CRAFT – An EU Strategic Partnership that Works with the History, Heritage and Urban Change of Venice

  • Abstract:

    In CRAFT we work with a new interdisciplinary educational concept focusing on the cross-examinations of traditions of sitting; investigating the comparative historical, cultural and metaphorical differences, the chair embodies as artefact and functional object. We decided to work with Venice as context focusing on how a historic city identity is made, used and abused, imagined and narrated, and invited 30 international students to participate at a Session at the Art Biennale. In collaboration with experts in the fields of cultural heritage, art, architecture, design and history, the students developed more than 500 posters focusing on the cultural heritage of the chair, specifically the Monobloc chair, and the traditions of sitting, in the context of Venice. Cultural heritage is a complex matter, to use a concise definition it is the value of the past that we distinguish in the present in order to be able to preserve it for the future. It is our thesis that design is the engineering of the Humanities – and in CRAFT, we investigate the chair as a transcultural design discourse, and, importantly, we investigate if the chair has contributed to the urban transformations, transition and changes in the urban image construction. In an increasingly globalized world, human beings are becoming more citizens of the world than citizens of the cities, at the same time the increasing mobility creates a universalized urban functionality. In this regard, we find that the anonymous chair, the Monobloc, has a unique role in the world heritage creating a tie between different cultures. Our paper focus on how the research on cultural identities of the city, and we question the various transitional processes affecting identities in the urban context in its global-regional-national-local interplay.