Ark Journal VI, 
A Manifesto for Making, Copenhagen 2021

Djernes & Bell‘s Manifesto For Making (In the making) has been published in the latest issue of Ark Journal. 

‘This is a manifesto in the making, for making. A cry for humans to urgently become involved in being makers of their own surroundings as a way of re-crafting their connection with the material, and taking part in the existence of things.

It began as a catalogue of thoughts in the context of starting our architectural practice Djernes & Bell in 2020, and it persists as an active archive of our collective impressions on the material world.

We need to re-make our material culture. Re-forge our tactile bonds with the physical world and restore the balance from consumption to care. All humans leave traces of their existence on the landscapes they traverse, the objects they use and the buildings they inhabit. Making is a collective and anthropological act. Together we constantly make our environments through cycles of use and repair.

Footfall and collective touch shape and burnish our landscapes, cities and minds.  Centuries of footsteps and habits of hundreds of hands together form an alluvial sculpting of matter. Is it not here where nature and culture are closest? This perpetual dance between our environment and time and the maker’s marks of multitudes of beings. A footprint is more that the foot that imprinted and the soil it impressed, it is coexistence, everyday life and time passing.

Our collective effect on the state of the material world is so vast it has been given its own geologic age ‘the Anthropocene’. Yet despite our colossal impact on the physical world it seems that our comprehension of just this has lost all perspective. We consume constantly. Comfort and convenience have long since quelled consideration for our connectedness with the climate, nature and all that is made.

Our temporal scale once stretched through generations and whisperings of folklore connecting us to nature and origins and reached forward expectantly through myth, tradition and craft.  Now our attention-span seems limited to what can be seen or bought in one-click or swipe, with very little regard for future generations and with very little understanding of the processes involved in production, logistics and most likely soon to be disposal. Yet still we sit and work to click and buy to support the growth that we are told is needed for the economy to thrive. But we forget ecology and how everything is connected.

There is another way. We can reconnect, repair, remake and rebalance. We can weave the fabric of our collective futures and become more intertwined, more beautiful and more content. We can rebalance the disharmony between climate and consumerism. We can do this by making.

Making is a method to nurture our relationship with the physical world through tactile and active encounters with our local, natural, built and social environments. As makers we will use our hands, hearts and heads to restore and reconnect. The human hand has geologic and mythical capacity to transform, nurture and repair. Here we make a case for the maker, tinker, gardener, carer, bricoleur, flaneur and the importance of touch and our emotional and physical connection to our surroundings of which we are elementally a part of, and not separate controlling entities as we have come to think.

Sustainable transformation is only possible if we begin to make sense, make good, make do, make well and make last.’