By Adam Drazin, Susanne Küchler
The Social lifetime of Materials
Studies in fabrics and Society
Editor(s): Adam Drazin, Susanne Küchler
Media of The Social lifetime of Materials
Edition: 1st, 2015
Imprint: Bloomsbury educational (UK)
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Extra info for The Social Life of Materials. Studies in Materials and Society
A materials world is one in which all is potentially a resource, a world of potentially endless making and resistance to making. The materials world is hence fundamentally uneasy, and to imagine it is often an act of problematization as much as explanation. It is not necessarily a question of existing or even becoming in the world in a fluid sense, or that materials form a part of cosmology. Some communities such as hunter-gatherer communities may be best described as existing in such a state of becoming, with a highly developed capacity for materials knowledge and perception of their surroundings, as Ingold evokes.
In fact, digital technologies are profoundly material (Miller and Horst 2012) but are easy to imagine as immaterial. Studies of materials face the opposite problem in many ways. Imagining the materials world is difficult, because one simply cannot see the wood for the trees except through deliberate acts of distantiation. What notions of transformation can we use to help us to perceive and study materials? One might think that Heidegger’s (1978) discussion would be useful here of the difference between a tool that is present-at-hand, lying on a table, and ready-to-hand when it is being used.
It is not necessarily a question of existing or even becoming in the world in a fluid sense, or that materials form a part of cosmology. Some communities such as hunter-gatherer communities may be best described as existing in such a state of becoming, with a highly developed capacity for materials knowledge and perception of their surroundings, as Ingold evokes. There may also be places such as craft studios where acts-of-making can be contained and controlled. However, in many instances the materials world is unexpected, and in an ontological sense can be deeply disturbing.
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