Conserving Active Matter began as a five-year research project at Bard Graduate Center in New York City. Like the table of contents in a book, this page gathers together scholarship set in motion for and by the research project and its present continuation as an exhibition.

Each of the following titles in this diverse selection of writings has a different aim, but all are equally committed to rigorous exploration and communication. The first section provides an interested reader with the opportunity to dig deeper through object-centered examinations of items on view. In the second and third sections, broad overviews of conservation and activity prompt larger questions about the lives of things. While everything presented here is writing, the manner of writing is the focus of a dedicated section. Since how we write expresses not only who we are but how we want others to take us in, the way that conservators write is one of the project’s central points of inquiry. The texts in the final section take us into the future of conservation as a practice and persona.

Active Matter
Wolfgang Schäffner

Historical Perspectives on Inorganic Activity through the Lens of Glass, Bronze, and Ultramarine Diseases (forthcoming)
Jennifer L. Mass 
Toward an Aesthetics of Degradation
Ivan Gaskell and A. W. Eaton 
What Are Indigenous Ontologies?
Aaron Glass
The Unfinished Business of Matter: Francis Glisson on Life and Individuality
Guido Giglioni 
Schelling and Active Matter
Peter N. Miller