25C3 -

25th Chaos Communication Congress
Nothing to hide

Day Day 4 (2008-12-30)
Room Saal 3
Start time 14:00
Duration 01:00
ID 2777
Event type lecture
Track Culture
Language used for presentation en

Crafting and Hacking: Separated at Birth

What do hackers have in common with crafters? Lots. While crafting is more often about string and glue than bits and electrons, crafters often feel the same need to create things and manipulate materials into something new. The roots of computing are intertwined with craft around the invention of the Jaquard punchcard loom. We'll look at where the two scenes have gone since then, and what we can gain by reconnecting the hacker world with its softer, more decorative cousin.

In 1801, Joseph Marie Jacquard designed a loom whose patterning was controlled by a piece of perforated pasteboard. This allowed the creation of longer, more complex patterns with a smaller margin for error. Punch cards remained popular through the 70s... but what about craft? Arts and Crafts are rarely considered to be on the forefront of technology... but a number of projects are bringing hackers and crafters back together. Over the last 5 years, the internet has created a huge community of "open crafting". Sites like craftster.org encourage people to share ideas and build upon them, much like open source software. It's transformed the "cottage industry" crafts as well. Crafters go to ecommerce site such as etsy.com or dawanda.com to not only sell their wares, but to participate in communities centered around crafting and building their businesses. Many of the sellers on these sites have no formal business training, it's all DIY. Bringing these crafting communities online has sparked interest in technology for a lot of crafters. I'll review some really fun projects people have done, like the News Knitter (casualdata.com/newsknitter/), Raph's Twitchy kits (twitchy servo-bots which are super popular with crafters), and some of my own tinkering with the knitting machines (flickr.com/photos/kellbot/2285229844/) and experiments with the laser cutter (www.kellbot.com/2008/09/lasering-rocks/). The current project I'm working on uses Processing to generate patterns for origami boxes, which I then cut on the laser. My point, and I do have one, is that crafters and hackers have a lot in common. Artists have been setting up shared studios / workspaces, and their needs and interests are similar to those of hackerspaces: space to work, access to equipment, and a supportive community to help them grow their ideas. Our combination craft/hack nights at NYC Resistor have been immensely successful. The two communities have a lot to gain by embracing each other!

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