Design studio Unfold from Antwerp had been for many years now questioning the role of crafts in the contemporary society. In their latest project, they have partnered with Alexandre Humbert, a designer and filmmaker from Amsterdam, to collaborate with a combmaker Antun Penezić from Zagreb, on a project about preservation of crafts and its relationship to new technologies.
In a short film A Combmaker’s Tale, we follow the story of two passionate makers, and wonder what we can learn from them. Antun Penezić, 82, is Croatia’s last living combmaker and will retire this year without a successor. Franka, a brand new robot, is dedicated to follow in his footsteps and learn as much as it can from Antun in order to preserve this age old craft from disappearing.

The two are the protagonists in a tale that questions humankind’s relation with both crafts and technology, a tale that challenges its audience to reconsider their assumptions. Do we need to preserve an age-old craft? When is something ‘hand’ made? Why do we value labour intensive hand-made objects, but not the labour involved? Why do we fear robots taking over our work if there is so much work that nobody is interested in pursuing?
While Antun’s oral history is documentary, his robot apprentice is fiction. For now … In a series of interviews with various specialists, ranging from artificial intelligence to social history, the artists further unravel the manifold of threads woven into A Combmaker’s Tale.

Starring: Antun Penezić, Mara Danica Penezić and Panda; Sound: Arnaud Pujol; Organised by: Ivana Borovnjak, Maja Kolar (OAZA) and Koraljka Vlajo (MUO). With the generous support of: Creative Industries Fund NL, The Flemish Government, Creative Europe Fund, Kultura Nova Foundation and Franka Emika.