Work by Wilfred Kalf
Life’s a lottery
Everyone has a ticket in life’s lottery and if we start with the inevitable it could be described as a ticket out of here. That’s the human frustration: it’s great being alive (most of the time), but it will end one day whether you like it or not. We eventually just wear out. But as an intricate part of the natural world every living thing blossoms and fades. That’s also part of its beauty. Through the centuries humans acutely aware of their shelf life have tried to make their mark in history. There are two kinds of marks that stand out from the earliest recollection of human history. Human-inflicted destructive ones: wars and the like. That, on reflection, cause a lot of hardship and never really change anything permanently. Human achievements. Like Stonehenge or the pyramids, but the applied arts often survive alongside statues and wall paintings, if they are buried deep enough.
Although these achievements last for many centuries, eventually they are reclaimed by nature, buildings become submerged in layers of sediment or moss in colder climbs, and all that we are left with that truly survives are ideas that connect us to our heritage. The idea behind an object, its story, can be just as compelling as the object itself. Things made in factories rarely have a real story and advertisers are called in to make one up. Designer-makers start with an awareness that unfolds before them as they search for the perfect shape, size or materials to realise their ideas. This is their story expressed in what they leave behind. Very often these are developments of historical ideas that have stood the test of time.
Because these ideas are made by hand, they take time and so cost more than things that drop off the end of a production line. The good news is they will last and outlast you. So please make your contribution to the archaeology of the future. Let’s give them something worthwhile to unearth.