[ISEA2011] Panel: Mika Satomi & Han­nah Perner-Wil­son – The Fu­ture Mas­ter Craftsper­son: How To Get What You Want

Panel Statement

Panel: Open Culture + Wearables

Craft does not mean made by hand, with­out tools or tech­nol­ogy. It means made with care, with fore­sight, with skill and in­volve­ment. When craft is op­ti­miza­tion for re­peata­bil­ity the process still re­lies on human judg­ment and is not com­pletely com­put­er­ized. E-tex­tiles are an ex­am­ple of a mod­ern craft, which pro­duces tech­nol­ogy it­self in the form of wear­able elec­tron­ics but its pro­duc­tion process re­lies heav­ily on crafts. Au­to­mated man­u­fac­tur­ing meth­ods for com­bin­ing tex­tiles and elec­tron­ics sim­ply do not exist yet. What will hap­pen when the first PCB weav­ing ma­chine hits the mar­ket? Will the craft in e-tex­tiles sur­vive? Craft, as op­posed to au­to­mated man­u­fac­tur­ing is a cre­ative process with much room for error, in­no­va­tion, ex­pres­sion and di­ver­sity. But it does not lend it­self well to serv­ing the needs of a pop­u­la­tion ac­cus­tomed to mass-pro­duc­tion. Will we be­come e-tex­tile grand­moth­ers, sewing LEDs onto t-shirts for our grand­chil­dren while in­dus­try pro­duces them in bulk? Will our grand­chil­dren think of our cre­ations as un-cool be­cause they are hand­made? When our skills be­come de­val­ued be­cause ma­chines can repli­cate our work faster, cheaper and “bet­ter” we will still enjoy the craft process. But in­stead of sit­ting back to be­come e-tex­tile grand­moth­ers, per­haps com­pe­ti­tion from the ma­chine will en­cour­age us to move on. In ac­cept­ing this chal­lenge, the fu­ture mas­ter craftsper­son needs to re-in­vent craft in order to main­tain rel­e­vance and ex­press the ad­van­tages of man over ma­chine. In this paper we pre­sent a body of work cre­ated within the in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary field of e-tex­tiles. We re­flect on the in­tro­duc­tory themes in­tro­duced in the ab­stract by de­tail­ing and an­a­lyz­ing our craft ap­proach to build­ing elec­tron­ics as well as our ex­plic­itly open stance on doc­u­ment­ing and shar­ing our tech­niques. We con­clude with a dis­cus­sion on what it could mean to be­come fu­ture crafts­peo­ple and pass on our trade.

  • Since 2006 Mika Satomi & Han­nah Perner-Wil­son have col­lab­o­rated form­ing the col­lec­tive KOBAKANT. They ex­plore the use of wear­able tech­nol­ogy as a medium for com­ment­ing on the so­cial and tech­no­log­i­cal as­pects of today’s high-tech so­ci­ety. Con­scious of wear­a­bil­ity and ques­tion­ing of func­tion­al­ity, they be­lieve in the spirit of hu­mor­ing tech­nol­ogy and pre­sent a twisted crit­i­cism of the stereo­types it cre­ates. For them tech­nol­ogy ex­ists to be hacked, DIYed and mod­i­fied by every­one to fit their own needs and de­sires. In 2009, as re­search fel­lows at the Dis­tance Lab in Scot­land, KOBAKANT pub­lished an on­line data­base for their DIY wear­able tech­nol­ogy ti­tled HOW TO GET WHAT YOU WANT. kobakant.at   howtogetwhatyouwant.at

Full text (PDF) p. 2143-2149  [Title somewhat different]