Fablabs, digital fabrication, DIY… What’s in store for 2017? Makery consulted experts, makers, fabmanagers and other tinkerers at the dawn of the new year.
The year 2017 doesn’t offer us the clearest of horizons. On January 20, Donald Trump will be sworn into the White House, and along with him white supremacists and climate-change skeptics who twist the truth to suit their agenda. There are hints that the future will be in the hands of makers—especially in France, where the community is already getting organized ahead of the big FAB14 conference in 2018. Makery asked a simple question to a lot of makers, fabmanagers, artists, experts of the social and sharing economy: “Fablabs, digital fabrication, DIY… What do you think is in store for 2017?”
Masato Takemura (Fablab Hamamatsu, Japan)
“Year of personal biohacking”
“Personal biohacking will be big news in 2017. TV programs will focus on biohacking the same way they did when people were making guns with 3D printers in the past year. They will attack biohackers. So we need to discuss biohacking and personal biotechnology.”
Claude Soria (Artilect, Toulouse)
“Welcome to Toulouse!”
“2017 will be the European year for Toulouse. From May 11-14, Artilect is hosting in Toulouse the 1st European Fablab Festival, supported by the Fab Foundation.
After establishing the French fablab network (RFFLabs) in 2016, will we see the launch of a European Fablab Network? That would be a fine gift from the Europeans for FAB14, the international fablab conference, which will be held in Toulouse in 2018.
Welcome to Toulouse!”
Minh Man Nguyen (Woma, Fabcity Grand Paris)
“Increasing collaboration between communities”
“2017 will be a pivotal year, where the network of fablabs and makerspaces in France will need to get organized and come together to host the big fablab conference in 2018. Locally speaking, it will also be a pivotal year for the launch of Fabcity Grand Paris, which is highly anticipated, but which is finally fulfilling desires that collectives have been expressing for years.
I really believe in this year, because there is increasing collaboration between communities to realize ambitious projects that, I hope, will bring about social changes.”
Minh Man Nguyen, architect, is the founder of Woma and president of Fabcity Grand Paris
Benjamin Tincq (Ouishare, Fabcity Grand Paris)
“Year of the Fabcity network”
“Making predictions for the coming year is always a perilous exercise… But I would say that 2017 will see increased polarization: on one hand, fablabs mainly focused on education or open source, hackerspaces, etc.; on the other hand, pro and “pro-am” fablabs and makerspaces, bigger and better equipped, with a more robust business model (Techshop, Usine.io, ICI Montreuil…). We should also see more and more innovation mega-spaces planning to integrate digital fabrication studios, like Station F.
2017 will be a constituent year for the Fabcity network, which is beginning to take off, and may lead to a foundation or other organization similar to the Fab Foundation. The second Fabcity Summit will be held in Copenhagen in September, before the one in Paris planned for 2018 during FAB14. Among the next cities to join the network, we’re talking about London, Brussels, Rennes…
One thing I would like to see in 2017: more ambitious projects that aim to fill the operational void between the fablab and the big factory. On one side it could be the “Fab Factory”, or the flexible regional factory inspired by industry 4.0, where digitized assembly lines can produce on demand small and medium series of very different products. On another side, a mesh of local production capacities, artisans, industry players, factories, through platforms such as Maker’s Row or Make Works—basically, the Open Desk model generalized to apply to other objects besides furniture.
While waiting for FAB14, Ouishare invites you to Ouishare Fest 2017 on July 5-7, which will focus on the theme of future cities.
Happy new year 2017 to all Makery readers!”
Shu Lea Cheang, artist
“Let’s become fabulous, fabulously make up”
“Let’s grow mushrooms in 2017! We’re launching the Mycelium Network Society at Transmediale 2017, an underground imagination network that feeds off mushrooms, spores, culture, cuisine, radio, transmissions, installations, workshops and performances. Invoke magic mushrooms, make love till dawn in order to achieve collective fungal conscience.
We seek mycelium to guide us through the ruins, to build political strategies, to save us from the economic crisis. Let’s become immortal thanks to the encrypted mycelium network of the resistance. Let’s become fabulous, fabulously make up a fiction, a [science] fiction.”
Shu Lea Cheang, artist, currently in residence at Echopen, will launch the Mycelium Network Society with Kapelica (Slovenia) and Stadtwerkstatt (Austria) at Transmediale 2017 in Berlin
Samuel N. Bernier (Onepoint)
“Build bridges between VR, IA, design and additive manufacturing”
We’re starting to see big companies turn their innovation arms into fablabs, and I think this trend in gaining ground. Makers now have a better reputation and are increasingly sought out by these companies for their versatility and ability to realize their ideas quickly. 2017 is the year that we will see bridges being built between the latest technologies: virtual reality, artificial intelligence, generative design and additive manufacturing.”
Samuel N. Bernier, designer, is the creative director of Onepoint
Julien Bellanger (Ping, Plateforme C)
“A future based on circular economy and short circuits”
“In Nantes, 2017 will be the year that we affirm our desire for a future based on circular economy, short circuits and fair transport. We hope that this will occur as fablab activities open up to citizen and collective practices. In short, we hope that, beyond manufacturing and prototyping times, our spaces offer time for producing knowledge, friendly exchange open to all, that they welcome a bit more disnovation within their walls, not only from the angle of artistic innovation, but also dystopic innovation, or even dyslexic creativity. Because it’s also this playful and critical aspect that keeps us from being too naive about the retrograde horizon on view so far from this month of January.”
Chris Wang, a.k.a Akiba (Hackerfarm, Japan/USA)
“Sorry if my predictions are a bit dark”
“1) There will be a lot of political turmoil.
2) The focus of making on whimsical designs will be less prominent than making with fundamental applications in mind. This would include automation of mundane tasks like monitoring, alarms, etc.
3) There will be more focus in the mainstream maker community on renewable energies like solar and wind and using those to power designs.
4) The cost of fundamental technology will continue to decrease at an alarming rate, i.e. $5 64-bit microprocessors, $3 WiFi systems, etc. Technology is now affordable by just about anyone, but there’s a huge education divide in how to use it properly. This gap in education will start getting addressed in 2017.
Sorry if my predictions are a bit dark. I think 2017 holds a lot of promise but will highlight large gaps between conservative, liberal, and progressive communities. As a liberal and progressive, I feel like it’s important that we stand up to protectionism, nationalism, and prejudice. One of the fundamental ways this can be done is through education. So for Hackerfarm, we will be focusing on technology education and teaching in 2017, but within the context of fundamental things like agriculture and food.”