arf sculpting

began as a safety patch: arf was made to pull away from warm-blooded tissues of any kind — to retract as fast as it can (has never been too fast, though) when sensing a body close by. That was how “arf sculpting” or “moulding” as an art form was born: slow, patient handholding and handwaving, with or without touching, to morph a mass of otherwise rigid, impenetrable, self-healing arf into arbitrary forms. ■    Perhaps unsurprisingly, “spoon bending” did more to popularize arf than its free storage and other goodies. Further patches improved malleability, response speed, ease of handling; eventually it was more than just shape — you can stop or accelerate arfs growth, vary its texture, density, color (natural arf looks and feels like polished wood but can be made anything, from hard enough to make ringing bells to elastic, soft, even fuzzy). A piece of arf can remember and replay its sculpting history; you can even fractalize — record a shaping and apply it, with transformations, recursively to make a large volume alterable by a tweak in a hot spot. Basic sculpting is doable on any piece of arf but your native culture — tied to your and your familys genome — gives particularly facile control.  ■    The idea of growing a livable home out of arf has no single author; several projects were started almost simultaneously. First arf homes were clumsy and small: the material was still scarce, hard to handle, evolving fast; early users learned from accidents that ranged from a cat leaving a cozy depression (slept on a naked arf floor) to a whole family estate turning into a knotty mess (abandon, grow a new one from scratch). Coevolution healed the joints — now humans control their arf almost as thoughtlessly as their bodies; mental activity is often accompanied by unconscious arf doodling. ■    Children with their active growth biochemistry are keener sculptors than adults: a toddlers first arf interactions often predate walking and talking. Kids sculpt around them as naturally as they play — given enough arf, many will carve out a (child-sized) room in a day; a typical playspace is a honeycomb maze — a foam of slowly bubbling and collapsing cells, each hosting a game or fantasy. Arguably, “arf kids” raised in amorphous organic homes have been at a disadvantage for math and abstract thinking skills by seeing so little Euclidean geometry around them. ■    Sculpting isnt only slow because arf is slow. Year after year, you sculpt your home simply by living, moving, breathing in it; even a planned remodeling project may get mere minutes of meditative hand-holding per day, with decades before something begins to shape up: “speed-hungry ancestors would gasp at the sheer inefficiency” but our human-scale domiciles want to be as lived as a well-worn book — warmly handcrafted, arfgrassed to taste, no wall and no corner left mechanically flat and soulless. The early-modernity “international style” cleaned the slate — reset everything to straight lines and rectangular boxes — only for curving, rounding, streamlining to restart, very differently from the decorous tastes of the past; the “new curvature” of the post-constructivist science age seeded the early evolving and arf sculpting aesthetics.

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