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World Wide Web — October 30, 2013

DI Mischief Night Mooøºo∞oO0ö0o…ooo0ºº0oc

For the inaugural Mooøºo∞o…oc, DesignInquirers from across North America hung out on Google+ conversing on the topic of CRAFT. The conversation was absolutely obambulatory, as it wandered around craft and its relationship to design discourse. We didn’t come to any conclusions, but more than once, from our disparate corners of cyberspace, we tried to fix craft’s slippery definitions within design and culture more broadly.

This panel hopes to address the opposing terms of craft and deskilling in the (mostly) disparate fields of contemporary art and decorative arts. We mooøºo∞o…oced until 11 pm, and ended on a high note because we couldn’t agree on the limits of craft and craftsmanship, if it should be reserved for conventionally understood realms of making or could be applied more generally to all domains of thoughtful “production.”

Participants in the Mischief Night Mooøºo∞o…oc and its follow-up included: Chai Duncan, Patricio Davila, Gabrielle Esperdy, Denise Gonzales-Crisp, Polly Johnson, Emily Luce, Nidhip Mehta, Gail Swanlund, and Maia Wright.


Richard Sennett, The Craftsman (Yale, 2008), in which the philosophically inclined sociologist considers how we make things and what that tells us about the human condition. By taking on the nature of skills and pride of work in the broadest sense, Sennett prompts designers to reevaluate their relationship to making and thinking, judgment and critique, craft and industry.

Richard Sennett The Craftsman Chapter 1

Craft after Deskilling? College Art Association 101st Annual Conference in New York, February 15, 2013, recording of a session organized by T’ai Smith with papers by Ileana Parvu, Bibiana Obler, Elizabeth Kalbfleisch, Lisa Vinebaum and Emily Larned, in which the speakers respond to this call: “After years of conceptualist deskilling and institutional critique, thought on craft has been on the upswing, as contemporary artists and critics consider the physical labor e art. If craft is traditionally related to manual skill, what results when conceptual art embraces craft, or when craft becomes increasingly conceptual?”