@tehn , this piece is deeply resonant. it gives language to things I’ve been living out.
(the following is autobiography and you should feel free to skip it)
two years ago, I was firmly in the business of making thousands of a thing. I was a hyper-specialized unit of productivity. I was tasked with finding the exact parameters of the thing we would build thousands of that would find a toehold in people’s minds and cause them to want it. it was my job to ask questions that necessarily had to presuppose axioms that I increasingly took exception to.
so, probably a bit later than would have been best, I left.
I found someone who would teach me to build pianos and I moved my life across the planet to learn. I found myself in an entirely different space. pianos are anything but convenient. in piano world, longevity and mending are a given. even if you make one thousand pianos, they will not, cannot be exactly the same and you will not know in which way each one is singular until it is finished.
and yet, commoditization is still an issue. the instrument has increasingly become a sign of class divisions. a surprisingly large barrier exists between menders and builders, perhaps even as large as the barrier between menders and the instrument owners.
so I’m left trying to craft some vision on how I might play a role in sowing some small part of the forest in a better way. how can I create something lasting that encourages people to mend and maybe even someday to build? how can I create something which is unique and also doesn’t perpetuate existing conditions by only being available to those few with the resources to possess it? how do I create an object of desire without the further fostering of that desire seizing the reigns of the entire effort?
I don’t have answers for any of this, just my imprecise intentions and instincts. I feel like this community reliably provides for me some vision and faith that this is somehow doable, and for that I am immensely grateful.