Imagine a world where everything you needed was pre-made, available at the click of a button, or better yet, just the simple thought “I want a cookie.” Imagine the time it would save, the tedium it would eliminate. Imagine all the other things you could do with that time…
What would you do?
Well? What do you do? We are living in a time where day to day life is no longer dependent on you being the procurer of food, water and other basic life necessities. The need is still there, but the means have changed.
As we move away from standard ways of living, we also move away from clear, agreed upon life goals. The ways in which we survive are arbitrary, inconsistent and indirect. It is a double edge sword, one side is a life of ultimate, self directed meaning, the other side is a life of no meaning.
In the past, one entered into a world of fully defined roles and belief systems in the form of family, culture, socio-economic statuses, and religion. Today, in modern culture, we have more options than ever before – many of us have much more freedom to choose our roles and our belief systems. Everything is up for scrutiny – analyzed, critiqued, checked by our own internal quality control. For the most part, we individually get to decide which symbols will hold meaning and which will return to their straightforward lives.
I’m fascinated by the symbols that we pick and the rituals we uphold or create to grant life meaning. For many, meaning now leans heavily on careers and hobbies. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that careers and hobbies have become our most ubiquitous modern day symbols of our values and belief systems.
In a world of mechanical production, one of my favorite identity totems is that of the artisan. The person who decides to continue making things one, by one, with their bare hands and full intention. Craft, more than ever before, lives in the realm of symbolism and most certainly ritual.
(My thesis body of work will be focused around filming these artisans. Expect more to come on the topic of craft!)
What crafts do you do, if any? (cooking counts!)
What do they represent to you?