The craft of memory and forgetting

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Craft is inherently linked to memory and time. This association is especially evident in several Japanese traditions and philosophies: The continual rebuilding of the Ise Jingu Shrine which inherently preserves traditional skills and knowledge required for its creation; the concept of wabi sabi where the beauty of modesty, weathering and decay is embraced; and the practice of kintsukuroi where broken pottery is visibly mended to celebrate and remember the moment of its breaking. These practices all essentially preserve a specific type of memory, whether it is the preservation of craft memory through constant renewal, the accumulated effect of the passing of time, or the capturing of a specific event in time. The rebuilding of the Ise Jingu Shrine and the concept of wabi sabi will be explored further and with reference to the work of a number of contemporary South African architects who are either experimenting with the preservation of indigenous craft by incorporating it into their built works and designing for continuous renewal, or by crafting their buildings and details to specifically allow for weathering and appropriation by nature.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-106
Number of pages14
JournalSouth African Journal of Art History
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


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