robertogreco + manufacturing   93

notes from the periphery | spicytakes [Futures/futurities for The Redirect at SFMOMA]
"For this talk, I was asked to present a vision of the future, guided by a series of questions sent to me. I am very grateful for these questions, the chance to present a vision. But I was unable to conjure a vision of the future.

Instead, I will try the difficult task of describing the present as I see it, and perhaps somewhere our views might overlap – difficult these days. For me, traveling through the world, through China, through the US can be time travel enough.

I see the hyperspeed of the Bay Area, as a black Tesla scrapes against a parked car in slow motion, outside a historic black church in Oakland, next to a new brunch spot. Churchgoers and Sunday brunchers mix in a line that goes around the corner, spirituality and community threaded. A homeless man sells print media, as brunchers are glued to their phones. Depending on who you ask these days, Oakland is in the middle of a tech induced decline or a creative renaissance, or both. Survival at the edges.

I can describe to you a warp speed visit to Shenzhen, in its tech culture that remixes and hacks parts into new forms of hardware, hardware that hold an exuberant virality. In Shenzhen’s lack of intellectual property rights, I see entirely modular phones that make repair easy, unlike the cypher of an iPhone. There are phones with built in compasses that point to Mecca, earbuds that sell like hotcakes in Nairobi, co-designed by young Kenyan and Chinese entrepreneurs.

The death of intellectual property rights means a death to a human right, the assumed human right towards claiming invention. It spells a death to the elevated, individual genius. In much of Western media this death is noted as deeply problematic: copy cat culture in Shenzhen, the Chinese inability to innovate, only steal.

In Shenzhen I interview a prominent member of the maker movement who calls herself a cyborg. She brings up the deep contradictions of Western views on innovation. Why was it, she tells me, that the girls she grew up with in Shenzhen, who went on to work as factory girls in electronics factories were seen as mindless drones, while a few miles away, she soldered on Youtube and was heralded as a maker movement star? In this challenge to an Enlightenment era construction of humanity, of a purity of invention, I think of Sylvia Wynter’s wise words. “…The struggle of our new millennium will be one between the ongoing imperative of securing the well-being of our present ethnoclass (i.e., Western bourgeois) conception of the human”, she writes. And this line between security and uncertainty I believe, marks so much of our relationship to technology. the moment, as the computer scientist Terry Winogrand writes about, as the moment where we ascribe rationality to machine and the ongoing obsession with who is human.

I travel to another fold in time, rural Shandong China, in a Taobao village. In this village, over 70% of households make products at home for Taobao.com, an e-commerce platform made by the Chinese tech giant Alibaba. In rural Taobao land, the laws of Taobao supersede government laws. Farmers toil in the fields and during holiday seasons, they make costumes in home workshops for customers from Shanghai to Hanoi. One farmer is now a millionaire. I wander through fields, judging and gauging, ready to indict the viscitudes of platform capitalism, worried of a future where an entire village uses Alibaba’s mobile payment system, of tech led credit ratings. Of being beholden to Alibaba forever, amidst a village Taobao kindergarten and a Taobao hotel. The number of Taobao villages have skyrocketed, with more to come under Alibaba’s Rural Development Strategy. Other companies, like Foxconn are beginning to understand this spatial fix, this moving inward into the countryside, leaving expensive cities, like Shenzhen. Last year, Foxconn opened a 300,000 person iphone factory in Henan. All of this, under a loose policy by the government of “rural revitalization” – a nod to the rise of industrialized farming and the tech economy that must replace it.

I ask one farmer, who is also a Taobao producer, about his concerns for the future of his village’s close ties to Taobao.

He tells me that “the future” is a concept created if you believe that everything in the present is imperfect. He says that here, in the fields, in the long dark of winters, is the revelation that the universe is perfect as is. It is up to us to maintain it. There is no future, because every day depends on precariously balancing the present.

So if the future is produced, what does it mean to hold still the present? When we speak of crisis and apocalypse in the future, what needs do those words serve? Who’s needs do they serve? I think of an interview with indigenous sci-fi writer Rebecca Roanhorse. In it, she says “I think Native folks have already experienced an apocalypse, all the sort of dystopian tropes you see in movies, we’ve experienced those — our land lost, our children taken away, sent to schools and things like that. And we’ve survived.”

To hold still the present for a moment, means facing the different threads of time that weave our understanding of technology, of who we construct as the human, of what we construct as technology to begin with. After all, technology itself is a produced concept, as historian Ruth Oldenziel has documented: it was Thorsten Veblen who came up with the idea that technology is something that engineers produce. Before that, the loose umbrella of how-to was an unelevated, technical art that anyone (including) could attend to.

In a constructed futurity: who has the right to the future, who is left to steward the present? I think of software and how its builders dream of changing the world, while underneath, labor and geographic peripheries power copper mines and data centers. I think of how much work we have if we commit to the project of revolution, and who really does the work.

I wonder who are the people who must agree to the fictions someone else wrote, and those who are powerful enough to write fictions for the rest of us? I am not good at inscribing fiction, because I am still unlearning everyday the concrete and psychological fictions someone else has written.

And spending time in the Chinese countryside trying to unravel rural technology use, economic prosperity and nationalism, I begin to realize my questions are all insufficient. The mismatch is my urban understanding of time, the fictions that I have learned. Life in one village still centers around the agricultural calendar. In the agricultural calendar there are nine days in a week. Because of this, I never get the market days right.

When I finally figure out the days, I walk by people stirring sesame oil in a giant wok, all sorts of contraptions to distill, boil, assemble, nourish. If Veblen could divide realms into technology or not, surely these contraptions can be technologies too. And if we already live in a world where time travel is possible simply by traveling through multiple understandings of time and talking to others, what happens when there are multiple understandings of technology? If we embrace multitudes, what happens to the desire for a singular future, for reassurance, or our even our desires for certainty?"
xiaoweiwang  2019  rural  shenzhen  china  manufacturing  alibaba  taobao  capitalism  platformcapitalism  ruraldevelopmentstrategy  foxconn  revitalization  ruralrevitalization  future  bayarea  oakland  peripheries  nairobi  present  futures  countryside 
21 days ago by robertogreco
Black Mountain College Museum en Instagram: “"Civilization seems in general to estrange men from materials, from materials in their original form. The process of shaping these is so…”
""Civilization seems in general to estrange men from materials, from materials in their original form. The process of shaping these is so divided into separate steps that one person is rarely involved in the whole course of manufacture, often knowing only the finished product. But if we want to get from materials the sense of directness, the adventure of being close to the stuff the world is made of, we have to go back to the material itself, to its original state, and from there on partake in its stages of change." - Anni Albers (Black Mountain College Bulletin. Series 1, No. 5. Anni Albers, Work With Material, November 1938)⠀

Emerging in the aftermath of WWI and revolting against the consumerism of the Industrial Revolution, the Bauhaus was based upon the philosophy that good design, intentional design, the melding of function and art, can change the world. The quote above, from Anni Albers' essay "Work With Material," showcases how materials play a role in this philosophy - which travelled with the Alberses to BMC. A new, modern approach offered the promise of reconnecting with not only the things we use and surround ourselves with, but with our own humanity.⠀

BAUHAUS 100 and Materials, Sounds + Black Mountain College come together to tell the story of how modern approaches to design, art and craft reconnected us with the materials our world is made of. This philosophy has inspired artists and craftspeople to continue investigating the potential of these materials. We look forward to opening these two exhibition next Friday, June 7th and hope you'll join us for opening weekend (more info through the link in our bio). [http://www.blackmountaincollege.org/material-sound/ ]"

Image: Student Bill Reed's hands at the loom, Black Mountain College, ca. 1938–42. Photograph by Claude Stoller. @albers_foundation"
annilbers  craft  making  slow  small  process  bmc  blackmountaincollege  materials  manufacturing  modernism  consumerism  bauhuas  design  art  artmaking 
june 2019 by robertogreco
Bay Area Disrupted: Fred Turner on Vimeo
"Interview with Fred Turner in his office at Stanford University.

http://bayareadisrupted.com/

https://fredturner.stanford.edu

Graphics: Magda Tu
Editing: Michael Krömer
Concept: Andreas Bick"
fredturner  counterculture  california  opensource  bayarea  google  softare  web  internet  history  sanfrancisco  anarchism  siliconvalley  creativity  freedom  individualism  libertarianism  2014  social  sociability  governance  myth  government  infrastructure  research  online  burningman  culture  style  ideology  philosophy  apolitical  individuality  apple  facebook  startups  precarity  informal  bureaucracy  prejudice  1960s  1970s  bias  racism  classism  exclusion  inclusivity  inclusion  communes  hippies  charism  cultofpersonality  whiteness  youth  ageism  inequality  poverty  technology  sharingeconomy  gigeconomy  capitalism  economics  neoliberalism  henryford  ford  empowerment  virtue  us  labor  ork  disruption  responsibility  citizenship  purpose  extraction  egalitarianism  society  edtech  military  1940s  1950s  collaboration  sharedconsciousness  lsd  music  computers  computing  utopia  tools  techculture  location  stanford  sociology  manufacturing  values  socialchange  communalism  technosolutionism  business  entrepreneurship  open  liberalism  commons  peerproduction  product 
december 2018 by robertogreco
DAVID GRAEBER / The Revolt of the Caring Classes / 2018 - YouTube
"The financialisation of major economies since the '80s has radically changed the terms for social movements everywhere. How does one organise workplaces, for example, in societies where up to 40% of the workforce believe their jobs should not exist? David Graeber makes the case that, slowly but surely, a new form of class politics is emerging, based around recognising the centrality of meaningful 'caring labour' in creating social value. He identifies a slowly emerging rebellion of the caring classes which potentially represents just as much of a threat to financial capitalism as earlier forms of proletarian struggle did to industrial capitalism.

David Graeber is Professor of Anthropology, London School of Economics and previously Assistant Professor and Associate Professor of Anthropology at Yale and Reader in Social Anthropology at Goldsmiths, University of London. His books include The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy (2015) Debt: The First 5000 Years (2011) and Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology (2004). His activism includes protests against the 3rd Summit of the Americas in Quebec City in 2001, and the 2002 World Economic Forum in New York City. Graeber was a leading figure in the Occupy Wall Street movement, and is sometimes credited with having coined the slogan, 'We are the 99 percent'.

This lecture was given at the Collège de France on the 22nd March 2018."
davidgraeber  care  caring  teaching  nursing  economics  capitalism  labor  work  employment  compensation  resentment  bullshitjobs  finance  politics  policy  us  uk  workingclass  intellectuals  intellectualism  society  manufacturing  management  jobs  liberalism  values  benefits  nobility  truth  beauty  charity  nonprofit  highered  highereducation  activism  humanrights  os  occupywallstreet  opportunity  revolution  revolt  hollywood  military  misery  productivity  creation  creativity  maintenance  gender  production  reproduction  socialsciences  proletariat  wagelabor  wage  salaries  religion  belief  discipline  maintstreamleft  hospitals  freedom  play  teachers  parenting  mothers  education  learning  unions  consumption  anarchism  spontaneity  universalbasicincome  nonprofits  ubi 
may 2018 by robertogreco
When The Iron Law of Efficiency Comes Crashing Down – Jokull | Helge Tennø
"This is part of my manuscript for a session with Keen Bull on how additive manufacturing will impact the world, at this years DIF-festival.

We believe three things are happening with organizations at the moment..

First, advantage of scale has given far more of us increased material wealth, access to mass education, longevity of life increased social complexity and so forth.

The mass production system has enabled us to grow as human beings. But as we grow we have also come to demand more from the business organizations we depend upon for consumption and employment (1).

This hasn’t been a part of the organizations toolbox.

Organizations have had a blueprint that was tailored for mass efficiency — but not meaningfulness, identity, belonging and individualization.

These elements, which are now essential to the output and progress of an organization were deemed problematic and irrelevant in the old system.

So there is a conflict at the moment between a new generation of employeeneeds and what the current organizational tools can offer.

The second thing is that there is an increase in market complexity and uncertainty. We are in an era where digitization has led industries to converge and mutate.

