One Maker Group common Lecture
This was a interesting lecture in understanding the trends and progression in the design industry.
We had the chance to hear from industry experts like One Maker Group, and also fellow MA students who were studying Arts and Cultural Leadership. The session mainly revolved around craft, making and the ideas of descentralisation and democratisation.
From OMG, the speaker talked about the positive wave of democratisation where every one could make, and learn designing and making. This is an trend reminiscent of the information era, where information is decentralised and everyone has access to knowledge and can practise.
Though it is positive and challenges the hegemony of the design industry. It is a negative drawback to the designers and makers who work in the industry. If everyone can make and design, where does that leave them?
This abundance, is mirrored in curious patterns all over the world recently. The digital abundance and emergence of AI technology is pushing labours and jobs off the horizon. If computers can do any job, where will the same workers go?
Similarly the same situation plays out here in the design industry, where technology and advancements have given everyone the access to information.
This is also applicable in the case study of Pua Kumbu authentic handwoven fabrics made by indengineous tribe in Sarawak. The democratisation of design and design knowledge has led to duplicates and replicas of this work, by even the government.
The mass produced Pua Kumbus are done with technology unlike the handwoven one that are authentically made in the tribe. This dilution has caused the tension between real and artificial Pua Kumbu, and decreased the value of Pua Kumbu. It has also challenged the lifelihood of the indigenous tribes.
This lecture is a interesting amalgamation of the curiously similar trends happening all over the world. Worldwide, technology and automation had accelerated the decentralistation and democratisation of design. From crafts, to fabrics, and objects, anyone can design now.
Though in some cases, it is good to challenge hegemonies and monopolies, there should be restrictions on or considerations on what kind of design fields or industries can be subject to this technological wave.
Should we think about protecting some areas that offer relief to vulnerable groups and livelihoods , like indigenous tribes in Sarawak? Who should be protected and who shouldn’t?
Another theme that emerges, is the tension between the artificial and real. The mass produced Pua Kumbus, made by factories are undoubtedly the artificial ones, while the handwoven ones made by the tribe are real. Where is the artificiality originating from? Discourse of Artificiality — Is it the dilution causes artificiality. Or is bringing things out of their environment that causes artificiality?
Does this mean designs and making done by non designers or non makers/new makers are artificial also? Similarly, does this mean any AI occupied job in the future is artificial work, whereas human work previously was real?
What is the distinction between making and designing?
If designers would know the technicalities and methods in passing off the prototype to the contractor., they would be makers as well.
/// thoughts to myself/// – would currency be devalued and bartering becomes a standard for the future?
Artificial currency? Natural Currency?The sandal wood bark 2cm * 2cm is worth 5 grams of gold. The techniques of identifying high quality sandalwood that is legal tender. Magazine article on spotting counterfeit wood? Or actual models of artificial and real currency wood?
OMG Speaker mentions : 3D printers are extremely common now, 30 year old tech. HDB becoming 3D printed. Room takes 6 days.
Thoughts to myself – Would we in the future have kueh foods, which are printed blocks of nutrition resembling our kueh lapis. It is modular and can be customised to fit many needs. If everyone can print their food at home. Who goes to work? who owns this resources? What is the commodity for sale? Is it the actual food, or the pattern of food, recipe or information.
Alternative, supplementary foods. The future of scarcity is adrift with recycle, and reused, repurposed elements. Minimalism at the maximum.