Course
Critical Maker Culture

Instructor
Carolyn Guertin

Description
Creativity is undergoing a global renaissance. From DIY practices to craftivism to media activism to maker culture, media engagement as a creative practice is flourishing. Stangler and Maxwell say the post-globalization or “new production economy, is marked by three concepts: a culture of DIY, new learning and teaching of knowledge, and the democratization of technology” (p. 7). Global maker culture transcends gender lines, and has become political and activist as it reinvents craft, prototyping, hardware, manufacturing, and entrepreneurship. 

Drawing a lesson from anthropophagy, maker culture “eschews resistance as an act of rejection for a resistance characterized by creative synthesis, not so much a reversal of power as a leveling of power” (Williams, Highbeam). Makers are taking back the tools of production to rethink what it means to prototype, produce, and resist. It is in this cultural flowering of digital technology that a shift from West to East has happened and the city of Shenzhen has become the new holy grail of computing: ‘the Silicon Valley of hardware’. Rethinking creativity, craft, copying, mashups, gender roles, (dis)obedience, and hacktivism, we will study how ideas of Making travel within globalization and how they are transformed along that journey. 

Goals

  • Be able to think critically about cultural and interdisciplinary awareness, and meet uncertainty with flexibility
  • Have the ability to assess works and opportunities critically, globally and locally
  • Demonstrate skills in socio-political and historical research and analysis of global digital culture
  • Demonstrate knowledge of piracy, copying, remixing, sampling, and Shanzhai and other practices
  • Adopt a critical stance to other global cultural frameworks
  • Be able to generate ethical responses to global needs
  • Possess awareness of current interdisciplinary trends and practices for creative practice, including prototyping, testing, and designing their own final digital product
  • Acquire new and rigorous ways of thinking and making, and gain insight into how “critical making” can be a generative, transformative act essential to our collective experience.

Schedule

Day 1
Topic 1: The Maker Movement & Global Knowledge: Is there such a thing as global knowledge? How does knowledge get constructed across cultures? 

John Hagel, John Seely Brown and Duleesha Kulasooriya. “A Movement in the Making.” (2014). http://dupress.com/articles/a-movement-in-the-making/  

Film: Maker: A documentary about Maker Culture (65 minutes)

Topic 2: Activism, Globalism, and Social Change: 
Appadurai, excerpts from Modernity at Large. Cultural Dimensions of Globalization.

Gauntlett, “Introduction”, “The Meaning of Making: Philosophies of Craft,” and “Meaning of Making II: Craft Today” in Making is Connecting

Topic 3: Manifestos
Oscar de Andrade, “Cannibalist Manifesto” (1928): http://bit.ly/2coei82 
VNS Matrix, “Cyberfeminist Manifesto” (1991): http://adanewmedia.org/2014/07/issue5-barnett/  
Hatch, “Maker Manifesto” (2013): http://bit.ly/1xH5gXG 
Laboria Cuboniks, “The Xenofeminist Manifesto: A Politics for Alienation” (2015): http://www.laboriacuboniks.net/ 

Present your personal maker manifesto


Day 2

Topic 1: Sharing culture
Gauntlett, “Meaning of Making III: Digital” and “Value of Connecting I: Personal Happiness”

Topic 2: Remix Culture
Film: Everything is a Remix (Dir. Kirby Ferguson): https://vimeo.com/139094998 

Craft an analogue hack of a digital technology in class. Paper, post-its, etc. 

Topic 3: Resistance and Rebirth
Orozo, “Technological Disobedience: Cubans' unique relationship with industrial design in the face of isolation from global trade.” Makeshift. http://mkshft.org/technological-disobedience/ 

Browne, “How a Sewing Circle Brought Hope to Sydney’s Iraqi Community”: http://bit.ly/2cNPzzF 


Day 3

Topic 1: Disobedience
Chidgey, Red. “Developing Communities of Resistance? Maker Pedagogies, Do-It-Yourself Feminism, and DIY Citizenship” DIY Citizenship. Pp. 101-113

Topic 2: Hacking (Digital) Culture
Nesta, “Made in China: Makerspaces and the search for mass innovation”: 
http://www.nesta.org.uk/sites/default/files/made_in_china-_makerspaces_report.pdf 

Topic 3: Hardware Renegades
Keane, Michael and Elaine Jing Zhao. “Renegades on the Frontier of Innovation: The Shanzhai Grassroots Communities of Shenzhen in China’s Creative Economy.” 216–230. 

Topic 4: Shanzhai – where piracy ends and fabrication begins
Zhang, Justin. Excerpts from Piracy and Design: Re-thinking Intellectual Property in the Third Industrial Revolution. http://bit.ly/2cBoBJY 

Lindtner, Silvia. “Designed in Shenzhen: Shanzhai Manufacturing and Maker Entrepreneurs”: http://bit.ly/1E5TtLe 

Present your ideas for new hardware hacks

Required Readings
Gauntlett, David. Making is Connecting: The Social Meaning of Creativity from DIY and Knitting to YouTube and Web 2.0. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2011. 

Hagel, John, John Seely Brown and Duleesha Kulasooriya. A Movement in the Making. (24 Jan 2014). Deloitte University Press. Online: http://dupress.com/articles/a-movement-in-the-making/  

Oscar de Andrade, “Cannibalist Manifesto” (1928): http://bit.ly/2coei82 

VNS Matrix, “Cyberfeminist Manifesto” (1991): http://adanewmedia.org/2014/07/issue5-barnett/  

Hatch, “Maker Manifesto” (2013): http://bit.ly/1xH5gXG 

Laboria Cuboniks, “The Xenofeminist Manifesto: A Politics for Alienation” (2015): http://www.laboriacuboniks.net/

Nesta, “Made in China: Makerspaces and the search for mass innovation”: 
http://www.nesta.org.uk/sites/default/files/made_in_china-_makerspaces_report.pdf

Keane, Michael and Elaine Jing Zhao. “Renegades on the Frontier of Innovation: The Shanzhai Grassroots Communities of Shenzhen in China’s Creative Economy.” Eurasian Geography and Economics, 2012, 53, No. 2, pp. 216–230. http://dx.doi.org/10.2747/1539-7216.53.2.216

Zhang, Justin. Excerpts from Piracy and Design: Re-thinking Intellectual Property in the Third Industrial Revolution. http://bit.ly/2cBoBJY 

Lindtner, Silvia. “Designed in Shenzhen: Shanzhai Manufacturing and Maker Entrepreneurs”: 

Suggested Readings
Arun Appadurai, Modernity at Large. Cultural Dimensions of Globalization.

Wendy Chun, “Introduction.” Programmed Visions: Software and Memory. 

Sonvilla-Weiss, Stefan, Ed. Mashup Cultures. Wein: Springer-Verlag, 2010.

Mike Featherstone and Couze Venn, “Problematizing Global Knowledge and the New Encyclopaedia Project: An Introduction.” Problematizing Global Knowledge. Vol. 23, #2-3, (Mar-May 2006). 

Materials students should bring to class
Paper, powerbook, post-its. 

Keywords
digital culture, post-colonialism, diaspora, technology, memory, making, China, craft, remix

 

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