Needs must…!

‘Needs must….!’  Photo from mobile phone.



Quote from Tim Ingold‘s ‘The Perception of the Environment’. Routledge, (2000).  Pages 175 – 176

“Suppose that you need to knock in a nail but lack a hammer. Looking around the objects in your environment, you deliberately select something best suited to your purpose: it must be hard, have a flat striking surface, fit in the hand, and so on. So you pick up an appropriate stone. In this very selection, the stone has ‘become’ a hammer in that, in your mind’s eye, a ‘hammer-quality’ has been attached to it. Without altering the stone in any way, you have made a hammer out of it. In just the same manner, a cave may come to serve as a dwelling, a stretch of bare flat land as an airstrip, or a sheltered
bay as a harbour.

To deal with situations of this kind, I chose the term co-option. Thus the stone was co-opted, rather than constructed, to become a hammer. It follows that there are two kinds of making: co-optive and constructive. In co-optive making an already existing object is fitted to a conceptual image of an intended future use, in the mind of a user. In constructive making this procedure is reversed, in that the object is physically remodelled to conform more closely to the pre-existing image. Indeed it seemed that the history of things – of artefacts, architecture and landscapes – could be understood in terms of successive,
alternating steps of co-option and construction. We press into service what we find around us to suit our current purposes, we proceed to modify those things to our own design so that they better serve these purposes, but at the same time our objectives – or adaptive requirements – also change so that the modified objects are subsequently co-opted to quite other projects for which they are perceived to come in handy, and so on and on.”


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