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Man–machine–music: Resonances of craft and technology in a study of guitar building

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Craft is often discussed from the perspective of the maker or artisan, but seldom addresses the assemblage of other agents involved, like materials and tools, and how they affect the outcome. One way to examine this issue could be to use a Deleuzoguattarian perspective in order to draw attention to the role of the various vibrating parts of an assemblage on an individual as well as an abstract level. This article argues that a musical interpretation of the process of craft can help render visible several agents involved in the shaping of a guitar, an assemblage composed of intentions, craftsmanship, material and tools. Juxtaposing David Pye’s notions of ‘workmanship of risk’ and ‘workmanship of certainty’, the works of luthiers reveal several traits of what Deleuze and Guattari called the ‘nomadic sciences’, which, in turn, can point towards more polyphonic perspectives on research in the crafts. The text offers an associative application of the Deleuzoguattarian concepts to expose how several ‘kinetic melodies’ can help expose guitar building as a craft in resonance with contemporary technologies.

Keywords: guitar building; instrument building; nomadic science; resonances; ricercare; workmanship of risk

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Gothenburg, Sweden

Publication date: May 4, 2012

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  • The aim of Craft Research is to advocate and promote current and emerging craft research, including research into materials, processes, methods, concepts, aesthetic and style. This may be in any discipline area of the applied arts and crafts, including craft education.

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