“Tools for Conviviality” is the overarching theme of the main exhibition of the 2021 Cheongju Craft Biennale as it celebrates its twelfth edition this year. This theme was chosen to invoke the notion of a new way of life, a “new normal,” amid the drastic changes in the social environment demanded by the COVID-19 pandemic, such as physical distancing. Under this theme, the exhibition aims to explore the future sustainability of contemporary craft while presenting the broad spectrum of craft media that has been developed over the course of human civilization.
The epistemological structure of craft is systemized based on the objectification and materialization of human behavior and modalities of life. This exhibition points to labor, life, and language as the three central pillars of craft, and is organized accordingly. This structure also entails an attempt to explore the possibility of new interpretations that go beyond the conventional means of reading craft that are characterized by the dichotomies like “traditional and contemporary,” “art and design,” and “beauty and utility” established starting in the modern era.
Moreover, the exhibition aims to offer an opportunity to reflect upon the value, significance, and role of craft, a field that has provided an important historical, social, economic, and cultural barometer throughout across the span of human civilization. Also presented is the history of the tools of craft in the form of a digital archive exhibition.
The exhibition further examines the transition from analog to digital and explores contemporaneity through questions such as “what is a tool?” and “what should a tool be?”