What Do We Do When We Draw?
This paper is a reflection on drawing in two parts. The first gives a brief outline of anthropology’s engagement with this practice, bringing out the distinction between the ‘retrospective’ approach of Alfred Gell, which begins with the finished drawing and works back to the intentions of the drawer, and the ‘prospective’ approach of Tim Ingold in which drawing is understood and actively engaged with as a skilful activity, as a form of knowing in rhythmic, uncertain negotiation between observation and gesture. The second part elaborates a series of ruminations on drawing drawn from my own practice, whose aim is to articulate some of the strangeness of drawing as a practice, the way it unsettles any simple understanding of what we do when we draw.
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