Perpetual Inventory: Remediating Rauschenberg is the title of the exhibition and catalogue that are the outcomes of an experimental Liberal Studies seminar in `Material Thinking’ (LBST 400, Winter 2011.) This advanced seminar used the American artist Robert Rauschenberg as its primary case study in Material Thinking. Rauschenberg is the ongoing subject of research of Nancy Tousley, ACAD Critic-in-residence for 2010-2011 and recipient of Canada 2011 Governor General Award for outstanding contribution in Visual and Media Art. Tousley’s thesis is that Rauschenberg reconceptualized painting in terms of photography, an act of remediation. Tousley generously shared her research in progress on Rauschenberg with students by the way of four main themes: collage as methodology, material photography/photography as object, the aesthetics of poverty and a reexamination of Rauschenberg’s art and multidisciplinarity in the context of the Bauhaus.
Perpetual Inventory: Remediating Rauschenberg is itself a collage/ assemblage of multiple distinctive propositions. Our seminar’s participants, all emerging artists, as well as our special guest artist, Teri Frame, and our ongoing guest, ACAD Critic-in-Residence, Nancy Tousley produced visual and textual works with the expectation that our continuous process of assessment and reassessment keeps alive the relevance of Material Thinking and Rauschenberg’s contribution to contemporary art. We expect this collaborative research to become a methodological model in support of a reexamination of modern and contemporary art and their histories for anyone engaged in the materiality and the poetics of creative research. We all look forward to more writing about Rauschenberg by Nancy Tousley. We are please to offer a sample of her insights and her impact in this project. Her presence will leave traces that go beyond this encounter.