So this system of certainty and predictability which was built for stability in certain times. Is suddenly finding itself in uncertainty. Unable to control for the asymmetric relationships that are appearing between their customers and new organizations.

The only thing certain becomes uncertainty.

Thirdly the iron law of industry — advantage of scale itself — is being disrupted.

In fact scale is turning into a disadvantage due to the massive cost of producing non-standardized parts.

Scale, which once was a barrier to entry for new companies has turned into a barrier for incumbents to answer the demand patterns of the market.

As advantage of scale breaks down every scaffolding around it seems to shake or go down with it.

When the iron law of efficiency — which has cost individuals, ideas, talents and meaningfulness so much — comes crashing down we are GIVEN the opportunity to redesign how we organize and create together.

And advancements in Additive Manufacturing is on a path to softening one of the hardest kernels in the midst of the industrial corporate landscape — the industrial machine.

With Additive manufacturing we are envisioning an ability for the industrial landscape to start delivering on the emerging demand in the market for identity and individualization.

As we are moving from this organization designed and trained to make as little friction as possible, where people are situated into narrow compartments with clearly and precisely defined roles and goals — to an organization where friction, creativity, outliers have no added cost. They are in fact what is needed in order to be aligned to the needs of the market. We are imagining a radically different organization designed to output today what wasn’t even imagined yesterday.

We are entering a highly flexible world demanding highly flexible organizations.

The organizations are not linear, they are not based on hierarchies or chains of command and centralized decision making.

In this new world we have decentralized teams making autonomous decisions. Smaller companies (because there is no advantage of scale) with local niches and the ability to turn around swiftly as demand patterns are manipulated by new impulses."
efficiency  helgetennø  keenbull  complexity  scale  decentralization  horizontality  manufacturing  additivism  consumption  employment  stability  certainty  predictability  uncertainty  organization 
december 2017 by robertogreco
Most of the World's Bread Clips Are Made by a Single Company - Atlas Obscura
"BREAD CLIPS! CONSIDER THEM FOR a moment, if you will. They’re those flat pieces of semi-hard plastic formed into a sort of barbed U-shape—you know the ones. They can be found keeping bread bags all over the world closed and safe from spoilage, smartly designed to be used and reused. They’re all around us, constantly providing an amazing service, and yet still, they’re taken for granted. And it turns out they’re almost exclusively all produced by a single, family-owned company.

Kwik Lok, based in Yakima, Washington, has been manufacturing these little tabs ever since their founder whittled the first one from a credit card. Without giving specific numbers, Kwik Lok says that they sell an almost unimaginable number each year. “It’s in the billions,” says Leigh Anne Whathen, a sales coordinator for the company, who says she personally prefers plastic clips to their natural enemy, the twist tie, because they last longer.

Floyd Paxton, Kwik Lok’s founder, was a second-generation manufacturing engineer who began his career working alongside his father, Hale, producing nail machines during World War II. Prior to the post-war plastics boom, both Paxton and his father produced, among other things, the nails used to close wooden boxes of fruit. In other words, package sealing was in Paxton’s blood.

According to the Kwik Lok website, the idea for the bread clip came to Paxton during a flight in 1952. As the story goes, while he was on the plane, Paxton was eating a package of complimentary nuts, and he realized he didn’t have a way to close them if he wanted to save some for later. As a solution, he took out a pen knife and hand-carved the first bread clip out of a credit card (in some tellings, it was an expired credit card).

From this humble beginning, the bread clip as we know it was born. As the use of polyethylene bags to package fruit and other foods rapidly increased, Paxton realized that he’d invented a cheap, reusable solution to sealing open-ended bags. His simple invention required minimal dexterity to operate and did not require stressing the piece, allowing it to rival twist-ties and sticker tags.

Paxton established the Kwik Lok Corporation in 1954 in California, and quickly set out to popularize the tabs (now known officially as Kwik Lok Closures) by using them to close bags of apples. The company eventually moved to Washington state, where their headquarters are still located.

Kwik Lok continued to grow over the decades as did demand for their little clips, which became popularly known as “bread clips” or “bread tabs.” Paxton eventually began developing new packaging machinery, including ones to manufacture Kwik Lok Closures, and one to put them on the bags automatically, which Whathen says they still sell to bakeries.

According to Whathen, Kwik Lok secured a patent on their little innovation in the early days of the company, and to this day, Kwik Lok remains one of the only manufacturers of bread clips in the world. Whathen says that the only other firm she’s aware of is a European competitor called Schutte. Kwik Lok also has the distinction of still being owned by Paxton’s descendants. Floyd’s son, Jerre, ran the company until his death in 2015, and today it is owned by two of Jerre’s daughters. “We’re still going strong,” says Whathen.

Kwik Lok operates two factories in the U.S., plus manufacturing plants in Canada, Australia, Japan, and Ireland. Far from the hand-crafted clip that Paxton made on that airplane, the company now offers just about every variation of the closure one might want. As for Floyd Paxton himself, he died in 1975, spending much of the last years of his life promoting his strict conservative politics as a member of the John Birch Society, including mounting four unsuccessful congressional campaigns. But his politics aside, Paxton’s invention is as widespread as it has ever been, finding its way into the lives of nearly every strata of society, everywhere on the globe."
breadclips  2017  bagclips  kwiklok  history  classideas  floydpaxton  manufacturing  1952  1954  breadtabs  leighannewhathen 
may 2017 by robertogreco
How I Made My Own iPhone - in China - YouTube
"I built a like-new(but really refurbished) iPhone 6S 16GB entirely from parts I bought in the public cell phone parts markets in Huaqiangbei. And it works!

I've been fascinated by the cell phone parts markets in Shenzhen, China for a while. I'd walked through them a bunch of times, but I still didn't understand basic things, like how they were organized or who was buying all these parts and what they were doing with them.

So when someone mentioned they wondered if you could build a working smartphone from parts in the markets, I jumped at the chance to really dive in and understand how everything works. Well, I sat on it for nine months, and then I dove in."
iphone  manufacturing  shenzhen  china  diy  2017  smarthphones  electronics  classideas  hardware 
april 2017 by robertogreco
The Future of Cities – Medium
[video (embedded): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xOOWk5yCMMs ]

"Organic Filmmaking and City Re-Imagining

What does “the future of cities” mean? To much of the developing world, it might be as simple as aspiring to having your own toilet, rather than sharing one with over 100 people. To a family in Detroit, it could mean having non-toxic drinking water. For planners and mayors, it’s about a lot of things — sustainability, economy, inclusivity, and resilience. Most of us can hope we can spend a little less time on our commutes to work and a little more time with our families. For a rich white dude up in a 50th floor penthouse, “the future of cities” might mean zipping around in a flying car while a robot jerks you off and a drone delivers your pizza. For many companies, the future of cities is simply about business and money, presented to us as buzzwords like “smart city” and “the city of tomorrow.”

I started shooting the “The Future of a Cities” as a collaboration with the The Nantucket Project, but it really took shape when hundreds of people around the world responded to a scrappy video I made asking for help.

Folks of all ages, from over 75 countries, volunteered their time, thoughts, work, and footage so that I could expand the scope of the piece and connect with more people in more cities. This strategy saved me time and money, but it also clarified the video’s purpose, which inspired me to put more energy into the project in order to get it right. I was reading Jan Gehl, Jane Jacobs, Edward Glaeser, etc. and getting excited about their ideas — after seeing what mattered to the people I met in person and watching contributions from those I didn’t, the video gained focus and perspective.

If I hired a production services outfit to help me film Mumbai, it would actually be a point of professional pride for the employees to deliver the Mumbai they think I want to see. If some young filmmakers offer to show me around their city and shoot with me for a day, we’re operating on another level, and a very different portrait of a city emerges. In the first scenario, my local collaborators get paid and I do my best to squeeze as much work out of the time period paid for as possible. In the second, the crew accepts more responsibility but gains ownership, hopefully leaving the experience feeling more empowered.

Architect and former mayor of Curitiba Jaime Lerner famously said “if you want creativity, take a zero off your budget. If you want sustainability, take off two zeros.” It’s been my experience that this sustainability often goes hand-in-hand with humanity, and part of what I love about working with less resources and money is that it forces you to treat people like human beings. Asking someone to work with less support or equipment, or to contribute more time for less money, requires a mutual understanding between two people. If each person can empathize for the other, it’s been my experience that we’ll feel it in the work — both in the process and on screen.

Organic filmmaking requires you to keep your crew small and your footprint light. You start filming with one idea in mind, but the idea changes each day as elements you could never have anticipated inform the bigger picture. You make adjustments and pursue new storylines. You edit a few scenes, see what’s working and what’s not, then write new scenes. Shoot those, cut them in, then go back and write more. Each part of the process talks to the other. The movie teaches itself to be a better movie. Because organic is complicated, it can be tricky to defend and difficult to scale up, but because it’s cheap and low-resource, it’s easier to experiment. Learning about the self-organizing, living cities that I did on this project informed how we made the video. And looking at poorly planned urban projects reminded me of the broken yet prevailing model for making independent film in the U.S., where so many films are bound to fail — often in a way a filmmaker doesn’t recover from — before they even begin.

Jane Jacobs said that “cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.” I’ve worked on videos for companies, for the guy in the penthouse, for nobody in particular, in the developing world, with rich people and poor people, for me, for my friends, and for artists. I’m so thankful for everybody who allowed me to make this film the way we did, and I hope the parallels between filmmaking and city building — where the stakes are so much higher — aren’t lost on anyone trying to make their city a better place. We should all be involved. The most sustainable future is a future that includes us all.

“The Future of Cities” Reading List

(There’s a longer list I discovered recently from Planetizen HERE but these are the ones I got into on this project — I’m excited to read many more)

The Death and Life of American Cities by Jane Jacobs
The Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier by Edward Glaeser
Cities for People and Life Between Buildings by Jan Gehl
The Well-Tempered City: What Modern Science, Ancient Civilizations, and Human Nature Teach Us About the Future of Urban Life by Jonathan Rose(just came out — incredible)
Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time by Jeff Speck
The City of Tomorrow: Sensors, Networks, Hackers, and the Future of Urban Life by Carlo Ratti and Matthew Claudel
Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design by Charles Montgomery
Dream Cities: Seven Urban Ideas That Shape the World by Wade Graham
Connectography: Mapping The Future of Global Civilization by Parag Khanna
Delirious New York by Rem Koolhaas
Low Life and The Other Paris by Luc Sante
A History of Future Cities by Daniel Brook
Streetfight: Handbook for the Urban Revolution by Janette Sadik-Khan and Seth Solomonow
Tactical Urbanism: Short-term Action for Long-Term Change by Mike Lydon & Anthony Garcia
Living In The Endless City, edited by Ricky Burdett and Deyan Sudjic

“The Future of Cities” Select Interviewees:
David Hertz & Sky Source
Vicky Chan & Avoid Obvious Architects
Carlo Ratti: Director, MIT Senseable City Lab Founding Partner, Carlo Ratti Associati
Edward Glaeser: Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics, Harvard University Author of The Triumph of the City
Helle Søholt: Founding Parner & CEO, Gehl Architects
Ricky Burdett: Director, LSE Cities/Urban Age
Lauren Lockwood, Chief Digital Officer, City of Boston
Pablo Viejo: Smart Cities Expert & CTO V&V Innovations, Singapore
Matias Echanove & Urbz, Mumbai
Janette Sadik-Khan: Author, Advisor, & Former NYC DOT Commissioner
Abess Makki: CEO, City Insight
Dr. Parag Khanna: Author of Connectography
Stan Gale: CEO of Gale International, Developer of Songdo IBD
Dr. Jockin Arputham: President, Slum Dwellers International
Morton Kabell: Mayor for Technical & Environmental Affairs, Copenhagen
cities  urban  urbanplanning  urbanism  bikes  biking  cars  singapore  nyc  losangeles  janejacobs  jangehl  edwardglaeser  mumbai  tokyo  regulation  jaimelerner  curitiba  nantucketproject  carloratti  vickchan  davidhertz  hellesøholt  rickyburdett  laurenlockwood  pabloviejo  matiasechanove  urbz  janettesadik-khan  abessmakki  paragkhanna  stangale  jockinarputham  slumdwellersinternational  slums  mortonkabell  urbanization  future  planning  oscarboyson  mikelydon  anthonygarcia  danielbrook  lucsante  remkoolhaas  dayansudjic  rickyburdettsethsolomonow  wadegraham  charlesmontgomery  matthewclaudeljeffspeck  jonathanrose  transportation  publictransit  transit  housing  construction  development  local  small  grassroots  technology  internet  web  online  communications  infrastructure  services  copenhagen  sidewalks  pedestrians  sharing  filmmaking  film  video  taipei  seoul  santiago  aukland  songdo  sydney  london  nairobi  venice  shenzhen  2016  sustainability  environment  population  detroit  making  manufacturing  buildings  economics  commutes  commuting 
december 2016 by robertogreco
What the West Can Learn From Japan About the Cultural Value of Work - The New York Times
"A few weeks ago, in a Kyoto tempura bar, I watched a lone chef, a man in late middle age, cooking behind a counter for his 11 customers. The set menu had 15 items on it. That meant that at any given moment, he was keeping track of 165 pieces of food, each subject to slightly different timing and technique. He wrote nothing down and expended no apparent effort. It was a demonstration of total mastery. This didn’t look so much like a job as a life: His work was his whole being.

