Studies in Material Thinking
This article demonstrates an aesthetics of form knowledge, in the sense of knowledge that comes to us through the senses. The role of the body and material in understanding form are described from an inside perspective. Embodied knowledge of form and form processes in clay are localized and articulated. My own experiences from modelling are connected to embodied knowledge from five phenomenological concepts: animated organism, zero-point, Leib, body-scheme and kinaesthetic , which are based on theories developed by Edmund Husserl and Maurice Merleau-Ponty. These concepts, together with reflections of material agency discourses from various disciplines, form a theoretical framework to propose and give access to subjective, embodied experiences in order to develop new form knowledge. I argue that clay itself has agency, meaning that it reacts and responds to the body’s movements: therefore, form processes in clay are described as a dialogue between body and material. Phenomenological concepts and reflections about material agency are valuable in that they give perspective to, and anchor personal knowledge of form from, here-and-now experiences in a more general understanding of form. The aim of this research is to imbue subjective knowledge about form with a more general meaning so that it can be fundamental to developing an aesthetic embodied theory of form.