Friday, 28 August 2009


Knowledge has to be situated in order to be rendered. It is situated between people, between surfaces, between buildings; frameworks that both allow movement and inhibit it and so redirect that movement. The hard and the soft happen as a continuous interplay.

An imagined situation: I am visiting a school. I am an unknown. I want to do research in this school. How is this research of interest to the teachers there? To the drama of day to day life in the school? Why should they let me do it? They are suspicious of the word research- so far from the details of getting things done and administering to situations on the run. I need to make an immediate impression or I will be dismissed with the first words I utter.

I say that I am interested in how children – in particular autistic children – use surfaces. They look perplexed. The image is static. I try to enact it as the children do a surface. I say that the kids I have witnessed turn things around with their bodies in order to have ideas. That it’s only in this re-emphasis of use, from surface to surface, a continuous re-grafting, that many directions come together. That therefore movement, erratic or subtle, is also about staying put; making ends meet; bending the line; making a holding. It`s something that must be continuously enacted; a sensory excavation on which to found any still position. Internal thought is based upon this incessant bodily weave because it plays with distance and proximity; the space in which surfaces are seen and met. In that constantly changing pause-gap, an interval of time occurs. That is the positionality in which memory occurs.

If this tumbling over, on to and through surfaces does not occur, there is an impossible density. A contraction of all the spaces between, as if organs collapsed in on one another, a contracted substance like a black hole that simply sucks in all matter. Absolute stasis in the collapsing of all distance is the immediate availability of surfaces to one another.

Teaching then could be about this playing around with the distances between meeting. Not a socialising programme that distracted children from what they seem taken up with but an extension of this concern into the main process of learning. Letting the bodily movements play out to their logical conclusion. Seeing where the shifts in scale take place, the movement between disintegration at one level and utilization at the next. Allowing then for the very moment of indeterminacy- the place between over-excitation and diminished return, when something else bites in and the interface of surfaces occurs in an entirely novel way.

The preparation is activated through a scrutiny of local detail; in acts and effects that are made tangible piece by piece as they are touched in on; systems that unfold as a kind of double activation or echo from each instance of impact or delay to the next. The knowledge base comes from the sparks of collision or from their continuous re-routing; a movement pattern that is continuously extending forwards and backwards in order to mark out new borders; new separations. A logo of intervals.

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