Garland #22 ✿ Homo Faber: What is the purpose of being human?

Garland 2.0 begins with a key question: What good are humans?

One of the major themes that emerged from our five-year journey was the ideal of partnership with nature. Stories such as Abe Muriata’s Jawun reflected a circular relationship with materials in which the making of the basket involved not just masterly weaving but also care for the rainforest, the source of its materials.

Issue #22 will consider the concept of stewardship. What are the practices that show a responsible relationship towards the materials that we use? We will consider initiative such as the Universal Declaration of Material Rights. The thinking of authors such as Bruno Latour and Tim Morton, in combination with Indigenous elders, will challenge us to value the ecological context for making.

This relationship raises the broader question of the value being human. The concept of “dominion” presumes that the role of humans is to make the most of nature as a divine gift for enjoyment and improvement. Anthropocentrism involves the celebration of the human species as triumphant over its rivals on the planet. The ingenuity and beauty of crafts provided testimony to the wonders of the opposed digit in manipulating the world.

For the Arts & Crafts Movement, making was a sacramental process of connecting with a divine presence in nature. Designs inspired by nature honoured this sacred beauty. But is the symbolic celebration of nature enough? How can we take this forward to become a partnership?

So what is the alternative story? Our ancestors had faith that a generation such as ours would honour their achievements and improve on them for the sake of the unborn. Is there a way of sustaining this thread while learning to co-exist with other species?

We begin this new journey by gathering perspectives from across on the wider world on the role of craft in connecting us with the world that makes us.