Material Turn Symposium

Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture and Technology
Artist Talk with Panel Discussion
Material Turn Symposium
Milieux Institute for Arts
Concordia University
FOFA Gallery

The Material Turn Symposium

The Material Turn Symposium
Moderated by Barbara Layne
Concordia University

March 10, 2018
9:30am–6:00pm, followed by a reception
Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture and Technology
Concordia University
Montreal, QC

Artist Talk

Laura Splan: Undo/Redo—Material Expressions of Embodied Constructs


Kelly Thompson, Janis Jefferies (Goldsmiths University of London), Pippin Barr, Sophia Borowska, Surabhi Ghosh, Robin Kang, Rytha Kesselring, Suzanne Kite, Shelley Socolofsky, Laura Splan, and Barbara Todd


The Material Codes project and the Textiles and Materiality Research Cluster co-hosts a one day symposium at Milieux to facilitate international and intergenerational conversations around contemporary textile practices in the digital information age. In particular, the ways in which the materiality of digital technologies are interpreted and translated by artists who mine, question and transform diverse data sources through expanded textile approaches.

The “material turn” broadly references a global philosophical and material culture impetus to readdress the dominance of language over objects. Artists and students will present their research and creative responses to questions of digital futures, surveillance, cultural translations, social data mining, and materializing invisible systems.The objective of the symposium is to involve participants in an interdisciplinary event to share knowledge and build research and collaboration opportunities around materiality and the digital.

Schedule of events:

Welcome: Kelly Thompson

Keynote: Janis Jefferies

Session 1:
Sophia Borowska, Pippin Barr, Shelley Socolofsky, Surabhi Ghosh and Suzanne Kite; moderated by Sarah Amarica

Research Demonstrations:
The Textiles and Materiality research cluster, Indigenous Futures Cluster (Suzanne Kite, Skawennati, Dayna Danger), Studio subTela, The Speculative Life BioLab, and a display of Fibres and Material Practices undergraduate work.

Session 2:
Laura Splan, Barbara Todd, Robin Kang, Skawennati and Ryth Kesselring; moderated by Barbara Layne

Small Group Discussions:
facilitated by Sophia Borowska, WhiteFeather Hunter, Alice Jarry, Janis Jefferies, Sarah Nance and Etta Sandry

Plenary: Kathleen Vaughan

The symposium is preceded by a talk from Chicago based artist Ellen Rothenberg on Wednesday, March 7th at 5:30pm, and the opening of The Material Turn exhibition at the FOFA Gallery on Thursday, March 8th at 5pm.


The Material Turn
curated by Kelly Thompson and WhiteFeather Hunter
FOFA Gallery
Montreal, QC
March 5 - April 13, 2018

  • Sophia Borowska (Montreal, QC, CA)
  • Lia Cook (Berkeley, CA, US)
  • Emily Hermant (Vancouver, BC, CA)
  • Robin Kang (Queens, NY, US)
  • Ryth Kesselring (Montreal, QC, CA)
  • Barbara Layne/ Studio subTela (Montreal, QC, CA)
  • with Janis Jefferies (UK)
  • Louise Lemieux Bérubé (Montreal, QC, CA)
  • LoVid (New York, NY, US)
  • Heather MacKenzie (Chicago, IL, US)
  • Petrina Ng (Toronto, ON, CA)
  • Ellen Rothenberg (Chicago, IL, US)
  • Shelley Socolofsky (Oregon, US)
  • Laura Splan (Brooklyn, NY, US)