Room B312 Portland Square,
University of Plymouth,
Research Gate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Martyn_Woodward
Martyn is a designer, media archaeologist, philosopher and theorist working primarily across the visual arts and design. His key interests lie in understanding how human experience shapes the material world, and in turn how the material world shapes human experience. Bringing together embodied and enacted conceptions of mind from the arts and cognitive sciences together with the ‘vital’ and affective domains of materials within the study of material culture, this research re-configures received historical accounts of art and design within often-neglected archaeological, geological, genealogical and phenomenological contexts.
His research brings together art and design theory history and philosophy together with the philosophy of mind, cognitive archaeology, and anthropology and geology in order to foster new ways of thinking across the territories of art and design history, theory and practice.
A Field-Theory of Images:
Body, Environment, Artefact
Hegemony of language within the study of material culture, and human society since the late twentieth century has rendered partially mute the very creative tensions and resistances between the lived experience of a human body and the affective domains of human artefacts and the environment. This research brings together philosophy and practice, and looks at how we come to understand the ontogenesis of human artefacts in terms of an embodied subject that is immersed within an affective environment. Where human experience shapes the environment over time, the environment also shapes human experience, a reciprocal process that has no defined beginning or end – human history is a non-linear history that includes non-human actors. Whether we are designing artefacts or spaces the invisible tensions and resistances between the domains of bodies and the environment that shape our activity are made visible through the creative process itself. Through a media-archaeology of human artefacts these tensions will be made visible for reflection through the study of depictions, paintings, baskets, and architectural spaces, allowing a reflection upon the history, theory and practice of design based disciplines, to bring to light new questions and ideas, and to critically reflect upon the present.Selected papers:
Woodward, M. (2014) ‘From Interaction to Correspondance: An Archaeology of Visual Style’, TAG 2014, University of Manchester, Manchester, 17-20 Dec.
Woodward, M. (2014) ‘A Monstrous Rhinoceros (As From Life): The Epistemological Role of the Enacted Pictorial Image.’ Yung, S.T, and Peibalga, A. Designing the Relationship between Humans and Technology. Cambridge Scholars Publishing
Egbe, A., Woodward, M. (2013) ‘The (Im)material Aspects of Film Duplication: The Optical Printer as a Philosophical Apparatus’. in: Blassnigg, M., Punt, M. Deep History, Contingency and the Sublime. Transtechnology Research Open Access Papers (PDF)
Woodward, M. (2013) ‘Being Through Painting and Weaving: A Brief Commentary on Intuition’. in: Blassnigg, M., Punt, M. Deep History, Contingency and the Sublime. Transtechnology Research Open Access Papers (PDF)
Woodward, M. (2013) ‘A Monstrous Rhinoceros (As From Life): The Epistemological Role of the Enacted Pictorial Image’. in: Yung, S.T, and Peibalga, A. Designing the Relationship between Humans and Technology. Cambridge Scholars Publishing [Forthcoming]
Woodward, M. (2013) ‘A Staging and Choreography of Theatrical Play: A Brechtian Aesthetic for Popular Culture.’ In: Jahrmann, M., Felderer, B. (eds). Play & Prosume. Nuernberg: Verlag fuer Moderne Kunst, pp. 63-65 (PDF)
Woodward, M. (2012) ‘Artifacts, Entanglements & Deep History: A Reflection on the Sublime in Art and Science’. In: L|R|Q 2.01. MIT Press Journals, pp. xi-xii (PDF)
Woodward, M. (2010) Where does Lap go When You Stand Up?: Meaning Making, Expression and Communication Beyond a Linguistic Constraint. Transtechnology Reader 2010.
TAG (Theoretical Archaeology Group) UK 2014;
The material dimension of cognition:
From Interaction to Correspondence: An archaeology of visual style.
Material Engagement Theory (MET) (Knappett and Malafouris, 2008; Malafouris, 2013) has become an exemplar for understanding the deeply interactive connection between mind and environment within cognitive archaeology, re-raising many well versed philosophical questions regarding how the material world contributes to the development of the human mind. Where the focus upon the interaction of these domains is of great importance, it is the presupposition of an interaction itself that may restrict the richness of such an endeavour. The ‘radically enactive’ paradigm (Varela et al. 1993; Thompson, 2007) underpinning MET posits that the material world does not so much contribute to human cognition – through the interaction of two independent entities – it is always already of what we might describe as human experience, experience and environment emerge reciprocally. How does this reciprocity change the way we think about the material world? How does it effect how we might approach the archaeological study of material artefacts?
The creative intermingling of material world and experience is what Tim Ingold (2013) describes as a correspondence in which we do not so much inter-act with a static world as always correspond with an animate one; properties are more like ‘qualities’ of an emergent whole that take on certain characteristic of what they correspond too. Artefacts such as kites, lasso’s and baskets (Ingold, 2013) express this correspondence of human, environment and material worlds through their formal structures, styles and use, and the changes of these features over time. This paper will focus attention upon the style of human artefacts by borrowing from the phenomenological tradition of painting (Crowther, 2011, 2012; Merleau-Ponty, 1961), describing how the compositional strategies and qualities of line give a visual expression to a particular way of acting in the world. Such an expression is a process of rendering visible the invisible temperament and experience of the artist that are intermingled with the ‘properties’ (or forces) of the environment that emerge in correspondence; the canvas, the brush, the paint, and environmental conditions – offering empirical access to the historical ‘qualities’ of the material world that that practitioners movements corresponds too.
