Research Project
by Harald Bentz Høgseth, Norway

From: "Harald Bentz Høgseth"
Date: October 21, 2005
Subject: [sw-l] NORWAY Full Body Writing for Research Project

Dear Valerie and SW List Members!
Of course I will give you a short description and the purpose Valerie: I'm doing my research work at The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim. For the moment the title of my project is: “The craftsman’s language”. My study focuses on the language of craftsmanship lodged in archaeological timber and extant wooden buildings in Norway. Craftsmanship is embodied knowledge where a sense of direction is an essential feature. The aim of this study will be to find ways to capture and translate this into an academic format. My intention is to develop a “common language” or a “notation map” for artisans and archaeologists like the “musicians note” or the “dancer’s notation system”. In that way we can experiment with, and reconstruct the knowledge and the body gestures behind the working processes throughout the artisan’s signatures lodged in the timbers. This is an important supplement to the written sources and the existing traditional knowledge. The knowledge behind the signatures will in this way be more available. It is absolutely necessary to connect analysis of the signatures with analyses of artisan’s movability and theories of notation. An example; Norwegian fishermen have up to 200 different words for waves, designating their shape, strength and behavior. Similarly, carpenters have a rich vocabulary who describes their methods. Only part of that has been transmitted into verbal form. Other parts are less easily verbalized. The form, tool marks and timbers of wooden buildings hold what may be termed craftsmen’s signatures. To read them it is necessary to understand the movements and perceptions of space of that govern the crafts that produced them. Dance and music are performing arts that each has writing systems that allow descriptions of movements and sounds: choreography or dance notation, and musical notes. Each of these signs holds meanings that are immediately understood by the performer, and by the informed audience. Craftspeople also have forms of notation systems. Academics have begun creating notation systems to describe craftsmanship in an academic format, designating tool marks, using annotated video films as referencing tools, and exploring dance notation, film script and the navigation of space. My study aims to establish a theory and a method that allows us to record tool marks and develop a system of signs that make the knowledge and the language behind them available for a broader public. This is essential for the creation of a discourse concerning tool marks as another language. Cheers, Harald

På vegne av Valerie Sutton
Sendt: 21. oktober 2005 18:10
Emne: Re: [sw-l] NORWAY Full Body Writing for Research Project

SignWriting List
October 21, 2005

Dear SW List Members:
Harald's research project is fascinating. It is related to writing Full Body movement, documenting the movements of the body, when people build churches and do other carpentry work...also related to historic work on how carpentry and timber work was done in Norway generations ago...

Val ;-)

Valerie Sutton


Photos of craftsman Hans Marumsrud.

SignWriting in Norway

Questions? Write to:
Valerie Sutton