Dr Morgan Ng: What are cognate technologies? Reflections on the kinships of technical artifacts Art History Research Lecture

Dr Morgan Ng: What are cognate technologies? Reflections on the kinships of technical artifacts

Why does a paintbrush, a handheld tool that adds matter to surfaces, bear the same essential anatomy as a broom that removes debris? How did windmills, ancient machines that harnessed the energy of natural breezes, evolve into modern fans that expend electrical energy to manufacture air currents? Are the doors that control passage between physical spaces related, in some remote way, to the hinged flaps that protect the contents of our books? What conceptual framework can we invoke to understand the strange and surprising morphological affinities that link such artifacts, which in many aspects of their form and function seem so dissimilar? This talk proposes a new model for tracing such unlikely kinships and the processes of invention that bring them into being.

This talk will be presented as a MS Teams meeting Wednesday at 4pm.

All Research Lectures will take place on MS Teams. To receive a link for each Research Lecture, please join the Art History Research Lecture mailing list by emailing kc90@st-andrews.ac.uk and putting ‘Art History Research Lecture Series’ in the subject.

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