That’s a thing you notice in Japan, the deep personal investment people make in their work. The word shokunin, which has no direct translation, sums it up: It means something like “master or mastery of one’s profession,” and it captures the way Japanese workers spend every day trying to be better at what they do.

Shokunin culture can have a side that, to those of us raised on a more brutally capitalistic worldview, verges on the ridiculous. Outside the Sanjusangendo temple in Kyoto, I saw a man standing with a yellow glow stick, pointing pedestrians toward the sidewalk instead of to the parking lot nearby. Presumably, if a vehicle had come, he would have pointed it toward the lot. “That guy is basically a sign,” my son said. He was right — and this was a job you often see in Japan, often in relation to vehicular access: a person performing a job that in any other developed society is either automated away or ignored.

On another occasion, while waiting at a bus stop in the seaside city of Kobe, I found myself watching a group of five men who were drilling a hole. Or rather, one of them was; the other four were watching him. For the whole 30 minutes, that’s all they did. But they didn’t do it reluctantly, or while checking their smartphones, or gossiping, or anything. It was like a demonstration: “All other techniques for watching a guy dig a hole are incorrect. This is how you watch a guy digging a hole.”

“People whose jobs involve literally doing nothing,” an American teacher said to me after I got off the bus and described this scene. At the time, though, I was left thinking something different: that what I saw were people who had a strong feeling that their work was meaningful. For these workers, the value they attached to work wasn’t simply its economic value to them. A train conductor bows on entering and exiting a train compartment; a department-store worker does the same thing coming or going from a shop floor, whether observed or not, whether the store is heavingly busy or almost deserted. It’s clear that there are deep cultural differences at work here, not all of them benign; the reason Japanese has a word for “death from overwork” is because it needs one. You could even argue that work has too much meaning, is too freighted with consequences for individual identity, in Japan.

Among economists, Japan is a byword, a punch line, a horror story. The boom of the late ’80s and early ’90s — during which it became popular to imagine a Japan-dominated economic future, the subject of Michael Crichton’s thriller “Rising Sun,” for instance — was followed by a spectacular stock-market crash. The Nikkei share index hit a high of 38,957 on Dec. 29, 1989. Over the next two decades, it fell 82 percent. Twenty-seven years later, it is still only at less than half that 1989 value. Property values crashed along with share prices, which turned large parts of the financial system into zombie banks — meaning banks that hold so many bad assets that they are essentially broke, which means they can’t lend money and therefore cease to fulfill one of a bank’s central roles in the modern economy, which is to help keep the flow of credit moving.

The Japanese economy ground to a halt. Inflation slowed, stalled and turned to outright deflation. Add Japan’s aging and shrinking population, contracting G.D.P. and apparently unreformable politics, and you have a picture of perfect economic gloom.

It doesn’t feel like that when you visit, though. The anger apparent in so much of the developed world simply isn’t visible in Japan. A student of the culture would tell you that public displays of anger are frowned on in Japan; a demographer would point to the difficult prospects faced by young Japanese, paying for an older generation’s lavish health care and benefits that they are unlikely ever to enjoy themselves. The growth numbers would seem to imply a story about stagnation. But unemployment is almost nonexistent — at 3 percent, it’s among the lowest in the developed world. The aging of the society is visible, but so is the distinctive liveliness of the various youth cultures. I’ve been to plenty of stagnant places, and lived in one or two as well, and contemporary Japan isn’t one of them.

Why? A big part of the answer, I think, lies in the distinctive Japanese attitude toward work — or more specific, toward meaning in work.

Work is good, but meaningful work is better. I wonder whether our shiny new Western world of work — post-manufacturing, un-unionized, gig-based, insecure — offers as much sense of meaning as work once did, or as it still seems to in Japan. In Derek Walcott’s epic poem “Omeros,” a wide-ranging reimagining and mash-up of Homer’s Aegean and the contemporary Caribbean, he writes admiringly and respectfully of his protagonist, Achille, a St. Lucian fisherman. Achille is a man “who never ascended in an elevator,/who had no passport, since the horizon needs none,/never begged nor borrowed, was nobody’s waiter.” Near the end of Walcott’s long, meditative, elusive poem, that line gave me a jolt. What’s so bad about waiting tables? Is there really something so lessening, something analogous to begging or borrowing, about being a waiter?

The answer to that question for lots of people is yes. This isn’t a general human truth about workers at all times and in all cultures, because there are places where waiting and where service in general are deeply respected jobs. But it’s apparent that the new service work has many people doing things that aren’t congruent with their sense of their identity. A life is the story of a life, and that story, for many, has become one of decline and loss, of reduction in self-esteem. The tension in status between different types of work is one theme of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s “My Struggle” — indeed, that is essentially what his struggle is, the gap between the narrator’s sense of what he should be doing, as a writer, and what he actually does all day, as a homemaker: “Clean floors, wash clothes, make dinner, wash up, go shopping, play with the children in the play areas, bring them home, undress them, bathe them, look after them until it is bedtime, tuck them in, hang some clothes to dry, fold others, and put them away, tidy up, wipe tables, chairs and cupboards.”"
ork  labor  mearning  japan  culture  economics  2016  johnlancaster  purpose  aging  shokunin  manufacturing  anger  resentment  derekwalkcott  service 
december 2016 by robertogreco
Americans Don’t Miss Manufacturing — They Miss Unions | FiveThirtyEight
"Why do factory workers make more in Michigan? In a word: unions. The Midwest was, at least until recently, a bastion of union strength. Southern states, by contrast, are mostly “right-to-work” states where unions never gained a strong foothold. Private-sector unions have been shrinking across the country for decades, but they are stronger in the Midwest than in most other parts of the country. In Michigan, 23 percent of manufacturing production workers were union members in 2015; in South Carolina, less than 2 percent were.2

Unions also help explain why the middle class is healthier in the Midwest than in the Southeast, where manufacturing jobs have been growing rapidly in recent decades. A new analysis from the Pew Research Center this week explored the state of the middle class in different parts of the country by looking at the share of households making between two-thirds and double the national median income, after controlling for the local cost of living. In many Midwestern cities, 60 percent or more of households are considered “middle-income” by this definition; in some Southern cities, even those with large manufacturing bases, middle-income households are now in the minority.

Even in the Midwest, however, unions are weakening and the middle class is shrinking. In the Indianapolis metro area, where the Carrier plant Trump talks about is located, the share of households in the middle tier of earners has shrunk to 54.8 percent in 2014 from 58.9 percent in 2000. And unlike in some parts of the country, the decline in the middle class there has been primarily driven by people falling into the lower tier of earners, not moving up. The Carrier plant, where workers make more than $20 an hour, is unionized.

Cause and effect here is complicated. Unions have been weakened by some of the same forces that are driving down wages overall, such as globalization and automation. And while unions benefit their members, economists disagree over whether they are good for the economy as a whole. Liberal economists note that overall wages tend to be higher in union-friendly states; conservative economists counter that unemployment tends to be higher in those states, too.

But this much is clear: For all of the glow that surrounds manufacturing jobs in political rhetoric, there is nothing inherently special about them. Some pay well; others don’t. They are not immune from the forces that have led to slow wage growth in other sectors of the economy. When politicians pledge to protect manufacturing jobs, they really mean a certain kind of job: well-paid, long-lasting, with opportunities for advancement. Those aren’t qualities associated with working on a factory floor; they’re qualities associated with being a member of a union."
us  unions  labor  manufacturing  2016  bencasselman  politics  organization  work  class  race  birthrate  economics  unemployment  employment  recession  federalreserve 
may 2016 by robertogreco
Otherlab!
[previously bookmarked: https://pinboard.in/u:robertogreco/b:2482ea1338ff ]

"We are mischievous scientists, practical dreamers, working on making the world the way it needs to be. Asking: "Wouldn't it be cool if..." is an excellent place to start:

If you'd like the more in depth version check out the video from our Show and Tell event. We're always on the look out for interesting folks so if this excites you then head over to Jobs to see what's going.

How we work

We have a strong track record of attracting research funding for early and risky ideas in areas such as ‘programmable matter’, robotics, solar energy, wind energy, energy storage, computational and advanced manufacturing, medical devices and more. These non-dilutive investments allows us de-risk the very early exploratory phase of our projects.

We develop enabling new technologies through an emphasis on prototyping coupled to rigorous physics simulation and mathematical models. Our design tools are often made in-house because it's lonely at the frontier and to create new things and ideas, you often have to create the tools to design them.

Core to our model are collaborations with external entities including commercial entities, universities and other research firms. In the past 5 years Otherlab has collaborated with Stanford, MIT, Berkeley, Harvard, NASA, Autodesk, GE, FORD, Google, Motorola, IDEO and a host of others.

What we work on

Our principal domains of expertise are: Renewable and clean energy, Computational Geometry, Computational design tools, Digital Fabrication, Advanced Manufacturing, Robotics and automation & Engineered textiles.

Want a more practical idea? We like you! Head over to Projects for a better sense.

How to reach us

We are @otherlab on twitter and that is a great place to start a conversation. Visual learners may find our YouTube Channel and Instagram feed interesting.

You can email us at info@otherlab.com. We live in the old Schoenstein Organ Factory building in the heart of San Francisco's Mission district:

3101 20th Street
San Francisco, CA 94110"
sanfrancisco  engineering  robots  robotics  solar  wind  energy  manufacturing  otherlab  fabrication  computationalgeometry  saulgriffith  design  make  diy  innovation  tools 
may 2016 by robertogreco
An American Utopia: Fredric Jameson in Conversation with Stanley Aronowitz - YouTube
"Eminent literary and political theorist Fredric Jameson, of Duke University, gives a new address, followed by a conversation with noted cultural critic Stanely Aronowitz, of the Graduate Center. Jameson, author of Postmodernism: The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism and The Political Unconscious, will consider the practicality of the Utopian tradition and its broader implications for cultural production and political institutions. Co-sponsored by the Writers' Institute and the Ph.D. Program in Comparative Literature."

