For a long time, the southern region of China, including Hong Kong, has been known as the ’factory of the world’. However, the geopolitical landscape in which electronic art practitioners operate is changing. The emergence of DIY movements and Fablabs parallel to established artistic, technological, economic and educational institutionalized practices bring rapid manufacturing technologies and factory-grade prototyping facilities within the reach of artists, hackers and makers. Movements like Open Hardware destabilize the reliance on factory-made boxed computers. What kind of new avenues of artistic and scholarly enquiry do these shifts open up? What kind of strategies and tactics are available for scholars and art practitioners to deal with the geopolitical, industrial and financial implications of the DIY and the new immediacy of micro-scale manufacturing? This trend recasts concepts into paradoxes: degrowth economy, economies of waste, and ecological-manufacturing. How are these emerging practices to be related to prevailing ontologies underpinned by rhetorics of progress and efficiency?
Dr. David Jhave Johnston, Track Chair