HOW TO SPELL THE FIGHT by Natascha Sadr Haghighian
HOW TO SPELL THE FIGHT by Natascha Sadr Haghighian
Title How to Spell the Fight
Author(s)/Editor(s) Natascha Sadr Haghighian, translated by Jennifer Peterson
Publisher Kayfa ta
Pages 80
Dimensions 96 x 148 mm
Format Softcover
Year 2018

“Hold a loop of string in your right hand and then place it behind and around your left thumb and little finger. Repeat the above step with the right hand. This is the starting position. Now bring your right middle finger to scoop up the string from your left palm and pull it back. With your left middle finger, scoop the string from your right palm and pull it back. This is called Opening A, the most common base figure.” – Natascha Sadr Haghighian

James R. Murphy, a math teacher in La Guardia, New York, regarded mathematics as the most powerful and manipulable abstract language available to humans. To acquaint students who don’t “like” math with abstract and systematical thinking, he put a piece of string in their hands and taught them to make string figures.

How to spell the fight follows a thread that has been running through our fingers from centuries past till the present day, morphing from the tangible string figures that join our hands in childhood to the more elusive computational algorithms that engage our fingers today. Following this line of inquiry through various twists and turns, a conversation about collective agency emerges with the aim of rethinking current paradigms of cognition, education, and power.

Natascha Sadr Haghighian is an artist living in Berlin. Her research-based practice encompasses a variety of forms and formats, among them video, performance, installations, text, and sound. She tries to learn how to make string figures.

Kayfa ta is a publishing initiative that uses the popular form of how-to manuals (how=kayfa, to=ta) to respond to some of today’s perceived needs; be they the development of skills, tools, thoughts, or sensibilities. These books situate themselves in the space between the technical and the reflective, the everyday and the speculative, the instructional and the intuitive, the factual and the fictional. Kayfa ta was founded in 2012 by Maha Maamoun and Ala Younis.

Found in: Kayfa ta