Astrid Skibsted, Biennalen 2023
Astrid Skibsted & Michelle Yi, Biennalen 2023

Crafted Realities – A World of Possibilities

After the COVID-19 lockdown and the proliferation of digital meetings, technological capabilities have been accelerated. We have become adept at viewing the world through screens, with many eagerly embracing new technical features. The latest wave is driven by AI, evoking equal parts fascination and concern. The metaverse offers new meeting platforms and branding opportunities for international businesses, allowing anyone to question chatbots, and the potential for leveraging these tools seems boundless.

Simultaneously, we continue to celebrate analogue experiences, materials, and the sensory aspects of these. Craft has never been more popular on an international level. The need to practice a craft is on the rise, and the mental and physical benefits of doing so are being documented and researched. In other words, there is a resurgence of material-based art and craft.

Therefore, it might surprise some that Formkraft and the Danish Craft and Design Association, with Biennale 2023, are focusing on conversion, digital craft, and artificial intelligence. The explanation is simple. Craftsmen and designers have always been curious about new materials, techniques, and methods. Through this curiosity, they develop forms, aesthetics, functionality, and art. When you delve into Formkraft’s archives, the ongoing fascination and incorporation of new technologies and tools are evident, from the introduction of computers to 3D printing and Virtual Reality. Digital tools are now a natural part of the toolkit in the craft and design field.

By exploring the possibilities, limitations, and pitfalls of new technologies, craftsmen and designers gain new creative spaces – and perhaps new users and viewers. Or they gain clarity on what can be left behind.

The Biennale for Craft and Design 2023 is a tactile and material-centered experience, despite its digital focus. The artworks stand strong on their own, complemented by a digital version in the metaverse, offering a different perspective on the visual foundation.

But there are other elements beyond the digital communication potential that we want to investigate at Formkraft. The metaverse and AI will undoubtedly bring new ways of understanding and working with craft and design, and thus, there will certainly be changes in the working conditions for craftsmen and designers.

What issues arise concerning copyright in the metaverse? How can craftsmen and designers secure rights to their works? What business opportunities does the metaverse open up?

Wang & Söderström. Biennalen 2023
Wang og Söderström, The Liminal Eatery, Biennaleprisen 2023
Photo: Tableau

An Energy Issue

We also need to address sustainability and the responsibility that comes with creating products – both physical and digital. The internet emits as much CO2 as the entire global air traffic. While we celebrate technological possibilities, we are using a considerable amount of energy without considering the environmental impact. Just like with physical products, it is imperative that we think about the virtual and digital products we create and why. One might boldly say that if virtual and digital products are not used, or only minimally used, we have wasted a lot of energy that could have been put to better use. And even more daringly, if they are produced solely with growth and increased sales in mind, we miss an opportunity to develop a new paradigm that values long lifespan, high frequency of use, responsibility, and thoughtfulness in relation to the products we acquire.

And what about the time we spend on screens or in a digital world? Currently, it is discouraged for children under two years to spend any time with screens, even for a short period. What does that mean for us as adults, and what will it mean for our quality of life as the digital world becomes even more intertwined with the physical world?

Let’s work together and use the combination of craftsmanship and technology in design and craft to change the world, so that future generations can thrive here.

Read along as Formkraft explores digital possibilities and their impact on craft and design. Articles will be released continuously.

Is there anything else you would like to know or any specific part you’d like to focus on?

Biennale for Craft & Design 2023

Every other year, the Biennale highlights contemporary Danish crafts and design with a robust educational program, an Open Call exhibition, and the coveted Biennale Prize of 100,000 DKK, generously donated by the Denmark’s National Bank Anniversary Foundation. Each Biennale is tied to a highly relevant theme, ensuring the crafts’ professional development and societal relevance.
Exhibition period: 13th October – 12th November 2023

Location: Copenhagen Contemporary, HALL 6, Refshalevej 173 A, 1432 Copenhagen K

On 1st November, the symposium ‘Crafting Realities’ will be held at The Royal Academy. The symposium marks the beginning of Formkraft’s upcoming theme on digital craft. Learn more

Read more about the Biennale