Monday, 21 March 2011

A Good Organum of Fabric

Pennina Barnett in the introduction to the first edition of Textile: The Journal of Cloth & Culture

Interdisciplinarity is increasingly regarded as essential critical practice, for a discipline that builds walls around itself, just like a country that becomes a fortress, is likely to stagnate. Here the philosopher Michel Serres offers a pertinent image: I believe that there is boxthought, the thought we call rigorous, like rigid, inflexible boxes, and sack-thought, like systems of fabric. Our philosophy lacks a good organum of fabrics. The dictionary defines cloth as a “soft, usually pliable fabric.” Serres also argues for “soft logics”—modes of thought that are open and inclusive. Textile aims to encourage new ways of thinking about cloth that resemble this soft, loose weave. The metaphors of cloth, its weave and texture, have proved a rich source for many philosophers.

quote: Michel Serres, Rome, The Book of Foundations (1983), trans. Felicia McCarren, Stanford University Press, Stanford, CA, 1991, p. 236

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