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robertogreco : fixing   15

Maintenance and Care
"A working guide to the repair of rust, dust, cracks, and corrupted code in our cities, our homes, and our social relations."
shannonmattern  maintenance  repair  care  caring  2018  rust  dust  homes  cities  labor  work  art  performance  shanzhai  jugaad  gambiarra  fixing  mending  gender 
november 2018 by robertogreco
FixIts | For When You're In A Fix - Quick. Reusable. Strong.
"What are FixIts?
FixIts are mouldable eco-plastic fixing sticks for your tech, home, garden and more.

So handy you’ll want them within arm’s reach no matter where you are, whether that’s your jeans pocket, kitchen drawer or toothbrush holder.

Reusable and compostable, FixIts can help you reduce waste and make the most of the resources you've got at hand too.

1. Heat it: Put the kettle on and get your mug ready

2. Melt it: FixIts melts and becomes flexible at 62 C.

3. Mould it: FixIts can be moulded in any which way, shape or form.

Create anytime, anywhere.
Why buy things you like when you can make things you love? All you have to do is put the kettle on, make yourself a cup of FixIts and get hands-on.

Mend because you can.
You don’t need to be a DIY expert to give your stuff a new lease of life. FixIts melts, moulds and mends in minutes so you can say ‘I fixed it.’

Want to give it another go? Simply heat up to re-use for…

1. Tech
Use FixIts to keep cables tidy and labelled or fix that broken charger.

2. Home & Garden
Mend flowerpots, craft bespoke home décor or even create a hanging herb garden.

3. Adventure
Don’t let broken camping or sports gear hold you back: Fix-It and keep doing the things you love.

Drill it, sand it, cut it and more.
There’s more to FixIts than twisting and moulding: once cooled it becomes hard and tough so you can get your tools out and modify it the way you want to.

You’re the hero, and FixIts is your handy companion when you’re needed to save the day."

[See also: https://vimeo.com/276851731 ]
mending  fixing  plastic  plastics  repair 
july 2018 by robertogreco
Kintsugi: The Art of Broken Pieces on Vimeo
"Perhaps we might take a cue from Latin Americans, who are organising alternative visions around the indigenous concept of buen vivir, or good living. The west has its own tradition of reflection on the good life and it’s time we revive it. Robert and Edward Skidelsky take us down this road in his book How Much is Enough? where they lay out the possibility of interventions such as banning advertising, a shorter working week and a basic income, all of which would improve our lives while reducing consumption."

[via: https://onbeing.org/blog/omid-safi-illuminating-the-beauty-in-our-broken-places/ ]
kintsugi  repair  seams  scars  fixing  wabi-sabi  japan  japanese  words  beauty 
april 2017 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
Put This On • A Little DIY Wabi Sabi Whereas most of us value...
[via: https://twitter.com/mattthomas/status/552690009028198402 ]

"A Little DIY Wabi Sabi

Whereas most of us value things that are perfect and enduring, wabi sabi is the Japanese worldview that sees beauty in imperfection, impermanence, and incompleteness. Things such as a slightly lopsided vase, a shirt that’s missing a button, or an old, wooden desk that’s a little too dry. It’s believed that by recognizing the beauty in such things, we can better appreciate the natural cycle of life — from growth to decay to eventually death.

Jonathan Lukacek — the very talented blogger behind Bandanna Almanac — is certainly familiar with the concept. He’s an American living in Japan, having stayed there after studying abroad for college. He’s also an inveterate thrifter who likes to collect garments with a lot character (rather than things that happen to be rare or hold value). In other words, “things that tell a story,” as he put it to me.

Seen above are some of the creative ways he’s repaired his vintage finds. There’s a pair of jeans with pocket bags made from cut-up bandannas; a dirty collar of a denim shirt made new again through some more bandanna cloth; an old Five Brothers flannel with a slightly askew internal pocket (made with just the right amount of pattern matching); a denim jacket with blanket lining on the outside of the coat; and finally, some decorative sashiko stitching on the collar of an old chambray shirt.

Everything was done with fabrics that Jonathan has either thrifted or found over the years. Some repairs he did himself; others he did in collaboration with his good friend Narita at Brown Tabby (a vintage repair shop in Japan). All of it is awesome — especially if you’ve ever appreciated anything at a thrift store or flea market, or even the designer lines that are inspired by such things (e.g. Blue Blue Japan, Kapital, and Visvim).

