Accepted paper:

Correspondence between traditional handicrafts and the use of plastic by indigenous people in Brazil


Raquel Noronha (Federal University of Maranhão)

Paper short abstract:

This paper discusses the relation of indigenous craftsmen with new and old materials in situations of territorial expropriation. In correspondence, we seek to understand its relations with these materials through the making and cartographic design.

Paper long abstract:

This paper discusses the relationship established between indigenous artisans with plastic instead of fibers and wood, in situations of territorial expropriation and land tenure instability. With the expansion of agribusiness, access to the materials was made impossible by the enclosures of the fields, impacting the relations of producers of knowledge and the environment itself. In the process of correspondence (INGOLD, 2018; GATT and INGOLD, 2013) between the environment and the peoples inhabiting these territories there was a relation of autopoiesis (MATURANA e VARELA apud ESCOBAR, 2017) that regulated the cycles of production, extraction of the material, and this was constructed through the making and with the materials. Our correspondence with artisans highlighted their relations with the materials and limits and scope established by the contemporary use of plastic as an accessible material to cover the absence of so-called traditional materials. Negotiations on what they consider traditional and as the memory of their territoriality find frictions with what needs to be shown, in the context of legalization of their identities before territorial struggles. In Brazil, land reconnaissance and redistribution require material evidence of ethnic identity (FRENCH, 2011; NORONHA, 2015), and the traditional way of craftsmanship is nowadays - with the use of plastic - away from what they need to prove. As designers / anthropologists, in correspondence with these artisans, we made new things, drawings, cartographies and crafts, in order to understand how these craftsmen relate to the old and the new materials, beyond to dichotomies like traditional versus uprooted.

panel P062
Design Anthropology: Uniting experience and imagination in the midst of social and material transformation