by JC Rosette
In present times, ubiquity of information is a fact, a way of life. Confronted with a problem of “how”, our first recourse is to search online. Indeed one can, in all likelihood, learn to create or do anything solely through materials uploaded on the internet– from learning skills such as how to paint to creating the paint itself. Contemporary artists are particularly attuned to these processes of self-initiated learning. The do-it-yourself ethos becomes akin to an artistic approach, leading to a horizon of methods that allow for a broader arsenal of meaning-making. Such an attitude requires an openness to the unfamiliar, a humility to take on the hat of the beginner or amateur, and a keen interest in making things from scratch. It is from these that the show “Things We Make” takes its starting point.
Leapfrogging over more traditional routes of learning and doing, DIY presents itself as an alternative to the ways in which we regard the world. At times it presents a certain playfulness, subverting accepted ways of doing: a window assumes a textured opaqueness, building blocks lose their rigid forms, scaled down dress patterns allow assembly, or fragile narratives are spun between disparate things. In others, it presents as a topic for reflexive consideration. The ways in which cultural and subjective notions affect its practice are probed, from individual experiences to its manifestation in media and distinct subcultures.
It is a practice that requires rethinking, not only of matter, but also of perception, representation or even our relation to things and other beings. After all, to wrest control over material reality is to also attempt to change the overarching structures in which we operate; the social, cultural, or phenomenological relations that characterize our experiences. It is to reject the templates imposed on our lives, to insist on a choice beyond those already given, or to dare rewrite what has been prescribed.