Modelling Meaning...




A seemingly solid surface - Materia Prima

The following images represent:
- A single moment in time. 
- Potentiality.
- How matter is formed and presented to us.
- Human interactions, cause and effect.
- The mapping of a single thought firing and creating more thoughts.


(1 million (or so) x magnification on the activity taking place within our concrete world)

The fabric of our world: 
of human interactions and appearance of all things material.

We are fundamentally all just bumping particles, giving off the illusion of being solid 
- Nothing is ever still. 
Even concrete is constantly evolving.
As particles engage with, bump-up against and respond to the energy that surrounds them, patterns are formed, matter is formed, a surface appearance is formed; relationships-between-things - are formed!

But really, it is still only the space between these interactions that permit anything to be here at all.
The space holding things together, creating definition, framing... 

- A concrete illusion - 

nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing something nothing nothing nothing nothing nothing... etc. etc.


Becoming 'Other' - Materia Prima

The Pilobolus Dance Theater performing 'Symbiosis'.

> watch full screen for full goodness <

'We carry in us traces of every conceivable form of human experience since the creation of heaven and earth. So not only does our imagination draw on what we've experienced in our personal trajectories through life; it also feeds on those countless generations that preceded us. Our expressive range is not confined to a human dimension. It also embraces those of fishes, plants, and amphibians. Even that gush of freedom we once felt soaring through the sky is stored in there.'

'Remember we evolve constantly... by surmounting self-imposed constraints, we can transform ourselves. Just in the same way that a butterfly finally breaks out of its cocoon and transforms itself into a free spirit, so too, can you traverse the pupal-like phase in which you are now confined. In performance, our capacity to transform ourselves is truly critical.' - Kazuo Ohno.


Of all types of self-relational mediums, there are very few that open up the conversation about ways of 'becoming' more than dance. As bodies physically replicate their surroundings, objects, elements, animals, electricity, death, birth, confusion, anticipation, and transformation into an ongoing array of things. I am continuously taken with this concept of 'potentiality'. The ways in which we can truly become 'Other'.
There is the potential to become, and the potential regarding the endless array of possibilities of what to become. The human ability to empathise, to materialise, transcend boundaries, and become amorphous potential beings; THIS is why we create. To exist as 'Other, live through the process, and engage with life on a primary level. To exist as maker, the making, and the made.

The dancers articulate this kind of understanding through their bodies. They penetrate into a boundless world through Mimesis, through imitation of the way grass moves in the wind, the way a flower blooms, the stillness of wood, hardness of rock, the melting of wax, the violence of the ocean. They appear to enter the minds, or rather the souls of their subjects so convincingly that upon viewing you genuinely feel you are watching the original act itself. In essence you are, as they truly believe what they have become. And belief is the what we base all concrete facts upon.

'We love to look at a flower in bloom, for we ourselves become one in doing so. For the living, 'to see' amounts to the same thing as 'to eat'. - Ohno.

To nourish ourselves through the eyes and through the skin. I feel this very same way about particular music. As it enters your body, through audible vibrations in air; it seems to engulf, possessing from both the inside and outside. You mediate with it and become it, lying as if stolen, in the intangible, non-place center of its momentous being. It creates a shell around you, a new body to temporarily reside within. Perhaps this is what they are referring to when they call it 'a body of music'.

The body of a song. To get in and wear.


It's always with a decent rambling that one stumbles upon conclusions or findings of interest. I think it's absolutely essential to get lost within your own thoughts, as it seems only then that you discover foreign content in your own subjective world... There must be a sense of discovery within your own work. It is as much about exploration as it is creation. They are not separate things.


In preparation for the performance Materia Prima, this space is now to become home for the thematic development of ideas, projections, and suggestions - to be more easily accessed by all involved. To submit public utterances of personal processes, this wall is to be a sounding board for potential material to evolve. Placed purely for the taking (or leaving), comb through the content as you please. Some thoughts materialise into tangible objects, some do not. It's just that you have to get them out, before they cause creative congestion.

I have still yet to rinse through a few more thesis tasks, they may or may not appear here. But action is happening on many a level.



The liquid language drips through their fingers...

"... But the hands gestures run everywhere through language, in their most perfect purity precisely when man speaks by being silent..." - M. Heidegger

Reflections (on touch).

Conversation: an exchange/ an interaction/ a communication between two or more/ the ideal form of communication...
Using the body's surface as the situation, the receiving-of and responding-to the information created through interaction. This exercise was conducted around an invitation. An invitation for two, to hold an intimate conversation between bodies. To converse as bodies, on bodies and through bodies, the liquid language was used as a metaphor for the engagement with a subject; a topic of conversation.

To feel ones way through; the language of touch:

They start off clean; Un-touched.
without words,
without record of any previous interaction;
a first greeting of sorts.

She primes the surface of his body in white,
a preparation coating for the things waiting to be said.
She splashes words in his face
...the language is spilt, 
a misunderstanding perhaps?

