06 December, 2023 12:30 (London time)

The Material Photographies Reading Group meets regularly online to explore critical thinking/making around the photograph in its multiple forms and dynamic manifestations—to welcome new ways of thinking and celebrate the increasingly complex photosphere we inhabit. All are warmly invited to attend!

Please find all the details below. As always, do get in touch for the Meeting link and the texts, and/or, with any questions/reflections/ideas: — do feel free to bring anyone you think would like to join.

You can reach us at

Next meeting Wednesday, January 17, 2023, 12:30 pm London Time.

This session will draw on Duchamp’ notion of the ‘infra-thin,’ drawn through artist and philosopher Erin Manning’s process-relational take on the infra-sensible, reading the following (texts attached):

1. Elena Filipovic’s The Apparently Marginal Activities of Marcel Duchamp. This next session will focus on chapter 3. The Dead End of the Museum, p. 157-267. It’s a long chapter (though richly illustrated), if you know/or are less interested in Duchamp’s final posthumous installation, Étant donnés, then you can skip to page 222, where Filipovic concentrates on the work’s extensive photographic elements.


Chapter 1. of Erin Manning’s For a Pragmatics of the Useless: A Politics of the Infrathin, in Preamble, from “For a Pragmatics of the Useless”. Duke University Press, 2020, p. 15-31.

Elena Filipovic, born in 1972, is a curator and writer on contemporary art. As Director of Kunsthalle Basel, she has curated pivotal exhibitions, highlighting emerging artists. Known for curating the Belgian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale and authoring key texts on Marcel Duchamp, Filipovic’s practice delves into the limits of exhibition-making and contemporary art’s societal role.

Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968) was a pivotal artist whose “readymades” defied traditional art definitions, sparking Dada and Surrealist movements. Duchamp’s work questioned art’s role, forging new paths for future artists. His influence persists in how art intersects with ideas and objects, underlining his critical role in shaping contemporary art discourse.

Erin Manning, born in 1969, is a Canadian philosopher and artist, recognised for her work at the intersection of art, philosophy, and politics. As a professor at Concordia University and director of the SenseLab, Manning explores the dynamics of sensation, thought, and expression, emphasising process and relations. Her interdisciplinary approach merges theory with practice, notably in her books “The Minor Gesture,” and “For a Pragmatics of the Useless.” Manning’s contributions span art, dance, and neurodiversity studies, advancing dialogues on the body’s role in philosophical and artistic processes.

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