Sunday, 19 April 2009

Critical Theory and the practice of studio Ceramics

I am juxtaposing two ideas here- Critical Theory as descibied by professor Sam Smiles, Univ. Plymouth "http://www.criticalspaces.org.uk/paper1.html and the The Practice of Studio Ceramics. My intention is to gain an understandings of past and present socio-cultural conditions and reflect it, if at all possible, in a craft practice. "Marx defined materialsim as "a different approach - human behaviour as moulded by the conditions in which humans live". "But the process of the division of labour led to a profound split between intellectual and physical work. In the commodity-producing society, philosophy ceased to be the business of the active man and became that of the contemplative man, - who does not change the world but observes it, reflects upon it, interprets it". A craft practice can consciously re-unite these elements. there is no division of labour in a studio ceramic practice. The contemplative, active and philosphical become one (for man read person) Functional ceramics are not purely for contemplation. "critical theory is plural and departs from traditional scientific theory in reflecting critically on its production, rather than assuming an objective viewpoint".
The practice of Studio ceramics is a reflective practice, is technically reproducible- its uses processes where multiplicity is possible- Benjamin and Cultural Reproducibility. Benjamin said that the means of production should be taken over, means of production should be reorganized. However Adorno said "As a cultural form becomes more reproduced and total, it becomes a means to control rather than a liberation".

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