Material and Mind

Material and Mind

by Christopher Bardt
Material and Mind

Material and Mind

by Christopher Bardt


    Qualifies for Free Shipping
    Usually ships within 6 days
    Check Availability at Nearby Stores

Related collections and offers


An in-depth exploration of the interaction between mind and material world, mediated by language, image, and making—in design, the arts, culture, and science.

In Material and Mind, Christopher Bardt delves deeply into the interaction of mind and material world, mediated by language, image, and the process of making. He examines thought not as something “pure” and autonomous but as emerging from working with material, and he identifies this as the source of imagination and creative insight. This takes place as much in such disciplines as cognitive science, anthropology, and poetry as it does in the more obvious painting, sculpture, and design. In some fields, the medium of work is, in fact, the very medium of thinking—as fabric is for the tailor.

Drawing on the philosophical notions of the “extended mind” and the “enactive mind,” and looking beyond the world of material-based arts, Bardt investigates the realms in which material and mind interweave through metaphor, representation, projection, analogues, tools, and models. He considers words and their material origins and discusses the paradox of representation. He draws on the design process, scientific discovery, and cultural practice, among others things, to understand the dynamics of human thinking, to illuminate some of the ways we work with materials and use tools, and to demonstrate how our world continues to shape us as we shape it. Finally, he considers the seamless “immaterial” flow of imagery, text, and data and considers the place of material engagement in a digital storm.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780262042727
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 09/17/2019
Series: The MIT Press
Pages: 392
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Christopher Bardt is a Professor of Architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design, where he has taught since 1988. He is a founding partner (with Kyna Leski) of 3six0 Architecture in Providence.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction 1

1 Think or Do 9

Concepts and Material 12

Thought and Action, Action and Thought 14

Mind and Body 19

Brain and Hands 23

Engaging Material 25

Doubt 28

Meaning and Emotion 30

2 In the Beginning 33

Awareness 36

Beyond Seeing 44

Making and Speaking 46

Social Organization and Art 52

3 Words Matter 57

From Gesture to Thinking 59

Language and Empathy 63

The Material Origins of Writing 64

From Sounds to Marks 71

4 Representing 75

Every Story Tells a Picture 77

Metaphor 80

Locating the Imagination 82

Formal and Material Reveries 87

Visual Images 95

5 The Idea and the Actual 103

Eidos and Entelechy 103

Experience and Conceptualization 108

Cosmological Concepts and Observations: The Example of Kepler 113

Science of the Concrete 121

6 Projection 125

Theater 126

Between Recording and Representing 129

Shadows 133

Perspective 135

Conflicts between Perception and Perspective 148

7 The Transmitting Hand 159

Drawing and Making 159

Le Corbusier and Ronchamp 167

Empathy: Feeling at a Distance 173

8 Working with Material 185

Creativity versus Productivity 185

Attention 186

Material Empathy and Material Imagination 192

Materials and Representation 195

What the Tugendhat House Tells Us 201

9 Material and Umwelt 223

The Situational Mature of Material 229

Extended and Enacted Minds 233

Articulation and Resistance 235

Cultured Stone and Social Stone 239

10 Inside the Design Process 251

The Bricoleur 251

Words That Propel 256

Making and Breaking Rules 258

Material as a Medium 259

Material Analogies 262

Material Thinking 264

Reductive and Narrative Approaches 266

Operating between Logos and Mythos 268

Models 272

Incremental Creativity 276

Working Drawings 277

Scale 280

11 Design Tools and Their Roles 287

Digital Tools 292

Actions and Commands 293

Mosaics and Pixels 295

Ideas and Knowledge 299

The Digital Hand 301

12 Smoothness 307

From Making to Consuming 308

Situated and Methodical Thinking 311

Resistance and Meaning 312

Digital Fabrication 315

Flux 321

Image, Surface, and Screen 322

Sensible and Sustainable 330

Digitization's Impact on the Mind 331

Notes 339

Bibliography 349

Figure Credits 359

Index 363

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

This eloquent book demonstrates the ways that imagination and creativity are intertwined with physical material. Framing the problem of creativity through enactive cognition, it vindicates the precedence of the maker's embodied engagement with materials across disciplines and historical perspectives, revealing both shortcomings and possibilities for our age of technological obsessions.

Alberto Perez-Gomez, School of Architecture, McGill University; author of Attunement

Do we make our materials or do our materials make us? Architect, author, and academic Christopher Bardt takes the reader on a thrilling and poetic journey through time to deconstruct meaning, making, and what it truly means to be a creative thinker. Material and Mind is a remarkable book from an utterly original mind; it will fundamentally change the way you think about how humans create.

Debbie Millman, Chair, School of Visual Arts, Masters in Branding; podcast host, Design Matters

Chris Bardt examines the interactions between material and mental phenomena and the essences of the creative process—turning ideas, feelings, and intuitions into material forms. The author draws from the histories of the arts as well as literature and poetry, philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience, and the realities of various artistic practices. He does not attempt to simplify the complexities of the existential and experiential world, but presents the internal interactions and tensions, as well as their inherent uncertainties. An erudite and enticing exploration into the intriguing realm between matter and mind.

Juhani Pallasmaa, architect; Professor Emeritus, Helsinki University; author of The Thinking Hand and The Embodied Image

As digital tools expand formal possibilities and revolutionize construction techniques, Chris Bardt's Material and Mind is a deeply reasoned meditation on the push and pull between creativity and physicality. Bardt argues that the digital and material should be equal and integrated, reciprocal and balanced. In his view, the very soul of architecture is at stake.

Deborah Berke, FAIA, Dean of the Yale School of Architecture

From the B&N Reads Blog

Customer Reviews