工藝設計在這次的計畫裡，應該是use it right now 而非one day will use，這樣的想法是為了解決問題和解決需求而立的，我們應該先屏除設計美麗產品的想法，因為那漂亮的東西也許沒人用得上，若能夠從人出發，讓手的勞動賦予工藝立刻的價值，應該來自於它能夠直接的交到特定的人手上，或者立於某處供經過的人使用，例如街頭的攤販，他們求的是立刻能夠開張營業，而不是留下電話等人來電。我們應該盡力地去突破工藝和設計的界線，讓他們回到人的身邊，回到土地上開花結果。
Project them : Hands-On Craft Now
This project resembles an experimental lab that aims to apply the wisdom in craft to solve problems and embrace fun in life at the same time. We believe that a place that promises the beauty of life must be a place where craft design flourishes. However, to usher in more alternative and immediate ideas, we turn our eyes to quotidian politics in the hope to more engage ordinary people in our experiments. As a matter of fact, craft embodies the content of folk culture, but people have largely ignored its abilities to “challenge and solve problems as well as plan for the future.”
Craft produces useful objects, which show our daily needs; nevertheless, craft objects have been replaced by massive, inexpensive products of capitalism. Not even a handful of people would opt to spend hours to labor for making a basket; and this is also the negative outcome of separating design and production. Questions about how things are made, where the materials come from and how their production affect our environment are left unanswered. Moreover, the social function of craft and design seems to have faded into oblivion. How does craft better our society and improve people’s life? Can it solve modern problems and be helpful? These are the questions we need to think about and experiment with.
Traditional craft has its value and cultural context. Every person that comes to a certain place carries with him or her individual background and value. Therefore, the biggest challenge of the project is to connect craft and design as well as different designs in a short period of time. Under such a circumstance that emphasizes on immediacy and impacts, our primary goal is to produce “solutions to problems in life or to modify the fun in life.” To achieve this goal, we will endeavor in the following five directions:
- Local Life: Taking walks on the streets permits immediate observations and understanding of the local living environment. Observing the changes in time, one soon realizes that design ideas and the environment can change every second. The morning has its unique sounds; man-made architecture and objects reveal different traces of time. Taking a little bit of time to quietly observe, one might discover different background of local residents. It is likely that people with outside perspectives might find something unique that local people have taken granted for. It could be a dog with a broken leg and is in need of a comfortable rattan-woven wheelchair; and it could be an elder’s broken cane thrown away in a pile of garbage. These are all tiny but very intriguing starts.
- Gift of Materials: Nature and waste provide a wide variety of materials. Every area has its lush species, albeit they might be covered with dirt. Stones can be turned into thermal stones. Craftspeople demonstrate how they perceive different materials with unique feelings. When one reaches out a hand to touch a material, an instant connection with that material is formed. Perhaps, you are still searching for ways to discover the characteristics of more materials, since even the bloom time of a plant in different regions also varies.
- Individual Skills: Everyone is good at something. As long as we are willing to work with our hands and stay hands on, possessing superb craft skills is not really a prerequisite; instead, our goal is to be able to affirm our abilities after recognizing them. Even if it is to use machines, the most precious thing is to manifest one’s ideas through physical things. During the process, one cultivates and develops the spirit of an untrained artist, acquiring the power to realize fantasies. One might not be very dexterous with hands; however, through accumulating experiences, even telling stories with archives can be a refined skill. For instance, to aestheticize a granny’s field by arranging stones with texture and patterns can also be a beautiful endeavor!
- Stories and Places: A craftwork or design can stand the test of time because it conveys stories of the past. We hope to explore and understand the people, things and activities of a place before coming up with designs and solutions for existent needs and issues. Starting with a small problem to create a possible solution, banners used in political campaigns can be converted into practical book bags for children of disadvantaged families. The stories of a place might come from the process of sourcing materials, or it might be from the clustering effect after a certain work is introduced. A craft product or industrial design can resonate with its audience in a simple yet heartfelt way.
- Here and Now: the objective of craft design in this project is to make a work that can be “used right now” rather than making a product that “will be used one day.” This concept originates from the determination to solve problems and meet the needs. The idea of designing visually pleasing products is renounced because beautiful appearances might not be useful to people. Instead, the design will start from human needs and uses hands to give craft its immediate value by delivering it to those that need it or stationing at a certain spot to provide services to passersby. For example, street vendors will need to operate their businesses immediately instead of waiting for calls of inquiry. We should endeavor to erase the distinction between craft and design so that they can give back to people and flourish.