3rd International Conference

Digital Culture & AudioVisual Challenges

Interdisciplinary Creativity in Arts and Technology

Online, May 28-29, 2021

Textiel Factorij: Hybrid co-creation where ancient crafts meet digital technologies
Date and Time: 28/05/2021 (11:45-13:50)
Lipika Bansal, Sujata Majumdar

In this hybrid co-creation, innovative technology-based approaches mix with ancient craft techniques to creatively respond to challenges faced by younger artisans. As part of TextielFactorij Dutch artists and designers collaborated with artisans across India who still practice ancient craft techniques. Through cross-cultural knowledge exchange, art and experimentation together, new ideas and designs emerge, enriching all involved. This paper zooms into one specific case study where block carvers become acquainted with maker technology.

The motivation of the artist to bring ancient local Gujarati textile craft together with global digital technology was to demonstrate possibilities, in particular considering: the theme of automation, which already appears within the craft, and the socio-economic needs of traditional block carvers.  

This study shows the importance of situating craft-technology research in the places where those practices arise and the importance of slow, considered collaboration. Care is needed to not impose technological fixes and cultural imperialism, resulting in weak continuity and inequalities. Each artisan has a different sentiment towards innovation and technology as it also gives them the notion that machines may replace their skills. The purpose of this artistic research is to explore reinventing the block-carving livelihood over the generations with the help of these new technologies. 

The relevance has been confirmed by the block carvers who now wish to experiment in a makerspace in their own village, Pethapur, Gujarat, to be run by the younger block carvers. It will be interesting to follow how digital fabrication influences the block designs and creative skills of the artisans. 


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“Reflections: Bridges between Technology and Culture, Physical and Virtual”
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