In attending to surfaces, as they wrap, layer and grow within sentient bodies, material formations and cosmological states, this volume presents a series of ten anthropological studies stretching across five continents and in observation of earthly practices of making, knowing, living and dying.

Through theoretically reflecting on time spent with Aymara and Mapuche Andean cultures; the Malagasy people of Madagascar; craftspeople and designers across Europe and Oceania; amongst the architectures of Australia and South Korea and within the folds of books, screens, landscape and the sea, the anthropologists in this volume communicate diverse ways of considering, working with and knowing surfaces. Together, these writings advance a knowledge of the world which resists any definitive settlement of existential categories and rather seeks to know the world in its emergence and transformation, as entities grow, cohere, shift, dissolve, decay and are reborn through the contact and exchange of surfaces, persisting with varying time, power and effect.

The book principally invites readers from anthropology, the creative arts and environmental studies, but also across the wider humanities and social sciences as well as those in neighbouring scientific fields of archaeology, biology, geography, geoscience, material science, neurology and psychology interested in the intersections of mind, body, materials and world.

chapter 1|13 pages


Turning to surfaces
ByMike Anusas, Cristián Simonetti

chapter 2|15 pages

On opening the book of surfaces

ByTim Ingold

chapter 3|17 pages

Air, smoke and fumes in Aymara and Mapuche rituals 1

ByJuan Carlos Skewes, Debbie Guerra

chapter 4|16 pages

In light and shadow

Surfaces and polarities in rituals of second burial in Central East Madagascar
ByChristel Mattheeuws

chapter 5|18 pages

Re-animating skin

Probing the surface in taxidermic practice
ByPetra Tjitske Kalshoven

chapter 6|17 pages

The temporality of surfaces

ByCristián Simonetti

chapter 7|19 pages

Threshold as social surface

ByRay Lucas

chapter 8|23 pages

Vital surfaces and the making of urban architecture

ByAnuradha Chatterjee

chapter 9|13 pages

On the substance of surfaces

Situating materials and design in Melanesian environments
ByGraeme Were

chapter 10|15 pages

On knitted surfaces-in-the-making

ByLydia Maria Arantes

chapter 11|18 pages

A life surficial

Design and beyond
ByMike Anusas

chapter 12|6 pages


BySusanne Küchler