Tag Archives: John Berger

First Seminar – designing and making

First context seminar with our tutor Maiko this morning, with a very interesting introduction and an overview of our tutor’s works so we know her background and thought process in what she is trying to get us to achieve through the course.

We had an extract of ‘The Sense of Sight’ by John Berger to consider, which was a discussion piece around the handmade object of a white bird.  My observations from the piece brought up the following questions for me:

  • How much more impact does an object have when the material is sympathetic to the purpose of the object?  Particularly if this poses some symbolic purpose to the user?
  • Is beauty more poignant when it is found from within bleakness (the flower among the ruins) than beauty lost among many other lovely things?
  • How much of what a given community finds beautiful is dependent on our culture, or are there any universal aethetics?

Maiko is trying to get us to consider both our making and our context for making at the same time – hands and mind working together as one perhaps.  There are however a thousand different contexts we could be contributing to and I think it will be our first challenge to try to fit our random unshapen proposal ideas into a true contextual framework.  Some BIG QUESTIONS are on the table for us to consider…..

  1. What is your context?
  2. What debate can your work contribute to or be part of?
  3. Where do you ideas belong?
  4. What is your question???

Hmm!  Can I answer any of these yet?

I am hovering around the question of mind/body duality v universality (the “ghost in the machine”) question; am I touching also on the questions of what is art and what is craft (am I making something which is useful and functional or artistic and beautiful? or both?  Is there something about what is really the purpose of making – how much is catharsis for the maker and  how much is for the user?  How much of this purpose comes out with the experience of using the object at the end?  Can you get the user to experience something of what you imbibed into the object as part of the making?

This reminds me of something a chef said to me once that he never makes food when angry, as the anger will come across in the food and you will taste it.  Eat food made with love.  This is true of food – as a part-time chocolatier I can attest to this being true – so is it true of making more generally?

ANT xx