We have been wondering about why the world needs another chair.
Why we are driven to make new things.
We wonder – is contributing more stuff to a material culture simply materialistic?
But when we look at incredible creations of tribal societies past – their material culture – and we are in awe. Whether it is the lines engraved on a sacred churinga in the Central Deserts of Australia, or the dense sculptural miracle of a New Ireland Malagan figure, or the balanced, coiled energy of a Senufo figure, there is an incredible power in objects – whether ritualistic or utilitarian – made with authentic passion within a culture.
Through these objects we realise that making within a cultural cosmos is a basic aspect of being human, and that all objects embody the spirit of their time and place and preserve this spirit long after their time has passed.
Although we can appreciate a chair from 50 years ago, we cannot truly make a chair the same way. That beloved classic belongs to its time of creation, to a different world.
Objects from the past are cultural relics which we may treasure, but their relevance and possibility inexorably recede from us into history.
Our world view – our ecology, our surroundings, our resources, our techniques, our costs, our distribution, our languages, our references, our visual literacy, our knowledge, our beliefs, these are all shifting, drifting, transforming every day.
Why does the world need a new chair?
Because it’s impossible to make the chairs of the past.
Making things, we join history, processing the past, projecting the future – inhabiting the precarious present.