[via: "@timmaughan saw a semi-serious proposal talk from Frederic Jameson a few years ago about just that; the army as social utopia."
https://twitter.com/sevensixfive/status/687321982157860864

"@timmaughan this looks to be a version of it here, in fact: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNVKoX40ZAo …"
https://twitter.com/sevensixfive/status/687323080088285184 ]
fredricjameson  utopia  change  constitution  2014  us  military  education  capitalism  history  culture  society  politics  policy  ecology  williamjames  war  collectivism  crisis  dictators  dictatorship  publicworks  manufacturing  labor  work  unions  postmodernism  revolution  occupywallstreet  ows  systemschange  modernity  cynicism  will  antoniogramsci  revolutionaries  radicals  socialism  imagination  desire  stanelyaronowitz  army  armycorpsofengineers  deleuze&guattari  theory  politicaltheory  gillesdeleuze  anti-intellectualism  radicalism  utopianism  félixguattari  collectivereality  individuals  latecapitalism  collectivity  rousseau  otherness  thestate  population  plurality  multiplicity  anarchism  anarchy  tribes  clans  culturewars  class  inequality  solidarity  economics  karlmarx  marxism  deleuze 
january 2016 by robertogreco
Designers Hacked an Industrial Knitting Machine to '3D Print' Unique Pieces | Motherboard
"A London-based knitwear startup is trying to turn the fashion industry’s manufacturing process on its head. Instead of using industrial knitting machines to produce the same designs in bulk, they’ve created software that lets them “3D print” customizable, one-off productions.

“We use the same knitwear machines that are used in factories where garments are manufactured,” Hal Watts, a co-founder of knitwear company UNMADE, told me at its new pop-up store in London, which runs till 24 December. “We’re not changing the hardware, the only difference is that we can put a new file on it [each time] so we can make a blue and white scarf or a green and black jumper without changing the setup.”

UNMADE, co-founded by Royal College of Art graduates Kirsty Emery, Hal Watts, and Ben Alun-Jones, launched its website on Monday. The startup allows knitwear aficionados to come to a pop-up store and use an app to select either a woolly jumper or a scarf from a designer, and customize its design. They can add or move around patterns, and select a colour scheme from a predefined palette. The finished design is “printed” off a local industrial knitwear machine and delivered within a few days.


But making the machinery customize then produce perfect designs hasn’t been easy. The trio went through various iterations before they were able to come up with their finished version.

“Everytime you change [a design] on the app, it changes the dimensions of the product,” said Watts. “So if you change the pattern and have a really detailed one, it will come out much larger than a simple pattern when it’s manufactured.”

To jump this hurdle, the group worked with theoretical physicists and built software that changed the tension of the machines, and worked out how tightly to knit things so the patterns and the size of the knitwear stayed perfect.

Usually, manufacturers will have to make a large batch of the same product, then spend a day or two changing their machine’s setup to make a large batch of another design, before dispatching their clothes from one end of the world to another. The UNMADE team believes its model could make the fashion industry more sustainable.

“At the moment, in industry, about ten percent of all clothes go to waste—that’s something we’re trying to eliminate by trying to manufacture as locally to people as possible, and only on demand,” Watts explained.

“The idea is that we give people something to play with to create a product personal to them, but which still remains the style of the designer. It’s important for us that the designer remains involved with the level of customization involved. We don’t want to make anything that comes out horrible,” he added.

One of UNMADE’s jumpers made of Italian merino wool will set you back a fairly hefty £200 ($300), and a scarf £60 ($90). The trio are also set to release a cashmere range, but said they wanted to introduce less costly materials in the future.

While getting the algorithms down to a tee is one thing, sometimes the machine’s hardware plays up anyway. Emery, who affectionately dubbed their machine “Helga” explained the fragility of the needles, and equipment. She said she’d been engaging in some “open heart surgery” to make sure that it was working on track."
knitting  clothing  unmade  2015  kirstyemery  halwatts  benalun-jones  manufacturing  3dprinting  clothes  fashion 
december 2015 by robertogreco
The Next Black - A film about the Future of Clothing - YouTube
"The Next Black' is a documentary film that explores the future of clothing. Watch as we meet with some of the most innovative companies on the planet to get their opinion on clothing and its future, including: heroes of sustainability, Patagonia; tech-clothing giants, Studio XO; sportswear icon, adidas; and Biocouture, a consultancy exploring living organisms to grow clothing and accessories.

Learn more about the project: http://www.aeg-home.com/thenextblack

Join the discussion on Facebook, Twitter and on the hashtag #thenextblack

https://www.facebook.com/pages/AEG-Global/586037381449750
https://twitter.com/aeg_global "

[See also:
http://www.studio-xo.com/
http://www.biocouture.co.uk/
http://www.patagonia.com/us/worn-wear
https://www.ifixit.com/Patagonia
http://www.patagonia.com/us/worn-wear-repairs
http://www.patagonia.com/email/11/112811.html
http://www.patagonia.com/us/patagonia.go?assetid=106223
http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/ad-day-patagonia-136745
https://www.patagonia.com/us/patagonia.go?assetid=2388
http://www.bloomberg.com/bw/articles/2013-11-25/patagonias-confusing-and-effective-campaign-to-grudgingly-sell-stuff ]
design  documentary  fashion  video  clothes  clothing  glvo  reuse  mending  repair  materials  textiles  studioxo  biocouture  adidas  patagonia  recycling  waste  consumerism  consumption  capitalism  biology  wearable  wearables  suzannelee  technology  nancytilbury  suzanne  slow  slowfashion  fastfashion  dyes  dying  industry  manufacturing  globalization  environment  rickridgeway  uniformproject  customization  ifixit  diy  alteration  resuse  repairing 
july 2015 by robertogreco
The Process: Bloom Blanket » The Kickstarter Blog — Kickstarter
"One thing was clear: my friends at the tiny Barcelona factory would never be able to sew so many blankets so quickly. My intention was to make 40 beautifully handmade blankets but after being backed by 947 people the entire production process had to be revisited."
manufacturing  sewing  process  2015  biancachengcostanzo  production  glvo  quilting  bloomblanket  kickstarter  logistics 
march 2015 by robertogreco
The ADMCi Foundation [American Design and Master-Craft Initiative]
"We celebrate those with the courage to take action.

The ADMCi Foundation is reinvigorating master-craftsmanship as an engine for sustained and uniquely valuable growth. We identify, curate, and promote courageous people with remarkable capabilities to build value across industries and audiences.

Jim Jacoby and Scott Miller, two extraordinary entrepreneurs, are the driving force behind ADMCi. Jacoby from digital roots and Miller from the roots of manufacturing, both are dedicated to building an organization to improve the world around us.

Their commitment to this vision is extraordinary, first exemplified by lifting a master designer named JT Nesbitt to new levels. He has achieved industry-changing impact in design and craftsmanship through the commission and completion of the Bienville Legacy Motorcycle. And, because their vision of investment requires total commitment, Jacoby and Miller are personally riding these superbikes for land-speed records at the Bonneville Salt Flats."

[See also: http://school.admci.org/
http://campfires.io/interview-with-jim-jacobi-founder-of-the-american-design-and-master-craft-initiative-admci/ ]
admci  craftsmanship  jimjacoby  scottmiller  chicago  design  manufacturing 
march 2015 by robertogreco
REDEF (Interest Mix): A FashionREDEF ORIGINAL: A Q&A With Abe Burmeister and Tyler Clemens, Founders of Outlier
"Q: When I say wearable technology, what's the first thing that comes to mind?

Abe Burmeister: Um. I'm gonna go take a nap.

We spend a lot of time reading about the history of apparel, and the Industrial Revolution started with spinning jenny machines to power cotton mills. None of that stuff ended up in your clothes. It changed how clothes were made radically, but there's no motors in your clothes, right? Like, almost none of it actually made it into the clothes. Velcro is a very simple machine. A zipper is really the main thing that came out of it that made it into your clothes.

So, there's an information revolution going on, and it's going to radically change how clothes are made, but whether it ends up inside your clothing, who knows? A lot of people are trying, and I think some interesting stuff will happen, but we'll have to wait and see.

I don't see any of it as inevitable. It's inevitable that it will change the environment around apparel. We'll see about the watch. Ringly just got a bunch of funding, maybe that's something.

Personally, I'm trying to eliminate as many beeps and buzzes from my life, so, it's interesting. I'm probably going to buy an Apple watch just to see what it's like. But, at the same time, I'm like, "You know what? I'm trying to turn off as many of those buzzes as possible, not get them closer to me.""



"Q: If you guys had to bet on one of these information revolution era technologies to vastly change how we are producing clothing, whether that's 3D printing or VR fitting rooms, what would you put your money on?

Tyler Clemens: For me, I think it has something to do with health. So, if there's a way to put—

Abe Burmeister: To me it's been, and I'm surprised this wasn't Tyler's answer, actually, but we've been looking at bonding technology and how garments are actually put together. It's super labor intensive.

We make most of our stuff in the U.S. We visit the factories where we're fairly certain people are getting paid at least minimum wage, they're treated well, they're not locked in, you know, things like that.

That was a really early lesson when I started visiting the Garment District. I was like, "I have no idea what a sweatshop is." You have this vision in your head, like, sweatshop, but when you actually start going into the ground, you don't know what it is.

It's immigrant labor. There's never been any success in getting anybody but the bottom rungs of the economic labor market to sew on a mass level, right? So, you even see it in China. People don't want to be sewing anymore. The market's moving to Vietnam. And there's also fantastic, really beautiful, high-end factories emerging there, which is great.

But to me, chasing the labor to the bottom rung... We're less price-sensitive than more commodity-driven companies, but if our factories said, "Hey, the price doubles tomorrow," we wouldn't be happy. Even though we'd be happy the workers would be getting paid more.

Eventually, if the world is going to keep developing in a positive way, we need to eliminate this kind of drudge-type labor that's very repetitive. I'd rather have a world where people weren't running the same garment through the machine every day, the same stitch. That's the kind of job that would be great if it disappeared, right?

There is a pleasure in making a garment. You know, you're producing something real. But, at the same time, I'm not lining up for a job at a sewing factory. Almost nobody with fluent English capabilities is in America. I think you get the same kind of echoing throughout other countries as well. Italy, they're bringing workers in from China to make "made in Italy" garments.

And in China, we've talked to factories that are like, "Yeah, you know, the people just don't come back. They go away for Chinese New Year and half of them don't come back. They want jobs where they can sit at a computer all day now."

The bonding technology's interesting. The 3D printing, I think, is a long way off. Maybe one day it emerges.

Some people actually try to call it 3D printing, but the more advanced knitting technologies can pretty much just print out a sweater, which is pretty cool. So, stuff like that, I think, is where I would like to see the change happen, and where we're putting some energy in."

[via: “Very interesting interview w/ the founders of @Outlier. ⌘F "sewing" for a provocative section… http://www.mediaredefined.com/a-fashionredef-original-a-qa-w-1009251383.html
https://twitter.com/robinsloan/status/570641334530236417

and

“takes while to get going but this interview is interesting as hell http://www.mediaredefined.com/a-fashionredef-original-a-qa-w-1009251383.html via @robinsloan ” [+screenshot of the question and opening lines about wearable technology]
https://twitter.com/doingitwrong/status/570696532749647873 ]

[Some follow-up:
“@doingitwrong @robinsloan Thanks for this. Thinking about our family relationship to sewing. ”
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/570719008506257409

“@doingitwrong @robinsloan But also thinking about pockets as wearable technology. https://pinboard.in/u:robertogreco/t:pockets Joinery. Access.”
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/570719257949970432

“@rogre @doingitwrong Wow I would love to read your extended thoughts on this! Grecolaborativo & sewing as social media (??)”
https://twitter.com/robinsloan/status/570755963361177600

“@robinsloan @doingitwrong On it.

For now…
1. @vruba http://tinyletter.com/vruba/letters/6-14-america … and @bldgblog https://pinboard.in/u:robertogreco/b:b0b610fa3b45
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/570802756438503424

“@robinsloan @doingitwrong
2. visual stimuli
http://robertogreco.tumblr.com/tagged/sewing/

3. mending
https://pinboard.in/u:robertogreco/t:mending
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/570803959666855937

“@robinsloan @doingitwrong
4. @LangeAlexandra “3D printers have a lot to learn
from the sewing machine”
http://www.dezeen.com/2014/05/08/3d-printers-have-a-lot-to-learn-from-the-sewing-machine/
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/570804635725725696

“@robinsloan @doingitwrong
and

5. tailoring (no refs, other than if falling under the solarpunk umbrella)
https://pinboard.in/u:robertogreco/b:7bab45bb0cb5
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/570804967780458496 ]
abeburmeister  tylerclemens  outlier  intervies  clothing  wearables  via:robinsloan  via:timmaly  2015  manufacturing  repetition  labor  sweatshops  glvo 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Knyttan – Defined by you
"KNYTTAN connects
Designers to People
to make clothes that last
Fashion is about individuality; we express ourselves through the clothes we wear, and yet our choices are often made for us.

