Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 32, No. 419. Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London Hosted by King's Digital Lab www.dhhumanist.org Submit to: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: 2019-02-03 12:48:20+00:00 From: Willard McCarty
Subject: deliberate imperfection or asymmetry? I am looking for scholarly work on practices of making in which a 'flaw' of some kind or asymmetry is thought to be deliberately introduced. Navajo and Persian carpets are well-known examples. It is not difficult to find casual statements about these practices online, rather more difficult to find citations of reliable studies. So far I have Ellwanger, The Oriental Rug (1903); Bennett, The Navajo Weaving (1974); Schwartz, Navajo Lifeways (2001); and two of Yohe's studies from 2008 on the Navajo, including her very helpful doctoral dissertation. Thorstein Veblen, in Theory of the Leisure Class (1899), makes the interesting statement that it was only with manufacture by machine that 'errors' in handcrafted goods became a sign of worth. Could it be that machine-made goods in turn made the deliberate 'flaw' (e.g. in those carpets) visible as a special feature for the first time, at least to collectors? The connection to computing is by way of the perceived randomness or unpredictability of combinatorially generated output. To put the matter crudely, expecting symmetry we find slight asymmetries surprising, interesting. Many thanks for any pointers. Yours, WM -- Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/), Professor emeritus, Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London; Adjunct Professor, Western Sydney University; Editor, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews (www.tandfonline.com/loi/yisr20) and Humanist (www.dhhumanist.org) _______________________________________________ Unsubscribe at: http://dhhumanist.org/Restricted List posts to: email@example.com List info and archives at at: http://dhhumanist.org Listmember interface at: http://dhhumanist.org/Restricted/ Subscribe at: http://dhhumanist.org/membership_form.php
Editor: Willard McCarty (King's College London, U.K.; Western Sydney University, Australia)
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