anthropologically trained moles of a philosophical bent = rachel whiteread?


A passage from rereading Ingold’s “Materials against materiality” reminded me of the work of Rachel Whiteread (pictured below, her concrete cast of the inside of a Victorian house in East London):

House, Rachel Whiteread (1993)

House, Rachel Whiteread (1993)

“I wonder whether, if moles were endowed with imaginations as creative as those of humans, they could have a material culture. Anthropologically trained moles, of a philosophical bent, would doubtless insist that the materiality of the world is not culturally constructed but culturally excavated — not, of course, in the archaeological sense of recovering erstwhild detached, solid objects that have since become buried in the substance of the earth, but in the sense that the forms of things are hollowed out from within rather than impressed from without. In their eyes (if they could se), all that is material would reside beyond the things of culture, on the far side of their inward-facing surfaces. Thus these things could be phenomenally present in mole culture only as a material absence. — not as concrete objects but as externally bounded volumes of empty space. The very idea of material culture would then be a contradiction in terms.” (Ingold, Archaeological Dialogues 14 (1):6)


4 Responses to “anthropologically trained moles of a philosophical bent = rachel whiteread?”

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