handiCRAFT. Traditional Skills in the Digital Age

Exhibition at the Vienna MAK on the importance and appreciation of craftsmanship as an integral part of culture and identity.

The MAK exhibition handiCRAFT: Traditional Skills in the Digital Age reflects on the significance and status of handicraft as an integral component of material culture and cultural identity. In six sections, this comprehensive MAK exhibition encompasses handicraft from historical times to current European perspectives, examines how handicraft can help preserve natural resources, explores new developments on the interface to digital technologies, and presents masterpieces from a range of craft disciplines.

Currently the terms “handicraft” and “handmade” are used in an inflationary manner in advertising and lifestyle media. The Maker Movement and DIY culture are enormously successful, creating a worldwide hype. Globally operating luxury labels explicitly foreground handicraft as a mark of quality and distinction, in contrast to the reality of locally operating craftspeople struggling for recognition and a fair wage.

For American sociologists and cultural philosopher Richard Sennett, handicraft and craft skills involve much more than mere manual dexterity; they encompass a fundamental human impulse—the urge to carry out a task as well as possible for its own sake. Whether goldsmith, cobbler, politician, pianist, app developer or educator—to practice a craft is to “know one’s job.” (source: MAK Vienna)

Here is his contribution to the current topic, which we will address in the upcoming print edition of Art Aurea:


  • MAK – Österreichisches Museum für angewandte Kunst / Gegenwartskunst
    Stubenring 5
    1010 Wien, Österreich
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