Making otherwise
WeMake, a makerspace in Milan
in Precarious objects
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This chapter extends the analysis to design grounded in activist practices. It focuses on WeMake, a makerspace founded in 2012 with a specific interest in addressing the uneven distribution of making literacies and access to hardware. The chapter argues that making is a redirective practice, drawing on Fry’s definition of design that facilitates knowledge exchange, politically contests the unsustainable status quo, enables the transformation of knowledge into action and generates a community of change-agents. To ground these ideas, the chapter offers specific examples of redirective practices. These include the use of open-source technology to enable a more evenly distributed level of participation; forms of collaboration, cooperation and knowledge sharing to extend individual capacity by networking it with others; and training programmes to redistribute digital fabrication skills and making literacies. To show how these concepts and practices are materialised through making, orientation devices have a cameo role in each section: a Do-It-Yourself aerial mapping kit; open-source pattern-making and laser-cut garments; and a hacked knitting machine that functions with an Arduino microcontroller and interface to extend the possibilities of electronic knitting.

Precarious objects

Activism and design in Italy

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