Imagination and materiality: exploring geometry through the making of fabric bowls 
Tam Dibley (Manchester Metropolitan University)
Ricardo Nemirovsky (MMU)
Pitt Rivers Museum Lecture Theatre
Start time:
19 September, 2018 at 14:15 (UTC+0)
Session slots:

Short Abstract:

In this laboratory, we will explore relationships between imagining and materiality. Participants will create fabric bowls - 3D shapes created by joining flat pieces of fabric - considering how the shapes develop, and how the physical act of making participates in how we imagine these changes.

Long Abstract

It is an old conundrum whether the imaginary is a projection of the mind or a growth of our bodily experience with materials and tools (Bergson, 1889; Husserl, 1954; Kant, 1781; Sheets-Johnstone, 1999). In this laboratory we examine the latter thesis by means of practical making and reflection. The proposed lab will introduce participants to Fabric Bowls - geometric patterns cut from a material (Paper, Fabric, Plastic), which are then stitched or joined along edges, pulling them into tensile 3D forms. Topology is an area of mathematics for which these relationships between 2D and 3D shapes are an important subject of study. We will investigate how the physical act of making these shapes enable us the development of intuitions about topological ideas. Through making, we feel forces, interact with materiality, make decisions and mistakes which can begin to tell us about how geometry exists by merging abstraction and sensuality. Discussions, as we progress, will be based on collective experiences sharing feelings and affects enfolding the processes we are interacting with.

Introduction: 10min

Making Bowls: 35min

We will sew existing geometric nets into bowls, observing how they change with each step, and the final form gradually becomes clear.

Creating new curves: 35min

Building on intuitions developed through making bowls, we will explore and tinker with new curves.

Final Discussion: 10min

The lab will ideally be for up to 15 participants with some flexibility, please email Ricardo and Tam if you are hoping to attend.