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Transformaking 2015 : International Summit on Critical and Transformative Making, Yogyakarta

Posted by Sharath Chandra Ram at Sep 20, 2015 02:00 PM |
Transformaking 2015 brought together makers, scientist, hackers, bricoleurs, researchers, artists, designers and other interdisciplinary practitioners from across the globe in a series of Residency and Research Program, Symposium, Exhibition, Fair, and Satellite Projects. It was held from August 10 to September 20, 2015. Transformaking 2015 was organized by HONF Foundation & CATEC (Culture Arts Technoloy Empowerment Community) in partnership with the Centre for Internet & Society (CIS), Common Room, Crosslab, and Nicelab.

 

More information on the event can be accessed on this website. I presented a talk Open Spectrum and Open Science – Policy and Future Opportunities. I was also a speaker in a panel Encouraging Innovations through Communication and Open Source Culture with fellow panelists Tom Rowlands (Future Everything), Gustav Hariman (Common Room, Bandung) and Colette Tron (Alphabetville) and moderated by Sachet Manandhar of Karkhana Labs, Nepal.


As with many other societies, Indonesia has a distinct maker culture that goes back centuries. The rise of collective movements in the network culture following the digital revolution — with associated terms such as DIY (do-it-yourself), DIWO (do-it-with-others), open source, maker and hacker spaces — only reinvigorates and replicates traditional production practices at the grass-roots level: verbal passing of knowledge both vertical (between generations) and horizontal (among community members), voluntary communal division of labour, inventiveness to overcome limited infrastructures, driven by the need to find solutions for a better life rather than personal profit. Our forefathers were the genuine makers.

The burgeoning maker movement has been receiving growing recognition as it demonstrates great potential to address concerns and provide innovative solutions at a local, citizen level where established socio-political systems fail. As the makers and associated maker culture come into contact with large industries, they run the risk of being reduced into commodities. A critical attitude is essential to keep the maker movement genuine with lessons from our forefathers in mind and catalyze practices create solutions and sustainable implementations in a process of transformative making — or Transformaking.

The summit aimed to:

  • Create a forum for all stakeholders to discuss views, practices, questions, and issues in the realm of critical making movement
  • Exhibit projects that create tangible, transformative solutions at a citizen level
  • Produce usable tools and define dissemination strategies for catalyzing local transformations globally

    The following is a note on the Conception of the Summit:

    Conception of the Summit - Why 'Transformaking'?

    The act of Making is not new, and has been an ongoing process over centuries of mankind, ever since the invention of Neanderthal tools, the wheel, cultural artifacts and practices, to the modern day space shuttle and modes of communication. Today’s networked knowledge society is catalyzing and affecting the process of Making and knowledge production in interesting ways by mediating the co-located and instantaneous access, dissemination and sharing of information amongst people across vast distances.

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    The notion of free labour accompanying a rising participation in the gift economy of network culture, is loaded with words such as DIY, Open Knowledge, Open Data, Free & Open Source, that blurs the lines of distinction between production & consumption, labour & cultural expression, and has transcended both the puritan new left movement on one hand and the neo-liberal free market ideology on the other.

    There has evidently been a marked shift in the site of labour — from the factory to society, that autonomists have called ‘the social factory’ which challenges the very notion of capitalism from the inside. In Pierre Lévy’s own words — A shift from the Cartesian model of thought based on the singular idea of cogito (I think) to a collective or plural cogitamus (we think), seems to be the unifying goal represented by various models and spaces for thinking such as Makercultures, Think Tanks, Maker Movements, Maker Labs & Hacker/Maker Spaces.

    This change in the process of making and knowledge production is further underlined by contextualized maker activity geared towards fueling change, thereby challenging traditional modes of production and consumption, creative and cultural expression, structures of societal organization, ownership, access, intellectual property and copyright regimes, models of participative democracy, citizen science and civic governance in a process of Transformative Making or –what we call – ‘Transformaking’.

    Transformaking: The International Summit on Critical and Transformative Making 2015 shall bring together makers, hackers, bricoleurs, educators, researchers, theorists, artists and designers to:

    • A Symposium to self reflect, debate and put forth views with regards to their respective practices and dissect various complexities and questions that surround the areas of Critical and Transformative Making.
    • An Exhibition on Critical Making featuring completed and contextualized projects and productions.
    • Produce a tangible outcome, of the first International Summit, that focuses on collating diverse views, practices and usable tools along with strategizing modes of academic publication and dissemination for furthering meaningful local transformations, globally.

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