CFP: The Materiality of Nothing

The Materiality of Nothing will be a one day symposium at Lancaster University on 14th July, 10.00-17.00. It will bringing together practice and perspectives on negotiating the absent, unseen and unknown across art, science and social science. Across the arts and sciences that we call ‘zero’ ,‘absence’ or ‘nothing’ remains a potent and powerful entity shaping the way we make sense of the world. It is staggering to reflect that 95% of our universe is invisible to human sensing; the provocation of the unknown and unseen is arguably at the core of creative thinking in the arts and sciences.

This event brings together a range  perspectives on materialising the absent, unseen and unknown to reflect on the following questions:

  • How can ‘nothing’ be embodied?
  • How does it feel to encounter the immaterial and how might we negotiate it?
  • How might mathematics – as a speculative ‘messenger’ to and from the unsensed – be understood as a medium for generating touch and relationship (or not)?
  • How might absence, uncertainty be used as provocations and tool for creative thinking?
  • What can this offer in terms of understanding relationship and non-relationship, affect and non affect?

The event will provide an opportunity to extend conversations initiated by the AHRC funded ‘Dark Matters’ project which considered the provocations around Thresholds of Imperceptibility.   It aims to building on the success of a workshop at Lancaster (2015) and to develop a network of researchers working with the interstices between presence and absence from the arts and humanities, the social and physical sciences.

Speakers include: Anna Lovatt ( SM University, Dallas) , Gary Sangster ( Director Arts Catalyst) Charlie Gere ( Lancaster University) Bron Szerzinski ( Lancaster University) Liz deFreitas (Manchester Metropolitan University) Rebecca Fortnum ( Middlesex University) Ian Bailey and Laura Kormos ( Lancaster University).

Registration:  Please sign up via Eventbrite

Please note: There will be  is a small registration fee of £15 to cover lunch and refreshments throughout the day. The link to payment will be emailed to all participants prior to the event.

Call for drawings, notebooks and things we think with : As part of the
event there will be a session on Negotiating the Imperceptible. We invite
workshop participants to submit small drawings , notebooks or other object they
use in thinking around the intangible.

To submit a work, please send an image and description email Sarah Casey.


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