Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Where there's hair there's fun

We're fond of this conception of tools as things with which we commit actions upon the world. We use paintbrushes to smear a dirty trace our passing onto a blank and unresisting canvas, besmirching its innocence with the slimy seed of our Intentions. Or, if like me, you're a Modern Girl, you might prefer to think of it as doing stigmergy.
But that's not all - yes, a paintbrush is a transmitter, that's plain to see. But it is also a receiver, a big clumsy whisker. We use tools to pick up information about the world which we use in order to work out what to do next. In the case of painting, through the vibrations of the brush we feel the warp of the paper, its humidity, irregularities of surface, stray particles, the viscosity of the paint, and the activity of painting is a process of constant response to this.

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