writings and presentations

On this page I focus on non-physics writing and presentations, but a list of my research group’s recent publications in scholarly journals can be found on my Stanford Profiles page. Twenty years ago I wrote a chapter for a general-audience book on philosophical questions posed by quantum theory; recently I discovered that my précis for that chapter can still be found embedded in a blog post on the Metanexus website. Around the same time I gave a related public lecture, a transcript of which can be found as a PDF file accessible via Caltech Libraries.

Most of my recent public non-physics writing has been prompted by participation in the NCECA (National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts) annual meetings, but recently I’ve had some opportunities to write for museum events and a public art project as well. For ease of access I have ported all of the these essays to Medium. For 2018 NCECA I wrote a brief article on approaches to ceramics criticism and medium analysis that leverage modern literary theory (pots as texts) and ideas from new materialism (pots as things). For 2021 NCECA I wrote about function as an aesthetic dimension of ceramic objects and the role of metaphor as a multisensory trope. For 2022 NCECA I collected some key ideas and references from the materials science and industrial ceramics literatures regarding iron partition and wood-fired ceramic surface color. I was invited to write an essay for the Mint Museum’s 2022 Craft in the Laboratory exhibition catalog, which turned out to be a personal reflection on working in parallel as a scientist and traditional craft maker. Also in 2022 I was gifted the opportunity to lecture at public performances associated with the Tauba Auerbach survey show S v Z at SFMOMA; I feel that the lecture I developed neatly ties together a number of threads through art, science and the modern humanities that I’ve been thinking about for years. Although the slide images could not be included I posted the text of my lecture on Medium as well. I’ve also recently posted a final reflection essay on collaboration that I wrote for the Colorspace project with Judy Pfaff, which has been supported by an X-Grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

I’ve started to collect lecture presentations (videos, mainly ceramics) on a YouTube channel. So far I have the 2018 pots as texts and things, 2021 Function and Metaphor, and 2022 Microscopic Analysis of Wood-Fired Surfaces NCECA presentations mentioned above, as well as an updated version of a talk Materiality, Materials Science and Material Agency that I originally wrote to give at both the 2018 Cultural Confluence wood-fire ceramics conference and a Stanford Archaeology Center seminar — like the SFMOMA lecture described above, I think of this presentation as an attempt to draw together my interests in craft, science, and the modern humanities. Elsewhere online you can find my artist’s talk for a 2021 show (significant overlap with my YouTube channel talks) as well as a recording of the 2019 NCECA roundtable panel discussion with Winona LaDuke, Cannupa Hanska Luger, Shanai Matteson and Steve Hilton. Moderating that panel was really a high point for me as it took me well outside my usual territory into thinking about environmental justice and decolonization. I gave a short presentation on my first few years of incorporating ceramics into my work at Stanford, and participated in a related panel discussion, at the 2018 Shared Ground symposium on Cross-Disciplinary Approaches to Craft Studies sponsored by the Center for Craft and Museum of Arts and Design.

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