Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Glenn Adamson

On Monday night (31/01/11)  I saw Glenn Adamson talking on the subject of craft and affection.  It was an interesting talk although more fine art orientated in a way - I felt he spoke on craft as an artists practise rather than for makers.  However it was pleasingly un-twee and very thought/discussion provoking.  This is a long post so I hve put in bold the bits I found most interesting.

These are my thoughts and notes, in part inspired by what he said and in part what he actually said: (I will try to denote the different bits by putting BH for me and GA for him, although please note that these are my interpretations of his words)

I took his meaning of the word affection to be how the work affects you as the viewer, the named maker, the actual/physical maker, and as to how it affects the world as a whole - footprint etc

GA: Nowadays there is a lateral movement between disciplines, an understanding of practice between disciplines/within movements
BH:  Disciplines as containment, boundaries etc - Are they?  Is your (trained/formal) discipline relevant to your work?

GA:  Every generation has mourned the loss of craft/craftmanship, yet it is still here.  In order to understand craft we must also understand loss.

Craft, not as fragile, but as cyclical, dynamic system, ebbs and flows.
Craft always exists within a discursive framework.
Craft is always in motion.

Clare Twomey - Trophy

Citing Clare Twomey's Trophy as an example:  Single parts of work as an emblem of work.  Relational Aesthetics as important to craft viewers and makers.
Affective: engages with people on an emotional level: deep connectivity.

Ruskin:  'Such affection as one man owes to another'

Affective Craft: founded on love not owing.  Lacking exploitation.  (stamping out exploitation here can lead to it popping up somewhere else).  No glib attempts to gloss over depth by representation rather than action.

Work as an archive of its own making, citing this piece by Anne Wilson as an example.

BH: work more affective when its origins/background etc are known?  Making more important than the final piece?

GA:  Enchantment:
Space as affective.
Enchantment held by someone who wasn't there in the making.
Affection not necessarilly held by everyone who views the work.
Craft done as a performance more enchanting?
Craft affection:  Explicable; no:  Obvious; no.
Craft not to be seen as revival.

BH:  Does working plentifully on a piece add to its affective power?  Affective/effective relationship most strong when one has personal experience/attachment to it?

GA: Technology can remove this personal attachment as we have no understanding of the making of it, the way we may do of a table for example.
Michael Taussig (anthropologist)  Skilled revelation of skilled concealment:  Understanding of a handcrafted object but unless one is a maker in that discipline then one has no in depth understanding available to one.
GA:  Droog's macrame chair as an example.  One understands macrame, or the concept there of, but not how it becomes a chair.

armchair, chair, Droog, hospitality, residential, seating

Direct and indirect craft: machine + hand = modern craft?  Hand affects machine affects hand.
Is craft now past our understanding of modern craft?  When does modern craft stop?  What is it now? Next?
Modern - new, exciting, forwards etc
Craft - static, traditional, backwards

Craft as a cure for ills - still relevant?
Should craft scholarship now be focusing on the problems of the real world and crafts effect upon it?

GA: Craft pieces named as being one persons work but actually made by many.  Work as satire.  Calling attention to one person only (the named maker) (Ai Weiwei sunflower seeds as example).

Rhetoric of craft (particularly in advertising):  handmaking is big:  offers a return to an imaginary time before craft making

Affectivity + Enchantment = Craft ?
Variable amount + Variable amount = Unpredictable result

BH:  Would each makers own system of making result in them always adding the same amount of each ingredient (ie always in a ration of 40%/60% of affectivity to enchantment) thus resulting in that makers own look/feel/voice to work?

Affectivity + Enchanment + more/something else (skill? time? care?) = Craft  ?

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