Friday, December 04, 2009

Noughties, craftivism

The Arnolfini art gallery emails me with details of an exciting new movement:

Craftivism is a participative exhibition responding to the resurgent interest in craft as it relates to socially-engaged art practice. It involves 14 projects developed by artists and collectives that work with craft-based traditions and activist practices, and who employ the tactics of 'craftivism' (combining crafting & activism) to question the prevailing codes of mass consumerism.

Thus making a wooden spoon becomes not just an act of making a wooden spoon, but a small, wooden spoon-shaped blow against the prevailing codes of mass consumerism. Uh oh, this is the Kingsnorthian interpretation of Ed, Will and Ginger. I don’t rate its chances. But that’s 2009 for you. Good grief we’re at the end of the decade already. The noughties started with a terrorist atrocity and ended with a credit crunch, neither of which has yet brought down America or capitalism. As Presuming Ed has so consistently pointed out, they have failed to paint it black. Some people can’t let it go; Jane Elliott was still hammering away at her forty-year-old idea while a black man was in the White House. More importantly, the noughties were when I got married and became a daddy. You’ve got to know your place. I thought the way Paul Kingsnorth handled the ribbing he got here was wise, good-humoured and, in an important way, very English. In fact, I told him this off-blog and we’re pals now. This is as it should be.

Two-thousand-and-nine was a sci-fi number when I was my daughter’s age. Strange to think it’ll all be in the past very soon, quaint and naive, a more innocent age. Remember the fuss about the wardrobe malfunction? And about the lascivious dancing on Ulysses S Grant’s grave? But what a great tune by which to dance lasciviously on a grave, eh?

So, a few weeks and then here comes another decade. Uh oh, uh oh, uh uh uh oh...


Paul said...

In the spirit of cloying friendship, then , may I congratulate you on this, yes, very British blog, which despite myself I sometimes rather enjoy.

Though I think you are wrong about the spoons. I would never claim, incidentally, that Ed and Will-style spooning and wandering would ever be anything other than a minority pursuit. Nevertheless, William Morris was onto something, and it wasn't the wallpaper.

That aside, have a good Christmas. It's the only time of year when nostalgic reaction becomes a national concern, which is of course why I like it.

Brit said...

Me too, and you too.

This lunchtime I strolled up the lane to the farm shop, where I bought myself a home-made steak and kidney pie entirely composed of locally-sourced, ethically-farmed ingredients. I carried it back to the office and nuked it in the company microwave. It was delicious. I'm not sure if this has any philosophical significance but I take it as it comes.

Anonymous said...

As I remember it, the noughties didn't start with a terrorist attack, they started with the collapse of a doomsday scenario (Y2K) that had proven extremely lucrative for many. I don't know if they will end similarly, but there are signs.

They also started with bizarre 24 hour news coverage that showed an hour-by-hour progression around the globe of the arrival of the millenium marked by identical-looking crowds oohing and aahing over identical fireworks displays. I remember feeling very put off by the whole thing and having an anti-globalization moment that might have led me eventually to retreat to the countryside to carve wooden spoons with Ginger if I hadn't mouths to feed and 9/11 hadn't delivered such a slap.

It was a difficult decade to characterize, but blogging and YouTube have surely changed the world forever. They have arguably contributed to a collective descent into postmodern madness and a kind of intellectual tribalism born of knowing far too much about what is in everyone's else's minds than is healthy for us to know and giving all manner of rubbish a mike in the public square. The Beyonce article actually gives a hint of this with this line:

The star danced in a "patently inappropriate" way on the steps to the tomb

Is there any other time when sane people would have considered there may be an appropriate way to dance on a national tomb?

malty said...

You lunched Brit, at the alter of pagan British scoffing. At least the Inca's had a sense of the dramatic, dare one say style, choosing as they did the odd virgin or two to munch upon.
Believe me when I say that there is nothing as odd as an Incan virgin.
The Franconians in their Rhein fastness would pop out and skewer the odd Celt although some would say this showed poor judgment.

What do we brits do? bombard a Kate and Sidney with 0.3 GHz to 300GHz electromagnetic waves in an oven and then scoff it.

Susan said...

You say it as it is and in the spirit of a true Brit.

I’ll drink a cup to crafty activists before dancing to Beyonce on New Year’s Eve - what a noughty role go girl!

Gaw said...

Now this is what I call craftivism. Beats stich and bitch.

BTW there can be no more noble craft than that of home manufacture of steak and kidney pies.