Fablabs, biohacklabs and medialabs are multiplying. We are launching Makery in order to give out information on these sites of creative DiY, sharing experiences and innovation where one can start observing an alternative to mass production.
One calls them makers in the United States where the movement began, hackers, do-it-yourselfers, handyman coders or people who are keen on digital manufacturing and DiY. They represent the raw material of a booming movement that defines new means of working together, carrying out research, designing everyday objects. They use democratized techniques for rapid prototyping, 3D digital printing and milling by inventing recovery and reclaim solutions of the standardized production processes.
Ranging from design to biology including music, architecture, the textile industry and culture, in their fablabs (portmanteau word to say fabrication laboratory, invented in 2001 at the Center for Bits and Atoms of the prestigious MIT, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology), their biolabs and other third places, there is a constant: sharing experiences and the idea of creating a dialogue between classical craftsmanship and the latest digital technologies, all within an open innovation spirit (open source is one of its founding principles).
The “lab” spirit instils research and development, education, culture and design, and worms its way increasingly into political talk as a credible alternative to mass production. Not a week goes by without a fablab project being revealed throughout the world. In 2012, MIT approved just under fifty and hackerspaces.org, the website listing shared digital fabrication spaces, counted 1127 places. Today the MIT Fabfoundation counts 360 andhackerspaces.org 1754. This explosion of initiatives is the fertile ground on whichMakery, the first media entirely dedicated to labs, would like to grow.
Makery arose from the will to go along with the emergence of labs, make more readable and visible the actors and issues of this still largely underestimated revolution. Difficult indeed to make the connection between a mobile 3D printing unit imagined by a team of future graduates of Ensad (decorative art) in Paris and encoded instructions for use to block untimely data captures via Google Glass. What does open SNP, a website where anyone can register the sequencing of one’s genome, have to do with a bacterium developed by German researchers to make beer less soporific? These few projects show the diversity of practices. The actors themselves are from various origins: student designers, do-it-yourselfers who handle soldering irons and know what to do with an Aruindo kit, artists who find a way of going straight from idea to project or still researchers in conflict with the manufacturing industry processes, whether they are biologists orarchitects.
With the help of a closely-knit commando style start-up team, made up of online information professionals, programmers evolving in the maker movement, and pure offshoots of the DIY culture, Makery has an ambition to federate a scene boiling with initiative. It will strive to do so with the support of the community of do-it-yourselfers, be they researchers in their university labs, activists of open-source software at the back their garages, sustainable environmentalists in their connected gardens or code breaking artists. All the while explaining to the largest public the issues of these new practices.