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robertogreco : caitrinlynch   3

Eyeo 2016 – Sarah Hendren on Vimeo
"Design for Know-Nothings, Dilettantes, and Melancholy Interlopers – Translators, impresarios, believers, and the heartbroken—this is a talk about design outside of authorship and ownership, IP or copyright, and even outside of research and collaboration. When and where do ideas come to life? What counts as design? Sara talks about some of her own "not a real designer" work, but mostly she talks about the creative work of others: in marine biology, architecture, politics, education. Lots of nerdy history, folks."
sarahendren  eyeo2016  2016  eyeo  dilettantes  interlopers  translation  ownership  copyright  collaboration  education  marinebiology  architecture  design  research  learning  howwelearn  authorship  socialengagement  criticaldesign  thehow  thewhy  traction  meaning  place  placefulness  interconnectedness  cause  purpose  jacquescousteau  invention  dabbling  amateurs  amateurism  exploration  thinking  filmmaking  toolmaking  conviviality  convivialtools  ivanillich  impresarios  titles  names  naming  language  edges  liminalspaces  outsiders  insiders  dabblers  janeaddams  technology  interdependence  community  hullhouse  generalists  radicalgeneralists  audrelorde  vaclavhavel  expertise  pointofview  disability  adaptability  caseygollan  caitrinlynch  ingenuity  hacks  alinceshepherd  inclinedplanes  dance  pedagogy  liminality  toolsforconviviality  disabilities  interconnected  interconnectivity 
august 2016 by robertogreco
Making as an Act of Caring — Medium
"My friend Deb Chachra wrote a great piece ‘Why I am not a Maker’ in the Atlantic last year, about the problems with taking on the identity of a “maker”, especially in tech culture, as it assumes intrinsic superiority to other forms of repair, fixing and especially, care-giving. Around the same time, friend and collaborator Tim Maughan wrote about his journeys through Chinese factories, a deeply moving piece on the conditions and lives of the people who actually make most of the things we use. I believe that such critique that challenges the dominant understanding of the ‘maker culture’ and its implications on labour, geopolitics and consumerism is important and urgent.

On a personal front, Deb and Tim’s essays got me thinking a lot about what ‘making’ means to me, and I realised that my understanding of this term is coloured by Jon, whom I live and work with. It got me thinking about the amount of time and energy Jon spends ‘making’ things. It is the sort of making that requires him to find, forage, build or improvise tools and materials in order to make things work.

From quickly knocking up a set of ‘acrylic chisels’ from waste plastic pieces as a bespoke toolset for gilding, to building an enormous drone with his partner-in-crime Jon Flint, resurrecting his grandfather’s cherished lamp, fixing the neighbour’s bike, reconfiguring his mother’s phone, retrofitting his son’s electronic toys, creating a DIY bioreactor, applying ancient Japanese techniques of Kintsugi as a means of adding the history of repair to his bike, and most recently foraging the city for waste in order to build salvaged prototypes that might help mitigate the shock of climate change. But he is not trained as a carpenter, metalsmith, engineer, or product designer. Nor does he go to makerspaces, he probably feels bit overwhelmed by them. He is an artist and then a designer.

Most importantly, Jon is a maker because, over the years he has developed an uninhibited curiosity for found materials and their potential applications to either fix things or build new things in the future. This deep knowledge of materials embodied within the stuff we use in our daily lives, as well as the numerous tools and techniques of making, is critical to understand the impact the things we use have on our environments. It also generates a pattern of lateral and anticipatory thinking, as he constantly scours the environment looking for materials and tools, anticipating their potential (re)use in an entirely different context. It’s an attitude of mending, helping, and, most importantly, caring, that defies mainstream consumerism.

This sort of an attitude is neither new nor unheard of. There are hundreds of thousands of people who would not call themselves makers but would quite easily fit this bill of a ‘maker’. The recently visible projects by such makers include the brilliant Fixperts and Engineering at Home amongst others. These projects and activities are often packaged as ‘fixing’, ‘jugaad, or ‘up-cycling’, and remain on the periphery of the dominant maker-culture discourse. These approaches are often associated with resource stripped individuals and communities (especially Jugaad in India), or some sort of hippie do-gooders. No, they are not just fixing, not just doing some little bodging in the corner, they are mainstream makers. In fact, I would argue that they are more than makers, they are actually care-givers, who steadfastly push back against the dominant philosophy of planned obsolesce.

