1

Graeme Were – On the Materials of Mats: thinking through design in a Pacific society


Event Date: 3 October 2011

Stevenson Lecture Theatre
Clore Education Centre, British Museum


Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG

 

 

 

Royal Anthropological Institute , London

THE CURL LECTURE 2011

Dr Graeme Were (Lecturer in Museum Studies, University of Queensland)

“On the Materials of Mats: thinking through design in a Pacific society”
 



This paper examines the selective use of plant materials in design in the Pacific. It explores – through an analysis of pandanus leaf mats in New Ireland, Papua New Guinea – how makers select fibres on the basis of their capacity to articulate social relations to varying temporalities before their natural decay. J. J. Gibson’s theory of affordance and Donald Norman’s concept of mapping are critically applied for this purpose. This approach emphasizes how social and temporal relations are condensed into objects, refocusing anthropological attention towards the design process as the dynamic locus of agency [entangled in both cultural and natural processes], rather than on objects as stable entities.

Introduction by Professor Roy Ellen  .

Lecture

Play