroyed,” a medium here is fully charged with its materiality. Forged within this discourse, yet more fundamentally questioning the negative reception of material in the twentieth century, Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht envisions perhaps the most expanded meaning of material/materiality by far. Citing Lyotard’s words, Gumbrecht suggests:

The fall of matter and materialism does not lead to the immaterial pure and simple; rather, it branches into the immaterial and its material “sites” or “supports” (French “supports”). Instead of substantial objects and their meanings, we get information overload and a new hardness of “supporting” materials, a new “performativity” of things and bodies.

Thus, the point becomes that what is at stake is not a search for the reality of the material nor the materiality of the real. Rather, Gumbrecht looks for the underlying constraints whose material, technological, and procedural potentials have been dismissed by interpretational conventions.


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