With the rise of the virtual has come a renewed interest in the material. Evidence of this renewed interest is everywhere in pop culture, from steampunk to Maker Faire, from Readymade to Make to Etsy, from yarn bombing to LED throwies. We see it in craft: the handmade mandolin, the carefully stitched quilt, the custom cabinet. We see it in the vinyl resurgence and the newfound nostalgia for the mix tape. We see it in the Bamboo Bike Studio. We see it in the resurrection of Polaroid film by the IMPOSSIBLE project. Even as we go further into digital culture, we’re getting up from the computer to hold stuff, to make stuff, to shake stuff. And yet, there’s a sense that renewed interest in the material is facilitated by digital networks. That is, we go online to learn about craft, to meet-up with makers, to feed our fetishes. We send pictures of our creations from our digital devices to our social networks. All over the Web non-technical people are using new media to create, arrange, redesign, archive, and distribute their crafts. As they do, new techno-folkways are being passed down not only via new tools and networks, but also--as William Graham Sumner writes in his seminal book, Folkways--by "tradition, imitation, authority.” Folkways--the paths worn by mild social pressure--are being trod online. This panel will explore the various crossroads where craftwork meets network, with special attention paid to bridging the digital divide in rural America.
11th–15th March 2011