In attending to surfaces, as they wrap, layer and grow within sentient bodies, material formations and cosmological states, this volume presents a series of ten anthropological studies stretching across five continents and in observation of earthly practices of making, knowing, living and dying.
Through theoretically reflecting on time spent with Aymara and Mapuche Andean cultures; the Malagasy people of Madagascar; craftspeople and designers across Europe and Oceania; amongst the architectures of Australia and South Korea and within the folds of books, screens, landscape and the sea, the anthropologists in this volume communicate diverse ways of considering, working with and knowing surfaces. Together, these writings advance a knowledge of the world which resists any definitive settlement of existential categories and rather seeks to know the world in its emergence and transformation, as entities grow, cohere, shift, dissolve, decay and are reborn through the contact and exchange of surfaces, persisting with varying time, power and effect.
The book principally invites readers from anthropology, the creative arts and environmental studies, but also across the wider humanities and social sciences as well as those in neighbouring scientific fields of archaeology, biology, geography, geoscience, material science, neurology and psychology interested in the intersections of mind, body, materials and world.
Table of Contents
1 Introduction: turning to surfaces
Mike Anusas and Cristián Simonetti
2 On opening the book of surfaces
3 Air, smoke and fumes in Aymara and Mapuche rituals
Juan Carlos Skewes and Debbie Guerra
4 In light and shadow: surfaces and polarities in rituals of second burial in Central East Madagascar
5 Re-animating skin: probing the surface in taxidermic practice
Petra Tjitske Kalshoven
6 The temporality of surfaces
7 Threshold as social surface
8 Vital surfaces and the making of urban architecture
9 On the substance of surfaces: situating materials and design in Melanesian environments
10 On knitted surfaces-in-the-making
Lydia Maria Arantes
11 A life surficial: design and beyond
Mike Anusas is Lecturer in Design & Screen Cultures, Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh. Originally having trained and worked as a designer and engineer, he retrained as a social anthropologist to teach and research at the intersection of design and anthropology, exploring relationships between skilled practices, form-making and environmental perception.
Cristián Simonetti is Assistant Professor in Anthropology, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. His work concentrates on how bodily gestures and environmental forces relate to notions of time in science, the topic of a monograph he published in 2018 also with Routledge, entitled Sentient Conceptualisations. Feeling for Time in the Sciences of the Past.