Julia Krueger and Heather Smith

Charged Agency: Souvenirs of War

Robert Kelly
Sweater
Wool
67.0 x 40.0 cm
Collection of Glenbow Museum,
Calgary, AB, C-10639
Photo: Gabriela García-Luna,
Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery

Authenticity and the categorization of objects by media and/or function are no longer defining features of craft. Instead, process and other craft-related concepts such as time, materiality, and memory have become rich theoretical approaches that one can use when trying to understand “problematic” objects that just do not seem to fit anywhere. Adopting a craft perspective when examining objects made during wartime can help to alleviate the lack of relevance that has historically been associated with these functional, souvenir-type objects. In particular, by exploring time, process, memory, and materiality—all concepts deeply rooted in craft—we have come to appreciate the significance trench art has for their makers, owners, and collectors. This has led us to describe these crafted objects as functioning with charged agency as they transcend hierarchical notions of craftsmanship and materials as well as the privileging of “known” history—such as the written record—over other forms of historical records.

Read the full article in the Fall/Winter 2018-19 issue of Studio Magazine.

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