The Certainty of Uncertainty

Research output: Non-textual outputArtefact

Abstract

The Certainty of Uncertainty comprises two collections, ‘Hack’ (a series of chairs) and ‘Certainty’ (a series of vessels), which together challenge and extend traditional ideas of ‘craftsmanship’ through practices in contemporary digital manufacture.

The practice-based enquiry is predicated on an understanding that the term 'craft' has acquired a dual meaning: bespoke luxury on the one hand, romanticism and nostalgia on the other. Rapid developments in manufacturing technologies and digital production techniques have driven new methods of making that enable high-quality and precision in an almost limitless range of materials. The prevalence of these technologies brings into question the authenticity of ‘crafts’ and the role of ‘craftsmanship' as a contemporary practice. Contributing to this dialogue within the expert crafting community, Neal’s practice investigates how craft values can be maintained in objects created using computer-mediated manufacturing processes, and what alternative framings of craft can be offered to capture the role of ‘workmanship’ in digital manufacture.

Each series explores, tests and challenges David Pye's distinction between the 'workmanship of risk' and the 'workmanship of certainty'. The Hack series used a six-axis robotic arm to carve one-off furniture pieces from waste, 'green' timber. The volatility of unseasoned 'green' wood, and the complexity of the design, sought to examine the role and value of risk in digital manufacture. The Certainty series was developed through a process of drawing, digital modelling, prototyping and three-dimensional printing to create vessels that embody an optimised manufactured output with a visual balance of complexity, individualism and beauty that reflects the notion of ‘craft’.

The work has been disseminated nationally and internationally through exhibitions, a short film, talks, symposia and published conference papers and articles, as well as in the professional press and through mainstream media.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCollect 2019, Saatchi Gallery
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019

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