In finishing the second half of Chris Anderson’s Makers I’m left wondering what to make of it. Anderson ends the book with an appendix, “The 21st Century Workshop”, with a tagline that reads “How to Become a Digital Maker.” The emphasis is on digital tools – 2 D and 3 D drawing programs, 3 D printing and scanning, laser cutting, CNC machines, and electronics gear (soldering iron, multimeter, and a starter Arduino kit). What I value from it is potential – potential in people viewing themselves as designers/inventors/tinkerers, in curiosity, in attention to materials, in agency (human and nonhuman), in how we conceptualize tools, and in envisioning spaces of opportunity. While my interest as a scholar and teacher is not so much on the emphasis of manufacturing and entrepreneurship, I find value in imagining possibility, and at a different scale, adopting this (maybe my students aren’t making robots that can execute oratory hand gestures of classical rhetors but Twitter bots that re-mediate rhetorical tropes and composition commonplaces we discuss in class).
But this doesn’t feel like it accounts for making well enough – it doesn’t get at rhetorical carpentry (Brown and Rivers) or craft. I sit here now, mind a buzz with the energy that’s typically associated with being onto something – that is to say, the frenzy that comes with working through an idea. Except I don’t know what idea to make, but I find myself gathering materials.
- OO Frequency: An Object Oriented Media Channel (from Ozone Journal)
- Two blog posts from Nathaniel Rivers on rhetorical carpentry:
- A piece of Nathaniel Rivers’ course site – Problems in Rhetoric: Animal, Vegetable, Mineral – in which methodology is described using Laurie Gries’ seven rhetorical processes:
composition, production, distribution, assemblage, circulation, transformation, and consequentiality
- A blog post from Derek Mueller on reading Ian Bogost’s Alien Phenomenology:
What does this make? These aren’t blueprint or schematic, more inspiration – the bend of that arch, this pattern of embroidery, that emphasis of the natural wood grain. What does it mean to make with materials/objects (digital or not)? Not as hobby, but earnest practice, invention, awareness (mindfulness, or maybe materialness), curiosity, potential.