Saturday, 21 December 2013

horse gin

In fact, animal domestication very often does involve the use of manual tools, but of
a kind we have not so far encountered. They are tools of coercion, such as the whip
or spur, designed to inflict physical force and very often acute pain (see Chapter Four,
p. 73). Another class of tools consists of those attached to the animals themselves and
operated as part of their performance. Thus the ‘handling’ of animals is really a two-stage
operation in which the human master, through the use of the instruments of coercion,
aims to control the skilled tool-using performance of his charges. Indeed there is an imme-
diate and obvious parallel here with slave-driving: like human slaves, similarly compelled
to work through the infliction of pain, animals constitute labour itself rather than its
instruments (Ingold 1980: 88).

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

A Guided Tour of the Visible Human

The Visible Human Project has generated over 18000 digitized sections of the human body

temari balls

how to

wikipedia/// Historically, temari were constructed from the remnants of old kimonos. Pieces of silk fabric would be wadded up to form a ball, and then the wad would be wrapped with strips of fabric. As time passed, traditional temari became an art, with the functional stitching becoming more decorative and detailed, until the balls displayed intricate embroidery. With the introduction of rubber to Japan, the balls went from play toys to art objects, although mothers still make them for their children. Temari became an art and craft of the Japanese upper class and aristocracy, and noble women competed in creating increasingly beautiful and intricate objects.

Temari are highly valued and cherished gifts, symbolizing deep friendship and loyalty. Also, the brilliant colors and threads used are symbolic of wishing the recipient a brilliant and happy life. Traditionally, becoming a craftsman in Japan was a tedious process. Becoming a temari artist in Japan today requires specific training, and one must be tested on one's skills and technique before being acknowledged as a crafter of temari.
Traditionally, temari were often given to children from their parents on New Year's Day. Inside the tightly wrapped layers of each ball, the mother would have placed a small piece of paper with a goodwill wish for her child. The child would never be told what wish his or her mother had made while making the ball.
Alternately, some balls contained "noisemakers" consisting of rice grains or bells to add to the play value. It is said that traditional temari were wrapped so tightly they would bounce.

TAG on Sea 2013

London Charter


Information about human processes of understanding and interpretation of data objects. Examples of paradata include descriptions stored within a structured dataset of how evidence was used to interpret an artefact, or a comment on methodological premises within a research publication. It is closely related, but somewhat different in emphasis, to "contextual metadata", which tend to communicate interpretations of an artefact or collection, rather than the process through which one or more artefacts were processed or interpreted.

London Charter

saint stephen


Wednesday, 11 December 2013


Taphonomy is the study of decaying organisms over time and how they become fossilized (if they do). The term taphonomy (from the Greek taphos, τάφος meaning burial, and nomos, νόμος meaning law) was introduced to paleontology in 1940 by Russian scientist Ivan Efremov to describe the study of the transition of remains, parts, or products of organisms, from the biosphere, to the lithosphere, i.e. the creation of fossil assemblages.[1][2]

Oswalt’s techno-units

Tool complexity was quantified by the number of ‘techno-units’. A techno-unit was defined by Oswalt (1976, p. 38) as ‘an integrated, physically distinct and unique structural configuration that contributes to the form of a finished artefact’. Techno-unit counts are based on verbal descriptions, illustrations and photographs from the eHRAF and ranged from one techno-unit (e.g. a stick used for prying shellfish from the reef) to 16 techno-units (e.g. an untended crab trap made of a bamboo tube and baited lever); see the electronic supplementary material for an example of techno-unit coding. In contrast to Oswalt, we include decorative elements in the techno-unit counts because the production of any part of the tool may be socially learned, and thus subject to the dynamics of the cultural transmission process upon which both models are based. If a given tool was present in more than one society's tool kit, we coded that tool independently for each society where information was available. Next, we computed the mean of these techno-unit estimates. We then used the mean as the techno-unit estimate for that tool across all societies where it was present, replacing the original independent estimates. This helped to control for potential coder and/or ethnographer bias and worked against our hypotheses by decreasing variation between groups. 

Measuring Lithic Technology Complexity

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We define technological complexity as the minimum amount of information that is needed to manufacture a product. This definition is in line with other formalized definitions of complexity (Shannon and Weaver 1949). Computer scientists, for example, have defined the complexity of an algorithm as the shortest string length, or the smallest number of bits of information, that is necessary to describe it (Chaitin 1970). This information criterion is analogous to the various measures of richness used to describe biological systems that are defined as the number of unique types of some constituent present within an aggregate group. For instance, at the level of the organism, biological complexity has been measured as the count of cell types (Bonner 1988). At the level of an ecosystem, biological complexity has been measured as the count of unique species it contains (Bonner 1988). Finally, the complexity of animal behavior has also been estimated by counting the number of elemental “building blocks” that is associated with a specific behavior or, at a larger scale, as the number of acts in a species’ behavioral repertoire (Sambrook and Whiten 1997; Whiten et al. 1999).
In the same spirit, we argue that the complexity of a technology can be measured by counting the number of elemental building blocks associated with it. We call these building blocks “procedural units.” We define procedural units as mutually exclusive manufacturing steps that make a distinct contribution to the finished form of the product of a technology. Focusing on lithic technology, the count of procedural units present in a tool reduction sequence is a measure of complexity because it reflects the minimum amount of information that is needed to carry it out to a successful end.
This procedural-unit approach to stone-tool complexity parallels Oswalt’s “techno-units” (Oswalt 1976). Oswalt assessed the complexity of food-getting technologies by counting (1) the number of tool types present in a tool kit, which he called “subsistants,” and (2) the number of integrated and physically distinct structures that contribute to the finished form of a tool, which he called “techno-units.” Oswalt’s method is powerful because it allows for the measurement of technological complexity cross-culturally. It has been applied to ethnographic data to test a wide range of hypotheses, including hypotheses about the ecological determinants of technological complexity (Collard, Kemery, and Banks 2005; Collard et al. 2011; Shott 1986; Torrence 1983, 1989, 2000) and the effect of demography on the evolution of technologies (Collard, Kemery, and Banks 2005; Collard et al. 2011; Kline and Boyd 2010; Oswalt 1976).

Measuring the Complexity of Lithic Technology

Charles Perreault, P. Jeffrey Brantingham, Steven L. Kuhn, Sarah Wurz, and Xing Gao

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

common conduct


Criodhna Costello
Jessica Potter
Francis Summers

Private View:
Friday 6th December
Thursday 5th to Monday 9th
(closed Sunday 8th)

Dyson Gallery
Royal College of Art
1 Hester Road
London SW11 4AN