Workshop: Behavioral Matter, Ensci – Les Ateliers

An international art-design-sciences 3 days hands-on workshop 21, 22 and 23 November 2018
Ensci – Les Ateliers, Paris
Public opening: 23 November 2018, 4 – 6PM

Behavioral Matter: an experimental research-creation project

The research-creation project “Behavioral Matter” intends to question the notion of behavior relative to matter and materials, objects and techniques, and living or semi-living systems. It aims at creating new protocols, new forms and formats for an interdisciplinary research in sciences, humanities, art and design, based on the activity of matter. The experimental dimension of this project brings about a series of hands-on workshops, which will take place in Paris and Berlin from late 2018 through 2019. By interfacing with, manipulating, and transforming the observable activity of natural and artificial materials, we believe that we can develop new processes and structural elements for a renewed approach on the production of sustainable artefacts, as well as to create new visual vocabularies, new interpretations, works of art and design.

Five institutions (3 French and 2 German) are involved in the development of the project: École nationale supérieure des Arts Décoratifs (EnsAD – PSL University), École nationale supérieure de création industrielle (Ensci – Les Ateliers), École polytechnique (in the framework of “La Chaire Arts & Sciences” of the École polytechnique, the EnsAD and the Daniel and Nina Carasso Foundation), Humboldt University in Berlin (HU), and Max Planck Institute for Colloids and Interfaces (MPIKG).

On 21, 22 and 23 November 2018, a first workshop will take place at the Ensci – Les Ateliers, Paris

This workshop is organized in the framework of a partnership between EnsadLab, the laboratory of École nationale supérieure des Arts Décoratifs (EnsAD) – PSL University – Paris, with The “Chaire arts & sciences” of École polytechnique, EnsAD-PSL and the Daniel and Nina Carasso Foundation; the École nationale supérieure de création industrielle (Ensci – Les Ateliers), Paris; the Cluster of Excellence Image Knowledge Gestaltung (IKG), Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and the Max Planck Institute for Colloids and Interfaces (MPIKG), Potsdam.

On the 21st, 22nd and 23rd of November 2018 the first hands-on workshop will take place at Ensci – Les Ateliers, in Paris. This workshop will be dedicated to explore different relationships between non-human objects and living systems, shapes or processes. The notion of “behavior” will be investigated through observation and understanding of natural activity, formulating bio-inspired hypotheses and innovative scenarios, interfacing the non-living with the living and semi-living and creating behavioral objects using quick prototyping, for what we will use the MisB KIT (a modular robotic toolkit developed by EnsadLab).

“Behavioral Matter” comes from two concepts and two complementary approaches: “Behavioral Objects”, developed at EnsAD – Paris, and “Matters of Activity”, developed at HU – Berlin. Through the notion of “behavior”, our project questions the living dimension of the non-human, particularly of matter itself. Thus, we are no longer thinking of matter as an inert entity that should be formed or informed, but rather as a partner whose agency is rather determinant. How can we take into account and cooperate with matter or materials that are able to adapt (thus are close to the living, perhaps even part of it), at a time when the boundaries between the living and the non-living are blurred? With this twofold approach — practical and prospective, as well as reflexive and fundamental — we seek to work with new materials and consider their operating processes according to their physical (or physiological), aesthetic, and symbolic dimensions in an essentially ecological approach.

This first workshop will involve more than 50 researchers, student-researchers and engineers of the three organizing groups – EnsadLab (EnsAD – PSL University, Paris), Ensci – Les Ateliers (Paris), the Cluster of Excellence IKG – Humboldt Universität zu Berlin (GE); as well as researchers from other institutions, namely École polytechnique [Paris], Politecnico di Torino [IT], University of Maine [US], Ésad TALM – Le Mans and Suricats Consulting.



Ensci – Les Ateliers, 48 Rue St Sabin, 75011 Paris