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Day: October 19, 2018

On speculative makerspaces

I’ve been thinking for a while about a conceptual model of makerspaces that will capture the various modalities of technology interaction made possible by such a creative space. On the one hand makerspaces allow the rapid development of established and emergent technology practices, and their framing and normalisaiton into the everyday. On the other, makerspaces foster serendipitous, non-linear, and speculative technological development. This type of makerspace use is interesting, because it allows for speculative experimentation involving the repurposing, hacking, and re-imagining of a technology/object’s context, utility, and user-base. In trying to conceptualise and map these practices I think a makerspace can be mapped as a place simultaneously facilitating processes along two axes: epistemic-ontological, and pragmatic-speculative [see map below].

The multidimensional nature of makerspaces

A makerspace mapped in this way operates simultaneously across four dimensions: epistemological, ontological, pragmatic, and speculative. The first two map to the various vectors of knowledge generation in a makerspace, from surface-level and concerned with operating within an existing technology’s frame, to deep-level and concerned with reframing a technology. The other two dimensions map to the modalities of agency within a makerspace, from pragmatic and outward-facing, focused on quick feedback loops, rapid prototyping, and deliverables, to speculative and inward-facing, focused on serendipitous, non-linear, and speculative examination involving design fiction. In combination, these four dimensions map to four conceptual types of learning/making spaces coexisting within the same makerspace: innovation hub, startup incubator, informal leanring space, speculative making lab.