What if there was a different way that meant designers could offer more to their customers? What if customers could define what is made, letting them make their wardrobe their own?

We started Knyttan to remove the layers between designers and customers – and by doing so, give everyone a better choice.

necks side on 2
141019_LAB_Knyttan_machine-085_2000px
In a world of unlimited choice, we help you to find the perfect item. The shape of our clothes is fixed by our fashion team so you know everything fits well. Our colours are chosen by each designer, so you know that everything will look good. All our products are made in the finest Italian Merino wool so you know it will last.

With KNYTTAN, you don’t need to be an expert – just know what is right for you.

Our name, KNYTTAN, comes from old English – a time when every garment was different. Our mission is to bring this idea up to date in an open and sustainable way and make the future just that little bit more unique.

We can make a different item every time without changing the way our clothes are made. We’ve brought the factory, the designer and the customer closer together, removing the barriers to production.

This is just the start. As we develop, we want to empower you, our customer, to curate the clothes you wear and we want designers to create the things that only they could dream of.

This is a world not limited by choice, but empowered by it.

Welcome to the infinite collection
defined by you"
clothing  design  fashion  generative  knitting  manufacturing  textiles  glvo  knyttan 
december 2014 by robertogreco
When Tokyo Was a Slum – The Informal City Dialogues
"Alongside the futuristic visage of skyscraper Tokyo, a human-scale city lies along rambling roads, where mom-and-pop stores sell soap and sandals, and private homes double as independent shops engaged in local trades like printmaking and woodworking.

This is incremental Tokyo, the foundation upon which the world’s most modern city is built.

Like much of the city, these small hamlets were smoldering ash pits 70 years ago, reduced to rubble by the bombs of Allied forces during World War II. When the war ended, Tokyo’s municipal government, bankrupt and in crisis mode, was in no condition to launch a citywide reconstruction effort. So, without ever stating it explicitly, it nevertheless made one thing clear: The citizens would rebuild the city. Government would provide the infrastructure, but beyond that, the residents would be free to build what they needed on the footprint of the city that once was, neighborhood by neighborhood."



"These mixed-use habitats and low-rise, high-density neighborhoods emerged by default, not design. But though the city didn’t plan them, it considered them legitimate and supported them. Sewage systems, water, electricity and roads were later infused into all parts of Tokyo, leaving no neighborhood behind, regardless of how slummy or messy it looked. Even the traditionally discriminated-against Burakumin areas were eventually provided access to state-of-the-art public services and amenities.

The notion that infrastructure must be adapted to the built environment, rather than the other way around, is a simple yet revolutionary idea. The Tokyo model, combining housing development by local actors and infrastructure from various agencies, explains why that city has some of the best infrastructure in the world today, not to mention a housing stock of great variety and bustling mixed-use neighborhoods.

The House Is a Tool

The relationship between the city’s urban form and its vibrant economy is best illustrated by the idea of homes as tools of production. Many of the houses built in the postwar period in Tokyo were based on the template of the traditional Japanese house, in which a single structure can serve as a shop, workshop, dormitory or family house — and possibly all of those things at once. Official statistics illustrate the scale of the home-based economy. As late as the 1970s, factories employing fewer than 20 employees accounted for 20 percent of the workers and 12.6 percent of the national output in Japan. In Tokyo alone, 99.5 percent of factories had fewer than 300 workers and employed 74 percent of all factory workers, according to economist Takeshi Hayashi. What these numbers tell us is that the Japanese miracle was built not only by large-scale factories, but also relied on a vast web of small producers that often worked from their neighborhoods and their homes."



"For the people who live in Dharavi, this is not only the best possible outcome, it’s their only option. Most residents of Dharavi cannot possibly afford to move to other parts of Mumbai. Their futures will rise or fall with the fate of their neighborhood, which is why the Tokyo model, which values and cultivates neighborhoods like theirs, is probably their best hope for economic and social advancement.

That prosperity, however, depends on the local authorities heeding the lessons of Tokyo. Neighborhoods like Dharavi are already served by various NGOs and foundations. The residents are doing their part. The only missing piece is the support of city authorities, whose attitude toward such settlements sets back the city of Mumbai as a whole.

What’s more, the Tokyo model is simply an elegant one that follows the path of least resistance, allowing order and mess to naturally combine as they would without top-down intervention. It’s hard to imagine a better example of “development” in its most holistic dimension: Houses, neighborhoods, economies and communities all rising in concert with one another. The environment is deeply connected to processes of collective growth, because people, objects and lived spaces are all knit together by the impulse to constantly improve and transform. Through this process, with very little capital, we see how user-generated neighborhoods invest in the idea of growth and mobility, where self-interest and successful urbanism are one and the same."

[Tagging this with Teddy Cruz because it reminds me of his study of Tijuana and his recommendation that we learn from patterns of growth and development there.]
postwar  mixeduse  lowrise  density  mimbai  takeshihayashi  cities  organic  organicism  home-basedeconomy  production  manufacturing  factories  openstudioproject  cafes  homeoffice  homefactory  homeworkshop  homes  infrastructure  redevelopment  development  dharavi  slums  mobility  economics  middleclass  collectivism  technology  neighborhoods  asia  informality  informal  cottageindustries  2013  urban  urbanism  growth  change  government  tokyo  japan  history 
july 2013 by robertogreco
Tobias Revell on the future of art and design at 'A New Dawn' by ArtEZ studium generale, 24 May 2013 on Vimeo
"Tobias Revell outlines how the willing acceptance and grasping of uncertainty has led to a new way of thinking in the present and a resurgence of romantic futurism. He gives specific examples of solutions outside of a 'grand plan', new production methods that liberalise and free design and art from larger systems. He shows how science-fiction imagery and fantasy have penetrated the arts.
Opening lecture at 'A New Dawn' by ArtEZ studium generale on 24 May 2013, Enschede, the Netherlands."
tobiasrevell  2013  art  design  designfiction  futurism  systems  towatch  artez  uncertainty  video  debate  reflection  critique  change  futures  kickstarter  bitcoins  makerbot  3dprinting  reprap  globalvillageonstructionset  opensource  opensourceecology  cohenvanbalen  thomasthwaites  manufacturing  control  consumption  economics  systemsthinking  bigdog  robots  technology  normalization  marsone  uncannyvalley  spacetravel  space  film  nasa  hierarchy  music  vincentfournier  prosthetics  evil  googleglass  internetofthings  superflux  dance  computing  data  anabjain  iot 
june 2013 by robertogreco
75 Watt - COHEN VAN BALEN
"A product is designed especially to be made in China. The object’s only function is to choreograph a dance performed by the labourers manufacturing it.

The project seeks to explore the nature of mass-manufacturing products on various scales; from the geo-political context of hyper-fragmented labour to the bio-political condition of the human body on the assembly line. Engineering logic has reduced the factory labourer to a man-machine, through scientific management of every single movement. By shifting the purpose of the labourer’s actions from the efficient production of objects to the performance of choreographed acts, mechanical movement is reinterpreted into dance. What is the value of this artefact that only exists to support the performance of its own creation? And as the product dictates the movement, does it become the subject, rendering the worker the object?

The assembly/dance took place in Zhongshan, China between 10-19 March 2013 and resulted in 40 objects and a film documenting the choreography of their assembly."
via:bopuc  2013  75watt  china  manufacturing  factories  labor  choreography  assembly  objects  cohenvanbalen  art  revitalcohen  tuurvanbalen  biology  technology  design  electronics  dance 
june 2013 by robertogreco
Design for the New Normal (Revisited) | superflux
"I was invited to talk at the NEXT Conference in Berlin by Peter Bihr, as he felt that a talk I gave last year would fit well with the conference's theme Here Be Dragons: "We fret about data, who is collecting it and why. We fret about privacy and security. We worry and fear disruption, which changes business models and renders old business to ashes. Some would have us walk away, steer clear of these risks. They’re dangerous, we don’t know what the consequences will be. Maintain the status quo, don’t change too much.Here and now is safe. Over there, in the future? Well, there be dragons."

This sounded like a good platform to expand upon the 'Design for the New Normal' presentation I gave earlier, especially as its an area Jon and I are thinking about in the context of various ongoing projects. So here it is, once again an accelerated slideshow (70 slides!) where I followed up on some of the stories to see what happened to them in the last six months, and developed some of the ideas further. This continues to be a work-in-progress that Superflux is developing as part of our current projects. "

[Video: http://nextberlin.eu/2013/07/design-for-the-new-normal-3/ ]
anabjain  2013  drones  weapons  manufacturing  3dprinting  bioengineering  droneproject  biotechnology  biotech  biobricks  songhojun  ossi  zemaraielali  empowerment  technology  technologicalempowerment  raspberrypi  hackerspaces  makerspaces  diy  biology  diybio  shapeways  replicators  tobiasrevell  globalvillageconstructionset  marcinjakubowski  crowdsourcing  cryptocurrencies  openideo  ideo  wickedproblems  darpa  innovation  india  afghanistan  jugaad  jugaadwarfare  warfare  war  syria  bitcoins  blackmarket  freicoin  litecoin  dna  dnadreams  bregtjevanderhaak  bgi  genomics  23andme  annewojcicki  genetics  scottsmith  superdensity  googleglass  chaos  complexity  uncertainty  thenewnormal  superflux  opensource  patents  subversion  design  jonardern  ux  marketing  venkateshrao  normalityfield  strangenow  syntheticbiology  healthcare  healthinsurance  insurance  law  economics  ip  arnoldmann  dynamicgenetics  insects  liamyoung  eleanorsaitta  shingtatchung  algorithms  superstition  bahavior  numerology  dunne&raby  augerloizeau  bionicrequiem  ericschmidt  privacy  adamharvey  makeu 
april 2013 by robertogreco
What Coke Contains — Editors' Picks — Medium
"The Vons grocery store two miles from my home in Los Angeles, California sells 12 cans of Coca-Cola for $6.59 — 54 cents each. The tool chain that created this simple product is incomprehensibly complex."

[explained]

"The number of individuals who know how to make a can of Coke is zero. The number of individual nations that could produce a can of Coke is zero. This famously American product is not American at all. Invention and creation is something we are all in together. Modern tool chains are so long and complex that they bind us into one people and one planet. They are not only chains of tools, they are also chains of minds: local and foreign, ancient and modern, living and dead — the result of disparate invention and intelligence distributed over time and space. Coca-Cola did not teach the world to sing, no matter what its commercials suggest, yet every can of Coke contains humanity’s choir."
coke  coca-cola  manufacturing  culture  business  globalization 
march 2013 by robertogreco
The Tijuana Connection, a Template for Growth - NYTimes.com
"Shuttling between the two factories — in San Diego, where we engineer our drones, and in TJ, where we assemble them — I’m reminded of a similar experience I had a decade earlier. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, I lived in Hong Kong (working for The Economist) and saw how that city was paired with the “special economic zone” of Shenzhen across the border on the Chinese mainland in Guangdong Province. Together, the two created a world-beating manufacturing hub: business, design and finance in Hong Kong, manufacturing in Shenzhen. The clear division of labor between the two became a model for modern China."
manufacturing  mexico  outsourcing  tijuana  sandiego  2013  drones  maquiladoras  labor  electronics 
march 2013 by robertogreco
Drones: War machine today, helpful tool tomorrow | Marketplace.org
"Fast-forward five years, today they're running a multi-million-dollar cross-border company that produces and sells hardware and personal drones. The company, 3D Robotics, found success in Muñoz's misunderstood hometown, Tijuana.

