Tuesday 30 January 2007

Slow Notions - an invitation to explore

This year, Craft Victoria will be developing a number of themes through its program of exhibitions, events and publications. Each 'slow notion' explores a special contribution that craft makes to contemporary culture.

Each theme will be maintained at a different website, which will be regularly updated with news and items of interest from a variety of sources and contributors. Each feed will form the basis for an article in Craft Culture and a public event.

Please explore during the course of the year, following your own interests, add comments to posts or send an email to slownotion@craftvic.asn.au. An update with links to recent posts will also appear in the monthly email newsletter Craft Almanac.

What's in the Making: An investigation of the role played by making in the design process

This topic delves into the practical, aesthetic and moral dimensions of the craft process. In the spectrum of production, design refers to the conception and promotion, while making is the middle process that brings design into being. In late capitalism, making becomes ever more invisible. Our factories have gone to China. This has led to anxieties about skill-shortage in the West. Does it matter that we no longer make things? Does it matter how things are made -- whether they are made by hand or who makes them?

Elements: Homo Faber, DIY Architecture, phenomenology, skills shortage

Craft Versus Spectacle: How craft fits into the contemporary world

This topic explores the broader role played by craft in opposition to modernity. In 1968 'Society of Spectacle' was developed as a critique of the escapist tendencies in popular culture. In the 21st century, it relates to the dominance of the screen, particularly as a device for flattening the world and reducing it to pure image. By contrast, the world of craft is something that locates us in the shared material world. Is craft a sanctuary of participation in a passive society of spectacle?

Elements: Big Brother, Climate change, Guy Debord, Mono-cultures, poor craft, Relational Aesthetics, Situationism, V&A exhibition Out of the Ordinary in Nov 2007

Sources of Enchantment: An investigation of what inspires makers today

This topic explores the places where artists and makers find inspiration for their work. In recent times, many Australian artists have used the mythological forest as a subject for their work, including owls, deer and wolves. In popular culture, the enchanted forest continues to be an enduring feature of successful films and books. Is this an escape from the reality of our fraught nature, or a deep connection to the founding myths of Western culture?

Elements: Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Bruno Bettleheim The Uses of Enchantment, Climate change, Magical realism, Melbourne Tango, Neo-Romanticism, Simon Schama Landscape and Memory, Tim Flannery The Future Eaters, Walter Benjamin The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

Learn from Africa: How countries outside Africa might engage with the African Renaissance

This topic touches on globalisation and the growing popularity of world culture. The South Project goes to Johannesburg in October 2007. This will be an opportunity to consider the legacy of African Renaissance, in particular the value of ubuntu (humanness) that has guided South Africa through its process of reconciliation. Africa features most often in the Western consciousness as a problem that needs to be fixed. What is the Western problem that might require an African solution?

Elements: Africa Remix exhibition, Magiciens de la Terre exhibition, Africa 05, African Renaissance, Being Balanda, Common Goods, Design Indaba, Edward Said and post-colonialism, Growing African communities in West, Make Poverty History, negritude, South Project, Telephone wire weaving, Ubuntu

The World of Spin: All the various processes and techniques that draw on centrifugal energies

This explores (and celebrates) a craft process found in a wide variety of media. Spinning is an activity redolent with meaning, found in many contexts from fairy tales to religious meditation. In the crafts, it connects a wide range of activities, including spinning threads, throwing pots, turning wood, use of metal lathe and blowing glass. This is an opportunity to explore the creative dimension of the centrifugal process, including the feelings it expresses. What connects the different spinning processes found throughout world culture?

Elements: Melbourne Scarf Festival, pottery, glass-blowing, wood-turning, fibre spinning, lathe spinning, whirling Dervishes, Swadeshi, Shane Warne, Tony Blair, media relations, the baroque

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