From c. 1200 as “a subject of a literary work, content of what is written, main theme;” sense of “narrative, tale, story” is from c. 1300. Meaning “physical substance generally” is from mid-14c.; that of “substance of which some specific object is or may be composed” is attested from late 14c. Meaning “piece of business, affair, activity, situation; subject of debate or controversy, question under discussion” is from late 14c. In law, “something which is to be tried or proved,” 1530s.
“events, affairs of a particular sort,” 1560s, from plural of matter (n.).
“to be of importance or consequence,” 1580s
Architecture structures matter. In parallel, architecture engages with scales of social and cultural matters, and today our living environments are increasingly augmented by digital processes, platforms, and social media. Ultimately matter and matters reveal the health of our planet (1), observable by current technologies that allow for an unprecedented spectrum of data gathered at nano or planetary scales. Hence, our notion of matter(s) encompasses physical scales and processes beyond the visible, including the digital realm’s immaterial building blocks and operations.
Interested in cultural complexities and architecture’s operations within it, the Sliver Lecture Series 2022/23, titled Architecting Matter(s), presents material entanglements intertwined with networks of living things. As (architectural) design activities or investigations, these engage with matter and matters simultaneously and beyond the borders of disciplinary thinking. From actionable idealism of global operations to landscaping across vast territories, through the digital atoms of worldbuilding and back to physical translations foregrounding spatial affairs, the series touches on what is the matter of/with ideas and realities we produce.
(1) Seetal Solanki: Why Materials Matter: Responsible Design for a Better World