"Prior to 18 months ago, I thought Tijuana was drug cartels and cheap tequila," Anderson said. "What Jordi knew and taught me was that Tijuana is the Shenzhen of North America.""
sandiego  tijuana  border  drones  manufacturing  2013  3drobotics  jordimuñoz  diydrones  engineering  chrisanderson  from delicious
january 2013 by robertogreco
Maker’s Row - Factory Sourcing Made Easy
"Our mission is to make the manufacturing process simple to understand and easy to access. From large corporations to first time designers, we are providing unparalleled access to industry-specific factories and suppliers across the United States.

Our first industry target is apparel and accessories."
accessories  apparel  glvo  via:zakgreene  suppliers  resources  production  products  manufacturing  from delicious
december 2012 by robertogreco
Manufacturers, Suppliers, Exporters & Importers from the world's largest online B2B marketplace - Alibaba.com
Tom Coates asks (https://twitter.com/tomcoates/status/268802674709897216 ):

I've forgotten the name of an awesome online shop for buying electronics and components directly from China. Anyone remember?

Matt Jones responds:

dunno if you mean http://alibaba.com , but that's not just electronics. It's everything. http://www.alibaba.com/product-tp/127994942/Grade_Mazut_100_Fuel_oil.html [Grade Mazut-100 Fuel oil] …

alibaba.com/product-gs/510660942/DSKJ063_chain_mails.html [DSKJ063 chain mails] …

http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/625108038/2012_New_design_amusement_park_equipment.html [2012 New design amusement park equipment roller coaster] …

alibaba.com/product-gs/549001158/Black_Disco_Pants_Adult.html [Black Disco Pants Adult]…
alibaba  ecommerce  wholesale  manufacturing  suppliers  shopping  trade  business  china  from delicious
november 2012 by robertogreco
Errors in Production by Heike Bollig
"Errors in Production is an ongoing collection of a variety of products with individual manufacturing errors. Although I actively seek these objects, I mostly come across them accidentally or friends and salesclerks pass them on to me. In the attempt to further develop the collection and to keep" it alive, I would be grateful for your support."

[Examples: http://www.errors-in-production.info/errors_inpr_samples.html ]
errata  collections  mistakes  heikebollig  design  errors  manufacturing  production  errorsinproduction 
september 2012 by robertogreco
Tellart | Experience Design & Engineering
"People don’t interact with computers or devices, they interact with each other and the world around them; a world in which the borders between natural, material and virtual have blurred.

Tellart builds where these borders blur.

As we come to understand that the network isn’t in computers but inside everything we touch, we learn that “form” isn’t what we see, it’s what we use. Every day there’s a new surface to interact with. But, underneath these surfaces lie familiar human needs, desires, habits and hopes.

Emerging technologies aren’t built with the same tools or the same talents we know from the past. We are Tellart: we’re inventors and explorers. We believe the best way to explore an idea is to make it real. We don’t just dream and sketch, we prototype and manufacture. We are in the business of making things real.

For twelve years, Tellart has been building interactive objects and environments that connect to the web.

Twelve years of marketing stunts, building control systems, museum exhibitions, games for health, consumer electronics, and medical simulations. Technologies emerge, and we’ve set out to give them culturally and economically relevant form.

In a small factory in New England, we’ve been housing the brains, hands, and hearts of industrial designers, electrical engineers, graphic designers and software architects. We’ve built our own tools and we use them every day.

We are proud of our clients and partners and the work we’ve done together. Sometimes our work starts with workshops to reveal needs and goals, or to identify potential strategies and tactics. Sometimes we create long-term agreements over years to build out innovative lines of business. But we always share the same goals as our partners: to actually make things that change the way the world thinks and acts.

Tellart starts where you start: with a hunch, an idea, a stray piece of technology, a carefully articulated demand, a broad sense that something is possible if addressed with courage, care, attention, and commitment."

[via: http://twitter.com/moleitau/statuses/225703421397831680 ]
manufacturing  sketching  internetofthings  form  toolmaking  tools  uk  studios  interactive  design  interaction  webdesign  agency  technology  usability  prototyping  making  tellart  iot  webdev 
july 2012 by robertogreco
Dance the flip-flop
"the flip-flop (n.) the process of pushing a work of art or craft from the physical world to the digital world and back again—maybe more than once … When you do the flip-flop, you achieve effects that aren’t possible when you dwell in only one world, physical or digital. You also achieve effects that are less predictable. Weird things happen on the walls between worlds."
digital  physical  media  design  art  manufacturing  2012  robinsloan  flip-flop  process  transmedia 
march 2012 by robertogreco
The Spectacular Rise and Fall of U.S. Whaling: An Innovation Story - Derek Thompson - Business - The Atlantic
"The life and death of American whaling might seem like a precious nostalgia trip, but it's really a modern story about innovation. It's about how technology replaces workers and enriches workers, how rising wages benefit us and challenge companies, and how opportunity costs influence investors and change economies. The essay can stand on its own, without my muddying the waters with political points about how Washington or CEOs should learn from yesterday's Ahabs. Suffice it to say that whaling became the fifth largest industry in the United States in the 1850s, and within decades, it had disappeared.

And yet, perhaps with a mischievous sense of curiosity, some time late last Sunday night, I scoured my notes for a graph I remembered, which ranked US sectors by employment. Would you guess what the fifth largest sector in the US economy is today? It's manufacturing. The parallels are obvious, but also easy to overstate. Manufacturing is in decline as a fount of jobs…"
2012  employment  technology  jobs  manufacturing  us  change  whaling  business  history  economics  derekthompson 
february 2012 by robertogreco
When (and where) work disappears - MIT News Office
"In conducting the study, the researchers found more pronounced economic problems in cities most vulnerable to the rise of low-wage Chinese manufacturing; these include San Jose, Calif.; Providence, R.I.; Manchester, N.H.; and a raft of urban areas below the Mason-Dixon line — the leading example being Raleigh, N.C. “The areas that are most exposed to China trade are not the Rust Belt industries,” Autor says. “They are places like the South, where manufacturing was rising, not falling, through the 1980s.”

All told, as American imports from China grew more than tenfold between 1991 and 2007, roughly a million U.S. workers lost jobs due to increased low-wage competition from China — about a quarter of all U.S. job losses in manufacturing during the time period."
policy  rustbelt  providence  sanjose  south  via:tom.hoffman  manufacturing  us  china  economics  from delicious
february 2012 by robertogreco
Digital Ethnography » Maker Bots and the Future of Identity
"To the extent that your heart’s desires are self-focused, you will find yourself in a vicious cycle. You will create stuff to present yourself as cool, hip, and individual. Others will do the same, and since everybody will be trying to make sure they are doing their own thing you will end up with evermore fragmentation, complexity … loss of connection, meaning, empowerment, etc. Feeling such a loss you will redouble your efforts to create your own individual identity => more fragmentation, complexity, etc.

But if you make a slight switch and orient yourself to the world, rather than to the self, a virtuous cycle emerges. The world is suddenly not full of choices with which you identify, but possibilities for play … serious play oriented toward serving the world. Fragmentation looks more like a rich diversity. Complexity becomes a rich symphony in which we all play along."

[Now at: http://mediatedcultures.net/smatterings/maker-bots-and-the-future-of-identity/ ]
consumption  manufacturing  society  complexity  fragmentation  identity  self  virtue  fabbing  3dprinting  making  2012  michaelwesch  from delicious
february 2012 by robertogreco
Minecraft.Print()
"Incredible structures have been created within Minecraft. Why can't we take those virtual creations, and bring them into the real world? This is our attempt to create a bridge between Minecraft and the real world, via 3D Printers."
minecraft  3d  printing  diy  prototyping  manufacturing  3dprinting  hacks  edg  srg  from delicious
october 2011 by robertogreco
Start Ups Will Not Save Us: Unflattening The World | Underpaid Genius
"The Flat World Friedman at first advocated, & which he now treats like gravity—a force of nature outside our control—is a choice…a set of policies designed to benefit multinational corporations. Globalization is more politely refer to as free trade, which is where multinationals convince governments to drop trade barriers so that they—corporatists—are free to move their capital around & invest it in ways that amass the greatest amount in their hands. This means that in the US, corporations can avoid taxes, unions, environmental regulations, & active oppostion to their policies by locating manufacturing & other facilities in countries w/ lower pay & less controls.

Free trade has also come along w/ Devil’s bargain in the US, too, where states take on more the look-and-feel of third world nations by advertising themselves as ‘right to work’ states, which means that they have made union activities more difficult. Consider…Boeing planning to move jobs from WA to South Carolina."
stoweboyd  thomasfriedman  freetrade  us  economics  policy  corporatism  2011  southcarolina  washingtonstate  boeing  samueljohnson  andygrove  startups  jobs  employment  work  globalization  progressives  politics  manufacturing  from delicious
september 2011 by robertogreco
All Objects, Even if New, Have Their Histories - DesignTAXI.com
"It’s natural to assume, after tearing open a newly-bought object’s packaging, that we’re the first ones to touch it.

The assumption is wrong, of course, and a photography project by Lorena Turner is asking us to reconsider the notion by unearthing these ignored histories. With the finesse of a CSI agent, Turner dusts objects—all packaged in China and sold at US stores—before photographing them. The resulting fingerprints, of which there are many, act as evidence of the manufacturing cycle often invisible to us.

“This process allowed for the evidence of another’s touch, quite possibly the person involved in constructing and packaging the item, to be revealed,” the photographer wrote.

She added that the project, tersely titled Made in China, “highlights the human factor and invisible history in each object’s production”."
new  objects  photography  art  lorenaturner  fingerprints  china  manufacturing  objecthistory  from delicious
july 2011 by robertogreco
Week 315 – Blog – BERG
"Your sensitivity & tolerance improve only with practice. I wish I’d been given toy businesses to play w/ at school, just as playing w/ crayons taught my body how to let me draw.

I’ve written in these weeknotes before how I manage three budgets: cash, attention, risk. This is my attempt to explain how I feel about risk, and to trace the pathways between risk and cash. Attention, & how it connects, can wait until another day…

I said I wouldn’t speak about attention, but here’s a sneak peak of what I would say. Attention is the time of people in the studio, & how effectively it is applied. It is affected by the arts of project & studio management; it can be tracked by time-sheets & capacity plans; it can be leveraged with infrastructure, internal tools, and carefully grown tacit knowledge; and it magically grows when there’s time to play, when there is flow in the work, and when a team aligns into a “sophisticated work group.”
Attention is connected to cash through work."
design  business  management  berg  berglondon  mattwebb  attention  flow  groups  groupculture  sophisticatedworkgroups  money  risk  riskmanagement  riskassessment  confidence  happiness  anxiety  worry  leadership  tinkering  designthinking  thinking  physical  work  instinct  frustration  lcproject  studio  decisionmaking  systems  systemsthinking  manufacturing  making  doing  newspaperclub  svk  distribution  integratedsystems  infrastructure  supplychain  deleuze  guattari  cyoa  failure  learning  invention  ineptitude  ignorance  deleuze&guattari  gillesdeleuze  interactive  fiction  if  interactivefiction  félixguattari 
june 2011 by robertogreco
Germany holds onto high-wage manufacturing
"This growing appreciation of the German model is a welcome change from the laissez-faire approach to globalization that has dominated US policy & discourse for decades, dooming many Rust Belt denizens to lives of crystal meth & quiet desperation. But some of these analyses still understate the crucial distinctions btwn Germany's stakeholder capitalism, which benefits the many, & our shareholder capitalism, which increasingly benefits only the few.<br />
<br />
First, German manufacturers, particularly midsize & small-scale ones that often dominate global markets in specialized products, don't seek funding from capital markets (there's a local banking sector that handles their needs) & don't answer to shareholders. They make things, while we make deals, or trades, or swaps.<br />
<br />
Second, the key to both retention & continual upscaling of manufacturing in Germany is the composition of corporate boards, which are required by law to have an equal number of management and employee representatives."
us  germany  business  policy  making  manufacturing  capitalism  shareholders  finance  unions  labor  wages  profits  2011  from delicious
june 2011 by robertogreco
» The New Ecology of Things: Slabs, Sofducts, and Bespoke Objects Johnny Holland – It's all about interaction » Blog Archive
"Several major trends are emerging that affect interaction design. With the advent of post-PC devices like the iPad, cheap sensors and microcontrollers like the Arduino, and services like Kindle Wispersync, we’re in the middle of a shift towards ubiquitous computing, tangible interaction, and cloud services. Because of these trends, our field must consider the integration of the traditionally separate areas of screen and tangible interaction design.

