A material is always the ghost of itself; in the sense that it embodies its own multiple temporalities. Its past, present and future intertwine in what presents itself to us as an integrated whole, an opaque and static form of being. We do not see any ghosts. What we forget is that the material’s cells or molecules manifest the narrative that brought it here, in front of us. Every growth, sedimentation, and minuscule touch. And along with this manifestation, is a multitude of beginnings and potentialities, both past and future, present as traces, as energy, as whatever it is that stays after the electron jumps from its orbit, emits a blink of brilliant light, only to halter and return.
Could you catch an electron with your bare hands? Would you not get shocked by its charge, even if it was ever so small? If matter is intelligent and materials transmit energies of their own, what does it mean to wholeheartedly expose oneself to such transmissions? Is there a difference between catching a) a flu b) a dream c) a ghost? They all may get passed on through touch. What to do? Join the Untouchables? Hardly a good option if one seeks to make art. What agency is there in one’s exposure to elementary dynamics one can barely control? Fate knows its own plasticity. How to mold it?
Ane Graff is a visual artist and a research fellow at the Academy of fine Art at KhiO. At the core of Graff’s work are an investigation into the nature of matter and the new materialisms as seen through feminist science studies. Recent exhibitions include Surround Audience – The New Museum Triennial 2015, New York, USA; Distant Moods in a Blue Evening, Cesis Art Festival 2015, Riga, Latvia; Momentum 2013 – the 7th Nordic Biennale of Contemporary Art, Moss, Norway;Your Groundwater, 2013, Sørlandets Kunstmuseum, Kristiansand, Norway.
Jan Verwoert is a critic and writer, and professor of art and theory at the Academy of Fine Art at KhiO. He is the author of “Bas Jan Ader: In Search of the Miraculous” (MIT Press/Afterall Books, 2006), the essay collection “Tell Me What You Want What You Really Really Want” (Sternberg Press/Piet Zwart Institute, 2010), “Animal Spirits—Fables in the Parlance of Our Time” together with Michael Stevenson, (Christoph Keller Editions, JRP, Zurich, 2013) and a second collection of his essays “Cookie!” published by Sternberg Press/Piet Zwart Institute (2014).