Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Intimate knowledge for everyone

One of the biggest attractions of social media such as YouTube is their 'show and tell' functionality. Being able to visually present phenomena directly from a source, without having to add additional analysis or description. Many crafts that were once known only to a select few are now suddenly available to anyone interested. This has had the effect of empowering people who otherwise could be heard only within local communities, but also bringing up the question of who owns various types of knowledge.
Finbar Furey is an Irish uilleann piper who became famous in the 1960s as an instrumentalist as well as a singer/songwriter. In a series of YouTube videos, Pauric Mather visits Finbar in his workshop, where Finbar shows his method for making reeds for one of the worlds most cantankerous wind instruments. "The pipes are a nightmare to take with with you", he says, but then gives tips on how players can keep their instruments going, even if they are traveling to Dubai or Texas:

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