Thursday, October 25, 2007

An open question

Is technology the new “institution”? Is a facility with technology now assumed as a basic prerequisite for “legitimacy?“ Do we now consider the aesthetics and functionality of an artist's (or any body's) website to be an indication of their validity/viability? Do these elements factor into our assessment/reception of a persons work? Is any attempt to proceed with out , or stumble around, technology perceived as (assumed to be) either an intentional statement, or indication of a more fundamental and general ineptitude? Do we exist now in a "culture" that assumes technology to be an "unspoken", or implicit partner in our dialogs? Is this a new ethos?

nothing more to read right now, check back later


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Rug Project

This project is just getting started, like the Sweat Shop project (which has undergone serious revisions and shall be called "the more than fair trade" project going forward) This is a long term endevour requiring a lot of research.
In part the inspiration for this project was a very small part of an exhibition of rugs (and other things) I saw in Glasgow in 1989. The Afghan rugs were really beautiful, and on first glance appeared to be made in traditional patterns with no obvious reference to anything I would understand. Looking closer I realized that the motifs were abstractions of tanks and bombs. The explanations on the walls explained (at least as I remember) that "traditional motifs" were in fact always changing, the way I understood it was that the grammar or the syntax of things would stay constant, but the nouns, or the subject matter would vary according to what was happening in the immediate environment. The other part of my impulse for this project is my concern about child labor, and slavery, also the basic topic of attitudes/perceptions of labor and its value, both external and internal.

The basic outline as it exists right now is to work with children from primary to high school age in the production of at least one rug. Encompassed in the process is all of us learning together about the history of tribal rug making, and the development of motifs (as mentioned above), the skills involved, and about child labor practices.

My rough idea right now is that we learn together what we can about these topics, design a pattern based on our own experience, and tie or weave a rug together. It is my intention that we will also in the process figure out where we would like to give this rug.

My "gold standard" goal for this project is that it could serve as a template to be modified and employed by others going forward.

If you are interested in learning about where I am in this process so far, please click the "read more" button. Also if anyone has any thoughts,(including criticism or challenges to this idea) links to information, or wants to be involved..please do chime in with a comment!

I see already that the research I need to do for this project is vast. Even as I want us all to learn together I feel I need to bring a lot of knowledge to the table before we embark. So this is where I'm at so far: I have found the name of the man that organized the exhibition I saw in Glasgow and have sent out a web of emails to locate him. He apparently has a deep and passionate interest in rugs, and the rugs I was so taken by in particular. I am learning about the rug making traditions in the middle east, and Asia. I am also gathering resources to talk to here in the states about this particular form of rug making.

I am meeting with Michael Simmons at Buckman elementary this week to see if he is interested in participating with some of his students, and have an invitation to talk to da Vinci middle school when I am ready. I am particularly interested in a possible collaboration on this project with high schoolers connected to the Native American Youth and Family Center.