Last weekend, I dropped in on the Maker Revolution in Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA. Readers of magazine Make will know that there is an emerging culture of creative people how are not satisfied with mere software robots but desire physical ones as well. This exhibition/conference had a mechanical bottle/wind organ and the dude is is Orgy of Music, who grafts transducers onto items like tennis rackets and then plays them like a guitar. It’s a sort of atonal jam band thing. He pushes the signals through various effects processors and amplifiers to achieve a loud effect.
The main talk I saw was from Bre, who leads a community of CAD-enabled hackers with access to various automated fabrication tools. He was promulgating the idea of a an on-demand society in which everyone could create the items they need (like glasses or cultery) as they needed them.
This techno-political idea struck me as a sort of mutation of the Web 1.0 matra “zero warehousing.” It also struck me as fundamentally unworkable. The whole point of capitalism is that you can use money to get things so you don’t have to make all the stuff you require. While capitalism has its quirks, it still the best system anyone has come up to distribute human labor and wealth.
Anyway, I enjoyed the show. I wish I were more crafty.