The stone carver and the robot Bekijk groter

The stone carver and the robot

Reflections on craftsmanship



Philosopher Thomas Crombez explores the (false?) dichotomy between handmade and machine-made work.

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13,99 € incl. btw


Uitgeverij Letterwerk
Jaar van uitgave 2020
Bindwijze paperback met flappen
Aantal pagina's 80p.

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Have craftsmen become superfluous today? Craftsmanship seems to be in jeopardy. Sophisticated and smart machines are obliterating the last traces of various crafts.

Take the stone carver’s work. The job of making tombstones and monuments has long been taken over by milling machines. Nevertheless, stonecutters have remained in demand for difficult tasks. They are sometimes hired by contemporary artists who want to realize a work in stone. Think of the marble sculptures of Ai Weiwei, Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, or Jan Fabre.

Nowadays, such artists are likely to commission a large specialized studio with computer-controlled machines, which help to produce the artwork faster. As a traditional stone carver, how should you feel? Have you become technically unemployed?

In this book, philosopher Thomas Crombez explores the (false?) dichotomy between handmade and machine-made work. He examines what philosophers have written about craftsmanship since the beginning of industrialization. He then presents his findings to three contemporary craftsmen. These are the Iraqi-Dutch sculptor Athar Jaber, the calligrapher Yves Leterme, and the letter carver Maud Bekaert.

Thomas Crombez is Lecturer in Philosophy of Art at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp (AP Hogeschool). He has also published ‘The murder of art: A historical introduction to aesthetics’.

This book in Dutch - dit boek in het Nederlands

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Thomas Crombez

Thomas Crombez (1978) is docent aan de Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten (Antwerpen), aan Sint Lucas Antwerpen, en aan de Universiteit Antwerpen. Hij doceert kunstfilosofie, theatergeschiedenis en geschiedenis van de grafische vormgeving.