World of Matter | 2013

Collaborative Art and Media Project 2011-2014

World of Matter is an international art and media project investigating primary materials (fossil, mineral, agrarian, maritime) and the complex ecologies of which they are a part.

Initiated by an interdisciplinary group of artists and scholars, the project responds to the urgent need for new forms of representation that shift resource-related debates from a market driven domain to open platforms for engaged public discourse. 

The project seeks to develop innovative and ethical approaches to the handling of resources, while at the same time challenging the very assumption that the planet’s materials are inevitably a resource for human consumption; this human-centered vision has been the motor for many environmentally and socially disastrous developments. The social ecologies presented on this site give evidence to the interdependence between human and non-human actants in this fragile system.

World of Matter considers visual source material a valuable instrument for education, activist work, research, and raising general public awareness, particularly in light of the ever more privatized nature of both actual resources and knowledge about the powers that control them. Hence the project acts through exhibitions, public events, publications and an online platform.

The multimedia platform, launched in Brussels in 2013, is the backbone of the collaborative project, providing an open access archive that connects different files, actors, territories and ideas. Its content is the result of extensive field research and media production in situations of heightened material significance, including: the extractive Amazon basin, Indian cotton farmers, water ecologies of the Nile, fisheries in the Dutch polders, mining culture in the Brazilian Minas Gerais, and the rush for arable land in Ethiopia. The platform includes material from the World of Matter core group as well as a number of additional, related art and media projects. It is conceived in such a way as to stimulate a variety of possible readings about the global connectivity among these sites. 

World of Matter considers a planetary perspective on a world that matters.


Concept Group 

Mabe Bethonico, Belo Horizonte (BR), artist-researcher
Ursula Biemann, Zurich (CH), artist, videoessayist and curator (see  and )
Uwe H. Martin, Hamburg (DE), photo journalist, interactive multimedia publisher
Helge Mooshammer & Peter Mörtenböck, Vienna & London (AU, UK) research architects and cultural theorists
Emily E. Scott, Zurich (CH), art historian, cultural geographer and artist
Pablo Tavares, Campinas (BR), architect and autonomous media practitioner
Lonnie van Brummelen & Siebren de Haan, Amsterdam (NL), artists

The project was initiated by Uwe H. Martin and Ursula Biemann.


Research Roundtable Meetings - Project Development

The project structure is based in a collaborative process which is advanced through roundtable meetings which last 4 days and can generate semi-public laboratories and exhibitions of the research phase.

1st meeting: Gasworks London, April 21 – 24, 2011
with students from the MA program of Goldsmiths College London (UK)

2nd meeting: Zurich University for the Arts ZHdK, Institute for Theory, December 15 – 18, 2011
 with students from the MA of Art and Media, ZHdK (CH)

3rd meeting: MAP, Museu de Arte da Pampulha, Belo Horizonte, April 2012
 with students from the Fine Arts department
of State University of Minas Gerais UFMG, Belo Horizonte (BR)

4th meeting: Hartware MedienKunst Verein, Dortmund, October 12-14, 2012

5th meeting: Argos, Brussels, October 15-18, 2013
 Launch of website, public conference and research meeting to conceptualize the exhibition.


World of Matter Exhibitions

Hartware Media Art HMKV in Dortmund (DE), February 28 - June, 2014

James Gallery, Graduate Center New York (US), September 10 - November 1, 2014

Leonard and Bina Ellen Gallery, Concordia U, Montreal (CN) February 20 - April, 2015

Tensta Konsthall, Stockholm (SE), December 2016

Nash Gallery, UMN, Minneapolis, September - December 2017


World of Matter Conferences and Workshops

Public Kick Off Meeting of Supply Lines at Gasworks London, April, 2011

Provisoe - three-day public conference at the Museum of Art Pampulha, Belo Horizonte (BR), April 2012

Book Launch of Provisoe at Maldives Pavillion, Venice Biennale, May 31 2013

Argos Center for Art and Media, Brussels, 2-day conference and WoM web launch, October 18 + 19,  2013

Radical Materialism, CUNY Graduate Center, New York, September 9 + 10, 2014

World of Matter - Extractive Ecologies and Unceded Terrains, Concordia University, Montreal, Feb 10 + 21, 2014

For further details on the conferences and exhibition visit our events blog 



World of Matter is a collaboration with:

Institute for Theory (ith), University of the Arts, Zurich (CH)

Visual Department at Goldsmiths College, London (UK)

Fine Arts Department at State University of Minas Gerais (BR)

Hardware Media Art Dortmund, (DE), curator Inke Arns

Tensta Konsthall, Stockholm (SE), curator Maria Lind

Argos, Brussels (BE)

James Gallery, Graduate Center, New York (US), curator Katherine Carl

Leonard & Bina Ellen Gallery, Montreal, curator Michèle Theriault

Concordia University, Montreal, Krista Lynes

College of Design, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Ozayr Saloojee