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  • Writer's picturematilde tomat

MRes wk 05 - 23OCT22

It is back home and back to uni while leaving part of my heart in Glastonbury and down south. Phenomenology crawls under my skin, which is a bit of a tautological play, but this is how I rock. And I am very comfortable with tautology.

I think that I had learned from my previous spiritual experiences and especially my literal physical breaking-down in 1988 when my brain decided to stop, to be extremely aware of what is going on within me and around me. To discern every subtle change; absorb shifts, and decipher patterns and reactions. I thought it was a curse but I now experience it as a superpower. I am aware that at times it can be overpowering and overwhelming, but I also know that I can dive into places and pools of emotions where no one else can. I experience shifts and rearrangements of energies and vibrations. My senses are heightened and I encounter life from a different perspective.

I see things others can't; I live things others can't. I hear things others can't.

Hence, my joy when I encountered phenomenology first in my analytical practice, and now in Fine Art. This week was all about Ingold, Malafouris + Renfrew, and Brown. I am trying to read them with an eye always towards Alchemy and how they can go - if ever - together. I am trying to search within me... no, I am allowing to arise [!] whatever is that I truly feel to be true, for me. Does a pot exist? Or does only clay exist? Are forms important? Is matter more dominant than the object [or : the thing, depending on how we see it].

I am thinking about Prima Materia: start with what you have. I have a sheet of paper and a pencil, and the air in between. I am thinking of practicality and reducing to a formula because this is how my logical thinking works. Make sense! Create order!

Thing + Function = Object > T+F=O

But what is a Thing made of? How can we define a Function?

[gosh, I feel like Eine Kleine Heideggerin... call me Martine from now on!]

I am thinking in terms of building blocks: atoms, molecules, compounds, and then assembling all of this together. I am thinking of designers, makers, engineers, factories, handlers, packagers, transporters, shop assistants... all the processes in between before the pencil got into my hands and how the energy of these people - together with the intrinsic energies of the material themselves influenced [if ever] my pencil; and maybe my drawing. Is that shadow of a nail I hammered in the wall, part of my drawing? Definitely part of my image, this picture I took where I looked for a balance of colours and shapes and a play between the nail and its shadow.

Why do we feel a sense of attachment to some objects versus others? And even if we buy the same object, one will feel different to us... And is this expansion of energies, this rhizomatic explosion of sensations ever going to have an end? And : does it have to have an end?

So many [rethorical] questions but hey-ho this is how we rock, now. More phenomenology and material culture this week. Happy me!

onwards and upwards,



Ingold, T. (2007) Materials against materiality. Archaeological Dialogues, 14 (1), pp. 1–16.

Lambros Malafouris and Colin Renfrew (2010) The cognitive life of things: archaeology, material engagement and the extended mind. In: The cognitive life of things. Cambridge, UK, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, pp. 1–12.

Brown, Bill (2001) Thing Theory. Critical Inquiry [Post-print], 28 (2001). Available from

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