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The Unknown Future

Mar 12 7:00 PM - 8:00 PM


511 Building - Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Center for Art and Design

Shipley / Collins Mediatheque

CCA&C Lectures

511 NW Broadway
Portland, Oregon, 97209   [map]

Writing in the 1920s and 1930s, Soetsu Yanagi sought to reconsider the value of making, following the rapid industrialization of Japan. The essays in his pioneering book The Unknown Craftsman spearheaded the survival of craft at a time of threatened obsolescence, leading to the mingei (folk art) movement that became known worldwide.

In this lecture-performance Lucy Cotter looks to Yanagi’s reflections as entry points into questions about artistic ecology and the sustainability of art practice. Combining text fragments from Yanagi’s writings with personal anecdotes and questions, she invites speculation on shape-shifting, reimagined roles, and the recalibration of contemporary art in the current moment of vulnerability and rapid change.

Lucy Cotter is an independent writer, curator, and artist, currently based in Portland, Oregon. She was curator of the Dutch Pavilion, 57th Venice Biennale (2017) and is author of Reclaiming Artistic Research (2019). 

This project is in conjunction with The Unknown Artist exhibition, currently on view at the Center for Contemporary Art & Culture, curated by Lucy Cotter.