Craft is Art

In the West, for some reason, we decided to make a distinction between craft and art as paintings can hang on walls and pots are to hold flowers. There are some other distinctions that are less complimentary about painters and less complimentary about design.

In Japan there is no such debate, as being able to drink from a work of art is part of their sensibility to the skill in making ceramics that is equal in every way to the skill of a landscape painting.

It is a false distinction as works of art exist in craft and in art, as the exquisite can be found in the skill of the maker and has nothing to do with the predilections of collectors and the policy of museums.

Which Planet to Vacation Upon?

I hear India is going to the Moon this coming year and Japan and China are both sending probes to various regions of the Moon. I also see japan is sending a probe to an unvisited asteroid and China is sending a probe to Mercury. Now I understand why the USA is reopening the Moon landing projects, it is being left behind.

Or is it? These technologies have all fed off each other and for the most part scientists, unlike politicians, are really good at sharing information (ok Newton is an exception) and learning how to do things. They are also hungry to get their pet projects funded and if they don’t get funding from their own countries they will go to where they can. In this regard they are a little like the artists who travelled to city-states in Italy and Greece to find patrons.

So go world, get those probes out there, get those landings penciled in the calendar. We need the knowledge. and try, my scientific friends, to keep the politicians out of it otherwise they will ensure you take war with you.


Like much of the world I have watched the videos of the tsunami that hit Japan with morbid curiosity. To see the wall of water and collected junk rolling across farmland and through houses was one of the most horrific things I have ever seen. But it draws me to wonder at the news people.

Life is dangerous, we know, and I am no helicopter pilot but to see a human being riding a motorcycle along a road and not to drop down to try to rescue them as the water moves inexorably towards them seems to me to smack of indifference. It reminded me of seeing dozens of horses dying during a drought in Australia and the film crew filming their terror, their struggle without ever trying to bring water to them. You have to film it as it happens; that is real; that is what the people want to see. The film has become more important than life.

When a film crew appears everything changes. It is no longer cruel  life just happening, because they are there. They are witnessing death and to do nothing to try to help denies their humanity. The person on the motorbike may have been doomed, they may not have been able to do anything, but that is not true every time.

The news is not more important.

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February 2019
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