Philip Jarvis’s staple sculpture, “Today I left the left side of the brain on a stool”, was a finalist in the 2016 Woollahra Small Sculpture Award, Sydney, Australia. [Read more…]
Why? In our first years of life are we encouraged, and we ourselves desire, to learn of things beyond our skin barrier using touch, especially through our hands, attached as they are to the extremities of two highly mobile limbs, each hand with four fingers and an opposing thumb, 27 bones, 17 intrinsic muscles, 18 extrinsic muscles originating in the forearm, specialised nerve endings (including Merkel’s discs, Pacinian, Meissner’s and Ruffini’s corpuscles and hair follicle receptor lanceolate endings) which detect light or deep pressure, position, vibration, shapes, edges—hands that are trained to grasp, squeeze, pinch, pat, poke, point, that can stroke a polished surface of marble or plaster or a young baby’s skin and on that smoothness feel the merest rough patch of, say, a tiny grain of salt. Yet by the time a child in our culture is about seven years of age, her hands are already semi-retired. Why?
A baby, the family’s tenth and last child, is born in 1728 to a Scottish couple farming at East Kilbride, south of Glasgow. He is named John, with the hope that he will survive infancy, unlike a previous baby, also named John. The family is described as “struggling”. So it is likely there was no servant help for the substantial daily work load. I will imagine that near the house is a ‘kail yard’ to hoe, to grow kail (kale) the most commonly cultivated green. Close by are hens and a milking cow. On the farmland itself grow oats, and sheep and cattle. At lambing/calving season those farm animals require intense tending. I’ll bet that often the wind’s maw is bleak and cold. Animals are culled and butchered for home use, and sheep shorn for wool to spin then weave. Regularly the men tramp on and beyond the farm to hunt or snare wild game such as salmon, trout, rabbit, hare and grouse. Domestic tasks include milking of the cow, and from that milk the making of butter and cheese. There are clothes to stitch, candles to make, floors to sweep, a kitchen table to scrub, fires to tend, meals to cook and of course the physically demanding job of filling tubs with water for the hand washing of clothes. Why am I describing this? [Read more…]
We know our heartbeat intimately. We can feel it through our skin and fingers as the internal pulsing of blood, muscles contracting and expanding in a rhythm that is our own. To hear our sinus rhythm ‘outside’ our body is quite an unusual experience, but this was the basis of my participatory sound-works show, Waves and bodies in waves in bodies.