Friday, 26 April 2013


The first "Saturday Think" at Sawtooth. Will there be a discernable difference between weekday "thinks" and and weekend "thinks"?

More on the theme of New Materialism - two sources that illustrate (sometimes inadvertently) the fluid, even uncontained, nature of the whole thing.

- Barrett, Estelle and Barbara Bolt (eds) 2013 Carnal knowledge: towards a 'New Materialism' through the arts, IB Tauris, London & New York: A recently-published collection of essays (not all of which see the New Materialism in a positive light) coming out of an Australian/Finnish conversation - worth reading the 'Introduction' to get a picture of the field. Extremely irritating that the book has no index - but a lot of blank pages where it might have been. (This does mean you have to read the whole thing to find the bits you want!)
- Coole, Diana and Samantha Frost (eds) 2010 New materialisms: ontology, agency and politics, Duke University Press, Durham & London: Do note that the title uses 'materialisms', plural - this should be an indicator that all is not cut and dried in the New Materialism world. Inclusion of essays by Elizabeth Grosz, Rosi Braidotti and Rey Chow give some idea of the critical star power - and the directions - of this collection.

Other publications hint at the pervasive interest in materiality (perhaps rather than materialism) in art making that simply needed to be identified or to be articulated as attracting an equal measure of concern as the maker and their subject. Most notable, and with an Australian context, would be Paul Carter's Material thinking. Although not directly addressing New Materialism, Carter's materials are clearly thought of in an active relationship to makers, and are partners in the animating process of artmaking. Thankfully these materials escape the fall into anthropomorphising that seems to occur when makers are held in thrall of materials and hapticity.  A rather different flagging of New Materialism came about in the programming of the Seventh Australian Print Symposium (Canberra, 2010) with its theme of 'Materiality' and its range of topics: Concreteness, Corporeality, Reality, Palpability, Perceptible, Physicality, and Experience - which can be found, although sometimes differently approached, in the collections, above. The convenor, Roger Butler, aimed at a revisiting of the print as a vehicle for social commentary, referring to Materialism's beginnings in Marxism (and that ism's rather more specific take on an economically inscribed Materialism).

One recurring aspect of New Materialism, perhaps a key to how it might be understood, is the calling up of the notion of "Vitalism". I get the idea that Man Ray might have liked it ... but understanding it as a modernist practice rather than the more relational, even ecological take emerging from New Materialism would be very much open to discussion. Worth reading Jane Bennett's chapter in Coole and Frost (above) to get something of the background.

More New Materialism later ... and watch for the New Materialism session at Sawtooth later in the year!

Wednesday, 17 April 2013


In June we are aiming to have a round table, lounge on the floor, prop on a seat Saturday arvo discussion on the increasingly pervasive theme of 'NEW MATERIALISM'. It's been around for a while now, for writers, but increasingly for the vis arts and also performance. Check out Jussi Parikka for one take on the topic.

Watch this space for more New Materialism docs and ideas, and updates on the event, which is sure to include artists exhibiting in the Sawtooth program this year.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Expressions of Interest - Thinkers and Writers wanted

Click on the link below to download the Expressions of Interest Form
and get involved with our Thinker-in-residence program.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

@SawtoothARI launch

The @SawtoothARI program is a new initiative by Sawtooth ARI that aims to establish a stronger platform for critical engagement and writing to come from and to the state’s regions.

With project-based assistance from Tasmanian Regional Arts and banking on Sawtooth’s already established exhibition program - @SawtoothARI will introduce a think-tank/pop-up model into our new members’ artshub.

Sawtooth ARI will host ‘thinkers-in-residence’, pop-up forums/exhibitions/markets/film nights and offer an overall site for  the engagement, discussion of and writing about cultural material being produced in Tasmania.

Our current Thinker-in-residence is calling for expressions of interest for Critical writing projects to take place @SawtoothARI.

To get involved email with your name, email, phone number and a brief description of a topic you would like to address.
  • calls for information on regional artists/galleries/exhibition spaces/ exhibitions/ARIs 
  • artists/makers/curators/ media who want to make connections across the region and between ARIs.
  • A "Since then ..." response sheet. Artists who have already shown at Sawtooth could fill in a 'Where has your work been seen recently?' 
  • New Materialism panel
  • Events using text/word/voice responses to video/film/projection