You can see more of Jonathan’s work at his Instagram account. He also occasionally sells things at Etsy and eBay."
fixing  mending  repair  repairing  clothing  denim  jeans  wabi-sabi  sashiko  jonathanlukacek  japan  sewing  clothes 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Fix It (Don't Ditch It) | Valet.
[via: https://twitter.com/mattthomas/status/552690009028198402 ]

"We've always advocated the motto of "buying less, but buying better." When you shell out for quality items, they not only look and feel better, but they last a whole lot longer. Of course, even with things made with integrity, sometimes you're going to need to have something fixed—a seam repaired, a strap restitched or a shoe resoled. Thankfully, when you buy from upstanding companies that stand behind their products, they're usually more than prepared to handle the refurbishment for you. Herewith, a dozen menswear brands that offer in-house repairs."
fixing  mending  repairing  clothing  clothes  barbour  nudiejeans  patagonia  llbean  goruck  flintandtinder  duluthpack  redwingshoes  quoddy  suitsupply  selfedge  repair  bags  backpacks 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Repair Your Own Jeans | Submitted For Your Perusal
[via: https://twitter.com/mattthomas/status/552690009028198402 ]

"[video embedded: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXL0X193HDw ]

The white patch thing is one of Vlieseline’s many iron-on interfacings but I’m not sure which one. More information — including a link to order a free repair kit — can be found at the Nudie Jeans website.

Jeans, like leaves in the fall, are at their most beautiful just before they disintegrate. This guy’s got the right idea: [image]"
matthomas  jeans  denim  mending  2012  sewing  beausage  repair  slothes  clothing  fixing  repairing 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Fixperts
"Is fixperts a company or a network?
No, it is a social project. An open knowledge sharing platform.

Why did we start this project?
We believe fixing is a valuable creative and social resource and we now know that people all over the world feel the same. Fixperts creates content that encourages people to use the power of fixing to solve everyday problems and that’s awesome.

Is there a vision?
We want everyone in the world to feel that they can fix stuff and solve problems. We believe that the design process applied to small fixing challenges has the potential to give people the insight and confidence to find solutions for themselves and others.

How did it start ?
A conversation between James Carrigan (co-founder of sugru) and Daniel Charny (curator of Power of Making). We’ve been talking about working together for a long while and fixing as a way of thinking seemed like the right thing.
We loved the idea of involving as many makers as possible and decided to test it out so we set ourselves a 6 week deadline to build the pilot.
It took a group of passionate people that believed in the idea to pull it together and we launched fixperts.org with the first 5 films in September 2012.
We discovered that people connected with the idea and wanted to get involved.

After the pilot we concentrated on projects in design education:
We think that design education is a good place to start, so we are talking to and looking for schools, universities and colleges that are interested to run Fixperts as a project in or bedside their curriculum. We have developed a brief and project guidelines to support educators to run Fixperts as part of their course. We would one day love to see it become part of creative education also in secondary schools but we know have to build up the film archive first.

Education is a great resource of creative people ready to explore a diverse range of projects that can positively influence their creative process.
Fixperts as a project structure combines many important factors in offering a valuable learning experience;
Working in a collaborative team
Real world experience
Creating strong visual communication through film
Developing strong relationships with a “client”
Developing a solution through an iterative design process
Learning to listen and understand the needs of others
Connecting with your immediate environment"

[via: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/04/arts/design/the-fab-mind-a-tokyo-show-highlights-design-activism.html ]
fixing  mending  repair  design  diy  repairing 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Metafoundry 15: Scribbled Leatherjackets
[Update 23 Jan 2015: a new version of this is now at The Atlantic: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/01/why-i-am-not-a-maker/384767/ ]

"HOMO FABBER: Every once in a while, I am asked what I ‘make’. When I attended the Brighton Maker Faire in September, a box for the answer was under my name on my ID badge. It was part of the XOXO Festival application for 2013; when I saw the question, I closed the browser tab, and only applied later (and eventually attended) because of the enthusiastic encouragement of friends. I’m always uncomfortable identifying myself as a maker. I'm uncomfortable with any culture that encourages you take on an entire identity, rather than to express a facet of your own identity (‘maker’, rather than ‘someone who makes things’). But I have much deeper concerns.

