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 considered the widening disconnect between what we are, what we make and why we make. That process changes the dynamic of a community. I thought 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, 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 environment of community and family, and these behaviours often include making things with my hands, most specifically knitting. I began to examine the relationships between the women in my own life and how they’ve support each other, the ways in which we create safety nets for ourselves and our loved ones. This brought me to another realization about the ways in which I create safe spaces for myself in times of stress.
It is this reaction to potential danger that leads 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

People engage in ritualized behaviour for a variety of reasons, it's often connected with fear. Fear of danger or change. Creating thses safe spaces can be a function of our fight/flight response. In the repetition of tasks or actions rituals emerge.

These sculptures recreate the familiar sounds of a group of people in a room knitting. 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