Media Ecology: Introduction

August 26, 2016

Beads are an ancient medium for communication.

The earliest beads were produced in tubular, barrel, or disc-shaped forms; they were manufactured with technology and raw materials available. Once the technology was developed to make spherical beads, they dominated; though in many cultures, the earlier designs were never superseded. However, the sphere shaped bead was recognized as a small portable sculpture… whole and perfect… they could be joined together to form a circlet of, say, prayer beads, whereby the beads collectively became a primal extension of the human hand and consciousness. Thus, beads as an inanimate vessel medium that humans could be imbued with spiritual semantic with which to build human-object relationships.


Eye Bead

A photograph of a small Mediterranean glass eye bead (circa 6th – 3rd century B.C.) and modern prayer beads.

Introducing a new “eye bead” motif to this blog…


Disiderius Erasmus (c. 1466-1536) “In region caecorum rex est luscus = In the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.” ~ circa 1500. Design by Meredith Eliassen, 2016.

Disiderius Erasmus (c. 1466-1536) was a Dutch scholar considered by many to be the greatest humanist of the Renaissance era. At a time when children were thought to be unformed adults, Erasmus perceived them to be little “barbarians” in need of civilizing. He identified childhood as a period when children need different forms of dress from adults to fit function. In establishing a concept of adulthood, Erasmus was also credited with establishing the concept of childhood as discerned a distinct period of development when book learning during childhood was needed as part a the civilizing process needed to conquer animal behavior in humans.