The travelling exhibition, a result of a two years research of the traditional cultures of making as well as contemporary design in four countries, is now on show at MAO in Ljubljana.
WHY MADE IN?
The MADE IN syntagma in the title carries a reference to anonymous and to some extent non-human production of today, led by the countries of the Far east. It emphasizes the position of design within the current market oriented neo-liberal capitalist paradigm, with a reference to its source — craftsmanship and making, from which the discipline was inseparable up until the advent of industrialization. Today, on the brink of a technological revolution there seems to be a need to pose the questions about our physical and virtual space again: WHERE is it made? WHO is it made by? WHAT is it made of? FOR whom is it made? WHERE does it come from? Etc.
In order to understand the values that crafts carry for the future, but also to problematize the fact that most of the traditional crafts knowledge and skills, especially those referring to the embodied knowledge transferred from the master to the apprentice, are disappearing, the Crafts Archive presented in the second part of this publication, brings a selection of 40 knowledge holders and their traditional crafts from Croatia, Slovenia, Austria and Serbia, documented through texts based on unstructured interviews and photography, explaining their background, history, materials, tools, techniques, processes and key products. This starting selection of craftspeople – ten per each country – although small, serves as a showcase for status of local crafts in four countries. The participating craftspeople were selected by several criteria. They were chosen for their superior craft knowledge, the level of endangerment of their craft, their representativeness for the area, but also for their geographical position. Thus, the research area varied from state-wide or regional coverage in Slovenia and Austria to the city or city quarter samples in Serbia or Croatia. Texts by local experts precede each specific chapter, giving insights into the local specificities and context.
Crafts-Design Narratives refers to eight specific projects that emerged through a two-year process, carried by each country separately, addressing issues specific to the local production context. The narratives are results of the workshops and residencies conducted through collaborations of design professionals and craftspeople, mediated, co-mentored and curated by individuals from the involved partnering organisations, and are presented through different formats and media.
The eight chapters form a basis for the travelling exhibition which is going to be presented in each of the 4 partnering countries, but also tends to grow in size.
Thus, the curatorial concept is built upon the idea of expending the MADE IN platform through future exhibitions. The potential hosts are encouraged to contribute to the Crafts Archive by mapping locally specific crafts and conducting new craft-design collaborations.