Walk through a museum. Look around a city. Almost all the artifacts that we value as a society were made by or at the the order of men. But behind every one is an invisible infrastructure of labour—primarily caregiving, in its various aspects—that is mostly performed by women. As a teenager, I read Ayn Rand on how any work that needed to be done day after day was meaningless, and that only creating new things was a worthwhile endeavour. My response to this was to stop making my bed every day, to the distress of my mother. (While I admit the possibility of a misinterpretation, as I haven’t read Rand’s writing since I was so young my mother oversaw my housekeeping, I have no plans to revisit it anytime soon.) The cultural primacy of making, especially in tech culture—that it is intrinsically superior to not-making, to repair, analysis, and especially caregiving—is informed by the gendered history of who made things, and in particular, who made things that were shared with the world, not merely for hearth and home.

Making is not a rebel movement, scrappy individuals going up against the system. While the shift might be from the corporate to the individual (supported, mind, by a different set of companies selling things), and from what Ursula Franklin describes as prescriptive technologies to ones that are more holistic, it mostly reinscribes familiar values, in slightly different form: that artifacts are important, and people are not.

In light of this history, it’s unsurprising that coding has been folded into ‘making’. Consider the instant gratification of seeing ‘hello, world’ on the screen; it’s nearly the easiest possible way to ‘make’ things, and certainly one where failure has a very low cost. Code is 'making' because we've figured out how to package it up into discrete units and sell it, and because it is widely perceived to be done by men. But you can also think about coding as eliciting a specific, desired set of behaviours from computing devices. It’s the Searle’s 'Chinese room' take on the deeper, richer, messier, less reproducible, immeasurably more difficult version of this that we do with people—change their cognition, abilities, and behaviours. We call the latter 'education', and it’s mostly done by underpaid, undervalued women.

When new products are made, we hear about exciting technological innovation, which are widely seen as worth paying (more) for. In contrast, policy and public discourse around caregiving—besides education, healthcare comes immediately to mind—are rarely about paying more to do better, and are instead mostly about figuring out ways to lower the cost. Consider the economics term ‘Baumol's cost disease’: it suggests that it is somehow pathological that the time and energy taken by a string quartet to prepare for a performance--and therefore the cost--has not fallen in the same way as goods, as if somehow people and what they do should get less valuable with time (to be fair, given the trajectory of wages in the US over the last few years in real terms, that seems to be exactly what is happening).

It's not, of course, that there's anything wrong with making (although it’s not all that clear that the world needs more stuff). It's that the alternative to making is usually not doing nothing—it's nearly always doing things for and with other people, from the barista to the Facebook community moderator to the social worker to the surgeon. Describing oneself as a maker—regardless of what one actually or mostly does—is a way of accruing to oneself the gendered, capitalist benefits of being a person who makes products.

I am not a maker. In a framing and value system that is about creating artifacts, specifically ones you can sell, I am a less valuable human. As an educator, the work I do is, at least superficially, the same year after year. That's because all of the actual change is at the interface between me, my students, and the learning experiences I design for them. People have happily informed me that I am a maker because I use phrases like 'design learning experiences', which is mistaking what I do for what I’m actually trying to elicit and support. The appropriate metaphor for education, as Ursula Franklin has pointed out, is a garden, not the production line.

My graduate work in materials engineering was all about analysing and characterizing biological tissues, mostly looking at disease states and interventions and how they altered the mechanical properties of bone, including addressing a public health question for my doctoral research. My current education research is mostly about understanding the experiences of undergraduate engineering students so we can do a better job of helping them learn. I think of my brilliant and skilled colleagues in the social sciences, like Nancy Baym at Microsoft Research, who does interview after interview followed by months of qualitative analysis to understand groups of people better. None of these activities are about ‘making’.

I educate. I analyse. I characterize. I critique. Almost everything I do these days is about communicating with others. To characterize what I do as 'making' is either to mistake the methods—the editorials, the workshops, the courses, even the materials science zine I made—for the purpose. Or, worse, to describe what I do as 'making' other people, diminishing their own agency and role in sensemaking, as if their learning is something I impose on them.

In a recent newsletter, Dan Hon wrote, "But even when there's this shift to Makers (and with all due deference to Getting Excited and Making Things), even when "making things" includes intangibles now like shipped-code, there's still this stigma that feels like it attaches to those-who-don't-make. Well, bullshit. I make stuff." I understand this response, but I'm not going to call myself a maker. Instead, I call bullshit on the stigma, and the culture and values behind it that reward making above everything else. Instead of calling myself a maker, I'm proud to stand with the caregivers, the educators, those that analyse and characterize and critique, everyone who fixes things and all the other people who do valuable work with and for others, that doesn't result in something you can put in a box and sell."

