DURA, “Matter,” 2020

Deutschsprachige Version des Artikels

The word matter describes a material or substance as well as a concern or issue of consequence. As theorist Karen Barad writes, “There is an important sense in which the only thing that does not seem to matter anymore is matter.“ (1) Her statement underscores her argument that matter needs to be given more attention, and traditional assumptions of metaphysics must be reconsidered. The artist who calls herself DURA has also explored matter as part of the Fresh A.I.R. Scholarship of the Stiftung Berliner Leben. In the process, DURA not only engages with current philosophical discourse but makes the topic her own. Using artistic means, she calls attention to something that tends to get lost or is difficult to grasp through a mode of perception accustomed to focusing on human subjects and their use of symbols and language.

For her first work she filmed two mastiff dogs playfully fighting with one another. The three-minute film „ACDC versus ScoobyDoo” transforms the individual movements of the two dogs into sequences that are sometimes also played in reverse. The bodies of the dogs thus seem particularly massive and heavy, while their gestures appear graceful and elegant, as if the dogs were following certain codes of behavior that have not been identified as rules or semantic symbols. These modes of behavior seem to result from the interaction of the two bodies, whereby the demonstration of strength is a predominating factor. Mounted on a work-out device (a pull-up bar), the screen showing the film raises the question as to whether the athletic training of human bodies can be considered as part of this kind of reciprocal game. How could such training be understood above and beyond the pursuit of a traditional physical ideal—as materialized through objects like a pull-up bar.

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In two wall sculptures the artist approaches the topic of matter in a completely different way. The two works are made up of metal letters attached to the wall. Their materiality underscores their weighty material presence in the space, while the typography and color of the letters have a minimalistic quality. The letters of this work, “Endless Dialog” are terms and symbols such as: <DOCTYPE.html>, <html>, >body<, <script>, <alert>, and the slogan <it doesn’t matter>. These all stem from the digital realm, that is from a programming language, and thus have no material basis. DURA lists faulty digital codes. One of them was once sent around, and clicking on the link opened a file conveying the message “it doesn’t matter.” The window could not be closed; clicking on it again simply opened a new window, which generated an endless dialogue. Our concepts of matter are also challenged in this context. How can we conceive matter in this context? To what extent can the digital be considered matter? What theoretical implications do digital errors have that are not caused by human agency but nevertheless exist and are thus of consequence?

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With the work “Matter” that consists of inconspicuous mini projections in public space, DURA takes her play with matter a bit further. She projects fantastical symbols and digital holograms of unidentifiable objects onto nondescript surfaces in public space. What one sees cannot be deciphered, cannot be grasped, and exists only as a beamed particle of light (as matter?). Ultimately, DURA’s works leave us wondering about the true nature of matter, how it can be negotiated, and its new significance in the digital age.

(1) Barad, Karen: “Posthumanist Performativity: Toward an Understanding of How Matter Comes to Matter,” Signs 28, no. 3 (2003), p. 801.

Text: Dr. Kea Wienand

About DURA

DURA, born in Hanover / Germany, studied sculpting at Burg Giebichenstein and the HfBK Dresden. She works as a musician, sculptor and sound-researcher. In general, she works multimedia-based and uses visual forms and sounds to create sceneries.

For more information about the artist:

Website / Facebook / Instagram

The online showcase of Fresh A.I.R. #3

Fresh A.I.R. showcase

The online showcase offers an opportunity to get an overview of the highly diverse projects of the third group of Fresh A.I.R. artists with their different kinds of media and aesthetics.

On view are video and photographic materials about the individual projects, each of which is accompanied by an explanatory text that aims to offer insights into the work’s aesthetic experience.

learn more abouth the online showcase