Monday, 27 April 2015

The Potential Space

The reading list from this module has seemed to me to be guiding us away from the brain centred attitude to the theories of action in the environment and its many influences on our cognition. And so I ask the question what of the space between human and object (what Buber would call the I-It) and Winnicott would term the "third space" (1996 p102) or the "potential space"?
Winnicott studied thousands of Mothers and babies and how these babies learned to endure separateness from Mother by sometimes using a transitional object (teddy bear or blanket) which becomes a symbol for the child of being able tolerate separateness through play with the symbolic object. This creative play Winnicott would suggest within the space between Mother and a Motherless space becomes the foundations for symbolic use, the creative process and our cultural life.

I will take the creative process as an example of enaction and engagement with the object in the environment.  Pigrum draws on Winnicott's theory of 'transitional object use' calling the creative process the "creative transitional notation". He links the artists use of objects to Heidegger's notion of "ready-to-hand". Since I haven't read Heidegger I would link an artists approach to appropriating objects into art making to Heft's notion of affordances. (Phenomenological evidence of this phenomena is best proved by the rarity of a full skip near an artist studio, as they are considered a treasure trove of affordances!)
As an artist begins work on carving a hunk of stone they may have an idea of what they would like the finished sculpture to look and feel like but the process of carving the stone is not a mechanical one. The stone (the affordance) may be harder than expected and need different tools, it may have veins of other minerals through it which may cause an extra piece to cut away and the whole piece to be completed in a different way. Each project becomes a new challenge, a new unknown to be navigated always with the risk of failure but with the experience of the transitional art process as survival tool.
 I will finish with a quote from my college tutor Patrick Graham:
"The only knowledge, wit or wisdom I have for now is that my paintings come from silence and a world of abandonment. In another world there is this wrestling and restless engagement with things such as aesthetics and truth in which I can sometimes aggressively articulate my experiences and carve them in stone as though unbreakable and at the next turn, smash these tablets of truth with little regard for what, yesterday, was the law of belief".

1 comment:

  1. If the sculptor is in dialogical interaction with the stone, is this not even more true of the fluid, context-sensitive manner in which interpersonal interactions unfold?