Maker Culture

It’s been a long time since my last post. When you’re a PhD student there are times you feel worn out, talked out, and even disgusted about your topic. At times like this, you hardly want to speak about your work or even think about it.

I’ve done loads and loads of thinking but I didn’t want to talk about my work or progress. “How’s Uni going?”, I was asked. “Err yeah, good” was my reluctant response. How can you reply to such a complex question? I would need 2-3 A4 pages to even write a prologue!

I’m finally getting used to Oxford and to PhD life. I can organise my time between studying, working, leisure activities, friends and other social events. To be honest I’m glad this state came on such early time (second semester!) as it would be time consuming later. However, I don’t know what the future holds, but at least I know how to deal with it (I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone though!).

To the subject now. Forget everything. In fact, don’t, just keep them at a corner of your mind.

I’m happy to announce that my topic is “Maker Culture“:

Maker culture refers to the sociocultural practices of the community of people who adopt DIY ideology and create their own functional devices. By using diverse materials and tools as well as their sense of creativeness and experimentation, makers produce significant technological gadgets, such as open source hardware and software, but also explore the arts revealing new approaches. “The movement stems from a direct reaction to a consumer culture in which most products have become steadily homogenized and local industry has given into big box retailing of dull products made with cheap foreign labor”, writes Todd McCall (2009) in his article “What is Maker Culture?”. Following Matthew Crawford’s argument, the problem of technology is related to the passive consumption of predetermined objects and the negation of “handiness”, the source of human intellectuality according to existential philosophers.

If these thinkers [Anaxagoras and Heidegger] are right, then the problem of technology is almost the opposite of how it is usually posed: the problem is not “instrumental rationality”, it is rather that we have come to live in a world that precisely does not elicit our instrumentality, the embodied kind that is original to us. We have too few occasions to do anything, because of a certain predetermination of things from afar. (Crawford 2009:69)

This is my starting point. It will soon be clear.

Circuit-bending, retro gaming, ice music, vegetable music etc are compositional methods. I’d categorise the first two under the vast category of electronic music, since they depend on electric circuits to produce sound (that’s Collins idea). I’m still thinking about the rest…

Is there anyone that would like to share their work on a similar topic? Speak out! Students, academics, benders, makers, pioneers, hobbyists, I’m all ears :-).

Hello again.


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