Monday, January 12, 2009

Ettore Sottsass

From Sottsass' 1973 essay "When I Was a Very Small Boy," quoted in a comment thread at Design Observer:

"I would like to break this strange mechanism I’ve been driven into. I would like to break it for myself and for others, for me and with others. I would like not to have to play the role of the artist only because this way I get paid, and I wish it wouldn’t even occur to others that there’s anyone who gets paid for being an artist. I would like all of us or none of us to be artists, as we were when we did drawings, boats, ships and windmills, cableways and telescopes. I would like to think that the old happy state that I once knew could somehow be brought back: that happy state in which “design” or art—so called art—was life, in which life was art, I mean creativity, I mean it was the awareness of belonging to the Planet and to the pulsing history of the people that are with us.

"I’d like to find somewhere to try out things, together, things to do with our hands or machines, in any way, not like boy scouts or even like craftsmen and not even like workers and still less like artists, but like men with arms, legs, hands, feet, hairs, sex, saliva, eyes and breath, and to do them, certainly not to possess things and to keep them for ourselves and not even to give them to others, but just feel what it’s like to do things by trying to do them, trying to find out whether everyone can do things, other things, with their hands or machines—or whatever—etcetera etcetera. Can it be tried?

"My friends say it can."


Barbara Campbell Thomas said...

Oh this is incredibly inspiring...

Barbara Campbell Thomas said...

"I'd like to find somewhere to try out things."

I am brought back to what I really believe about making--in whatever form it comes--that indeed it's all really a way of knowing more, learning, understanding just a bit more--and that we're the ones who get to decide what we want to know more about--however seemingly small or idiosyncratic.

Thanks for posting this Seth, are you back?