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Materialising the immaterial: the crafting of Taiwanese bamboo design

Lai, C-I; (2016) Materialising the immaterial: the crafting of Taiwanese bamboo design. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

A common and affordable material such as Bamboo can be mundane, but may be remarkable in many ways for Taiwanese people. Investigating the ways Taiwanese people see, treat, apply and work with bamboo in their everyday lives reveals its significance in Taiwanese culture, and also its role in crafting and reinventing Taiwanese tradition as represented in the new bamboo designs of recent years. Design is seen here as a hinge between the intangible human domain of creativity and the tangible materials that allow the efficacious techniques to be practiced in order to transform concepts into real objects. This research is a material culture study which scrutinises the mutual relations among ‘cultural techniques,’ ‘self-making,’ and ‘creativity’ focusing on the domain of contemporary bamboo design in Taiwan. It is not only a research of the designs made with bamboo but a study of how bamboo shapes and displays people in the society. I would argue that the cultural significance embodied in its materiality transforms bamboo from a worthless, cheap, and alternative material into a priceless one. Moreover, the technical knowledge developed through the history of making can be a bond into creative design to be built upon, but can also act as a barrier for creativity. Being able to do original design requires various techniques, especially the skills to conceptualise ideas; the ability to draw and to read a drawing are evidently influential. Making is not only a physical act and the exercise of internalities but also the practice of efficacious techniques that allow the process of making an object to transform the people who make it.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Materialising the immaterial: the crafting of Taiwanese bamboo design
Event: UCL (University College London)
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1478140
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