Making Carbon

Making Carbon: A Materials Workshop Series on Durability

This workshop series is organized by Marjolijn Bol, Grace Kim-Butler, and Sanli Faez. With coordination and support from Diede Farhosh-Van Loon and Anne-Floor de Kanter, and the project’s student assistants Elise Alkemade and Svetla Panagieva.

How can we open up a conversation about materials to humanists, scientists, and artists? In collaboration with the Material ColLABoratory Project (Utrecht Young Academy), DURARE will facilitate multidisciplinary problem-solving with “carbon” as a lens for understanding the (un)sustainability of a range of human activities that aim to make things last, i.e., durable. Through hands-on activities, we will engage materially with carbon in its many guises and environmental, social, and cultural impacts. Is there something new we can learn from each other if we look at carbon together and consider it an object of humanistic inquiry, scientific research, and artistic investigation at once? 

This hands-on workshop series will enable open-ended and creative engagement with carbon-based materials, such as plastics, dyes, and clays. In so doing, we will make explicit and evaluate multidisciplinary visions of the future, the role of carbon in these imaginaries, and for whom we are pursuing its many durabilities.

  1. (Sep 13-14) ‘Mushrooming Plastics’ will explore the paradoxical relationship between the material properties of durability and degradation amid recent research into plastics decomposition and substitution.
  2. (Dec 14-15) ‘Dyes That Last?’ will challenge culturally encoded ideas about how to achieve the durability of color in materials such as textiles – and why – across scientific and humanistic research.
  3. (TBD) ‘Casting with Clays and Futuring with Fossils’ will examine how researchers and artists use fossil and clay materials from deep time and ancient human history to either forecast into the future or solve current environmental problems.