Surfaces in the making. Of knitting minds, bodies, materials and senses
Lydia Maria Arantes
(University of Graz)
Paper short abstract:
Based on qualitative interviews as well as autoethnography, this paper discusses knitting as a practice contesting boundaries between the mental, the bodily and the material as well as its sensory dimensions.
Paper long abstract:
This paper takes the panel proposal as an opportunity to reflect on knitting as a practice contesting boundaries between the mental, the bodily and the material. When knitting, the mind is connected with the material through the body. The idea or creative impetus surfacing in the mind is brought to (material) life through the body, thus lending a tangible and enduring quality to the once mental. The surface in the making then is a creation of mind, body and material in collaboration. The question arises whether mind, body and material - in all objectivity separated by their surfaces - have to be seen as divided by the boundaries of each other. Where would the idea (mind) end, where the creation (material) start? Or do they form a continuum, in which the mental, the bodily and the material indistinguishably blend into each other when knitting. Furthermore, what is the role of the senses in this continuum of the mental-bodily-material altogether? Sensory perception, after all, is a key ingredient of any kind of creative practice. Does the introduction of the senses in this respect challenge the idea of the continuum because the tactility of the surface in the making might lead to its being sensed as a boundary? What are further implications of the knitted surface's sensuous character? Based on qualitative interviews, participant observation / participant practice, as well as autoethnography, this paper therefore aims at exploring the boundary-contesting quality of knitting as well as its sensory dimensions.
Surfaces: contesting boundaries between materials, mind and body