Of particular significance is the shift away from the generic computation typified by the “personal computer,” which never really achieved the individuality or specificity implied by the term “personal.” In short, we’re experiencing the emergence of The New Ecology of Things, where a network of heterogeneous, smart objects and spaces are replacing our current design context."
consumerism  twitter  ipad  ecology  internetofthings  ecologyofthings  matthewcrawford  shopclassassoulcraft  making  meaning  meaningmaking  personalization  sofducts  bespoke  bespokeobjects  craft  slabs  interactiondesign  interaction  glvo  diy  iphone  applications  computing  fabbing  3dprinter  3d  culture  software  hardware  prosthetics  tailoring  animism  sound  light  haptics  kinetic  kineticbehavior  behavior  android  arduino  nikeid  manufacturing  apple  philipvanallen  spimes  ios  iot  from delicious
may 2011 by robertogreco
Three cheers for Plumen: Design Of The Year – Blog – BERG
"Shipping atoms is hard.<br />
<br />
Shipping atoms when you are a small company is harder.<br />
<br />
Shipping populist, beautiful atoms at affordable prices that aim to change the world a little tiny bit is the hardest thing.<br />
<br />
But it’s not impossible now, and should always be applauded and recognised."
design  berg  berglondon  shipping  mattjones  making  doing  fabrication  manufacturing  2011  from delicious
march 2011 by robertogreco
Digital age leaves myopic Japan facing manufacturing crisis | The Japan Times Online [Why can't they get their five-part series linked together? It's not that difficult.]
"[F]ive-part series exploring how Japan and its East Asian neighbors are separately handling five common issues."

1. Title above: "The priorities for gadget makers today are now quick software design, global module procurement, and the ability to assemble a product in any country where cheap labor is available. This has rapidly eaten into the relative competitiveness of Japan's pyramid-style manufacturing groups, METI said. The pyramid model remains successful in only a handful of fields, most notably automobiles and single-lens reflex cameras, METI said."

2. Japan not alone in demographic conundrum: http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110103a3.html

3. Emerging carmakers put mainstays in panic: http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110104a2.html

4. Trade pacts one thing, immigrant labor another: http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110105f1.html

5. Japan far behind in global language of business: http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110106f1.html
japan  china  korea  economics  demographics  trends  manufacturing  future  history  growth  aging  cars  language  immigration  migration  hierarchy  flexibility  competitiveness  from delicious
january 2011 by robertogreco
metacool: More thoughts on the primacy of doing: Shinya Kimura, Jeep, Corvette, and the cultural zeitgeist of life in 2010
"cultural zeitgeist of life in 2010 America is clearly saying "We need to start thinking with our hands again", & that we need at least to have confidence in our decision making as we seek to create things of intrinsic value…It's not difficult to get to a strong, compelling point of view. That's what design thinking can do for you. But in each of these videos I sense our society expressing a strong yearning for something beyond process, the courage to make decisions and to act. Talking and thinking is easy, shipping is tough…<br />
<br />
Tinkering, hacking, experimenting, they're all ways of experiencing the world which are more apt than not to lead to generative, highly creative outcomes. I firmly believe that kids & young adults who are allowed to hack, break, tear apart, & generally probe the world around them develop an innate sense of courage when it comes time to make a decision to actually do something. I see this all the time at Stanford…"
diegorodriguez  make  making  handson  hands  manufacturing  machines  tinkering  shinyakimura  detroit  gm  jeep  bigthree  spacerace  rockets  nostalgia  thinking  learning  experimenting  experience  facebook  google  apple  hacking  creativity  innovation  2010  jacobbronowski  design  engineering  machining  action  tcsnmy  glvo  lcproject  doing  motivation  do  corvette  from delicious
november 2010 by robertogreco
Marketplace Photo Gallery: Do middle managers really matter?
"Stanford University Professor Nicholas Bloom talks with Kai Ryssdal about a study he conducted looking at the role of middle managers and whether they matter, and how he conducted experiments in Indian factories to find out."
management  administration  leadership  economics  business  middlemanagement  india  factories  nicholasbloom  manufacturing  from delicious
november 2010 by robertogreco
Glif - iPhone 4 Tripod Mount & Stand by Dan Provost — Kickstarter
"Hello there! Thanks for visiting our Kickstarter page. With your help, we'd love to release a product into the world that we think is pretty swell.<br />
<br />
Glif is a simple iPhone 4 accessory with two primary functions: mounting your iPhone to a standard tripod, and acting as a kickstand to prop your iPhone up at an angle. From these two functions emerge numerous uses: hands-free FaceTiming, watching videos, making movies, using your iPhone as an alarm clock, and many others.<br />
<br />
So why do we need YOUR help? Simply put, manufacturing is expensive. We want to use a process called 'injection molding' to create the Glif at a level of quality we deem acceptable, but unfortunately this requires a hefty set up cost. By pledging at least twenty dollars, you will be essentially pre-ordering a Glif, and helping turn our little project into a reality."
tripod  accessories  iphone4  kickstarter  invention  iphone  manufacturing  2010  photography  videography  glif  from delicious
october 2010 by robertogreco
Is Italy Too Italian?: From Taxis to Textiles, Italy Chooses Tradition Over Growth - NYTimes.com ["Roughly one-quarter of Italy’s G.D.P. is off the books."]
"Economists...see a country w/ a service sector dominated by guilds..., a timid entrepreneur class...a political system in thrall of older voters who want to keep what they have, even if it dooms the nation to years of stasis.

They see a society whose best & brightest are leaving & not being replaced by immigrants, because Italy has so little upward mobility to offer.

To Professor Giavazzi, the future here doesn’t look like Greece. It looks like Argentina.

“Before World War II, Argentina was rich. Even in 1960, the country was twice as rich as Italy.” Today...you can compare the per capita income of Argentina to that of Romania. “Because it didn’t grow. A country could get rich in 1900 just by producing corn & meat, but that is not true today. But it took them 100 years to realize they were becoming poor. & that is what worries me about Italy. We’re not going to starve next week. We are just going to decline, slowly, slowly, & I’m not sure what will turn that around.”
italy  argentina  guilds  economics  growth  politics  aging  age  policy  immigration  2010  stagnation  markets  china  globalization  local  slow  manufacturing  crisis  deficits  savings  society  decline  blackmarkets  offthebooks  protectionism  jobs  craftsmanship 
august 2010 by robertogreco
The Technium: Two Kinds of Generativity
"There is a natural arc by which each invention moves from generative openness in a new-born to refined generativity of a well defined idea. Some folks mistakenly believe that modern regime of manufacturing & consumerism inevitably closes off all cool inventions to first kind of generativity, but this maturity has always happened, long before industrial age. Technology's natural cycle is merely being accelerated now.

New-borns w/ infinite potential but low-productivity become middle-agers generating great productivity & unleashing fantastic creativity; in turn the mature keep frontiers expanding by generating more newborns. I speak here of ideas & devices.

