The Role of Aesthetics for Memory: A Material-Engagement Approach to the Making of Knossian Kamares Decorations
In presenting the study of Bronze Age Knossian Kamares (ca. 1900–1700 BCE) making of polychrome decorative motifs, this paper investigates the degree to which the aesthetic material forms of things (i.e., the combination ofmaterials, shapes, and decorations) constitute memories of sociocultural practices: patterns of skilled actions, thoughts, and the beliefs attached to them. Specifically, I propose that Knossian Kamares decorations are memories because they are material signs of past sociocultural practices that occurred with and through them over time. Ultimately, this essay aims to call attention to the role of the aesthetic qualities of material forms and their associated sociocultural practices in constituting memory from the perspective of material engagement theory and the enactive-ecological approach to cognition.