Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Basic Technology by Michael Wolf

Michael Wolf is a photographer working out of Hong Kong and possibly other cities.  A while back I ran into his photos of what he called "Bastard Chairs."  I would have picked a more flattering term, but bastard chairs is probably what most people would regard them as.  In any case, these chairs are what you get when people who are not professional chair makers improvise on chair repair.  They are in a sense, folk technology.  Go to the link to see more examples.
Housing is another area where folk technology proliferates.  And Michael Wolf has done photographs of that as well in a photo group called The box men of Shinkuju Station.
How does this relate to skin on frame kayak technology?  Well, given a need, people will invent a way to make do with what they have.  That is the essence of most primitive technology.  In our own very compartmentalized world where everything has to be done by experts we are usually isolated from folk technology and instead overwhelmed by what we commonly think of high technology.  But inject poverty and take away the money that it takes to fund the expert technologists, voila, up pops folk technology like mushrooms after a rain.

No comments: