The Endangered Skill?

Human skills have evolved and transformed over thousands of years. In recent history, while adapting to technological progress, humans discarded their manual spinning wheels and hand looms in favour of water and steam power generation which brought new skills to be learned. The industrial revolution was considered a turning point for masses of ordinary citizens, with the unpredictable toil of the peasant farmers redirected to the efficient assembly lines of mechanised factories, and enabling a mass production and promotion of material goods for a growing middle class.
Modern material culture which has been developing over the last few hundred years is the study between the physical representation of our needs and wants, and the resulting social designing. In considering the functionality and aesthetics of the material forms we produce and use, we acknowledge the great feats of man and machine, and admire the innovation of designers, but we don't see the waste being produced and neglect to recognise the effect of these objects in designing us.   Our world is largely designed by material objects, and our reliance on and use of them, yet their capacity to future or defuture is not appreciated in the context of economic rationalism and pursuit of growth.
This culture is driven by technology, mass production, centralisation and globalisation, where economic goals have effectively diluted the importance of cultural-, environmental- and locality-based desires. Our desires are overwhelmingly shaped by marketing more than form, function or aesthetics, and while we imagine that the vast selection of goods satisfy our need for individuality, what we are in fact doing in our procurement is complying with compartments of standardisation designed by the marketer. This manipulation of desires has strong economic consequences, hence its power and futuring/defuturing potential.
In the context of a sustain-able material culture - one that sustains our resources, and sustains us economically, emotionally and culturally – the agency of the relationship between mind and hand warrants exploration. Craft as the bond between design and making is potentially a transformative vehicle with which human connectedness can be shaped by memories and tradition. Ultimately it has a role in the designing of our desires towards sustaining futures and beckons us to celebrate its virtues.

The Endangered Skill – from concealment to discovery.

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