Honey and Cats: The Performativity and Materiality of Embodied Knowledge
Sá Pinto, E.C.
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In glassmaking, discursive and non-discursive forms of knowing and transfer are now shifting towards a new materialist turn. Materiality and performativity are co-constitutive of each other: glass, body, tools, and space. Glass studios of the past, used systems of apprenticeship since young ages to transfer intergenerational knowledge; they lived in these spaces, in the sweat and hard work. In today's society, material culture is developing towards new forms of alienation; We no longer understand the things we use, the processes behind, the how and most importantly why questions, the knowledge that rests in the fingertips, and ourselves. Losing communities of expertise, influence how craftspeople find themselves without apprentices to share knowledge. In artistic practices, we see a growing interest in developing and retrieving knowledge of the past, following traditional forms of knowing and experimenting with new digital technologies. This research aims to connect the complex structures of embodied knowledge, analyzing movement, touch, and experience, by diffracting matters related to the performativity of bodies. Following Baradian's concept of intra-action, this research reads interviews among glassmakers and experts in embodied practices through literature studies and conducted fieldwork of knowers in the making. I exercise a closer look at systems of apprenticeship, and what does it mean to transfer knowledge, proposing speculative approaches to glassmaking practices. This research analyses re-enacting embodied expertise, simulations practices of the past, the influence of language and narratives on glassblowers through the use metaphors, analogies and 'glass' recipes, visualizations of ephemeral practices, video recordings, and digital enhanced perceptual systems, the use of notation systems as a unified language, and sonification systems for knowing and transferring. Based on the research, transferring embodied knowledge rests in the validity and recognition of non-discursive practices, and urgency of creating universal languages of making, that portray the multi-sensorial knowing body.