Thing Power

What do materials tell us? What kinds of behaviors do they embody? How do materials vibrate? How does matter move, change form, or settle and what does that tell us? If we follow the materials, where might they lead us? This next quick start assignment is about investigating the vitality of materials as they are and in conversation with one another through assemblage.

You are to choose a minimum of three physical things: a found object, a found material or matter in its raw form, and something that you made


This project was inspired by a walk through a snowy forest. I collected my footprints from the snow and transported them down to my ECUAD classroom where they transformed on their own into something else entirely during the course of the class.

The trail I walked, as I came up with the idea, was marked with flagging tape tied to treeboughs. I claimed a fir bough, and colonized it excessively with more flagging tape. This sculptural piece, became its own thing of beauty as, unanticipatedly, the sun broke through the clouds of Vancouver, and shone directly onto the wavering, wafting ribbons of tape, causing them to glow a vibrant orange.

Henri Bergson Quote

“Rational intelligence is an instrument of knowledge specially designed for mastering inert matter but utterly incapable of apprehending life’s phenomena. Only instinct, consubstantial with the élan vital can give direct global insight into them. Every analytical and rational statement about life is therefore meaningless or irrelevant. The high development of rational intelligence in Homo Sapiens has brought on a grave and regrettable impoverishment of his powers of intuition, a lost treasure we today must strive to recover.”

Henri Bergson