Reflections on Studies in Material Thinking

This week, I wanted to do a light commentary on Kristina Lindström & Åsa Ståhl’s Studies in Material Thinking, “an exploration of academic and artistic storytelling. It is also about storytelling
as an academic and an artistic practice”.

I come from a CG film background, and received an education on storytelling for live-action films, 2D and 3D animation, storyboarding, script writing etc. Moreover, my mother used to work as a traditional folk tale storyteller, meaning I grew up listening to tales and legends usually following the hero’s journey approach to narration. For a very long time, all I knew was linear, traditional narratives – until I grew bored of it, frustrated, feeling limited not only by the tools and softwares I was using but also by how ingrained in me that linearity was.

This is why the Threads exhibition really struck me. In a way, “patchworks” of illustrations have been used since very ancient times, in fresco or metal plates re-enacting a historical event as seen by the people who witnessed or heard of it in that age. But this time, the patchwork isn’t just a visual representation to document something specific, it brings together stories from random people, stitiching them and becoming almost a tapestry of humanity.

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