For many people, to think about craft is to think about the past. Bear with me and just reverse it: think about craft as something that has always been a crucial part of the future. Otherwise, how could we—in a world that is not only mechanized but digitalized—reintroduce the importance of us humans? It is not right to present as poles the two worlds of the digital and the handmade. We must consider untouched, machine-made goods with the same force and passion as we do with the touched. Both are expressions of craft. Afterall, what is more crafted than a computer or a car?
There was a time in which merely a hope defined the relationship between man and machine, a hope we called modernity. The notion of craft has often been seen as a residual critique of the speed of industrial production, or even, again and again, as an expression against the flatness of the corporate world. However, the agency of craft is not the one of the contestatory voice. As it was before and how it will live on after the modern way of conceiving of production, craft has always been part prophecy and part fantasy. A prophecy because the increasing concern about the future of our planet—about the possibilities we have to inhabit a greener world, to be more autonomous and in control of life and the human impact on nature—has shaped craft’s revival. The surge in the qualities and values that craft embodies not only presents us with human ability and the knowledge of expert makers. It also expresses the possibility of reconstructing the intellectual life of the knowledges that are key to understanding future ways of linking life with joy, science with skill, industry with future forms of doing.
Although the perception of craft has not changed entirely, its perception has. We are living in a world with an unprecedented interest in the nature and ownership of time, and it is in our almost hysterical search that we again find craft incredibly interesting. Internet browsers use drawings to link information with creativity, and managing tools, like mind-map software, reference pathways from the hand to the brain. Why? Because its not-quite belonging to the now, craft suggests a quantum quality; that is, the possibility of understanding the texture of time not only as a mere industry-fabricated product, but as a net woven with different imaginations that connect pasts with presents. On the one hand, craft offers resistance to a flat and cool idea of the time we are in. On the other hand, it also represents the possibility of owning time, but accusing wisdom. Craft is a dwelling, a source that produces pleasure in both ancient and new ways of relating the hand to technology. More than anything, craft is a force, an impulse that articulates new clues leading to a better understanding of the time to come.