Guest Lecture // Royal College of Art's Design Products MFA series "Exploring Emergent Futures":
“What is called ‘making’ in North America and Europe,” he said, “is, frankly, a luxurious pastime of wealthy people... all over what is called the Global South there are makers everywhere, only they are not called makers. There are fab labs everywhere, only they are not called fab labs.”
— Chris Csikszentmihályi, director MIT Centre for Future Civic Media
What’s happening here? And how can we fix this? This presentation is a call for new perspectives on making that are critical, hands-on and research-based – helping us think both *through* and *with* objects to bring about fundamental + sustainable lifestyle alternatives. It looks at different theoretical approaches to machine materiality, from hacking to social science and "jugaad" to psychogeography, and from Actor Network Theory and Material Semiotics, to Situationism and Relational Aesthetics, to Critical Making and Critical Design.
It also asks two big questions that have been nagging at me from my own experiences with community making + fabrication.
First, how can we better correlate the making of objects with critical reflection about their effects?
Second, how can we engage in sustainable making (both environmental and social) without producing material excesses or disempowering lesser-served communities?
*** Note: This version does not include full lecture notes or further sources for reading. If you'd like either, feel free to get in touch @codekat as I'm happy to share these. ****