Maker Maker —— Benjamin Ward

The tools of mass production that in the past signaled alienated labor are folding in on themselves and enabling a global-scale cottage industry. Maker Maker highlights and explores this trend in the contemporary economic—and by extension, cultural—sphere. It brings together designers, artists, and scientists investigating the implicit promise of digital tools to democratize the prototyping, production, and management of object-making.

Objects and objecthood have been fundamentally transformed by technological access. Since the 1950s there has been a global shift in manufacturing paradigms from mass production to mass customization to mass individualization to now: a new mass craft where traditional methods are meeting the scalar capabilities of digital fabrication techniques. The resulting objects are unbundling the responsibilities of cities and buildings, in turn moving survival and inspiration into the palm of humanity.

With ever growing accessibility to design software, digital fabrication tools, and proto-marketing tools on the Internet, everyone now has the ability to produce, manage, and deliver almost anything. However, users are demanding more than just another digitally produced thing. They want to connect with the individual maker and with a growing global material culture.

Those behind this burgeoning new object-based economy position their work between wants and needs. One side is producing objects of desire, while the other side is making objects of utility. Simultaneously these new makers are creating industry, jobs, and new opportunities. These are new city builders who are nimbly addressing the wants and needs of a new millennium armed with an increased democratization of design, production, and communication.