International Affairs Building (Room 918), Columbia University, 420 West 118 Street, New York
Craft has long been understood in terms of its adversarial relationship with mechanization and industrialization. In industrial society, where people live surrounded by machine-made, mass-produced commodities, craft has been relegated to the realm of “tradition,” which belongs to the disconnected past. However, what does craft mean in a postindustrial society like today’s United States? When manufacturing, the long-time opponent to craft, no longer constitutes a major economic sector, what is the role of craft and what can we gain from it? These questions become even more critical now when on the one hand, artificial intelligence threatens to encroach on human territory, and on the other hand, the senses of localism, ethical consumption, and environmental consequences are higher than ever.
This one-day conference proposes to take advantage of this crucial moment as an opportunity to rethink craft both as a mode of production and as a way of living. By bringing together practitioners and scholars from Asia and the United States, it provides a venue for an interdisciplinary conversation about craft, technology, and the economy.