Can we really say that what we do always come fully formed prior to the activity of doing it? Or do we have to recognize the entire history of our activity with materials in order to understand them?
The simple answer, to the first part of, this question would be no; when we first start out making something or creating a piece of art, we cannot know the obstacles and challenges that will affect how our work eventually comes out, as well as how environmental factors may change our preconceived ideas.
It’s often found that you will never truly know how to do something until you actually try to do it. Much was the case of Ingold and the basket weaving; both he and his students did not anticipate the environmental factors that lead to the change in shape and structure of their baskets. The insight that this then gave them, was what ultimately lead to the realisation that their baskets proved as a physical representation of why the historical baskets of the same sort where indeed shaped in the same way, debunking the common misconception that this was done for sme practical application.
This shows how important the consideration of both material and environment is within the context of historical knowledge. How different materials, and the environments they are used in, react can ultimately affect what they make and how the artist or creator has to work with them. We often focus on the written and recorded information, filling the gaps without considering the application of material context. Ingold’s ‘Dance of Agency’ explains the connections and consequences of our materials and environmental context, how this ects the way in which we work and how it should not be ignored in a historical context.