Each new unformed, hackable, potential invention is quickly refined by use & this use makes a technology more specific, conditional, & open to use by know-nothings. Therefore each tech eventually becomes less malleable, less powerful in undefined ways but more powerful in defined ways. It moves from the margins to the center."
hackability  ipad  kevinkelly  maturity  technium  technology  development  innovation  opensource  generativity  progress  gamechanging  closedsystems  opensystems  manufacturing  consumerism  invention  cylces  commoditization 
may 2010 by robertogreco
Fab@Home - Make Anything | Fab@Home
"Fab@Home will change the way we live. It is a platform of printers and programs which can produce functional 3D objects. It is designed to fit on your desktop and within your budget. Fab@Home is supported by a global, open-source community of professionals and hobbyists, innovating tomorrow, today. Join us, and Make Anything."
fabbing  make  making  3dprinter  fabrication  diy  manufacturing  opensource  print  free  printing  prototyping  hacks  howto 
april 2010 by robertogreco
The Detroit Project | The New Republic [via: http://archinect.com/news/article.php?id=95178_0_24_0_C]
"All this might make Detroit seem like the most hopeless case in the global history of the city. But it is hardly the worst and certainly not hopeless. Europe is filled with cities that have risen from similarly miserable conditions. ... Bilbao Ria spent 184 million euros on site cleanup; the provincial and regional governments kicked in 144 million euros--the full cost--for the Frank Gehry–designed Guggenheim museum. But the city also created a new metro system and a tram line for the revitalized waterfront. Airports, ports, and regional train systems were also modernized. And, critically, the city spent two decades and one billion euros (mostly from higher levels of government) on a new water-sanitation system to keep untreated household and industrial waste out of the river, which would make waterfront development possible."
urbanplanning  detroit  cities  us  architecture  manufacturing  innovation  urbanism  development  planning  preservation  regeneration  industrial  urban  bilbao  turin  michigan  revitalization 
january 2010 by robertogreco
Growth Assembly
"Though the example product seems a little far-fetched; growth assembly could be quite revolutionary. Worldwide shipping of manufactured things is very inefficient. Why not ship devices and utensils in a single envelope? As seeds."
seeds  concepts  growth  manufacturing  fabbing  organic  plants  environment  sustainability 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Upper Mismanagement | The New Republic
"The country’s business schools tended to reflect and reinforce these trends. By the late 1970s, top business schools began admitting much higher-caliber students than they had in previous decades. This might seem like a good thing. The problem is that these students tended to be overachiever types motivated primarily by salary rather than some lifelong ambition to run a steel mill. And there was a lot more money to be made in finance than manufacturing. A recent paper by economists Thomas Philippon and Ariell Reshef shows that compensation in the finance sector began a sharp, upward trajectory around 1980."
business  management  economics  systems  education  manufacturing  noamscheiber  2009  gm  finance  compensation  salary  leadership  administration 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Undercapitalized « Snarkmarket
"But if you use Haque’s new-economy and Scheiber’s old-economy cri­tiques of cur­rent prac­tices, you get some­thing very pow­er­ful. The pre-managerial, heroic-age-of-capitalism indus­tri­al­ists of the 19th and early 20th cen­turies didn’t always build things that were good, from our per­spec­tive — but they BUILT things, cre­at­ing real cap­i­tal and value along the way, coalsmoke aside. It’s this fifty-year-blip of late uncre­ative cap­i­tal­ism, milk­ing old prop­erty for its dregs, reshuf­fling money to cre­ate some­thing from noth­ing, that has cul­tur­ally really screwed us up."
us  economics  gamechanging  leadership  management  organizations  administration  timcarmody  snarkmarket  umairhaque  manufacturing  middlemanagement  comments  healthcare  2009  finance  compensation  noamscheiber  malcolmgladwell  billsimmons 
december 2009 by robertogreco
UX Week 2009 » Blog Archive » VIDEO: Matt Webb
"Smart products bring their own design challenges. Internet-connected devices and plastic filled with electronics behave in unexpected ways: what does it means for a physical thing to side-load its behaviour, or for a toy to have its own presence in your social network? What we’ve learned about user experience on the Web is a great place to start: social software, adaptation, designing for action creating action — these are principles familiar on the Web, and still valuable when design is not on the screen but in your hands."
mattwebb  berg  berglondon  design  mobile  ux  process  product  manufacturing  adaptation 
november 2009 by robertogreco
Tinkering Makes Comeback Amid Crisis - WSJ.com
"American tradition of tinkering...is making comeback, boosted by renewed interest in hands-on work amid economic crisis & falling prices of high-tech tools & materials...Engineering schools across country report students are showing an enthusiasm for hands-on work that hasn't been seen in years. Workshops for people to share tools & ideas -"hackerspaces"- are popping up all over country...124 in US...up from a handful at the start of last year. SparkFun...expects sales of about $10 million this year, up from $6 million in 2008. "Make" mag...has grown from 22,000 subscribers in 2005 to > 100,000 now...annual "Maker Faire"...attracted 75,000 people this year. "We've had this merging of DIY with technology," says Bre Pettis..."I'm calling it Industrial Revolution 2."...Hands-on is catching on at other schools...27% more undergrads earned mechanical-engineering degrees in 2008 than 2003...[while] # of computer-engineering graduates slipped by 31%."
hacking  tinkering  diy  make  making  doing  tcsnmy  lcproject  hackerspaces  trends  handson  2009  engineering  arduino  makemagazine  sparkfun  education  universities  colleges  learning  manufacturing  fabbing  electronics 
november 2009 by robertogreco
Train Detroit - The Atlantic (July/August 2009)
"Instead of scattering nickels and dimes across dozens of states, a better idea would be to increase the train fund at least tenfold so America can have at least one legitimate high-speed rail line like Spain’s Madrid-to-Seville train, which runs at 186 mph (Amtrak averages only 79 nationwide). And let this man-on-the-moon project start in Detroit. ... Of course, railroads helping to rescue Detroit would be sweet irony. It was General Motors, after all—in cahoots with a number of other companies—that set out to cripple mass transit in America, including the electric streetcars that once trundled through Detroit and Flint."
trains  us  rail  government  manufacturing  detroit  autoindustry  transportation  amtrak  highspeed  via:cityofsound  highspeedrail 
july 2009 by robertogreco
No one knows how to make a pencil
"I, Pencil is a 1958 ode to mass production, industrial specialization, commodity economics, and the invisible hand using the manufacture of a simple graphite pencil as an example. ... Really great. A nice illustration of embodied energy to boot."
kottke  energy  massproduction  industrialspecialization  manufacturing  pencils  embodiedenergy  commodities  economics 
july 2009 by robertogreco
The Toaster Project
""Left to his own devices he couldn’t build a toaster. He could just about make a sandwich and that was it." Mostly Harmless, Douglas Adams, 1992" ... "I'm Thomas Thwaites and I'm trying to build a toaster, from scratch - beginning by mining the raw materials and ending with a product that Argos sells for only £3.99. A toaster. After some research I have determined that I will need the following materials to make a toaster. Copper, to make the pins of the electric plug, the cord, and internal wires. Iron to make the steel grilling apparatus, and the spring to pop up the toast. Nickel to make the heating element. Mica (a mineral a bit like slate) around which the heating element is wound, and of course plastic for the plug and cord insulation, and for the all important sleek looking casing. The first four of these materials are dug out of the ground, and plastic is derived from oil, which is generally sucked up through a hole."
design  technology  art  culture  economics  humor  diy  hardware  capitalism  manufacturing  consumption  toaster  appliances  industry  artifacts  crafts  toasters 
june 2009 by robertogreco
Is MIT Obsolete? § SEEDMAGAZINE.COM
"A few hundred top universities with a few thousand students each can hope to host only millions out of the billions of people on the planet, but insight and invention do not stop there. The MITs of the world are far from obsolete, but instead of draining brains away from where they are most needed, these institutions can now share not just their knowledge but also their tools, by providing the means to create them. Rather than advanced technological development and education being elite activities bounded by scarce space in classrooms and labs, they can become much more widely accessible and locally integrated, limited only by the most renewable of raw materials: ideas."
mit  invention  innovation  collaboration  prototyping  engineering  education  colleges  universities  media  community  technology  manufacturing  fabrication  funding  obsolescence  learning  autodidacts  deschooling  unschooling 
june 2009 by robertogreco
Near Future Laboratory » Dog Eared “Distraction”
"When “DIY” attains to its logical zenith, fake becomes the new real. I actually can’t wait for this to happen. The pinnacle of knowledge circulation in the networked age. How-to, tutorials, maker culture, sharing of knowledge (or maybe just descriptions and step-by-step procedures) all coming together so that people make their own stuff, from new materials that do not have to be tuned for epic scale levels of manufacturing. You need something, make one or two rather than having 100,000 of them made offshore someplace and shipped at great expense and with enormous carbon footprint. Natural experimentation with alternative materials, features, etc."
julianbleecker  brucesterling  future  diy  reputation  making  make  tinkering  materials  experimentation  fabbing  manufacturing  howto  sharing  knowledge  sciencefiction  scifi 
april 2009 by robertogreco
Little London Prop Shop Turns Ideas Into Art
"In spite of a long and famous client list, however, Schofield and MDM are relatively unknown, even within the art world. This is partly because artists may insist on confidentiality. (There's some concern that people might be uneasy with the idea of an artist outsourcing work, particularly given the huge sums of money pieces fetch once they leave the premises.) But other MDM clients dismiss this fear. "It's quite obvious you can't do it all yourself, so I'm not going to pretend I did," Quinn says. And so it is that a wild range of artworks—whether a giant magnetic wall or a resin cube full of fingernail clippings—pass through MDM on their way to the gallery."
mdm  art  manufacturing  uk 
february 2009 by robertogreco
russell davies: from product to project
"So I've been thinking about how I can continue to projectise this product. And how this bag can have a 10-year + story. So I'm trying to add spimeiness to it and to use internet stuff as a memory aid for this thing. So, I've created a unique URL for it at thinglink, in the spirit of the skuwiki idea. And I've built a tumblblog for it at HMDbag.tumblr.com. That tumblr extracts things from flickr and delicious that I've tagged appropriately, so it's sort of self-generating. I imagine telling the story of the life of the bag that way, keeping it as a project not a product.

But what would be really nice would be if it could tell its own story more. Generate its own data. I could attach an RFID tag, but I'm not quite sure what would ever read it. I guess ideally it would have it's own GPS logging stick sewn in. Or something. The good thing though, about a 10-year + project is that you don't have to have it all sorted at the begining."
brucesterling  design  sustainability  russelldavies  manufacturing  howies  bags  rfid  spimes  brands  products  stories  gps  physical  things  unproduct  beausage  plannedobsolescence  plannedlongevity  glvo  wabi-sabi 
january 2009 by robertogreco
HAND-ME-DOWN
[Wayback: http://web.archive.org/web/20091223032056/http://hmd.howies.co.uk/

"These products have been made to last. So that one day you can hand them down to someone else. And they can carry on their little journeys."
sustainability  howies  reuse  manufacturing  bags  vintage  glvo  apparel  clothing  environment  spimes  rfid  fashion  organic  shopping  plannedobsolescence  plannedlongevity  beausage  wabi-sabi 
january 2009 by robertogreco
'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' for Wednesday, December 3, 2008
"First of all, I just want to say that-you know, when the three automaker chiefs went to Washington, they were treated like errant school children and sent back home to Detroit to write an essay on why we should get free cash. When the Wall Street bankers and thieves came down there, back in October, it was just the opposite. Nobody asked them what they flew down on. The hearing room looked like a cigar bar. Seriously. All that was missing was the photographer from "Cigar Aficionado."
autoindustry  bailout  finance  us  government  manufacturing  crisis  economics  doublestandards  michaelmoore  keitholbermann 
december 2008 by robertogreco
Baumol's cost disease (aka Baumol Effect) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"involves a rise of salaries in jobs that have experienced no increase of labor productivity in response to rising salaries in other jobs which did ...goes against theory in classical economics that wages are always closely tied to labor productivity changes...rise of wages in jobs w/out productivity gains is caused by necessity to compete for employees w/ jobs that did...& hence can naturally pay higher salaries...In range of businesses...car manufacturing & retail, workers are continually more productive due to tech innovations to tools & equipment. In contrast, in some labor-intensive sectors that rely heavily on human interaction or activities...nursing, education, performing arts there is little/no growth in productivity over time...total factor productivity treatment is not available to performing arts sector, because consumable good is labor itself...increases in price of performing arts has been offset by increases in standard of living & entertainment spending by consumers."
productivity  performingarts  work  economics  wages  pay  labor  entertainment  services  manufacturing  via:migurski 
november 2008 by robertogreco
Shapeways
"Have you ever wanted to turn your 3D designs into reality? Enter Shapeways! Just upload your design, we print it and ship it to you - it's easy. Within ten working days you'll hold your own design in your hands."
prototyping  rapidprototyping  fabbing  via:preoccupations  3dprinter  crowdsourcing  service  printing  design  3D  publishing  models  prototype  manufacturing  modeling 
july 2008 by robertogreco
howstuffismade.org
"visual encyclopedia that documents the manufacturing processes, labor conditions and environmental impacts involved in the production of contemporary products. It is a free, independent, academic resource published by engineering and design students, who
activism  art  awareness  manufacturing  nataliejeremijenko  engineering  science  politics  globalization  environment  consumerism  consumer  spimes 
may 2008 by robertogreco
BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | 'Free Tibet' flags made in China
"Police in southern China have discovered a factory manufacturing Free Tibet flags, media reports say...Police believe that some may already have been sent overseas, and could appear in Hong Kong during the Olympic torch relay there this week."
china  tibet  politics  manufacturing  capitalism  search  internet  irony  humor  globalization  flags 
april 2008 by robertogreco
From Pixels to Plastic, Matt Webb - O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference 2007
"As the internet sensibility hits the stuff in our homes, our product world is undergoing a massive transformation. But once there, what will we build?" see slides and notes at: http://schulzeandwebb.com/2007/plastic/
mattwebb  etech  technology  presentations  design  web  internet  social  software  interaction  products  physical  objects  networking  fabrication  socialsoftware  interactiondesign  wow  hardware  usability  future  manufacturing  diy  make 
april 2008 by robertogreco
Putting people first » Videos online of Share Festival 2008 conferences
"All videos of conferences at Bruce Sterling curated Share Festival in Turin, Italy, are now online. Aside from Bruce Sterling, exhilarating discussants were Massimo Banzi, Julian Bleecker, Donald Norman and Marcos Novak, to name just a few."
towatch  video  design  manufacturing  donaldnorman  julianbleecker  brucesterling  technology  art  future  robots  intelligence  neuroscience  fabbing  culture 
april 2008 by robertogreco
Near Future Laboratory » Crossing All The Wires: Cultural Engineering and Electrical Theory?
"What was there in design that I could draw from to knit to my history and experience with engineering/technology/art/culture-theory? What would a hybrid, undisciplined design-technology-engineering-art-culture-theory practice look like?"
academia  culture  engineering  design  science  sociology  technology  julianbleecker  make  manufacturing  interdisciplinary  art  research  lcproject  education 
march 2008 by robertogreco
Made in the USA [Metropolis Magazine]
"Contrary to popular belief, American manufacturing jobs haven’t all been shipped over-seas. Utilizing better design and state-of-the-art technology, the sector has actually grown."
us  manufacturing  economics  business  technology  design 
march 2008 by robertogreco
Near Future Laboratory » What Is Manufacturing in the Era of Design-Art-Technology?
"True customization means materializing one’s own designs, one’s own imagination. This is where we begin...emerging practice informally taken up by thoughtful designer-tinkerers...will find greater adoption within more formal & conservative design, en
design  fabbing  manufacturing  technology  prototyping  make  diy  tinkering  engineering  art  julianbleecker 
march 2008 by robertogreco
Locus Online Features: Cory Doctorow: Put Not Your Faith In Ebook Readers
"When Nintendo can't get line-time for the Wii, what hope does a niche item like an e-book reader have?...[until we're all desktop fabberrs] put not your faith in hardware readers — take the easy way out and hack bits, not atoms."
kindle  ebooks  technology  manufacturing  nintendo  wii  literature  reading  corydoctorow  books 
march 2008 by robertogreco
Ten things that won't change (no matter who gets elected) | FP Passport
"America's relationship with China, partisan divide, Dependence on foreign oil, decline in manufacturing jobs, flow of illegal drugs, Military spending, influence of lobbyists, U.S. support for Israel, Ethanol subsidies, The primary system"
china  change  geopolitics  politics  us  elections  2008  policy  history  drugs  military  oil  energy  ethanol  manufacturing  economics  foreign 
february 2008 by robertogreco
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