“Self-Willed: Flux and Reaction in Systems, Organisms and Materials” presented by Klein, Hastings, Hessels, Freeman and Boland


Session Title:

  • In Between the Cracks (panel)

Presentation Title:

  • Self-Willed: Flux and Reaction in Systems, Organisms and Materials




  • Working with a new material inverts the usual design process: the research begins by determining the possibilities inherent in the material, not a preconceived final form. In this reversed strategy function now follows form and form is determined by behavior. As such, the process becomes founded in potentialities. Foregrounding behaviors in reactive materials, systems and organisms is an innovative starting point that can articulate new processes of creative making: design emerges from interactions among force, energy and matter. How do the unique struggles of surrendering authorial control by working with self-willed materials lead to creative advantages and deeper meaning?

    Structured as a “Powers of Ten”, five creative practices are presented zooming out from the chemical to the cellular, followed by the animal, the human, and the ecosystem. This expanding perspective offers dimensionality in recognizing the creative struggle and transcendence of working with matter that won’t sit still. Each project focuses on the non-binary, self-determined moments of life in their chosen materials, when the spark of energies change properties in a messy but meaningful flux. Each member articulates a next scalar relationship to the previous as an example of material potentialities determining outcome within their selected strata. Collectively, they represent how new material behaviors and repercussions create unique opportunities in artistic expression.

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