Artefact #1: A New Found Tradition – Janne van Gilst

Artefact #1, first sketch, © Janne van Gilst

First and foremost: great news!

Through my last blog post I got in contact with the Dutch magazine ‘Archievenblad’, which specialises in writing about, and for, all kinds of national Dutch archives. They were very interested in the ‘Saudade’ project and are publishing an article in their most recent issue! I also wrote a piece about my project for it. So happy that the ‘Saudade’ project will get the attention it deserves!

In my last blog post I wrote about the connection between my own origin and upbringing and the archive collection I selected. The main character of this collection was born as a farmer’s son and climbed to a high-ranking position in the government of the Dutch Indies. The adventurous and ambitious ways of this main character made me think of my own family and upbringing, within a family of farmers.

Through this first connection I found the starting point for my project: farming traditions. One of the ideas I came up with was to document the self-crafted objects that I found on the farm of my family. If there was a certain utensil or part that was needed but wasn’t available right away, we would make this ourselves. Most of the time it was made of recycled materials. You could call this an undiscovered tradition. For me, it symbolises the inventiveness and pioneering characteristics that are needed if you are a farmer. Something that may not be noticed anymore nowadays, or even appreciated.

Farming is currently going through a very tumultuous time due to the many developments in scale enlargement, strict governmental rules and critical public opinion. It seems like there are only negative stories that find their way to our mainstream media. It is because of this I want to send a more positive message, focusing on the craftsmanship and passion that still exists in many modern farms today.

The function of the objects that I documented is completely abstract for an outsider. This tension between the objects and the viewer fascinates me. I would like to use this somehow in the presentation of my final project.

What attracts me even more about the project is the idea that this tradition, as far as I know, has never been documented. I will contribute to the ‘remembering’ of this tradition. In that way my project can also be seen as a reflection & celebration of the concept of ‘archive’ in general.