exhibit: Local Objects
artist: Amory Starr
gallery: Gaffa, 281 Clarence Street
context: Sydney Design Week 2013
run: 25 July – 5 August.
opening: 25 July 6-8pm
Local economic relationships can transform a commodity into a community through sensual, convivial experiences. The Local Objects exhibit evokes these sensations to trigger agency and desire.
In the ruins of Wall Street, the Local Food movement has built a US$4.8B economy of integrity in the USA. As part of Sydney Design Week, economist/activist/artist Amory Starr is specifying this movement as a model that can be applied to other economic sectors. Local Food is a powerful social movement that has accomplished social and ecological sustainability, while enlivening urban space. It has happened by making products and transactions meaningful, even committed.
Next step: A Local Objects movement.
Social change happens when new ideas and desires are incubated in open spaces of experimentation. Farmers markets are spaces of delight, sensuality, conviviality, learning, and mutual aid. They are diverse and inclusive. A new generation of farmers have developed ecological and entrepreneurial skills to engage in direct marketing. Chefs, foragers, and gourmets have articulated the value of local and artisan foods and helped to build new and committed relationships. The farmers market is the paradigmatic convivial space, but other innovative economic gadgets such as food box schemes/CSAs are design interventions to transform food from a commodity into a community. Artisan coffee, for example, has created ritual, a sense of place, and neighborhood economic development. Chefs have helped educate diners to appreciate seasonal variability.
Local Objects invite customers into a space of meaning beyond the artist’s identity, into a landscape of reverence for materials and craftsmanship. Designers will need to consider the experience of work for makers (going beyond safe working conditions), the sensuality and meaningfulness of transaction, and the creation of multifunctional marketspace, as well as the ecological dimensions of materials. Artists and makers need to broaden and diversify their skills, make interactions more sensuous, address their work and character beyond subcultural styles, and educate consumers about durability, repairability, and patina. A movement for artisan objects can ignite desire to invest in lasting objects and relationships with makers.
Local Objects, the exhibit, is a small collection of opportunities to find sensuality and relationship in artisan objects through touch and artisans’ stories. It is designed to create a deeper level of meaning with these objects and the desire to bring these experiences into your own transactions.
Concept by Andrea Godshalk and Amory Starr.
Full explanation of Local Objects economics available in Amory’s book, Underground Restaurant: Local Food, Artisan Economics, Creative Political Culture, available here.
Photographs exhibited by Nicholas Young, Amory Starr, Meng Koach.
The response to the exhibit has been wonderful…
People are really “drawn in” to the text. They are reading about new economics!
They are finding David Flinter’s macadamia nuts!
They are leaving sacred objects in Wendy Neale‘s shrine.
(We overheard a girl say “I’ve been carrying this spoon for 6 years around the world and through airports so I could leave it in this box.”)
They are peeking through to new spaces, like &Company.
They are fondling wooden bowls and reading John Talbot’s poetry.