Front cover image for Conserving active matter

Conserving active matter

This volume brings together the findings from a five-year research project that seeks to reimagine the relationship between conservation knowledge and the humanistic study of the material world. The project, "Cultures of Conservation," was supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and included events, seminars, and an artist-in-residence. The effort to conserve things amid change is part of the human struggle with the nature of matter. For as long as people have made and kept things, they have cared for and repaired them. Today's conservator uses a variety of tools and categories developed over the last 150 years to do this work. In the next decades, new kinds of materials and a new scale of change will pose unprecedented challenges. As conservators turn to an ever-expanding set of constituencies, collaborators, and knowledge claims to do this work, how might they reconsider their role in conserving such "active matter" and in conversations about environmental and cultural sustainability? Conserving Active Matter explores the activity of matter through objects that span five continents and range in time from the Paleolithic to the present. From the things that clothe us to those that shelter us; from things that reflect our interest in the past to those that enable its performance in the present; and from sacred objects to the profane, Conserving Active Matter envisions the work of conservation as essential for the lives of the things that sustain us
Print Book, English, 2022
Bard Graduate Center, New York City, 2022