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Folk Meets Tech

What happens when tradition comes in contact with everything else? This is something that has happened since ancient times.

Folk traditions have roots in being illegal (moonshine, cockfighting, remixing music) – contributing to the fact that they are harder to access. Things that are legal and mainstream have been mass produced and are available in stores. Folk has remained more underground until now.

There is a digital divide – a lot of people carrying out folk traditions are still offline. What does this mean for artists and crafters when the internet does come to them? In some instances, regional pride has flourished when this happens. It does not have to mean the death of tradition. In other cases, such as Knitta Please’s yarn bombing, sharing ‘craft’ with the world has created communities and movements that would not have existed otherwise.

Knitta Please

The internet is one example of how you choose to personify yourself and build an image. Some artists choose to be offline in order to appear more counterculture.  Overall, the craft community is more attuned to sharing and collaborating than fine artists, which make it a good fit for online sharing.

Follow the panel conversation at #sxswfolksways

Overall, folk traditions are finding a place in mainstream culture thanks to enhanced exposure through new mediums. Folk can continue to grow despite the digital revolution. People in even the most remote areas are hungry to link to the rest of the world, and the digital world responds to the value and time investment in craft.

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