Response paper 2
In the paper “The Workmanship of Certainty and the Workmanship of Risk”, David Pye gave me a clear interpretation of the theory of design and handcraft. The concept “the workmanship of risk” left me a deep impression, which means “workmanship using any kind of technique or apparatus, in which the quality of the result is not predetermined, but depends on the judgment, dexterity and care which the maker exercises as he works (The Nature and Art of Workmanship, p. 20). Usually, we just focus on the objects and ignore the craftsman because in our subconscious the technique itself was not so related to the human physical and mental activities. We only observed the results of the workmanship not to mention the difference between the certainty and the risk.
At this time, Pye asked a question: “Is the result predetermined and unalterable once production begins?” (The Nature and Art of Workmanship, p. 343) Which is the key one that determine the results? For example, in my study of duck decoys, the qualities between workmanship of certainty and risk are distinctive. Manmade decoys which have exquisite workmanship and ingenuity could be sold at a high price in an auction. But some decoys that were mass productive were used as normal tools to lure the wildfowl. Those questions help me pay attention to the form of the production and the value in the diversity and the aesthetic importance.
Then in the paper, Pye proposed that everything happens within a system of changes, which reminds me the theory of a collective performance from Latour. But Pye’s view was a little bit different from Latour’s. He thought tools could only avoid unhappiness instead of bringing happiness. And the objects could not enable new activities and behavior. In my opinion, no matter what kind of design of the objects, it could not be isolated from human activities.