Corresponding with threads: an exploration in movement, performance, materials, and anthropology
Valeria Lembo (University of Edinburgh)
Paola Esposito (University of Oxford)
Jan Peter Laurens Loovers (British Museum)
Science Site/Maths CM219
Start time:
6 July, 2016 at 11:00
Session slots:

Short abstract:

This laboratory explores thinking with materials through an extension of the collaborative Walking Threads project. Participants are encouraged to engage with threads in multiple ways.

Long abstract:

What happens when a thread unravels amongst scholars? This laboratory continues our enquiry into the relations between movement, performance, materials and anthropology. Unlike recent papers where threads are metaphors for anthropological inquiry (Green 2014; Strathern 2014), our collaborative project investigates how actively walking with a (golden) thread is a method to further anthropological understandings of weather, subject-object, sensuous perception, and theory. The laboratory extends on the Walking Threads project ( and explores thinking with materials (particularly, threads) as a 'practice of education' (c.f. Tim Ingold); a non-representational, practical engagement that entwines action and perception. Our concern is not with description per se, but with the affordances of engaging with and in the world through materials. We encourage participants to bring a yarn of thread (golden or any colour) but we will also have a selection of threads at hand. The laboratory offers (i) a brief introduction to Walking Threads, (ii) a space to explore different engagements with thread, mobilising the human and non-human and their entwinement with anthropological theory, (iii) and, finally, to facilitate another Walking Threads exercise. We will intertwine the thread in temporary installations throughout the laboratory. The (golden) thread takes a lead role in all of this. Corresponding with bodies, things and places, both playfully and thoughtfully, we are attentive to where the thread can take us. Participants will entangle with the thread, as well as with the animate and inanimate elements along the way, weaving their moving bodies into the sensuous, animated fabric of physical forces.