They experience the words as (physical) sensations,
being (rubbed in)
into the skin,
their meanings remain.

At times, the same thoughts are shared,
A unity.
A single hand and the dripping,
a transference of one idea to another,
a happy reception,

The cleansing or erasing of previous sentences
- the white wash over stains.
Opinions changed,
a series of 'sorrys',
the re-writing of a new day
speaks over the top of the others.

And at times, language wasn't even used,
the topic of conversation being purely interaction.
And that,
being enough,
being big enough a conversation to sustain singularity,

Non-other than bodies.

Nothing being said,
except for what was being said from skin-to-skin.

These are reflections I feel should remain unstructured. They require 'a reading into'. The language perceived is sensorial. And so, rationalisation using (actual) words seems noncore. 
For the purpose of thesis structuring, this 'doing' will lead into a chapter on the conversation a designer must have with her/ his materials; the need for sensory engagement with the process and the creation of material metaphors.

This post marks the entrance of an inquiry into the relationship between bodies and ideas.

The structure of a story to come...


MAKE (a conversation) WITH (touch)

Filmed by Peter Ryle
Featuring Crystal and Rowan
Edited by Yianni Warnock
Direction and concept by Kitty.

> it is suggested to watch as fullscreen/ high def. Thanks. <


Everything is Everything

Such is the thread of life: 

"Winged like bees, 
goes the thread,
through the middle
of everything thats happening
and all that is to come,
below the earth,
through coal,
through misery,
with men,
with you,
with your people,
goes the thread...

string it on your zither
and you will speak with the mouth
of mighty mountains,
braid it,
and it will be the rigging
of a ship,
unwind it,
hang it with messages,
electrify it,
expose it
to wind and weather,
so that, straight again,
in one long line it will wind
around the world."

(from an 'Ode to the Thread' by Pablo Neruda)


The Age of Silence

A prelude to 'a conversation (with) touch'...

"The first language humans had was gestures. There was nothing primitive about this language that flowed from peoples hands, nothing we say now that could not be said in the endless array of movements possible with the fine bones of the fingers and wrists. The gestures were complex and subtle, involving a delicacy of motion that has since been lost completely.
During the Age of Silence, people communicated more, not less. Basic survival demanded that the hands were almost never still, and so it was only during sleep (and sometimes not even then) that people were not saying something or other. No distinction was made between the gestures of language and the gestures of life. The labour of building a house, say, or preparing a meal was no less an expression than making a sign for I love you or I feel serious. When a hand was used to shield one's face when frightened by a loud noise something was being said, and when fingers were used to pick up what someone else had dropped something was being said; and even when the hands were at rest, that, too, was saying something. Naturally, there were misunderstandings. There were times when a finger might have been lifted to scratch a nose, and if casual eye contact was made with one's lover just then, the lover might accidentally take it be a gesture, not all dissimilar, for Now I realise I was wrong to love you. These mistakes were heart breaking. And yet, because people knew how easily they could happen, because they didn't go around with the illusion that they understood perfectly the things other people said, they were used to interrupting each other to ask if they'd understood correctly.
Sometimes these misunderstanding were even desirable, since they gave people a reason to say, Forgive me, I was only scratching my nose. Of coarse I know I've always been right to love you. Because of the frequency of these mistakes, over time the gesture for asking for forgiveness evolved into the simplest from. Just to open your palm was to say: Forgive me.

Aside from one exception, almost no record exists of this first language. The exception, on which all knowledge of the subject is based, is a collection of seventy-nine fossil gestures, prints of human hands frozen in midsentence and housed in a small museum in Buenos Aires. One holds the gesture for Sometimes when the rain, another for After all these years, another for Was I wrong to love you? They were found in Morocco in 1903 by Argentine doctor named Antonio de Biedma. He was hiking in the High Atlas Mountains when he discovered the cave where the seventy-nine gestures were pressed into the shale. He studied them for years without getting any closer to understanding, until one day, already suffering the fever of the dysentery that would kill him, he suddenly found himself able to decipher the meanings of the delicate motions of fist and finger trapped in stone. Soon afterwards he was taken to hospital in Fez, and as he lay dying his hands moved like birds forming a thousand gestures, dormant all those years.

If at large gatherings or parties, or around people with whom your feel distant, your hands sometimes hang awkwardly at the ends of your arms - if your find yourself at a loss for what to do with them, overcome with sadness that comes when you recognise the foreignness of your own body - its because your hands remember a time when division between mind and body, brain and heart, what's inside and what's outside, was so much less.

It's not that we've forgotten the language of gestures entirely. The habit of moving our hands while we speak is left over from it. Clapping, pointing, giving the thumbs-up: all artifacts of ancient gestures. Holding hands, for example, is a way to remember how it feels to say nothing together. And at night, when it's too dark to see, we find it necessary to gesture on each other's bodies to make ourselves understood."

Written by Nicole Krauss in The History of Love.


