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Research The Groningen Research Institute for the Study of Culture (ICOG) Research Research centres Centre for International Relations Research (CIRR) Chair Group on History and Theory of International Relations Research themes Sheep, wool, landscape and connectivity

A suit is a suit...

Things, meaning and Joseph Beuys’ Felt Suit

As a work of art, Joseph Beuys’ Felt Suit (1970) poses many questions about the relationship between things and meaning. At the same time, it is itself a material object, subject to deterioration, and its preservation runs counter to the concerns motivating the work, namely the contingency and transience of the relationship between things and meaning. In this paper, the ambiguous relationship between felt and Felt Suit precipitates two trajectories of inquiry, one focusing on the proposal to modify the suit with the aid of novel materials emerging from the field of nanotechnology, and the other on the transformation of single-breed wool into felt garments on the boundary between craft and couture. In so doing, the paper contrast two distinct forms of worlding, examining not just what differentiates them, but also what they share. The aim is to explore and clarify how mundane things such as felt come to be caught between materiality and textuality.

Last modified:05 April 2018 1.03 p.m.