Sõnastades sõnatut / Expressing tacit knowledge
In his review of the Estonian translation of Richard Sennett’s The Craftsman, Urmas Lüüs, from the Estonian Art Academy, expresses his thoughts about the general position of ’material arts’ in the context of Estonian higher art education and the ways the book could help to cast new light on the forms of artistic self-expression that embrace making and skill besides conceptual ideas and design.
In addition to materiality and technical skills, tacit knowledge is another very important concept addressed by Sennett. Lüüs provides some contemporary examples where tacit knowledge is studied. Some attempts to re-evoke tacit knowledge may not be successful, because they have been passed literally from hand to hand, but the knowledge has perished alongside the growth of industrial production, much like it happened in metal casting for sculptures.
Lüüs points out that the book nicely pairs up with Jyrki Siukonen’s book Hammer and silence that was translated and published some years earlier and enjoyed very positive reception on behalf of art students. Both books show the way towards accepting the significance of (manual) skills in all types of creative activity.