Maker-carers who may not use 3D printers to make shoes or dresses, but instead embody making as a way of life. They are quietly shaping the ethos and values of a 21st century maker — adaptive, crafty, anticipatory makers who care deeply about the people and environment around them. And this is the sort of making-as-caring that we need much more of. As we head towards increasingly precarious political, social and environmental crisis, we will all need to nurture the capacity to think through materials and the systems that these materials manifest within, so we can find the means to restore, revive, resurrect, rewire, and reimagine the physical world of consumption we are drowning in. Obviously this would mean we will buy less things, but it also means that we will know what we buy and mostly importantly have the skills to adapt and re-appropriate materials and tools for uncertain conditions.

If we are going to idolise makers and create large-scale foundries, incubators and educational programs to inculcate and embrace the love for making, then lets nourish this idea of making as care-giving too, and ensure that the ‘maker-culture’ we build is diverse and inclusive. And in doing so, encourage a relentless inquisitiveness, integrity, and pliancy that it can bring for us, those around us and the environments we live in."
anabjain  jonardern  making  care  caring  caregiving  repair  maintenance  2016  adaptivity  resourcefulness  sfsh  ingenuity  jugaad  consumerism  debchachra  timmanaugh  technology  climatechange  consumption  labor  geopolitics  reuse  recycling  superflux  jonflint  art  design  makers  openstudioproject  lcproject  repairing  mending  fixing  fixperts  engineeringathome  upcycling  makerculture  caitrinlynch  sarahendren  kintsugi 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Engineering at Home
"We are a designer (Sara Hendren) and an anthropologist (Caitrin Lynch), and we teach engineering students. When we met Cindy, we were moved by a number of aspects about her story, and so were the students in our classrooms. She survived a complex, life-threatening medical event; she joined a very small percentage of people to survive such an event without neurological impairment. All of this is extraordinary in itself. But she also received the best available “rehabilitation engineering” technology that money can buy—a sophisticated myoelectric hand—and it turned out to be of little importance to her recovery. Those hands are astonishing feats of engineering, and there’s no shortage of media attention celebrating them. But after a lengthy insurance process and specialized training for that replacement limb, Cindy found she had little use for it. By the time she received the hand, she was well on her way to adapting her body and environment with a variety of everyday materials and tools—using what was around her for daily tasks. It may come as a surprise, but the “universal” functionality of that hand had been supplanted by the quick and nimble devices she and her prosthetist could assemble. So, how has Cindy built a life that works? She’s not an engineer by training, and she wouldn’t have even called herself naturally inclined toward Do-It-Yourself handiwork. But she is the expert on her body and needs, and her wish to adapt to her new life has fueled the creation of everyday adaptations built of things like cable ties, cosmetic sponges, peel-and-stick hooks, and more—some that are available in the assistive technology market, and some with her prosthetist or her husband Ken, but many on her own. Cindy’s set of objects form an archive about the new interdependence that she lives with in her body: a combination of assistance from her husband and two daughters, family, church community, and friends; expert medical oversight; and this assembly of daily living tools and devices."



"We created this website because we are moved by Cindy's story. We also created it because we are convinced that her story illustrates new ways of understanding who can engineer, what counts as engineering, and why this matters. This website is about her adaptations. It is also about Cindy herself. And it’s about a new way of imagining engineering. The full archive is here, and we invite you to explore these designs individually or by action.

Cindy is not alone in adapting her environment with informal engineering—we know she joins millions of garage tinkerers, household inventors, and, of course, participants in Maker culture. However, Cindy’s story is distinctive. She needed the expertise of clinicians, yes—and the most advanced medical care and technology available (including a $90,000 myoelectric hand). But she also needed to find dozens of ways to make a new life for herself, and for that she needed deceptively simple engineering: a tool to write in her own signature hand, the ability to feed herself, to play cards with friends. Cindy’s adaptations say something powerful about health and wellbeing, and the tools that make those things possible. Medical technology and skilled clinicians sustained her life, but getting to a “new normal” turned out not to be a high-tech matter. These inventions—repurposed household objects, simple materials, clever hacks—give her something that pain medications and medical gear cannot: a life tailored, customized, tuned to her wishes and aspirations. This is a story about surviving a radical life change in the company of experts but also with one’s own ingenuity. Today Cindy has gotten relicensed to drive, has traveled to Europe, and goes out on her own to visit friends or to shop. Life goes on. She is 69 years old as of this writing (December 2015) and she looks forward to many more years with her five grandchildren (three born since the heart attack).

Inspiration and precedents for this project include sites like Zebreda Makes It Work, Maker Nurse, and Farm Hack, and others, all of which alter the context, meaning, and import of Maker culture trends. Read on for an extended discussion: what counts as engineering, and how do we know?"
sarahendren  caitrinlynch  caseygollan  michaelmaloney  engineering  assistivetechnology  technology  tools  making  2016 
february 2016 by robertogreco

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