gt2P: Technology and Tradition

gt2P has developed a design practice based on the integration of local techniques with digital processes. fluoro spoke with the studio, who are based in Santiago, Chile.

Working in projects across architecture, art, design and research is central to gt2P’s work. The first projects undertaken by the studio revealed their interest in design and manufacturing in a way that was completely digital. “As time passed we realised our work acquired a new value when we mix technology with traditional knowledge; we understood the context where we are and available instruments to formalise our projects,” said gt2P.

Recent examples of this ethos include their Losing my America project. Focusing on the digital intervention of iconic craft pieces, the project explores the resistance of the local artisans and its loss of resolution. “Each piece becomes a practical research for the development of future collaborations between artisans and designers.” The result saw the studio form dialogues with the industry, while they explored new technologies and preserved the traditional crafts of Latin America.

In a time where much industry focus is on the growth of the digital design landscape, gt2P creates a position where innovation is at harmony with the traditional techniques of the past.

(f) Tell us more about the role of research and experimentation in your process.

(gt2P) Since gt2P was founded, exploration of new materials and process has played a central role in our work and has been a way to explore alternatives to technological limitation. In our early works it is possible to recognise an intention of producing based almost exclusively on digital process, but we realised it was difficult to ignore that we depend on manual intervention.

An initial experience of making a product with the support of a pottery craftsman allowed us to discover the importance of non-computational processes and the value that crafts could give to digital process. This was when we realised our work acquires a new value when we mix technology with craft.

We continue to base our working methodology on a continuous process of research, exploration and experimentation. This result in an ongoing attempt to find new encounters between technologies for projecting and the richness of the ‘local’, expressed in traditional materials, techniques or stories.

(f) Why is it important that your projects maintain a connection to your cultural heritage? 

(gt2P) Even when we didn’t value crafts enough, many manual processes gave our products a high standard quality. Now, we are aware of the importance of incorporating traditional experiences and knowledge that feed and qualify DNA that we create. We have discovered an artistic dimension that connects us with our cultural heritage. Exposing the unexpectedness of manual processes and local materials has been a way to value ‘what we are’ in ‘what we do’.

This kind of exploration – seen in projects such as Losing my America – has permitted us to bring that assessment to practical decisions. We have found a lot of valuable traditional knowledge and practices in Latin America that are missing or disappearing because of the standardised production. We want to generate a memory from the collection, organisation and assimilation of information with our work, in order to deal their oblivion and disuse.

(f) Objects such as Royal Mahuida and Gudpaka are instilled with narrative, what does this add to your creative process?

(gt2P) Myths and history, as well as techniques and materials, are part of our lives and heritage. We have been raised with stories like Cai-cai Vilu and Tren-tren Vilu, hidden Inca Empire Gold, but also with scenes like the ‘reconciliation hug’ with the return to democracy, which we refer in Tarrugao Collection. One way or another images, legends, practices and so on, are our cultural referents and endless resources of inspiration.

 (f) How has your work developed over time?

(gt2P) In recent years, we have found out our work methodology has two dimensions, firstly a ‘more scientific’ one related to systematisation of knowledge and phenomena. On the other hand, there is an ‘artistic’ one where we try to connect our projects with our cultural and local heritage. The closer we have approached our context (natural and symbolic), the more responsible we feel about sharing it with the world.

Until now, we have focused on Chilean crafts, but more recently the project Losing my America, has received contribution from other Latin American designers.

Losing my America will be on display later in 2014 at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, USA. The project will be on display from Tuesday 4 November 2014 – Sunday 22 February 2015 as part of the New Territories: Laboratories for Design, Craft, and Art in Latin America exhibition.

www.gt2p.com

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