Creative Interpretations: material culture and visual perception

Janis Jefferies (Goldsmiths Digital Studios)

Contemporary Crafts Subjects: Creativity and Craft Production in Middle and Late Bronze Age Europe (CinBA) gave emerging makers access to Bronze Age objects as sources for their own practice (motifs, design, whole objects are parts of). New work was developed from within a range of materials and inspirations thereby engaging in how new types of heritage experience maybe generated through imaginative interpretation of pre historic objects. Digital heritage technologies open up new ways of knowing and experiencing a world mediated through images; the sooner we acknowledge the range of sensory combinations through which we come to know, the better equipped we will become to understand the role of images in society (Stafford 1999). As Susan Stewart states: ‘visual perception becomes a mode of touching when comparisons are made and the eye is ‘placed upon’ or ‘falls upon’ relations between phenomena’ (Stewart 1999: 32). It is through the coordinated movement of the hand and the eye that one touches the images and touches the materials it documents. In this way makers are both looking and touching: a phenomenological engagement with digital images forming part of their social experience and ‘ours’ as we turn the pages of an on line catalogue an view an digital curation project.

For craft based production it is through this new kind of touching that sensory knowledge appears to be mediated and provides new platforms for interacting and interpreting heritage objects in a myriad of creative ways.