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Modding the Pliable Machine: Unpacking the Creative and Social Practice of Upkeep at the Makerspace
Södertörn University, School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies, Media Technology. Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9066-4673
Södertörn University, School of Natural Sciences, Technology and Environmental Studies, Media Technology.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1644-1778
Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2782-9500
2022 (English)In: ACM International Conference Proceeding Series, New York: Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), 2022, p. 220-233Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

As digital fabrication machines have become more accessible and widely available, practitioners in maker communities have become increasingly responsive to the opportunities to achieve bespoke modifications, known colloquially as modding'. Drawing on interviews with five experienced makers who engage in modding a laser cutter, along with ethnographic observations of maker-machine interactions, we analyse makers' experiences and war stories' to frame modding as a prevalent but less explored maker activity. We highlight how makers care for machines, how they cope with risks when engaging in modding, and how mods are essentially creative projects. Based on our findings, we present the conceptualisation of the pliable machine' - a socio-technical system constituted by, (1) an accessible machine that can be altered, (2) maker skills that go beyond intended use, and (3) a surrounding maker culture' of caring, sharing and experimentation. Treating the machine as a material offers an alternative perspective on our interactions with technology; we show how the laser cutter becomes pliable in the hands of those who mod.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
New York: Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), 2022. p. 220-233
Keywords [en]
digital fabrication, laser cutter, maker culture, makerspace, Modding, pliable machine, Creative projects, Creatives, Ethnographic observations, Laser cutters, Social practices, Fabrication
National Category
Computer and Information Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-49618DOI: 10.1145/3527927.3532804Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85133322276ISBN: 9781450393270 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:sh-49618DiVA, id: diva2:1684069
Conference
C&C '22: Creativity and Cognition, Venice, Italy, June 20 - 23, 2022
Available from: 2022-07-21 Created: 2022-07-21 Last updated: 2024-02-02Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Makers, Materials and Machines: Understanding Experience and Situated Embodied Practice in the Makerspace
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Makers, Materials and Machines: Understanding Experience and Situated Embodied Practice in the Makerspace
2022 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis explores interaction between humans, materials, and machines, in the context of makerspaces. The concept of making describes a practice that deals with new technologies in combination with craft to create artifacts in physical, digital and hybrid forms. Despite substantial research, there is still a need to examine what practices of making have to offer to Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) research. This particularly concerns investigations of the close relations between the multitudes of different activities, materials, machines and things in such shared spaces.

Making is discussed as a practice of importance for interaction design and conceptualised as involving a particular mindset when engaging with materials and machines. Based on this, my work argues that the phenomenon calls for a deeper reflection on recent movements on material interaction and materiality on the one hand, and perspectives on machine interactions on the other. I explore how situated and embodied practices can be revealed in investigations of makerspace activities. Further, my work describes how makers experience and make sense of the materials and machines that populate makerspaces. Finally, I map out how insights on experience and practice with machines and materials can be conceptualised in a way that become useful for contemporary interaction design practices.

The presented research builds on four qualitative studies, in which I draw on investigations in the makerspace and combine an ethnographic approach with participant observation, design methods and contextual inquiry. The resulting five collaboratively written papers frame making as an experience in itself and discover particular ways of making sense of materials. Further, we study embodied and situated dimensions of 3D printing, as well as practices concerning modding and the maintenance of machines and explore how practitioners may develop a maker mindset. The papers contribute with a set of conceptualisations such as “material literacy” when taking artifacts apart, “machine sensibility”, which practitioners show in their interaction with 3D printing, and the “pliable machine” that emerged from studying modding of a laser cutter. These conceptualizations highlight new aspects and perspectives of maker activities and interactions previously less accounted for.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Computer & Systems Sciences, Stockholm University, 2022. p. 116
Series
Södertörn Doctoral Dissertations, ISSN 1652-7399 ; 208
Series
DSV report series, ISSN 1101-8526 ; 22-003
Keywords
HCI, making, materials, machines, experience, makerspace, situated practice, embodied interaction, material interaction, maker culture, material turn, digital fabrication, material literacy, machine sensibility, pliable machine
National Category
Information Systems, Social aspects Human Aspects of ICT
Research subject
Baltic and East European studies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:sh:diva-49972 (URN)978-91-7911-998-0 (ISBN)978-91-7911-999-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2022-10-21, Lilla hörsalen, NOD-huset, Borgarfjordsgatan 12, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
The Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies
Available from: 2022-09-29 Created: 2022-09-29 Last updated: 2022-09-29Bibliographically approved

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Landwehr Sydow, SophieJonsson, MartinTholander, Jakob

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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • harvard-anglia-ruskin-university
  • apa-old-doi-prefix.csl
  • sodertorns-hogskola-harvard.csl
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  • Other style
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  • de-DE
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