Surfaces: contesting boundaries between materials, mind and body
Cristián Simonetti (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile)
Mike Anusas (University of Edinburgh)
Tim Ingold (University of Aberdeen)
The World of the Mind and the Mind in the World
Roscoe 3.5
Tuesday 6 August, 14:00-15:00, 18:00-19:00, Wednesday 7 August, 9:00-10:00, 14:00-15:00 (UTC+0)

Short abstract:

Life is conveyed by, and carries on through, surfaces such as those of the mind, body, materials and environment. This panel invites reflections on the meaning and qualities of surfaces, and to explore how these reflections might inform understandings of the world and mind.

Long abstract:

Life is conveyed by, and carries on through, surfaces. Social life is conducted through bodily and material surfaces and along the surfaces of ground, sea and air. We delve into the intricacies of social life in moving through surfaces to densities of mind and matter.

The history of the earth, life and humanity lies deep beyond the surface of the atmosphere and below the surface of the earth and the sea. The surfaces of material things enshroud the technological entanglements that sustain everyday life. Social life is encountered through the surfaces of the body which binds the micro-world of the mind with the macro-world of the environment. Accordingly, language and discourse has been conceived as operating in a double register; communication can be superficial or convey profound meanings.

These established dichotomies which conflate superficiality with 'surface understandings' and knowledge of the inside as an 'in-depth' seriously limit the development of a critical understanding of surfaces. It becomes difficult to bridge interiority with the world around, when surfaces are considered as impermeable boundaries of enclosure. Understandings of evolution, history, knowledge, creativity, language and memory are fraught with tensions between the internal and external.

The proposed panel is thus an invitation to critically examine our current understandings of surfaces and explore how surfaces might help us rethink social processes and relationships between the world and mind. We encourage submissions from diverse disciplinary backgrounds and those that draw on fieldwork and creative practice.