Monday, July 25, 2011

21st Century Macrame: Open Source and the Maker Movement

i thought i would share the thesis statement for my lecture since i mentioned it in my first post on Kickstarter lessons. i will writing about the accompanying laboratory in this year's faculty exhibition pretty soon.

21st Century Macrame: Open Source and the Maker Movement
The re-emergence of the do-it-yourself culture as a social movement, cultural form, and genre.

In the latter half of the 1960's and throughout the 1970's, a group of independent artisans and everyday people shared a moment of intense creativity that sought to return to the 'handmade'. This group was motivated commercial culture; life had been subsumed by market, social, and industrial forms that arose post WWII. Heavily oriented around the then nascent Ecological Movement, this group sought to live closer to the earth, they encouraged the idea of sweat equity, and they desired to directly engage hands-on living. This generation spawned sewing circles, social justice movements, organic food co-ops, collectives, and communes around the globe following the Leary-ian mantra "Tune In, Turn On, and Drop Out". The Foxfire series, the myriad inexpensive 'how-to' publications form the era, and magazines like Mother Earth News are some of the artifacts that evidence the a desire for life without corporate mediation.

Today a new generational movement is flowering with many of the same goals of the 1960's and 1970's Love Generation. They are known colloquially as The Maker Movement; this group is motivated by many many of the same wishes of the earlier generation. They are decidedly anti-specialization and hands on, but they approach it with a very different set of politics—shaped by an increasingly interconnected world. Oddly enough this generation has weaved a relationship with factorization and corporations to achieve similar goals. They are at ease with any means by which they may create. The contemporary DIY peerage can comfortably outsource a new design to be manufactured via the miracles of print on demand technologies, create Frankenstein mashups of existent products, reapply older to ancient technologies as an option, or even ingeniously hack a commonly available materials to cobble into new, cheap, and functional fixes. Many of this generation's reverse engineers and hacks do this work as contemporary artists.

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