Legend has it that Flat-Pack furniture was invented by Swedish draughtsman Gillis Lundgren in the early nineteen-fifties. Lundgren developed the idea when he needed to fit a table into his car. According to reports, Lundgren broke the legs off his table so he could fit it in the car and then reassembled the table at home.
His employers at the nascent IKEA company swiftly dropped their other ranges and built their entire business model around Lundgren's idea.
âFLATPACK' is a celebration of technicians and their work.
We tend to think of a distinction between manual and mental labour, a binary played out and socially reinforced from school onwards, the doer and the thinker. This division exists across the world of work workers/managers and is even played out at a university level, where as a student we find ourselves confronted with two levels of tutor, the academic and the technician. These categories assert themselves as real distinctions in status and pay, but also reinforce this artificial binary between thinkers and doers.
However this is a questionable state of affairs in a University for the Creative Arts. An Art practice is precisely the type of self-determined activity which actively resists these categories; it is by necessity labour of both hand and head, never merely mechanical, nor purely conceptual. Both the Academic and the Technician are thinker and doer, both are artist and teacher.
What you see here is a selection of work from UCA Technical staff from Kent campuses. It is what it is. Some works demonstrate a âmastery of craft' that you might expect from technical labour, others adopt an actively questioning approach. Some works are finished articles, others are works-in-progress.
Each work shown FLATPACKs into a shoebox for transport between sites.