Flows (Un)Bound

Symposium, University of Applied Arts Vienna, 2014



Hans-Jörg Rheinberger, Friedrich Weltzien, Evelina Domnitch, Dmitry Gelfand, Inge Hinterwaldner


More photos and videos of the symposium can be found on the website of liquid things.



In artistic and scientific practices materials with fluid properties abound. Within the context of art production, for instance, liquid paints, photographic chemicals, or molten metals are commonly used; moreover, works of art such as objects or installations occasionally display fluid materials in action. In scientific laboratories too fluid substances play an important part within diverse experimental contexts. Whether as auxiliary means in apparatuses and devices or as the actual object of analysis: research can hardly be imagined without suspensions, gels, gases, solutions and the like. Lab and studio, experiment and exhibition, scientific as well as artistic explorations (and their many intersections) are not only equipped with concrete or technical things such as instruments, tools, solid materials or objects, but also with all kinds of liquid things that resist total fixation and reification.

The working and involvement with soft, fluctuating or ephemeral materials poses specific challenges. This applies to both practice and theory: In artistic and scientific practice specialised know-how and strategies are necessary to do justice to the mutability, instability, formlessness and processuality characteristic of fluid materials. The same counts for their theorisation in the context of contemporary debates on materiality. The dealing with and the thinking about materials in flux are the main topics of the lecture event “Flows (Un)bound”. At the centre of attention are the aesthetic and scientific potentials inherent to fluid substances and issues of their recalcitrance and productivity. Furthermore, it shall be discussed to what extent the characteristics of fluids may encourage different forms of imagination and alternative epistemologies.

Organizers: Marcel Finke and Roman Kirschner