Writing Making: Object as body, language and material.

The structure for my research has emerged from an interaction with three sites – home, studio and exhibition space. Each site generates a different form of encounter between body, space and material, which is explored through a series of writing, making and display experiments.

The central ethos of Ceramics (and all Applied Arts disciplines) is that knowledge can be gained and meaning generated through a direct engagement with materials – the development of specialised material knowledge and specialised embodied knowledge (i.e. skills) shapes the way we interpret and produce the world. While my project is grounded in making, the research process has led to the development of methods that pursue the ‘what if?’ of writing as making and making as writing; a play between word-based thinking and material thinking. What can one activity tell us about the other and what might this comparison contribute to new ways of thinking about making and materials?

A turn away from language and the human mind as the dominant (or only) determinants of reality can be identified within many disciplines including Philosophy and Literature, reflecting a growing (re)acceptance of objects as having agency in the world. Graham Harman’s work in Object Oriented Ontology develops Heideggerian phenomenology by doing away with the distinction between subject and object and extending the definition of object to include things that might previously have been thought of as natural phenomena, composite objects, or subjects (e.g. a storm, an exhibition, a person). What Harman retains is Heidegger’s sense of objects as being withdrawn – we can never fully know them, but the attempt to know other objects is the ‘strife’ of reality, the attempt to know the world.