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Objects in Common

Digital media channels have led to a rise in the distributed manufacture of customised objects. How is it possible to make the manufacture and design of these objects really accessible, beyond the mere publication of online plans and platforms? How does one respond to a larger scale production that is beyond the capacity of the initial community of origin? How is artisan culture able to converse with digital processes? How do we create objects collectively that are flexible in their use and are made by and for other bodies?

Objects in Common makes these and other questions related to current challenges of material culture in the digital age with different activities from October 2015 to March 2016.

This is a project by Medialab-Prado and Constant vzw curated by Susana Moliner and Wendy Van Wynsberghe.

> Seminar Objects in Common -2 and 3 of December in Medialab-Prado.

Open call for collaborators to join the workshop Funcionamientos: Objects in Common and Diverse Bodies - Deadline October 27

Open call for collaborators Interactivos?'15: Material Culture in the Digital Age Deadline November 30

Objects in Common Exhibition - From October 14, 2015 to March 31, 2016 

> Project's blog

 Objetos comunes

Digital media channels have led to a rise in the distributed manufacture of customised objects. The so-called Maker movement has carved out a new type of material culture in which local communities and people, connected to each other on a global scale, can share knowledge, recipes and skills in order to design and create their own objects. It presents an unprecedented opportunity to reassess current production models, to manufacture devices better suited to their particular context and to improve access to a number of objects. At the same time, taking a critical and objective view of this phenomenon will allow us to appreciate its limits and the challenges it currently faces, thus highlighting the importance of the manufacturing contexts in which it emerges, the principles of free culture on which it rests and the bodies and emotions that are brought into play.

Objects in common are everyday objects, but they are also shared objects, objects that create a community and objects that are a confluence of many skill sets and practices. They are, therefore, objects that shape and transform our common experience. Based on the concept of the hacker culture and free culture that gave rise to projects such as Arduino and Reprap – both crucial to the understanding of the rapid expansion of digital manufacturing – Objects in Common seeks to raise a number of questions:
 

  • How is it possible to make the manufacture and design of these objects really accessible, beyond the mere publication of online plans and platforms?
  • How does one respond to a larger scale production that is beyond the capacity of the initial community of origin?
  • How is artisan culture able to converse with digital processes?
  • What opportunities are there for extending these processes to a range of different contexts? Can we speak of a shared perspective? How can we think about individual needs without losing sight of our role within a community and its potential of having a universal impact? 
  • How do we connect the diversity of everyday contexts, from the professional tools we use on a daily basis to our domestic items?        
  • How do we create objects collectively that are flexible in their use and are made by and for other bodies?
  • How do we reconcile distributed manufacture with the relatively sustainable use of natural resources?
  • How do we document the processes that are as important for their technical knowledge as they are for the shared aspect of their manufacturing process?

Objects in Common consists of various angles of research: collaborative prototype workshops, Funcionamientos: Objects in Common and Diverse Bodies (28-31 October and 25-28 November) and Interactivos?'15: Material Cultures in the Digital Age (2-16 December); a residency programme of “Grigri Pixel” African FabLabs, as well as other activities that will take place during the project, culminating in an exhibition and a meeting on its completion.  
Based on the prototypes created in the workshops, the exchange of ideas between the discussion groups and an exhibition comprising the items made and selected over the course of the research, Objects in Common aims to share similar practices in other dependent, interconnected regions in order to articulate a “common” dialogue that defends and engenders the principles of independence, equality and uniqueness and thus ensures that the different potential methods of design, operation, manufacture and use of the objects that form part of and shape our everyday lives are given expression.
Project blog http://objetoscomunes.medialab-prado.es/
 
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