Sunday, February 08, 2015
Scissors. A whole book could be written about them. And maybe it has - but what layers of interest! Perhaps a starting point could be the surge of enthusiasm for hand-finished scissors. Ever since videos about Sheffield putters went viral they've been unable to keep up with the orders. Demand is peaking. Putters, the 'putter-together-res' of scissors are makers. And yet by avoiding some of the craft romanticism that colours Ingold's account, they show the intimate and fluid gathering together of the human and the material. You see skilled hands at work, the small adjustments, the smoothing off of the fash, those rough extrusions around the join in the mould. And then, the more 'arty' video produced by Storying Sheffield eschews commentary and in so doing invites you to experience, even to feel in a very different way. To feel (of course, once removed) the texture. As Sedgwick suggests it is '...sedimented, extruded, laminated, granulated, polished, distressed, felted or fluffed up.....to perceive texture is to know or hypothesize whether a thing will be easy or hard, safe or dangerous to grasp, to stack, to fold, to shred, to climb on, to stretch, to slide, to soak' (Sedgwick, 2003:14) - or in the case of scissors, to cut, to snip. to trim. At the same time this is all woven in with a deep sense of the local, the tradition of that which is 'Made in Sheffield', and the ways in which that extends and has extended outwards, to the Bowie knives and bayonets of combat and the cutlery that famously travelled the world before trade slumped, workers were laid off and mass unemployment set in. But what an interesting turn of events, as our narrator explains; 'That's internet for you - i'n't it?' Obviously not a going back, a return, but nonetheless a new twist in an ongoing story. A different cut. Can we think about humans and technology again, please?