[My response on Twitter:

Storified version: https://storify.com/rogre/on-the-invisible-infrastructure-of-often-intangibl

and as a backup to that (but that doesn't fit the container of what Pinboard will show you)…

“Great way to start my day: @debcha on invisible infrastructure of (often intangible) labor, *not* making, & teaching.”
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/536601349756956672

“[pause to let you read and to give you a chance to sign up for @debcha’s Metafoundry newsletter http://tinyletter.com/metafoundry ]”
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/536601733791633408

““behind every…[maker] is an invisible infrastructure of labour—primarily caregiving, in…various aspects—…mostly performed by women” —@debcha”
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/536602125107605505

“See also Maciej Cegłowski on Thoreau. https://static.pinboard.in/xoxo_talk_thoreau.htm https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eky5uKILXtM”
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/536602602431995904

““Thoreau had all these people, mostly women, who silently enabled the life he thought he was heroically living for himself.” —M. Cegłowski”
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/536602794786963458

“And this reminder from @anotherny [Frank Chimero] that we should acknowledge and provide that support: “Make donuts too.”” http://frankchimero.com/blog/the-inferno-of-independence/
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/536603172244967424

“small collection of readings (best bottom up) on emotional labor, almost always underpaid, mostly performed by women https://pinboard.in/u:robertogreco/t:emotionallabor”
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/536603895087128576

““The appropriate metaphor for education, as Ursula Franklin has pointed out, is a garden, not the production line.” —@debcha”
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/536604452065513472

““to describe what I do as 'making' other people, diminish[es] their own agency & role in sensemaking” —@debcha”
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/536604828705648640

“That @debcha line gets at why Taylor Mali’s every-popular “What Teachers Make” has never sat well with me. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxsOVK4syxU”
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/536605134185177088

““I call bullshit on the stigma, and the culture and values behind it that reward making above everything else.” —@debcha”
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/536605502805798912

“This all brings me back to Margaret Edson’s 2008 Commencement Address at Smith College. http://www.smith.edu/events/commencement_speech2008.php + https://vimeo.com/1085942”
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/536606045200588803

“Edson’s talk is about classroom teaching. I am forever grateful to @CaseyG for pointing me there (two years ago on Tuesday).”
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/536606488144248833

““Bringing nothing, producing nothing, expecting nothing, withholding … [more]
debchachra  2014  making  makers  makermovement  teaching  howweteach  emotionallabor  labor  danhon  scubadiving  support  ursulafranklin  coding  behavior  gender  cv  margaretedson  caseygollan  care  caretaking  smithcollege  sensemaking  agency  learning  howwelearn  notmaking  unproduct  frankchimero  maciejceglowski  metafoundry  independence  interdependence  canon  teachers  stigma  gratitude  thorough  infrastructure  individualism  invisibility  critique  criticism  fixing  mending  analysis  service  intangibles  caregiving  homemaking  maciejcegłowski 
november 2014 by robertogreco
Justin McGuirk on Bose headphones and the Internet of Broken Things
"You know when there's a teenager on the bus listening to music on his mobile – without headphones – and all the other passengers are stealing glances, unsure whether he's oblivious or sociopathic? Well things like that give the impression that cities are getting noisier, and that we need to retreat ever deeper into ourselves. I'm not convinced it's true. But one man who would have taken this incident as cast-iron proof was the social critic Ivan Illich.

"Silence is a commons," wrote Illich. He argued that just as the communal pastures were privatised in the 18th century, so now the collective sense of calm is being invaded by technology. He was thinking of loudspeakers, computers and electronic gadgets, which he lumped together in a single category: "the machines". This was in the 1980s, before email, mobile phones, texting and the infinite stream of social media. One can only imagine what he would have made of this daily communication firebombing. But the battered and shrivelled human attention span, if not quite a commons, would certainly have appeared to Illich as a victim of noise.

