juxtaposing craft anna senno.jpg

Photo: Anna Senno

The project received HANDMADE-funding because:

HANDMADE explores making by hand from a variety of angles and makes space for mediating and reflection. HANDMADE finds new ways to interpret what it means to be Nordic.

Juxtaposing Craft/Color Kitchen explores the handmade – connecting crafts with questions about the locally handmade, global perspectives and cultural identities. These are urgent questions in the contemporary art- and cultural life.

The cooperation is building on a common urge to explore and investigate innovative contemporary crafts: the hand made as a process producing meanings for cultural identities. The project is well founded with thought-through Japanese and Nordic co-operation partners. The exchanges between the artists participating the project are important for development of innovative contemporary craft in the Nordic countries. The relevance is high as the project functions on an individual artistic level as well as on a more conceptual society level with tangible public activities in the Nordic countries and Tokyo.

The applicant wrote about the project:

Craft is conditioned by cultural, temporal and geographical aspects, embedding strong symbolic values, which are active agents in the creation of our imagined identities and notions of community. Over time, much of the accumulated experience disappears – this is particulary visible within the art of craft – new methods, new needs, new prerequisites, new standards and trends tend to push knowledge and experience into oblivion.

Trough the art of craft we can also understand something about its influence on the design we often attach to the perception of a ’national’ culture. But the truth might rather be that craft is a very a local phenomenon, which has been passed on from one individual to another – throughout time and space. Therefore, it is not surprising to find similarities between a Turkish textile pattern and a Dalecarlian traditional costume, between a Portuguese Fado and a Sevdah from the Balkans. Maybe our human sedmentary nature is not that absolute.

Based on the study of objects and craftsmanship as a cultural agent, we encircle the perception of time - its social, existential and non-linear dimension. Based on this, the project will take into account the impact of modernism, socio-political dimension, the reality of digitalisation and how many today are alienated from both craft and other means of production. History and stories lay embedded in objects, in craft techniques and in aesthetical expressions. We aim to juxtapose these with new applications and propositions of translation.

The project aims both at a practical experimental research phase as well as a philosophical investigation based on how craft reinforces ideas of our (imagined) communities/identities. E.g. investigating colour and its cultural properties in a process of natural dye applied to different materials. We will study craft as a storyteller in our digital age to investigate and experiment on concepts of time & space, identity, expressions and collecting.

Juxtaposing Craft /Color Kitchen is initiated by UNDENI (Rebecca Ahlstedt and Anna Senno, SE) together with ATTA - Atelier Tsuyoshi Tane Architects (JP/FR).

Artistic partner: The design cooperation 1+1+1 consisting of Petra Lilja (SE), Hugdetta (IS) and Aalto+Aalto (FI). 

Iceland Design Centre, Japan Finland Foundation, The Nordic Culture Fund, Svensk Form (the Swedish Society of Crafts and Design) and Östasiatiska museet (The Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities) in Stockholm support the project.