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The Universe in a Lipstick

Workshop by Pravu Mazumdar and Current Obsession

In collaboration with renowned philosopher, educator and author Pravu Mazumdar and Design Museum Den Bosch, Current Obsession presents a one-day workshop, which examines the idea of ‘objects in flux’.


How does adornment consistently shift in performing between the worlds of the wearer and the onlooker and what are the implications of that exchange?


By refracting the linear narratives of the way we think about objects of adornment, we offer alternative ways of making new body-related work.



Open Call for Artists

Workshop by Current Obsession
Critical Multiplicity: The Universe in a Lipstick


Application Deadline:
Participation Fee:
We offer:
How to apply:

Sunday, 18 June 2023
Design Museum Den Bosch
5 June 2023
Lunch and travel within the NL is covered
10 participants
Email us at
with a short artist statement and portfolio*



Jewellery, adornment and body-related objects consistently communicate between the worlds of the wearer and the onlooker. Therefore, each object finds itself in flux – a multiplicity of interpretations, connections, assumptions, as its location on the historic timeline or a geographic map changes.

Words and Things


Focusing specifically on language, materiality and history of adornment, can we ‘scrape off’ the inherent narratives that are ingrained in the way we think about these objects? And furthermore, could we find methods of transforming and subverting the historically solidified conceptions about objects? Create a manual, a series of instructions or algorithmic steps to ‘drag’ the uncanny out of the banal. Push away from the beaten path of seeing jewellery as ‘ornamentation’?





At the center is the connection between two different materialities basic to any artistic communication: matter (as a physical substance) and language (as a phono-/scriptological substance). Both materialities can be coded and informed to generate things functioning as signifiers, like the words of a language or the material objects made of physical matter. There are obviously cross-connections between the two materialities. Words can only be perceived, when they are rooted in the physical materiality of sound waves, the printer’s ink, pixels, etc. Material objects can only be perceived, when they are rooted in the materiality of language manifesed in discourses that describe them, compare them, assess them, revalue them, devalue them, etc.





In the realm of the visual arts, jewellery has a special status, not only because of its objects, traditionally tending towards the dimension of wearability, which comes in addition to the dimension of viewability, also ascribable to painting, sculpture etc. Jewellery is moreover different, because its objects function as two-pronged signifiers. On the one hand, they can reveal the elements of an outer world functioning as the environment of a wearer. These are things like the matter of which they are made or – as in the case of archaic jewellery – the totem represented by their form. On the other hand, they can reveal the elements of an inner world by functioning as an expression of the wearer’s personality.

Jewellery objects are something like hybrids, in which an impressionistic and an expressionistic signifiers are mounted on each other. These hybrids are not merely isolated material objects, but also the constitutive elements of a plurality of discourses like the discourse of the maker, the wearer, the admirer, the gallerist, the critic etc.



Intention of the workshop


With this workshop, we ask a question: How to ‘multiply’ an object by shifting perspectives?


We would like to invite a small group of experienced artists to participate, without fixing age, specific disciplines, or other barriers. We seek individuals capable of making, reflecting on, and discussing their body-related work.


As our collaboration partner Design Museum Den Bosch will grant the participants access to its vast collections to get inspired, get sucked in, and get critical.


The workshop will unfold in two sessions, a morning and an afternoon, and culminate with a small public presentation of the outcome.


The entire process will be carefully documented and published as the second chapter of the #8 Placeholder Issue of Current Obsession Magazine.

* Pravu Mazumdar studied physics and philosophy in New Delhi, Munich and Stuttgart. He lives as a writer and translator in Munich, West Germany, and has taught philosophy at different Universities. – Areas of work: ontology of language; theories of literature; history of philosophy; art interpretation. Publications (selection): Foucault, Philosophie Jetzt! vol. 18, München: dtv 1998 [Foucault reader with introduction and notes]; Die Macht des Glücks, München: dtv 2003 [Extension of Foucault’s idea of power to the „dispositives of happiness“]; Gold und Geist. Prolegomena zu einer Theorie des Schmucks, Berlin: Matthes & Seitz, 2008 [A reflection on the a traditional material like gold and its impact on thought]; Answering Pravu. Seven Artists and a Philosopher, Stockholm: iaspis [A dialog between objects and words]; Understanding Surfaces. On Jewellery and Identity, Morning lecture for the Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich (16.03.2014).

*  By participating in this workshop you give permission to Current Obsession to document and publish the process, including objects, texts, quotes, etc. during the day of the workshop, and the outcome thereof, which includes the results of the day, as well as finished pieces that might come after.


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