‘Production Possibilities of the Maker Culture’ is an interdisciplinary research group at the UdK Berlin / Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society. Hosting researchers with backgrounds in design, art, gender and sociology, the group takes a practice-based design research approach to investigating the potential of ‘critical making’.
A potentially new path to strengthening social self-determination is currently emerging through hacker- and maker communities, in which citizens participate directly in the development and production of new technical artefacts. These movements operate as decentralised networks of producers who engage into a ‘glocal’ development of new systems and artefacts through digital production possibilities such as open-source code and rapid prototyping. In many cases, the production takes place in a meshwork of informal and temporary labs that operate as open eco-systems of actors and resources.
This democratisation of technology in a globally connected open-source network makes evident an increasing decentralisation of power structures and production, making possible the experimentation with new forms of collaboration – but under what conditions can this democratic potential unfold, and democracy for who? A central question of the research group is therefore in which way open lab structures in their diverse forms can provide an access to technologies on a base of diversity and inclusion.
With a focus on the three topic-areas of gender, sustainability and development, the research group explores in which forms the democratisation of technology can help to achieve a greater accessibility and multiplicity. These questions are empirically examined and put into an international dialogue in order to locate overarching tendencies and challenges, and the practice-based method of ‘critical making’ is employed to create own design experiments and interventions as contributions to the discourse.
Prof. Dr. Gesche Joost, Principal Investigator
Dr. des. Michelle Christensen, Research Group Lead
Dr. des. Florian Conradi, Research Group Lead
Marie Dietze, Research Associate
Katharina Bellinger, Research Assistant
Lisa Hoffmann, Research Assistant
Lukas Wirsching, Research Assistant