Thinking Through Materiel

Looking at how materials, tool and environment effect art and the creative process, Bateson suggests that we think through our tool: the ‘ecology of the mind’. Presenting both tools and body acting as a sort of feed back loop; using the lumberjack and his axe as an example. the lumberjack knows when to stop hacking at the tree because the sensation through the axe tells him so.
Similarly, if you were to run a pencil over a rough surface, you would not only feel the pencil in your hand, but also feel the surface through the pencil; this forming a basic feed back loop between your hand and the pencil.
There are, of course, other forces at work in this equation, such as the environmental surface that allows you to draw; as well as the effect of the connection between body and tool, there is a conditional connection between tool and the environmental factors. for example; when we drew on the loosely held paper with both the pen and crayon, they produced two very different images. The pen, despite the lack of tension in the surface, and additional lack of tension, created a ruff and uneven shaped circle. in contrast, without the tension and force behind the paper, the crayon made little to no impression on the page. this was due to it’s far harder quality; meaning that in order to create a more distinctive mark, the crayon, needs much more friction.


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