This peer reviewed paper was presented within the ‘Craft and Technology’ strand of this international conference.
This paper seeks to contextualise work by craftspeople and designer makers who use digital technologies by discussing ways in which technology can be defined and the theoretical frameworks within which these definitions sit. The paper highlights some of the ways in which technology and technological mediation is commonly discussed and relates these views to three broad theoretical characterisations of technology. This includes; a 'conservative' characterisation based on rigidly quantifiable aspects of technology and draws on the tradition of logical positivism, a 'critical' characterisation referencing the work of Martin Heidegger and Tony Fry, and a ‘pragmatic’ characterisation based, to some degree, on the work of John Dewey.
The paper argues that the pragmatic characterisation is the most appropriate for discussing technology’s employment within craft practices, and through employing this characterisation a new perspective on the relationship between craft practices and digital technologies can be gained. This includes a recognition of the impact technological mediation has on both the way you engage with the world and your perception of it (i.e. technologies are more than functional tools).
In addition, through highlighting the pragmatic belief that theory and practice are bound together in the process of active inquiry, this paper provides a new argument for the worth of holistic activities such as craft