#5. Blog Post

I love that everyone in this class is so passionate about their responses to our readings. I don’t want to beat a dead horse, but I find myself continuing to think about our discussion of writers as makers, because we didn’t touch on a potentially key aspect of writing: coauthorship. If we include community as a central tenet of making, then I understand why writing – a typically solitary activity – is not a part of making, but if one is working as a writing team, then I see no reason why writing shouldn’t be considered making at that point. Perhaps I’m biased because of my history working as a co-author with my theater group, but if making can be broken down into the equation “community + creation,” then a work that was collaborated on by multiple authors seems to fit the scope of what making is.

Our first “reading” this week was a video of Dr. Chuck interviewing Massimo Banzi, one of the inventors of Arduino. In this video, Banzi gives a brief history of the Arduino project, explaining how it went from a tool students manufactured themselves to a pre-manufactured product. Banzi also describes the early marketing of Arduino, mentioning that word of the product spread by users posting their finished projects online with instructions and details. He concludes by saying that he believes people (especially children) should know how to design objects from the very beginning of the creation process, not simply from the steps a premade app may show them. That conclusion is the most important part of this video, in my opinion. While adding a few minor details to a product to “customize” it can be fun, I would agree that getting to choose the color of an otherwise prefabricated product does not compare to building the product oneself from the ground up. A person who added those custom details may still feel the pride that comes with making when they see that object, though, and I would not want to make anyone feel ashamed of something they created, regardless of how much “original” work they did. I suppose this outlining of fully creating vs following pre-determined steps lends itself to our discussion from last week of what constitutes making – can we define the events that happen at studios like “Painting With A Twist” as making?

Our other “reading” for the week was a video featuring Becky Stern from the Make: YouTube channel in which she teaches one how to use the LilyPad Arduino controller. Stern shows off all the steps necessary to get an LED to blink on a piece of fabric, from assembling the components to sewing on the pieces with conductive thread to writing the program and uploading it to the LilyPad. While I thought the process was interesting, I have to admit that I don’t see how the LilyPad is practical for wearables. Does one have to sew another piece of fabric over the controller to hide it, or can it be on the back of the fabric while the LED is on the front? Would that cross the circuits like Stern was telling us not to do? I think I need to browse for some LilyPad products to see how this controller is used in the field to understand it better.

Finally, we were supposed to browse Instructables for Arduino projects, and I have included a few links below for future reference.

Harry Potter Sorting Hat

LED Script

Arduino Morse Decoder

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3 thoughts on “#5. Blog Post

  1. I myself keep beating the proverbial dead horse, with this idea of what qualifies as making. I really enjoy the definition of making as a combination of community + creation, and I completely agree that co-authored work is an act of making. However, I want to challenge your notion of “solitary writing” as not being an act of making. While it is true that written material may have a single author listed as the maker/creator, I would argue that the work was not truly completed alone. In almost every case of published work, there is an editor who reads the material and makes corrections, as well as suggestions. Writers often share their first few drafts with trusted readers, sometimes prior to an editor seeing the work. Many writings converse about their work with other writers, or non-writers, as a way of working through problems in the writing process. Finally, even if you discount all the previous potential instances of community/”collaboration”, there are the readers of the work. YA writer John Green is fond of saying that “books belong to their readers”; in a way solitary work does have a community – the readers who care about the work. Community (editors, readers) + creation (written content, co-authored or solitary) = making.

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    1. I totally agree! I personally view writing as making regardless of co-authorship, but I was compromising with the beliefs put forth by this week’s readings. I’d use your arguments to counter the idea that solitary writing isn’t making, though!

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