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Introducing: Immaterial Transcript

Listen to the episode

Eleanor Kagan:
I feel like I need to make a disclaimer in this episode that like, people probably shouldn’t eat clay? Right?

Jorge Cañizares-Esguerra:
[Laughs.] Yeah, I don’t think you need to say that. By all means: if you want to eat clay, go for it. 

Camille Dungy:
Sometimes the best way to experience art... is to use all of your senses.

Steve Turre:
No wonder I’m attracted to this sound. I think it’s a part of me.

Adrian Forty:
It can be both rough and smooth.

Yana Van Dyke:
Your eyes are just bedazzled by this.

Rachel Mustalish:
And it all comes back because of the smell. 

Art can take us anywhere, far beyond the walls of a museum. But what about going inside the art? To learn what a conch shell trumpet sounds like? Or why a wet lump of clay smells like the rain? Because when you’re up close and personal with the materials that artists use to create, those materials tell thousands of stories.

Alexander Chee:
[Sound of cards shuffling.] All the decks have different energy. Are you feeling pagan? Are you feeling apocalyptic? Are you feeling classic?

Maia Nuku:
Pounamu is the beating heart of Māori culture.

I’m Camille Dungy. I’m a poet and a writer, and I’ve got a lot of questions. How does a stone become an heirloom? What makes an object a work of art? When does something become more than just some thing?

It was alive once. You know, a shell was alive once!

Edward Hunter:
It’s a natural desire of people, of craftsmen, of artists to want to take common, everyday ordinary things and make them beautiful in some way.

How do you make sure all of it lasts?

Tanzila ‘Taz’ Ahmed:
Bangladesh is a very wet country. There’s monsoons every summer. Like, paper’s sacred in the country where everything can, like, disintegrate. 

From the papers on your desk to the concrete sidewalk below your feet… What can everyday materials reveal about the world around us? 

Nadine Orenstein:
I hate concrete. It’s plain, it’s white. You know, in the summer it’s, like, hot…. blinding. It doesn't fill you with emotion. 

Ali Olomi:
You look at something and suddenly time stops. And you’re standing right next to the artists who created this thing centuries before you're even a twinkling in mom and dad's eyes, right?

From The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Immaterial is a new podcast that examines materials used in art and what they can reveal about history, humanity, and the world at large.

If there's one common thread from ancient history to modern history, it’s that all history is mythmaking. It’s about telling the story of us.

Marco Leona:
We look at the gold, the iron, the copper, the tin, the arsenic, but we really want to discover something about the people who put them there. 

Immaterial drops May 25th. Subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts.