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  • Tension, Time and Tenderness: Indexical Traces of Touch in Textiles

Pajaczkowska, Claire, 2010, Book Section, Tension, Time and Tenderness: Indexical Traces of Touch in Textiles In: Digital and Other Virtualities. New Encounters: Arts, Cultures, Concepts . I B Tauris & Co Ltd, London and New York, pp. 134-148. ISBN 9781845115678

Corporate Creators: AHRC
Abstract or Description:

Research developed ( 2006-10) as participation in the AHRC Centre CATH ( Culture, Art, Theory and History, at University of Leeds, on the presence of indexicality as a significant part of visual culture. Framed by the growth of digital and virtual cultures, the research seminars, lectures and colloquial brought together historians, theorists and practitioners to generate interdisciplinary dialogues on cultural change. Contributing to a research conference on the effects of film theory on cultural analysis over the past two decades, the paper was originally aimed at a readership of subject specialists, discussing differences in semiotic theory this, published output is an application of the research to the disciplines and practices of textiles as one example of manufacture, craft, applied arts and crafts in which the traces of the hand as agency is particularly significant. The theme of the indexical in a digital culture raises issues of the 'real' and the 'virtual'. This essay explores how the sense of touch, characteristic of materials such as textiles, differs from the sense of sight. Whilst touch is indexical, sight is virtual.The conference brought together film theorists Laura Mulvey, Paul Willemen, Elizabeth Cowie, artist Mary Kelly and others, from newer generations, to interrogate the effect of the new digital technologies on existing theorisation of the image. This essay emerged from reflections on the debates. The opposition between visual and phonological signification seemed less relevant than the divergent knowledge produced by embodied experience, such as touch and the conceptual knowledge produced by representation and signifying economies. The theory of semiotics is here allied to post Freudian psychoanalysis of pre Oedipal subjectivity in order to develop a new paradigm for thinking about the knowledge generated in artifacts and making. Reflections on the prehension of 'the hand' are followed through an exploration of the conceptual forms of 'tenere' to hold.
It is concluded that the metaphors of holding, containment, reach and grasp are actively present in contemporary cultures. The contrast with digital economies serves to heighten awareness of this dialogical tension.
The published essay in the book Digital and Other Virtualities ( 2010) ed Bryant.A & Pollock,G, aim at a specialist and more general readership to broaden and extend the reach of cultural analysis.
The research into the co-ordination of hand and eye as a signifying and libidinal economy of knowledge through experience is currently being developed through collaborations with Natural Science on the Descent of Man and human origins. The presence of sexual selection in culture, as hypothesised by Darwin and elaborated by Freud, illuminates the primacy of corporeal experience as a precursor of knowledge, both ontogenetically and phylogenetically.

Official URL: http://www.ibtauris.com
Subjects: Other > Historical and Philosophical studies > V500 Philosophy > V560 Mental Philosophy
Creative Arts and Design > W700 Crafts > W710 Fabric and Leather Crafts > W714 Weaving
School or Centre: School of Material
Copyright Holders: author
Funders: AHRC
Date Deposited: 12 Jan 2017 11:28
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2017 11:28
URI: http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/1265

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