CONTACT amory@localobjecta.org

Artisan Modern is an investigation and commitment based on a couple of decades of research and activism in and around economics and liberation.

You can find the archive of my work and contemporary thoughts in the fields of economics, politics, universities, sustainability, and technology on my main blog, www.amorystarr.com.

My academic works about food and objects are all here. The most important for the purpose of this blog, is this manifesto, which summarizes my research on food and social movemetns.

Throughout my life, I have experienced delight through food. In addition to extensive foraging, this has taken many forms, from academic papers and classes, to running an underground restaurant in my home, to documenting the stories of farmers and food artisans. My recipes, menus, and reviews are at www.viand.net, where you can also order my book about Local Food as an aperture into changing our economies. Here is my attempt to articulate what exactly I care about with regard to food.

My most recent book is Syntax of Power, a raw, potent, and spare revelation of how I got to where I am and how I take on the struggle every day. It’s a book about stepping into the darkness of change and creativity.

I also love to work, and am fascinated by work as an aspect of our humanity. A few years ago, I noticed that I kept meeting people who were making autonomously objects which could me made industrially. I call these people “artisans”. Some, but not all, work with food. I am collecting their stories to create a book which I believe is about the future of ethical business and meaningful work.

When I interview artisans, I ask these questions: What are you doing here? … Why are you doing this? … Tell me about the experience of work … Tell me about the math. How do you decide about the size of your business? … Tell me about the Product? … Tell me about your materials … Why do people buy from you? … What is your relationship with the people you sell to? … Are you connected to other artisans?

I do not really like the concept of ‘storytelling’. I am not interested in stories because they are good stories. (That’s “This American Life”, which is nice, but not my work.) I am interested in biography. Not exactly; I am interested in –graphy. ‘Graph’ comes from ancient greek, and it means to scratch or graze. It has come in English to mean to write, draw, or show. As Clifford & Marcus demonstrated, devastatingly, to the social sciences, the writer inevitably shapes the ‘truth’ which is conveyed. This is also the careful and beautiful responsibility of this work. In my interviews I help to bring forth reflections and meanings that may have been unarticulated before.

The beloved grandfather of American Sociology, C. Wright Mills, defined the field as the investigation of “the intersection of biography and history”. I am interested in the intersection of biography and objects. This ‘objectography’ is my attempt to reveal the profound dimensions of making.

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