The relationship between technology and the contemporary art world is a fraught one. While genuine excitement surround projects that use powerful computer programs or novel CNC fabrication techniques and art history can be unrolled as a series of technologies, most historians, curators, collectors and artists are best described as late-adopters, if not out right non-adopters. I myself am a somewhat imperfect example (it's complicated). I began my career by apprenticing myself to a Luddite. The system of master/apprentice is itself a relic of the Middle Ages, it was abandon by the mainstream as form of art education way before the guy I apprenticed to was born - but he was a Luddite, so I lucked out. It turned out to be an ideal pedagogical format for me, not only to learn lost wax plaster investment bronze casting-- a technology that is over 5000 years old--but also a chance to get my bearings in the world. When I began my apprenticeship I was a wastrel truant case from Chicago. I had just barely graduated high-school with a very low D grade point average, that had its beginnings in primary school. College was not an option, and even if it had been, it probably would have been a waste of time and money. As unconventional as it was, my apprenticeship was my first taste of academic success of any kind (I wish I could have started it at 9 instead of 19).
The studio where I spent my first winter in Washington.
Kelly reports that although he now runs the gadget website Cool Tools he still keeps technology at arms length. He has no TV at home, doesn’t twitter and travels without a laptop. He makes the case that, without thinking about it, we all pick and choose this way. However most of us don’t make a break as radical as Tom and Kelly did as a young men, or as I ended up doing when I went to work for Tom, which is too bad. When I returned to city life and moved to New York I brought a very different relationship to technology back with me. Like Kelly and Tom, I was free to love and eschew technologies in a way I can’t image I would have if I hadn’t spent those years living in the woods mastering an obsolete technology. And I did so self-consciously.
One of the great mysteries of colonial women's lives is what they did about menstruation. They didn't wear underpants, and while later settlers may have used rags, the early colonials probably would have been reluctant to waste precious cloth.