In this studio/seminar, co-taught by a RISD artist and a Brown historian, we will examine how material attains meaning. Through demonstrations, workshops, lectures, and hands-on making, we will explore instruments used to understand materials in 16th and 17th-century Europe (e.g. microscopes, alchemical alembics, printed books). We will also consider how those devices have inspired contemporary art practice. Final projects, which may take a variety of forms, will interrogate the relationship between matter and the devices used to understand it.