08 A Material Turn

A Material Turn, 3-ply, 2015.

Detail, featuring encased stinging nettle insert by Isadora Vaughan, and pagination by Sarah crowEST. A Material Turn, 3-ply, 2015.

Detail, featuring Justin Clem's essay 'On the New (Romantic) Materialisms'. A Material Turn, 3-ply, 2015.

Detail, featuring blutack intervention by Elizabeth Newman; pagination by Sarah crowEST. A Material Turn, 3-ply, 2015.

Detail featuring melting plasticine images by Nathan Gray, and bookmark insert by Katie Lee. A Material Turn, 3-ply, 2015.

Detail featuring perforations by Sophie Takach, A Material Turn, 3-ply, 2015.

Sophie Takach, perforation implements created for A Material Turn, 3-ply, 2015.

Detail featuring graphite/epoxy pressing by Susan Jacobs. A Material Turn, 3-ply, 2015.

Rebecca Coates, Sarah crowEST, Fayen d’Evie,
Carolyn Eskdale, Nathan Gray, Bianca Hester,
Susan Jacobs, Helen Johnson, Katie Lee,
Elizabeth New­man, Charlie Sofo, Sophie Takach,
Isadora Vaughan, Aodhan Madden and Justin Clemens.

A Material Turn
Softcover, 94pp, 140 x 210 mm
BW digital print + interventions
Edition of 400 (47 + 153 + 200)
Published by 3-ply, 2015
ISBN 978-0-9873555-8-4


A Material Turn was conceived as an experiment in performative, dematerialising publication; a response to the provocations of New Materialism. Using economy, expansion/contraction and fragmentation/permeability as underlying principles of production, the base edition of 400 is a black and white digital print, allowing the potential for indefinite extension through print-on-demand. Designed tête-bêche style, the book has two front covers: artists’ contributions at one end, set 180 degrees from writers’ texts at the other, with the colophon grounding the centre.

Participating artists contributed: production interventions, such as Sarah crowEST’s dynamic pagination; imagery or texts for inclusion in the BW print, such as Carolyn Eskdale’s 1:1 plasticine finger pressing detail, and Charlie Sofo’s rumination on barnacle-encrusted wreckage; or post-production inserts or interventions, such as Susan Jacob’s graphite/epoxy pressing, Elizabeth Newman’s blutack blob, Katie Lee’s bookmark, Isadora Vaughan’s encased stinging nettle leaf, or Sophie Takach’s gridded perforations. The artists who elected a post-production contribution were encouraged to conceive of inserts in multiples of 50, but this was not regulated, with priority placed on each artist’s preference in light of the material conditions of their work.

Post-production contributions were attached, inserted, or enacted during a casual, performative process at Margaret Lawrence Gallery on 26 September 2015. The dematerialising edition consisted of: 47 copies with a complete set of interventions; 153 with partial interventions; and 200 with no interventions.


Detail of performative post-production, A Material Turn, 3-ply, 2015.

Detail of performative post-production, A Material Turn, 3-ply, 2015.

Detail of performative post-production, A Material Turn, 3-ply, 2015.


A Material Turn was published on the occasion of:

  • The exhibition, The Material Turn, 10 Septem­ber – 3 October 2015, Margaret Lawrence Gallery, Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne. Curator: Rebecca Coates. Artists: Sarah crowEST, 3-ply, Carolyn Eskdale, Nathan Gray, Bianca Hester, Helen Johnson, Katie Lee, Elizabeth New­man, Sophie Takach, and Isadora Vaughan.
  • The debate, That New Materialisms is Old Hat, 17 September 2015, Federation Hall, Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne. Speakers: Barbara Bolt, Helen Johnson, Edward Colless, Aodhan Maden, Justin Clemens, Estelle Barrett. Moderator: Rebecca Coates.
  • The VI Conference on New Materialisms, Transversal Practices: Matter, Ecology and Relationality, 27–29 September 2015, Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne.