Ceci n’est pas une Kite

Ceci n’est pas une pipe.  This is not a pipe, this is an image of a pipe, a depiction of the real life item.  If we were looking at a real pipe, but it was not being used, is it still a pipe?  Yes?  No?  Both.

MagrittePipe (1)
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/b/b9/MagrittePipe.jpg

The example in the notes showed that a kite can only truly become a kite when there are two – at least – other entities acting upon it: a person pulling the kite and the wind, lifting the kite into the sky.  It is only at this stage that a kite can become a kite.  Without these other agents it is simply a collection of components arranged together in a nice shape.  Ceci n’est pas une kite.  But is a kite – whether it is in the air, or sat on the floor – simply a collection of components put together by human hand to form an inanimate object?  Once the kite is as a whole, the structure looks like the sum of its components – i.e. the wood, canvas and string look like they were destined to be together.  Then if we deconstruct the kite and lay each component side by side, they also look like they belong together, but could just as easily be a deconstructed kite as a soon to be constructed laundry basket.  The components are not just components, they are form givers that need to be coerced into being, manipulated by an agent, (in this case, human).  Sometimes these components just won’t be coerced into the shape we desire; the wood could bend, the string could break and the canvas could wrinkle.  These inanimate objects are fighting back, resisting our desire to form them into being something else.  This can’t be?  They’re not alive, they’re just dead branches.  If this were true, why do they resist so hard?  If we bend a piece of wood, why does it refuse to bend, acting as if it were a stubborn cow refusing to go into the milking shed?  The scientific response would be that it is down to the density of the wood, the placement of the hands in the application of force, the moisture content of the wood.  All of this is true, but these are just agents in the dance of the form.  The moisture provides the flexibility, the density the strength, simple.  Our placement of our hands on the wood to bend it, could just go anywhere and may result in the bend we wanted, but if we listen to the wood, feel where it wants to be bent, communicate with it, we can hear and feel what it needs.  Flex here, too dry, too dense.  We can feel the rhythm, the ‘heartbeat’ of the wood; it’s telling us what to do, giving us instruction of how to dance.  We’re selecting a partner and entering into the dance, it just depends if it’s a tango or a waltz.

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