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Perspectives Materials

Introducing: Immaterial Season 2

Revealing the stories behind the building blocks of creativity.

May 24


Immaterial, the Metropolitan Museum of Art's marquee podcast, is back with eight more episodes that reveal the emotional origins and transformative power of art through the lens of materials.

This season we learn from Mexican artisans keeping centuries-old traditions alive; we go to ancient Mesopotamia to understand time travel; and we find a mythical tree in Belize that’s been making music for decades. From traditional materials like stone and wood, to more abstract ones like space and time, the podcast explores how these materials shape the inner lives of artworks and the human experiences they reflect.

Read the complete transcript below

Subscribe to Immaterial wherever you find podcasts:

Listen on Apple Podcasts Listen on Spotify Listen on YouTube Listen on Amazon Music

Season 2 of Immaterial is made possible by Dasha Zhukova Niarchos. Additional support is provided by the Zodiac Fund.


RACHEL WHITEREAD: All of the work I do is, it starts with a sort of, um, an emotion.

Something that’s happened in my past or something that I imagine might have happened or could happen.

CAMILLE T. DUNGY (Voiceover): There's a moment of transformation that happens when an artist takes a material…and turns it into art.

BRINDA KUMAR: Just that little deft tweak that takes something very familiar, and imbues it with a certain kind of meaning that you would not ordinarily accord an everyday object.

DUNGY (Voiceover): And in that transformation, the material…comes to life.

ROBERT MACFARLANE: They exert such imaginative power, they birth stories, they give rise to songs.

DUNGY (Voiceover): And the stories they birth, the lives they live, are never simple.

MACFARLANE: You look at what they do in the world, you look at the spells they cast, you look at the enchantments that they exert, the crimes they incite.

DUNGY (Voiceover): They degrade, they warp, they break.

CAROLYN RICCARDELLI: I saw this sculpture broken all over the floor…and it was devastating. Like I had a visceral, physical reaction to it, an emotional reaction that I still feel.

DUNGY (Voiceover): From The Metropolitan Museum of Art, this is Immaterial. I'm Camille Dungy. This season: eight more stories about the materials used in making art. We look at some traditional materials, like stone or wood, but also venture into some less traditional materials, like space and time. We'll see how the materials themselves illuminate the inner lives of these artworks, and the ideas and feelings of the artists.

MARIE WATT: The story goes that a child hugged my sculpture and I just thought, Oh, that's like the best security report ever is to like, have somebody hug your artwork. 

RICCARDELLI: When you start to look very closely at an object and spend a lot of time on it and you see tool marks and fingerprints and clay and things like that, like you really do feel a connection.

HO TZU NYEN: We are talking about whether the artwork goes into the collection to live or to die. And to choose either life or death seems very extreme.

DUNGY (Voiceover): Season 2 of Immaterial drops June 4th. Subscribe wherever you find podcasts.


More from Immaterial

Detail of Adam's face.

Immaterial: Stone


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Irving Penn's "The Tarot Reader (Bridget Tichenor and Jean Patchett), New York" with two women in stylist black clothing reading tarot cards with a diagram of a hand behind them


An iPhone showing the podcast art for "Immaterial"

Season 1