"Critical Maker Culture" With Carolyn Guertin


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. 



Carolyn Guertin is a scholar-practitioner of new media. She is a Senior Researcher in the Augmented Reality Lab at York University in Toronto and is a faculty member in the MFA and PhD programs at Transart Institute in Berlin, Germany. She was the inaugural recipient of the Outstanding Early Career Award from the Canadian Society for Digital Humanities in 2013.

She earned her PhD with a study of women’s writing, born-digital narrative and the technologies of memory in The Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta, Canada. She has taught, exhibited and published internationally, and does theoretical work in emergent media arts and literatures, global digital culture, information aesthetics, hacktivism, tactical media and the social practices surrounding technology. Her book, Digital Prohibition: Piracy and Authorship in New Media Art, was published by Continuum International Publishers in 2012.

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