Prior to satellites, the complete mapping of the globe was done one coastline at a time. If you ever have the chance to pick up a current maritime map, you will notice that the date and surveyor (usually the UK, France, or Holland) are noted in every location plotted out. As a civilization, we have been “discovering” the globe since humans arrived on this planet. Whether you believe we appeared via evolution, divine intervention, or some spacecraft…one thing is for certain, it’s taken nearly 50,000 years to map out the surface of Earth. It is a vast mass covered by mountain ranges, endless seas, and the occasional pirate who prefers to remain off the map.
At the forefront of the mapping effort was the British Empire. In the name of the Crown, the British have played a huge role in creating a visual illustration of the Earth, and they also famously set up a few clubhouses along the way. Not all of their exploration tactics have been warmly embraced, but leaving politics, resource pillaging, and the unforgivable sin of bringing the “English Kitchen” to regions of culinary superiority aside, there is a certain “Englishness” to a globe.
In his recent body of work “Lost Ceremony,” artist & photographer, Adam Marelli asks why are ancient traditions worth preserving? To explore this concept, he worked inside of the studios of Japan’s most notable craftsmen to understand the link between belief and practice. To his surprise, Marelli discovered that in spite of the Japanese craftsmen’s distinguished histories, each generation must prove themselves, not only to stand up to history, but to deserve a place in the future. If a master craftsman hopes to leave a legacy, they must examine themselves artistically, philosophically, and practically every step of the way. In the end, craft is simply a tool for unlocking the mystery of a meaningful existence.
“The paradox of balancing the past with the future is the invisible force that lies at the heart of the Japanese craftsman.”