TAG (Theoretical Archaeology Group) UK 2013;
The material dimension of cognition:
A shifting sense of human scale: tracing ‘deep time’ aspects of human depiction
Bournemouth University, Dec 18, 2013-Dec 16, 2013
A contemporary interest in the often-neglected geological ‘deep time’ of the late nineteenth century regarding the study of human history within the humanities, arises with questions regarding the material and immaterial limits of the development of human cognition, and the methods by which a human history is documented (Shryock and Smail, 2011). What has been termed a ‘deep human history’ attempts to study the development of such a distributed human cognition and creative activity through the traces of the development of human cognition and consciousness that extend into, and are left upon the environment: the material artefacts, objects and materials of a culture.
This paper, through a juxtaposition of diverse visual ephemera drawn from the seventeenth to the late nineteenth century: that of geological images, biblical depictions, modern painting, satirical illustrations and everyday depictions of emerging technologies, will trace the ‘deep time’ aspects of the development of a historically contingent imagination, cognition and perception that manifest within such depictions of the human form. Utilising especially the anthropological concept of meshwork (Ingold, 2011), and the neuroarchaeological concept of ‘enactive signification’ (Malafouris, 2007), this paper will point to an approach to the study of the development of human depictions that acknowledges the material and immaterial dimensions of human cognition and perception. By juxtaposing these approaches with that of contemporary art historical methods (Papapetros, 2012) it will point particularly to the importance of the multi-sensory, imaginary and spiritual dimensions of cognition that will be argued as entangled within the meshworks of material
(Editorial / Podcast) MIT Press Journals Podcasts Series, No 18: Artifacts, Entanglements & Deep History: A Reflection on the Sublime in Art and Science
The emergence of deep history is shaping a contemporary concern with the origins of the human and its artifacts, beyond a reliance upon the written word of the (more shallow) past, which has formed a somewhat materialist history constituted by persons and things. Instead of a reliance upon documentary written evidence, a deep history attempts to re-instate the ‘pre-history’ of the written word – a genealogical and archeological history – through the traces of human consciousness left within human made artifacts, which themselves become containers for meanings and social relations (Shryock and Smail, 2011). Shryock and Smail insist that materials, just as the written word, contain traces of human kinship relations and exchanges. Seen within fossils, tools, pictures, household items, ecological change and genetic variation, these traces thus ‘document’ a deep history of the human mind, that extends into the material world. Such a reading of a deep history of the human through artifacts, may give evidence for an imaginary dimension of human desire (Punt, 2000), and by extension human perception, which opens up a deep history of the human beyond that of an axiomatic materialism.
MIT Press Journals Podcast Series, No 18:
Woodward, M (2013) ‘A Monstrous Rhinoceros (As From Life): The Epistemological Role of the Enacted Pictorial Image.’ Yung, S.T, and Peibalga, A. Designing the Relationship between Humans and Technology. Cambridge Scholars Publishing [forthcoming]
Woodward, M. (2013). ‘A Staging and Choreography of Theatrical Play: A Brechtian Aesthetic for Popular Culture’, In: Jahrmann, M., Felderer, B. (eds). Play & Prosume. Nuernberg: Verlag fuer Moderne Kunst, pp. 63-65.
Woodward, M. (2012) ‘An Electric Deep Time to the Modern Imagination’, L|R|Q 2.02, pp. xix-xx.
Woodward, M. (2012) ‘Artifacts, Entanglements & Deep History: A Reflection on the Sublime in Art and Science’, L|R|Q 2.01, pp. xi-xii.
Woodward, M. (2011) ‘The [Unseen] Modernist Eye: Minimalism, Defamiliarization and the Advertising Film’, Transtechology Research Reader 2011. Plymouth: Plymouth University.
Woodward, M. (2010) ‘A Brief History and Theory of Not Looking: Toward a Field Theory of the Audiovisual’, Transtechnology Research Reader 2010. Plymouth: Plymouth University, pp. 106-120.
Woodward, M. 2010. Where does Lap go When You Stand Up?: Meaning Making, Expression and Communication Beyond a Linguistic Constraint. Transtechnology Reader 2010.
Cachao, R., Woodward, M. (2012) Deep History and the Sublime: A brief Introduction. Transtechnology Seminar Series, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, UK, 20 June 2012.
Woodward, M. (2012) Being Through Painting and Weaving: A Brief Commentary on Intuition. Transtechnology Seminar Series, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, UK, 23 May 2012.
Woodward, M. (2012) Screening a Puff: Advertising Film and the Enduring Forms of Modernism. TEF Expert Seminar: Screening the Sublime, Jill Craigie Cinema, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, 21 January 2012.
Woodward, M. (2011) Selling the Immaterial: Avant-garde Practices and Commercial Advertising Forms. TEF Expert Seminar : Play and Prosume, Kunsthalle project space karlsplatz, Vienna, 13 July 2011.
Woodward, M. (2011) Between Magic and Logic: Mimesis, Enaction and the Art of Copying. Transtechnology Seminar Series, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, UK, 21 April 2011.
Woodward, M., Zics, B., Vines, J. (2010) Designing the Invisible. Transtechnology Seminar Series, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, UK, 21 April 2010.
Poster Presentations and Exhibitions
Woodward M. (2010) A field Theory of the In-De-Visible. Boundary Works I, Wandesford Gallery, Cork, Republic of Ireland.
Woodward M. & Vines, J. (2010) Transtechnology Research. Boundary Works I, Wandesford Gallery, Cork, Republic of Irelan