Tim Ingold, professor at the University of Aberdeen, is a well-known anthropologist who formulated very interesting ideas on the edges of the four A’s: Art, Architecture, Archeology & Anthropology.

In his latest research he has been exploring three themes, all arising from his earlier work on the perception of the environment, concerning first, the dynamics of pedestrian movement, secondly, the creativity of practice, and thirdly, the linearity of writing. Starting from the premise that what walking, observing and writing all have in common is that they proceed along lines of one kind and another, his research seeks to forge a new approach to understanding the relation, in human social life and experience, between movement, knowledge and description. At the same time, Ingold is researching and teaching on the connections between anthropology, archaeology, art and architecture (the ’4 As’), conceived as ways of exploring the relations between human beings and the environments they inhabit. Taking an approach radically different from the conventional anthropologies and archaeologies ‘of’ art and of architecture, which treat artworks and buildings as though they were merely objects of analysis, he is looking at ways of bringing together the 4 As on the level of practice, as mutually enhancing ways of engaging with our surroundings.


Conventional research protocols expect the scholar to treat the world as reserve from which to draw empirical material for subsequent interpretation in light of appropriate theory. Ingold seeks to establish an alternative procedure whereby theory is not applied after the fact, to a corpus of material already gathered, but rather grows from our direct, practical and observational engagements with the stuff of the dwelt-in world. Theoretical thinking, then, is embedded in observational practice, or knowing in being, rather than vice versa. This way of knowing, by studying with things or people instead of making studies of them, has long been key to anthropology. It is also, however, central to arts practice, as it is to the contingent disciplines of architecture and design. All four disciplines offer paths to knowing-in-being which challenge the division between data gathering and theory building that underwrites normal science.


19/2/2020 – 12:30-13:30

New building PXL-MAD, Gouverneur Verwilghensingel – Hasselt

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