Craft as Rhizomatic Learning

Conference: The Barcelona Conference on Arts, Media & Culture (BAMC2022)
Title: Craft as Rhizomatic Learning
Stream: Aesthetics and Design
Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
Harald Bentz Høgseth, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway


My presentation is about the Norwegian term “innlevelse” as a "tool” for learning when we investigate craftsmanship or design. When someone activates innlevelse, which could perhaps be understood as sensibility, sensitivity, affinity, awareness, or empathy in English, as tools the person opens to parts of reality that are not accessible "objectively". You could say that each of us then is the tool of innlevelse. If I have innlevelse in something, I do it through my experience, feelings, and reflections. Maybe also the ability to imagine possibilities. It is human and subjective and is also based on the prejudices or preconceived notions that the living person has. In this presentation, I define innlevelse as "the ability to empathize". I primarily want to see innlevelse as a process that is constantly evolving and in progress, something that we through training, experience and reflection can become steadily better trained in. Innlevelse can also be directed towards one's own sensibility, awareness and thoughts through actions and reflections. The presentation will cast a spotlight on how a craftsperson integrates himself into situations, things, and events, and how to interpret traces of people, their actions, tradition, and practice of knowledge through the physical remains, the product. As an artisan, archaeologist, and researcher, I use different methods and theories to investigate and reconstruct past crafts. This example starts with a phenomenological and hermeneutic practice, but through the dialogue between me and the physical material, I process a post-humanistic anchoring in which I, as a practitioner, examine the actions of craftsmen manifested in processed timbers from the past.

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