What struck me about Illich's argument is that my own response to the erosion of silence was the exact opposite of what he would have advocated. Faced with a dwindling commons, I was forced to privatise my own patch. I did this with a pair of Bose QuietComfort ® 15 headphones. Not only do they sequester the ears behind a wall of black leather, they feature "Acoustic Noise Cancelling ® technology". The way noise-cancelling works, in brief, is by measuring enemy sound waves and retaliating with their mirror image – the sonic equivalent of anti-matter. It's an invisible battle in which competing sound waves cancel each other out. Victory is the sound of orbital noise flatlining – silence is a sonic massacre. In other words, the QC 15s are the product of an arcane branch of physics that the rest of us know simply as "magic".

Man invented noise-cancelling to improve the signal-to-noise ratio for helicopter and airplane pilots, but later found a much more lucrative market in music lovers. I confess that I am no high-fidelity obsessive. I do not (although I think I'm in the minority here) manoeuvre through London in my own private sound bubble, listening to Eye of the Tiger as I power-cycle down the Clerkenwell Road. I shelled out for this exorbitantly pricey piece of equipment at a time when I was sharing an office and found that I simply couldn't concentrate. It's not the roiling drone of the city that is distracting – white noise is just fine. It's specific noise that is invasive, that conversation that earworms its way into your consciousness and, like a bad guest, won't leave.

Ideally, I was aiming for a portable isolation ward. Donning the QC 15s, you are met with the gentle roar of a conch shell. But flick the switch on the right ear-cup and you are suddenly hooded in silence. It's not the hollow sound freeze of outer space, but at the very least a tech-y tea cosy that takes the edge off. (Tip: for persistent earworms, add a layer of ambient insulation, something Brian Eno-ish or Arvo Pärt-ish.)

Easily distracted people such as myself attune all too readily to the peripheral, and there are times – pace Illich – when what is central must be walled off and gated. This is beginning to sound an awful lot like the neoliberalisation of sound, isn't it?"



"Weren't the DIY and Maker movements supposed to deliver us from the cycle of dispose-and-consume?"



"Despite being mechanically inept, I tend to romanticise a world of mechanical objects – of motorcycles and replacement valves. The obvious problem with today's hyper-performing, magical products is that they are black boxes. We are so in love with their metaphysics, with their gestalt, that we forgive their ephemerality. No one will ever write a book called Zen and the Art of iPhone Maintenance.

It seems to me that the logic of today's products is heading ineluctably one way. Our devices will be able to do more and more, while lasting less and less long, until eventually they can do everything for no time at all. In the future, we will bestride the Earth like gods, wielding awesome, omnipotent gadgets that break after two minutes. Calling up customer services at [insert evil tech company] we will be told that the warranty was only one minute, and didn't we read the terms and conditions?"
justinmcguirk  2014  headphones  noisecancellation  ivanillich  silence  dosposability  fixing  urbanism  urban  attention  noise  noisepollution 
september 2014 by robertogreco
What I’m working on lately: Practices of the minimum viable utopia (long) | Speedbird
"In the fusion of each of these three archetypal processes, el Campo de Cebada, Godsbanen and Unto This Last, we can see the outlines of something truly radical and terribly exciting beginning to resolve. What can be made out, gleaming in the darkness, is a — partial, incomplete, necessarily insufficient, but hugely important — way of responding to the disappearance of meaningful jobs from our cities, as well as all the baleful second-order effects that attend that disappearance.

When apologists for the technology industry trumpet the decontextualized factoid that each “tech” job ostensibly creates five new service positions as a secondary effect, what they neglect to mention is that the lion’s share of those jobs will as a matter of course prove to be the kind of insecure, short-term, benefits-lacking, at-or-close-to-minimum-wage positions that typify the contemporary service sector. This sort of employment can’t come anywhere close to the (typically unionized) industrial-sector jobs of the twentieth century in their capacity to bind a community together, either in the income and benefits they produce by way of compensation, in the conception of self and competence they generate in those who hold them, or in the sense of solidarity with others similarly situated that they generally evoke.

At the same time, though, like many others, I too believe it would be foolish to artifically inflate employment by propping up declining smokestack industries with public-sector subsidies. Why, for example, continue to maintain Detroit’s automobile manufacturers on taxpayer-funded life support, when their approach to the world is so deeply retrograde, their product so very corrosive environmentally and socially, their behavior so irresponsible and their management so blitheringly, hamfistedly incompetent? That which is falling should also be pushed, surely. But that can’t ethically be done until something of comparable scale has been found to replace industrial manufacturing jobs as the generator of local economic vitality and the nexus of local community.

