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.
Sculpture in Action click