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Workshop Description

Workshop Topic:

Materiality and Multiculturality: A Dialogue Between Aesthetics, Arts and Anthropology

Theme Description:

When modern anthropology renewed its discoveries and theories in the early twentieth century, many current object-related familiar themes became the focuses of the research, including myths and rituals, symbolic systems in a society without writing (such as masks, totems, and figurative patterns), influence of social organizations on the making of symbols (such as whether there is a specific group, equivalent of the artists or artisans-craftsmen today), and the broad frame of thinking about the relationship between culture and nature. In recent decades, cultural anthropology's developments are involved in multiple key issues in the studies of the aesthetics and the arts, such as the universality and the common, the cultural diversity and relativity, the research and preservation of the material and immaterial cultural heritage, locus of aesthetic, intercultural contact and translation. In this era of 2021, anthropology is frequently been recognized as a unique way of observation and description, particularly in facing the future challenges, such as the human responsibilities in the Anthropocene and the following planetary turn in arts and literature, the development of the artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics that may completely redefine the relationship between the human and the technology, etc.

The art and aesthetics of the 21st century strive to break away from the limits of the anthropocentrism, and explore the possibility of creation with unknown materiality in the context of rising material culture and information digital media.

In such a context, several concepts have emerged, such as "multiculturality", and "materiality", but these have not much been studied under an aesthetic and artistic viewpoint till now.

In recent decades, the issues related to material culture have been gradually developing as core concerns in the studies of human sciences. What is material, or matter? How to understand the role of materiality in arts? In which way the materials are being related to cultural matters? The concept of materiality in arts we study in this workshop particularly refers to the physical existence of works, not as the object explored in modern physics, nor as the material of artifacts understood in modern art theories, rather it is much closer to the concept of Nature (φύσις) in Greek. As a matter of fact, the interpretation of the meaning of matter/thing varies in different disciplines, and is diverse in different context of cultural areas. Based on the various types of selection, operation and arrangement, the performance of materiality in arts, such as a rock, or a tree, would be the opportunities of encountering with people, environments, even with God. Tacitly the materiality of thing practiced in arts transmit the rich meaning implied in the artistic world, showing the muticulturality of artwork as thing.

Thus, just like materiality should be distinguished from "materialism", multiculturality should be defined in contrast to multiculturalism and the notions of identity and hybridity. It should also be differentiated from the idea of nationalism. The question then is not about the identity of the artist or the artwork, but about how the problems linked to it appear in the practice of the arts. Multiculturality has to do with the artists themselves, and the way they are affected by their own different cultures.

International Workshop on "Materiality and Multiculturality: A Dialogue Between Aesthetics, Arts and Anthropology" invites researchers to conduct interdisciplinary dialogues between aesthetics and anthropology regarding the materiality and the multiculturality of the artifacts or artworks. Contributions are welcome.

Related Sub-topics, including:

1. Materiality of objects, artifacts---anthropological and aesthetic approaches

2. Technology and Performance of materiality and its multiculturality

3. The unknown materiality in contemporary art creativity

4. Materiality, Myth, Ritual and art

5. Aesthetics of multiculturality and artist's practice

6. The existence of Thing in Asian Culture, theory and praxis

Workshop Form:

The senior scholars will be invited to participate in the international online workshop, and the doctoral students (with young scholars) are requested to submit abstracts which will be reviewed before the invitation.

Dates of Workshop:

20th-21st DEC., 2021


Department of Arts and Design, NTUE, Taipei




Department of East Asian Studies, University of Toronto







在廿世紀初期,現代人類學更新其發現和學說時,許多當今人們熟悉的「物」相關的主題成為研究焦點,包括:神話和儀式、無文字社會的象徵體系(比如面具和圖騰、紋樣)、社會組織對象徵製作的影響(比如有無一個和今日可視為藝術家或工匠-手藝人相類似的特定團體),及至最廣泛的文化與自然間關係的各種思考模式;更晚近的發展,尤其是在文化人類學方面,則更觸及了許多美學和藝術近數十年研究的核心問題,諸如普世性與共通,文化的多元性和相對性,物質和非物質文化資產研究、保存和美感所在,文化間的接觸和翻譯等議題。到了2021年代展開的當前,人類學經常被視作一個特有的觀看和描述方式,面對著許多具有前瞻性的問題,例如,人類世(anthropocene)中的人類責任及相隨而來的藝術文學行星轉向(planetary turn);可能完全重新定義人類和科技之間關係的人工智慧(AI)和機器人科技(robotics) 等。而二十一世紀的藝術與美學則致力脫離人類中心主義(anthropocentrism)的框限,在物質文化飛揚、資訊數位媒介的脈絡中探問對未知物質性創作的可能性。


近年來,物質文化研究日益鼎盛,但何謂物質?何謂作品的物質性?物質與文化何以相關?卻始終是懸而未決的問題。無論從當代美學或人類學的觀點,作品的物質性,並不同於傳統藝術理論中的材料概念,而是指作品的物性存在(physical existence)。物的物質性也不同於近代物理學的客觀研究對象,而較接近於希臘文化中的具有生長力的自然物(φύσις)。事實上,不僅不同的學科對於物的物質性的理解與解釋有所不同;物的物質性在不同的文化區域作為藝術創作的根基,也因為不同的選取、操作、安置的實踐,揭示人與人、人與環境、人與神的不同關係,例如石頭或樹木。物的物質性在不同的文化中無聲地傳遞豐富信息,默然揭示物的文化多元性。


《物質性與文化多元性:美學、藝術與人類學之間的對話》國際工作坊(International Workshop on Materiality and Multilculturality: A Dialogue Between Aesthetics, Arts and Anthropology)竭誠邀請學有專精的研究者針對文物或藝術作品的物質性與文化多元性進行美學與人類學的跨領域對話。歡迎投稿。


1.藝術作品或文物的物質性概念---人類學與美學的反思 (Materiality of objects, artifacts---anthropological and aesthetic approaches)

2.物質性之文化多元性的實踐與技術(Technology and Performance of materiality and its multiculturality)

3.未知的物質性與當代藝術創作 (The unknown materiality in contemporary art creativity)

4.物質性、神話、儀式與藝術 (Materiality, Myth, Ritual and art)

5. 文化多元性、藝術家與美學(Aesthetics of multiculturality and artist's practice)

6.東亞文化中的物性存在的理論與實踐 (The existence of Thing in Asian Culture, theory and praxis)




國立臺北教育大學 藝術與造形設計學系



CRAL, EHESS-CNRS, Paris (巴黎高等社會科學院-法國國家科學研究院 藝術與語言研究中心)

Department of East Asian Studies, University of Toronto (加拿大多倫多大學東亞研究學系)



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