So where might meaningful, valued, value-generating employment be found — “employment” in the deepest sense of that word? I have two ways of answering that question:

- In the immediate term, I believe in the material and economic significance of digital fabrication technologies largely using free and open-source plans, deployed in small, clean, city-center workshops, under democratic community control. While these will never remotely be of a scale to replace all the vanished industrial jobs of the past, they offer us at least one favorable prospect those industrial jobs never could: the direct production of items immediately useful and valuable in one’s own life. Should such workshops be organized in such a way as to offer skills training (perhaps for laid-off service-sector workers, elders or at-risk youth), they present a genuinely potent economic and social proposition.

There are provisos. The Surly Urbanist correctly suggests that any positions created in such an endeavor need to be good jobs, i.e. not simply minimum-wage dronework, and my friend Rena Tom also notes that the skills training involved should be something more comprehensive than a simple set of instructions on how to run a CNC milling machine — that any such course of instruction would be most enduringly valuable if it amounted to an apprenticeship first in the manual and only later the numeric working of materials. I also want to be very clear that, per the kind of inclusive decision-making processes used at el Campo de Cebada, such a workshop would have to be something a community itself collectively thinks is worth experimenting with and investing in, not something inflicted upon it by guileless technoutopians from afar.

- In the fullness of time, I believe that the use of relatively high-technology techniques to accomplish not merely the local, autonomous production of everyday objects, furnitures and infrastructures, but their refit and repair, will come to be an economically salient activity in the global North. In this I see a congelation of several existing tendencies, logics or dynamics: the ideologically-driven retreat of the State from responsibility for stewardship of the everyday environment; the accelerating attrition and degradation of the West’s dated and undermaintained infrastructures, and their concomitant need for upgrade or replacement; increasing belief in the desirability of densifying urban infill; the rising awareness in the developed world of jugaad, gambiarra and other cultures of repair, reuse and improvisation; the emergence of fabricator-enabled adaptive upcycling; the circulation of a massive stock of recyclable componentry (in the form of obsolescent structures as well as landfill-bound but effectively nondegradable consumer items), coupled to the emergence of a favorable economics of materials recovery; broader experience with and understanding of networked, horizontal and leaderless organizational structures; the creation of a robust informational commons, including repositories of freely-downloadable specifications; and finally the clear capability of online platforms to facilitate development and sharing of the necessary knowledge, maintain some degree of standardization (or at least harmonization) of practice, suggest sites where citizen repair might constitute a useful intervention, and support processes of democratic decision-making."
utopia  2014  adamgreenfield  openstudioproject  pocketsofresistance  resistance  institutforx  godbanen  aarhus  madrid  spain  españa  elcampodecebada  untothislast  london  making  makerculture  economics  production  fabrication  democracy  labor  upcycling  collectivism  collaboration  repair  furniture  agency  denmark  davidharvey  postcapitalism  sharingeconomy  sharing  libraries  lcproject  community  communities  cooperatives  anilbawa-cavia  renatom  airbnb  couchsurfing  kintsugi  seams  minimumviableutopia  douglasmeehan  idealism  practicalism  jeremyrifkin  self-reliance  murraybookchin  jugaad  fabbing  gambiarra  fixing  maintenance  cv  repairing 
april 2014 by robertogreco
Slot car racing in Finland: What’s great about... | The Kid Should See This.
"Slot car racing in Finland: What’s great about this is not the actual slot car racing (though both co-curators liked that), but the serious benchwork happening to fix and fine tune the cars."

[video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtwkRd6zHwg ]
glvo  edg  srg  expertise  dedication  2010  2012  finetuning  tuning  fixing  craft  passion  slotcarracing  slotcars  finland 
january 2012 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: Measurement and the Overpromise
The problem with measurement is that it does three very negative things: (1)…creates false comparisons against a fiction - "the average human" & "the average human experience." The child born in the village in rural Kenya is made to line up against Bill Gate's children, on a scale created by Bill Gates. Thus that child is "not white enough," "not Protestant enough," "does not read enough books," and simply lacks "computer time." (2)…ties us firmly to the past - we can only measure against a known… (3) measurement limits what a society thinks is important.…

And of course, "measurers" become "fixers."
irasocol  measurement  education  fixing  learning  tcsnmy  rttt  gatesfoundation  billgates  politics  policy  comparison  falsecomparisons  society  capitalism  2011  philanthropy  charitableindustrialcomplex  shrequest1  philanthropicindustrialcomplex  power  control 
june 2011 by robertogreco

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