For the most-part biologists make taxonomies of difference. That is their taxonomies – exclusively taxonomies of living things – are sorted out by what is different – or particular – to any species, group or family etc. Particularity is what defines a ‘type’ and differences set the types apart by category. Then when different categories have been defined – apart – relatedness is just the less degree of difference. This has been the case since Linnaeus first gave species and generic names to animals and plants.

But already, taking paper prints of things which have been made/collected, labelled and identifies by difference – i.e., things already fixed taxonomically – by difference – animal or plant – but also specimen or man-made model, Daksha immediately undoes the differences between them. The differences between them are undone in printing. The issue of their being animal or plant, specimen and model, disappears. In the paper print, they are only form and surface texture. The object is ‘reduced’ to form alone. Its purpose and material are both undone. Bone and cork or stem or fossil, but also way or plastic, wood or metal, plaster-case etc., all of this is done away with as each one is recast in paper and the touch of pigment. It is this paper and this pigment which remembers form – but they remember form (and surface texture) only. Not the reason or the purpose of the object in collection. Not the matter/material in which the form was made or cast or grown/evolved etc. But just form. And so, this form is cut from any theory of its purpose – cut from how its cast by evolution or geology or cast by scientists and science educators – and thus also cut from teaching, from survival strategy etc. It is only form.

And this this brings to light three novel issues:

First, the being of each object which Daksha takes for printing is in fact a triad. Triad of its matter – function - form.

Second, these components have quite different substance – 1) matter is material (the matter in which form is cast). And function is composed of theory (theory which explains the possible relations of the forma and function). While form arranges both of these according to their combination – for example teaching form combining wax (material) and idealised anatomy (idea). And likewise, for example, bone (specimen material) and limb-movement adaptation (also an idea). But cutting form apart is also demonstration of another principle. That…

Third, the form alone can be detached. This issue of detachment of the form alone deserves some close attention. I discuss it in my next blog.

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Laboratory [Drawing] Life is a collaboration between King's College London's Faculty of Social Science and Public Policy and Dr. David Hay,

brokered and supported by the Culture team at King's.

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