Material matrixes: Building on a history of improvisational developments in print technology

Impact 8, Borders & Crossings: The Artist as Explorer

Brown gave the paper ‘Material matrixes’ at the international biennial printmaking conference ‘Impact 8’, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, University of Dundee (2013). The conference aimed to confirm the cultural diversity, historical significance and future potential of print, highlighting the inherently experimental and interdisciplinary nature of print practices.

Brown’s paper considered the theme of multiple identity in printmaking by exploring the intersection between print and other disciplines, including ceramics and glass, while drawing similarities between the principles of printmaking and other technologies that embrace replication, such as mould casting. It proposes that the development of technology is not driven by single Gestalt moments, but instead comes from continual unhindered thinking, which eschews preconceived boundaries in order to creatively exploit pre-existing subsets of technology. Brown argues that acceptance of such an open model for technological development can be a useful tool for avoiding an inhibitory stasis in the cycle of development. The paper draws on a number of critical writers (e.g. Lewis Day, Henri Focillon, Charles Jencks and John Man) who discuss technology and support the case for regenerative open systems.

Brown proposed two cases where practice-led research has led to the development of open-system technology. He argues that these offer unique methodological approaches for interdisciplinary practice that successfully cross the boundaries of ceramics, glass and print in order to enable rethinking of classifications of technology.