Thursday, 8 May 2014

Ecology and the aesthetics of imperfect balance

Ecology and the aesthetics of imperfect balance
By Roderick Bamford

 Malin Lundmark, Tea-cup-lamp, 2003, porcelain.
Photo: Stephan Lundberg, courtesy of Malin Lundmark.
Roderick Bamford’s practice traverses art, craft and design, with a specialization in ceramics. He works from a studio north of Sydney and lectures at the College of Fine Arts, University of NSW.
Abstract: Historically, craft values have provided a pivotal argument in the conflict between industrial and natural worldviews, concerning both the artefacts and social conditions of their creation. Today, the implications of carbon both as a fuel and a toxin demand a better understanding of the ‘sign’ values embedded in such dialogue, and inform responses to the dangers posed by dominant anthropocentric perspectives. Amidst the logic of a number of ‘design for sustainability’ arguments, craft emerges as an antidotal signifier to the combined impacts of hyper efficient production and rampant ‘throw away’ consumerism. Yet, in the carbon context, notions of benign impact and enduring value associated with craft can elicit contradictions. Drawing on literary arguments and examples in practice, this paper surveys relationships between craft and design as instruments of sustainability theory. Whilst recognizing the importance of qualitative factors in this context, and the increasing attention given to them in research, the critique emerges largely from a more established quantitative, or measured perspective. The relevance of this approach is attributed to the primacy of material outputs in both craft and design practice. In this context the writing aims to address a comparative gap in the discussion of practices in craft and design, and to contribute to a deeper understanding of their relationship. In seeking possibilities for craft within a discipline of sustainable culture, it explores a role for aesthetics in the context of what may be considered unnecessary artifacts. Read full paper 

Abstract from: Ecology and the aesthetics of imperfect balance
Full paper published in craft+design enquiry: issue 3 Sustainability in craft and design

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