Academic Session 33: Loughborough 2017

43rd Annual Conference & Art Book Fair
Loughborough University
6th to 8th April 2017
The Power of Plasticity


Rowan Bailey, University of Huddersfield,
Sheila Gaffney, Leeds College of Art,

Plasticity is a powerful yet elusive concept of formation in the histories, theories and practices of making. Its reception within art, visual and material culture thus covers a broad and diverse spectrum. Plasticity not only refers to a condition of aptitude within the thinking mind of the practitioner – derived from the Greek plassein: ‘to mould or form’ – it also registers the transformation of materials from the molecular to the digital, the psychic to the aesthetic. Its position as a term used in current scientific and socio-cultural discourses to describe a state of being malleable, pliant, ductile and adaptable, gives rise to different material capabilities and ideological form-evocations.

This session examines the varied use, application and agency of the term ‘plasticity’ by considering the ways in which it takes shape in the languages of art and philosophy, activates and transforms matter/material in and through the making process, and/or serves as a dynamic condition for the production and reception of both historical and contemporary art forms.

Click here to download a .pdf of this session's paper abstracts

Malcolm McNeill (Victoria and Albert Museum) Plasticity of Narrative as a Product of Material Plasticity in a 19th Century Chinese Sculpture

Randall Rhodes (American University of Armenia) Reading Volumes and Voids of the Sartorial Kind

Lisa Lee (Emory University) The Politics and Aesthetics of Isa Genzken’s Plastic Plastik

Elizabeth Johnson (Birkbeck College, University of London) Sculpture’s Digital Plasticity: Interrogating the Plastic Potential of Code through Oliver Laric’s Lincoln 3D-scans

Sara Buoso (Central St Martins, University of the Arts) Plastic Aspects of the Materiality of Light: Between Poesis and Experience

Withdrawn - Jonathan P Watts (Nottingham Trent University) How Contemporary Artists Thicken our Understanding of Catherine Malabou’s Concept of Plasticité

Rowan Bailey (University of Huddersfield) Sculptural Plasticity and the Brainbody