Matter, (Im)materials and Materiality: On the life of digital artworks

Session Convenors:

Beryl Graham (University of Sunderland)

Alexandra Moschovi (University of Sunderland) 

Please email your paper proposal to the session convenors using the Paper Proposal Form


In recent years, the ‘material turn’ in contemporary art has re-activated critical debates around the matter and materials of art objects and their affective properties, expanding to consider their physical encounter and spatio-temporal parameters as well as the idiosyncrasies of process-oriented forms and participation. Echoing the impulse of the dematerialisation of the art object that dominated Conceptual art, process-led practices and happenings in the 1960s and 1970s, digital art has often been discussed in terms of processes, systems and networks, and thus as immaterial. Yet, as Christiane Paul argues, the ‘myth of immateriality’ that surrounds digital artworks fails to address not only the materialisation of digital works in gallery contexts, their collection and preservation, but also the very materiality of digital technologies and their impact on physical reality. Paul (2015) proposes the concept of ‘neomateriality’ to capture on one hand, ‘the confluence and convergence of digital technologies in various materialities’, and on the other hand, ‘the ways in which this merger has changed our relationship with these materialities and our representation as subjects’.

This session seeks to explore how the (neo)materiality of digital artworks provides such points of exchange for artists, curators and publics. We welcome contributions by art historians, theorists, curators, artists, makers and conservators that consider how the modularity of digital technologies, the convergence of media and the new forms of materiality that come into being in contemporary digital art practices in a post-internet era may renegotiate the experience of beholding within and beyond the physical.

Submit a paper

Please email your paper proposals direct to the session convenors above, using the Paper Proposal Form

You need to provide a title and abstract (250 words maximum) for a 25-minute paper (unless otherwise specified), your name and institutional affiliation (if any).

Please make sure the title is concise and reflects the contents of the paper because the title is what appears online, in social media and in the printed programme.

You should receive an acknowledgement receipt of your submission within two weeks from the session convenor.

Deadline for submissions: Monday 21 October 2019



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