all images © 2009 Victoria Alexander

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Action Ritualization:
I’m personally attracted to the quality and appearance of hand-made items. In this age of mechanization and mass-production, I consider the widening disconnect between what we are, what we make and why we make. The process changes the dynamic of a community. I think about the de-humanizing process of automation, the advent of the digital world, the ramifications of that gap between individuals, how that affects how we feel about things, and, in the light of all that, I wonder why we still feel compelled to make things with our hands.

I engage in certain kinds of behaviour when I feel that I want a closer connection to the remembered environment of community and family. These behaviours often include making things with my hands, most specifically knitting usable items. I examine the relationships between the women in my own life and how they support each other, and the ways that we create safety nets for ourselves and our loved ones. I have realized that I create safe spaces for myself in times of stress.
It is the reaction to potential danger, challenges and stress that lead me to perform action ritualization which is defined as follows:
In a variety of circumstances humans produce rituals, intuitively recognizable by their stereotypy, rigidity, repetition, and apparent lack of rational motivation. We build on a variety of prior models to describe a core psychological process that we call action ritualization – which is not only a part of individual or cultural rituals but a crucial part. The occurrence of ritualization depends on the conjunction of two specialized cognitive systems. One is a motivational system geared to the detection of and reaction to particular potential threats to fitness. The other system might be called “Action Parsing.” It is concerned with the division of the flow of behaviour into meaningful units. In some circumstances, specific interaction between these systems creates ritualized actions. The circumstances are different for individual, pathological, and collective rituals, as we will see. But the core ritualization process explains some of their common properties.
Boyer, Pascal & Lienard, Pierre (2006), Why ritualized behaviour? Precaution Systems and action parsing in developmental, pathological and cultural rituals, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge Journals, Behavioural and Brain Sciences 29, page 7
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These sculptures recreate the familiar sites sounds of a group of people in a room knitting and are connected with my own personal challenge, a defective heart condition. There are resonating patterns that emerge in the random and measured sounds. The motorized version is a nod to the increasingly industrialized manner in which our clothing is being manufactured and the hand-crank version was created in order to allow the participant to regulate the sounds of the needles to their own rhythm.

Kinetic Sound Sculpture in Action click HERE