MAKE (a compliment) WITH (twigs)

This exercise more or less turned into 'making-words-with-sticks'. Which more or less evolved into 'making-words-with-sticks-and-putting-them-back-up-trees'. Which, in essence, is still in keeping with the notion of a compliment. A compliment being something that you give. It is often encouraging, uplifting, insightful, positive, purposeful or personal.

As such, who would benefit or be complimented by a bunch of sticks more than the tree itself?

It is a way of 'giving back' part of what you have taken, of saying 'thanks'. (?) Not only that, it also speaks of the balance between consumption and production - a concept that is so heavily ingrained in my current thinking that it keeps manifesting itself through everything I do. It is this balance between 'having' and 'doing', 'using' and 'replenishing', 'taking' and 'giving'. I think we all need to be more aware of these consuming energies in our lives, or at least that's what I was personally reminded of whilst doing this exercise.

The act of a twig-making-compliment meant that it became a type of 'reflective conversation with the situation'(1), where the results appeared to 'talk-back' and a dialogue between medium and message became the focus of the inquiry. One could not ignore what the situation of 'making' was saying about the materials being used, and what the materials alone, were saying about the situation.

As the essence of this inquiry is to look precisely at how we look, how we find and how we use information and knowledge in and through the design process; my thinking has to be both backwards and forward moving in the same moment. Being both productive and reflective in equal amounts. In this case, it was the notion of 'taking' and 'giving' that informed the reflective theories generated from the twig-making-compliment exercise.

I use the word 'rekindling' to illustrate this process:

The sticks were discarded from the tree.
The sticks were taken from the environment directly surrounding.
Their natural structure then became the medium in which letters were generated, a simple re-purposing.
Letters were joined to form the greater context of a word, being smaller parts of a bigger whole.
The words in this same way, collaborated to form a sentence.

The medium we are still working with is language, words, linguistics, common symbols, shapes that can be read. The sticks are the tangible material of this language. And so the exercise becomes less about the words and more about what the words mean when they come in the form of another object. What the material, in itself, is saying.

This is the essence of a metaphor: using the qualities of something else to describe or gain insight into a more intangible concept. Using metaphor as a way of entering a subject.

The sticks were items 'taken' from the world.
                                                                                              A compliment is something you 'give'. 
                                                                                              To give back something you have taken,   

                                  except in a different state from what it was originally, is design.

The twigs were then left in the tree, re-kindled and re-purposed.

(1) Schon,D, The Reflective Practitioner, Chapter 3 - 'Design as a Reflective Conversation with the Situation'.


Make / With

 "A mans power to connect his thought with its proper symbol, and so utter it." R.W.E

Make/ With is the first of a series of 'doings'. Generating modes of entering, engaging and responding to theory, it becomes a way of mediating by way of making. A way of looking both inwards and outwards simultaneously by engaging with both tangible and intangible worlds.

The world of appearances, materials, symbols, things,
                                                                                       the world in which we,
                                                                        as intangible beings,

And the world of thought,
                            feelings and attractions, instincts and nuances.
                                                                                                And how the two feed into one another.
We use the outer/ exterior world to embellish and articulate the invisible laws that construct the essence of life. Or rather, the intangible becomes tangible through the manifestation of an embodied symbol. We use this materiality to converse with, to engage with the spiritual truths that inform the appearance of life.
The world is but a language.

"It is not only words that emblematic; it is Things which are emblematic.

Every natural fact is a symbol of some spiritual fact. Every appearance in nature corresponds to some state of mind, and that state of mind can only be described by presenting that natural appearance as its picture.

An enraged man is a lion, a cunning man is a fox, a firm man is a rock, and a learned man a torch. A lamb is innocence; a snake is subtle spite; and flowers express to us delicate affections... Man is an analogist, as he studies relations in all objects." Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essays on Language and Nature, 1836

Using this study of relations between material facts and symbolic facts, the exercise unfolds as follows.

- Draw up a list of intangible concepts or ideas (for e.g. Purity). This must be autonomous, flowing freely from your immediate memory.
- Draw up another list alongside the first intangibles, quickly using simple associative linkages, list a tangible material that could be used to metaphorically represent/ reproduce these ideas or concepts in more concrete form ( for e.g. Purity = the colour white).
- Cut up one of the lists and place the ingredients in the box of chance.
- Draw out one tangible per intangible. Place the words alongside one another, creating a new list of pairs. They will/ should be completely dissociated, the more awkward the better.
- Select a handful and attempt to make (the intangible) with (the tangible).

P.s. I would absolutely LOVE it if anyone had the time to do Make/ With. It would be really interesting to see a variety of responses to this exercise. Please contact me if you want to participate and I'll send you a tangible/ intangible to make... x


For Rose: On wearing a sense of 'self'

Read the red. Hope you can make sense of it. Let me know if my scrawlings are impossible to interpret. x


Extractions and siftings

All extracts from:
The Medium is the Massage, Marshall McLuhan Quentin Fiore, 1967