Spatial-temporal navigation in Oceania and the geometry of artefacts
- Suzanne Kuechler, University College London
- Friday 4 November 2016
- Material Agency Forum
- University Library
Witte Singel 26-27
2311 BG Leiden
- Vossius Room
An ethnographic excurse on the relation between mathematics, ideas and the understanding of agency
Despite a number of seminal contributions, such as Alfred Gell’s Art and Agency, anthropology has been reluctant to advance an informed, theoretical perspective on the nature of thought. This talk will present a case for the need to address this gap in our understanding of being human.
It will set out a potential solution, drawing on ethnographic case studies from Oceania that document an algorithmic underpinning of image, imagination and intuition. With recourse to Walter Benjamin’s ideas on translation as material practice, the theoretical reappraisal of the relation between thought and thing will emerge as critical to anthropology’s contribution to a comparative understanding of the workings of the human mind.