Y Think Tank

A three-day workshop with transdisciplinary studies under the title “New Materiality & Beyond”.

Event Details


Tongji University
Shanghai, China


March 20, 2015 1:00 am - March 22, 2015 9:00 am Asia/Shanghai (UTC+08:00)

The Y Institute BUA/Tongji, Centre for Transdisciplinary Studies, of Tongji University and the Y Institute of the Bern University of the Arts (BUA) prepare a three-day, intercultural Y THINK TANK under the title “New Materiality & Beyond”. This Y THINK TANK takes place on March 20th to 22nd 2015.

Y stands for the “transdisciplinary Y principle” which enables communication between various disciplines, professions and ways of thinking. The THINK TANK concept adapts the practice of Dahlem Conferences and breaks it down to the requirements of teaching and mediation.
In order to get the transdisciplinary (Y) communication started, the following main topics are discussed under varying disciplinary perspectives:

Date: 20th of March 2015

Core Topic        Ephemeral Materials
College                  Design and Innovation
Place                      Sino-Finnish Centre Aalto-Tongji Design Factory/Shixun Building 4th Floor/
100 Zhangwu Road

Since ancient times, olfactory and gustatory senses address an interesting intersection between different disciplines. On the one hand, scent and food are ephemeral, fleeting, elusive, transient and impermanent. Scent e.g. seems to literally vanish into thin air. Consequently, it is lacking one of those qualities that we usually associate with the material world. On the other hand, material practices dominate such processes as the manufacturing of perfume, for example. Presentations of this topic focus on questions of the design process, sketching, documenting and communication of the knowledge or creation of new ephemeral materials.

Date: 21st of March 2015

Core Topic       Smart Materials
College                 Media & Arts College
Place                     Sino French Centre, Siping Lu Campus (map)

The term “smart materials” refers today to intelligent materials and substances that respond to environmental influences in a more or less self-organised manner and without external control. They shape and change our thinking, actions and feelings. This subject discusses current and historic examples from past and present, where materials are applied in smart ways. The fluid concepts of materiality and its imitation (mimicry) or the acquisition of functionalities is focused.

Date: 22nd of March 2015

Core Topic        Cultural & Historical Materials
College                  CAUP – College of Architecture and Urban Planning (map)
Place                      Siping Lu Campus: Building D, 2. Stock

Additional Information: http://ythinktank.pdach.ch/zh/programme

The relevance of materiality in arts, culture and daily live is closely related to communication, and information exchange. Culture always seems “materialised” in one form or another. Since we live in rather digital environments today, one might ask what happens if digital information disappears in intangible networks. Is there a materiality of code in born-digital objects? This section questions the quality and value of cultural goods, their semantics and change through time. Based on dedicated examples cultural contexts and the shifting of meaning are examined.