Selective Tradition and Selective Innovation in Chilean Popular Crafts

De Casiopea

TítuloSelective Tradition and Selective Innovation in Chilean Popular Crafts
ProfesoresDaniela Salgado
Rol de la EscuelaParticipante
Contraparte(s)Design History Society
Rol de la ContraparteParticipante
Evento"Folk Cultures" in Everyday Objects, sesión "Temporalidades"
Palabras Clavefolklore, artesanía, diseño, políticas de diseño

This proposal focuses on historical discourses and rationales concerning ‘folk’ and ‘traditional’ artesanías –or crafts–in Chile, starting from a period marked by the beginning of the 1935 Popular Art exhibition, when interest in artisanal production appeared in the academic milieu, until the first decade of the twenty-first century, when the policies for design and crafts began to develop and be discussed in the country. This is a significant period to the relationship between design and crafts as it represents a moment of conformity and foundation of institutional and political visions of the folkloric, the popular and the traditional crafts values associated with national identity, visions that are being gradually fragmented and redefined. This fragmentation, as we shall see, is directly linked to social and economic aspects, given the commercial boom of craft products in global circuits, the promotion of artesanías in Chilean and international markets and the inclusion of the concept of modernity into the artisanal objects and products, performed through dominant narratives in the field of design that encouraged the incorporation of professional design into the world of crafts. Thus, in this proposal, artesanías are considered as places of awkward engagements continuously impacted by regional and global cultural, political and economic forces that serves to disentangle the notion of traditional crafts and innovative design interventions.

Despite conflictive encounters, these forces have not overthrown ‘popular’ craft products and its widespread consumption in the local market. Therefore, I seek to explore, on the one hand, how these apparently opposed ideas of conservative tradition and design innovation are two sides of the same coin in which institutional and establishment selectivity operates. On the other hand, we locate the transformation of artisanal production through frictions. In these frictions, the narratives of tradition, modernisation, globalisation, localisation, and authenticity are heterogeneously appropriated, justified, rejected, and materialised by the artisans through their different practices, discourses and creations.