I Give You A Tool

I give you a tool. We don’t know who made it. You use it.

I give you a tool that I made. You use it.

I give you a tool that someone made. You use it and study it, and come to know its strengths, its shortcomings, its unexpected or unintended benefits.

I give you a tool and show you different ways of using it. You try them out and use them.

I give you a tool and show you different ways of using it. You try them out and use them and improve on them. Ideally, you then teach me.

I show you how to make a tool. You build it and use it.

I show you the thinking behind the tools I and others make. You study their history, traditions, the conditions that led to their inventions, the needs they adressed when someone first thought of them. Now you come up with your own tool.

Then you invent your own way of making tools according to your ideas and needs. You build them, refine them, and use them.

You document why and how you made your tool, and how I can make one myself.

You give me a tool.

All different ways of relating to one another, different distributions of authorship, power and influence. This does not just apply to art, but the consequences can be particularly striking there. The things we work with can be the things we think with – if we see the opportunity.


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