Hand and Mind - Shaping Experience
ArtsHealth Centre for Research and Practice
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We live in an increasingly virtual, mediated and disembodied world in which the role of our hands, the experience of physical touch, and the sharing of gestures and emotions has been diminished by the technology which pervades so much of our daily lives. We make meaning of our world, develop emotional connections and communicate with one another through our senses and our hands play a vital part in this process; they inform our perception of experience and express our emotional responses to it. Hand making has until recently been synonymous with the creative process of craft, however many artists and designers now routinely use digital technology within their practice or as the vehicle to express their artworks. The analogue crafting process, involving the expression of artistic intent by working a medium using the hands, is not only a fundamental human skill but has been shown to have a signifi cant impact on the development of creative thought. By comparison, the interfaces most commonly used to craft digitally lack haptic sensitivity. If touch, physical manipulation of materials and hand gestures inform novel thinking then how does the integration of technology affect creative cognition? How important is bodily acquired knowledge and physical manipulation of materials within creative practice? This paper draws from recent research that explores how physical experience and in particular the use of the hands, are instrumental in the development of creative thought. By examining the creative practice of an artist who integrates hand and digital processes it has been possible to observe how new ideas are shaped and infl uenced. Using ethnographic qualitative research methods, that integrate analysis of audiovisual recorded data with photographic documentation, it has been possible to gain insight into how technology is impacting upon the creative process and reveal the importance of the hands in developing imaginative thought.
Australasian Journal of ArtsHealth, Volume 1
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