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Playlist "35C3 Refreshing Memories"

The Critical Making Movement

Regina M. Sipos, Saad Chinoy and Ricardo Ruiz

Critical Thinking + Making = Critical Making. Around the world, academics and grassroots communities alike are engaging in critical making. With roots in critical design and critical engineering, etc., the point is to re-politicise making, help people understand that it needs to be more than printing cheap plastic knickknacks and can be used for activism and social innovation to improve peoples' lives.

Using critical thinking in the DIY culture to look beyond the idealised picture of the maker and "reintroduce a sense of criticality back into post-2010 maker culture to un-sanitize, un-smooth and re-politicize it" (Hertz) is a relatively recent notion. More and more academia introduce Critical Making into their curricula, but bottom-up, grassroots movements also use critical making. Not only to raise awareness and hopefully change the status quo but also to see profit-oriented innovation practices vary, to minimise their adverse effects on society and the environment.

This lecture will explore the notion of using more societal reflection in technology (both hardware and software) and its importance for our future. Insights on political-activist examples and case studies from around the world (Indonesia, Brazil, Germany) will be presented, with a focus on practice, practitioner and motivation. The aim is to explore making movement as a broader, global yet hyper-locally relevant phenomenon.