This introduction will outline the concept and practice of “figure” and “figuration.” The word “figure” can refer to numbers, characters in text or representations of persons or other entities in images or to a movement or series of movements, a diagram or a short succession of notes. In uses such as prefiguring, configuring, and disfiguring, it can refer to a process, opening questions of ordering, causality, premonition, (retrospective) fulfilment, prophecy, anticipation, redemption and pre-emption. As a noun, configuration can refer to an assemblage or the ways in which technologies materialise cultural imaginaries. Figures sit between the representational and the abstract; they can be inhabited and, in being inhabited, can be turned. We conclude by inviting readers to “go figure!”
Figures; Figuring; Figuration; Configuration
Lury, C., Viney, W., and Wark, S. ‘Introduction: Figure, Figuring and Configuration.’ In Figures: Concept and Method, edited by Celia Lury, William Viney, and Scott Wark. PalgraveMacmillan, in press.