Towards a Mangle of Practice

Welcome to this new space for writing about the things that I, and the shimmering group of regulars and irregulars around Small Wooden Shoe, care about.

Exploring and linking of these cared-for areas makes up what I consider my practice.

And I would like that practice to involve more writing and thinking in public.

It's going to start with Field Notes from Montreal and the Festival Transamériques and OFFTA then from Magnetic North Theatre Festival in Ottawa and maybe even Luminato in Toronto.

I'm writing a series articles about the experience of attending the festivals, more holistic than show specific. Those will come out between this summer and next.

In the mean time I'm going to keep more immediate and show focused Field Notes here. Daily mangled contributions to writing on performance and context.

Andrew Pickering - The Mangle of Practice (xi)

Working on Dedicated to the Revolutions, a vaudevillian lecture-demo-performance about scientific progress, I listened to David Cayley's "How to think about science" series for CBC's Ideas.

The most very sticky metaphor has been "the mangle of practice" articulated (in this episode) by UK sociologist and historian of science Andrew Pickering:

"Practice as modelling, I thus realized, has an important real-time structure, with the contours of cultural extension being determined by the emergence in time of resistances, and by the success or failure of "accommodations" to resistance.

"This temporal structuring of practice as a dialectic of resistance and accommodation is, in the first instance, what I have come to call the mangle of practice." - Pickering (xi)

A "mangle", beyond gruesome imagination, is an old fashioned washing machine.


Not this: 

Though maybe sometimes that too.

I'm drawn to wringing, expanding and entangling a variety of practices and ideas - and I have been dissatisfied with the metaphors like "mixing" and "balancing."

The "mangle" has some of the discomfort, mischief and violence along with the historic usefulness that I want from my metaphors.

So I'm going to go with that.