The Wooden Wheel

Digital making and craft captures a creative process. This process has evolved over many years to lead us to the digital age we have today.

Originally, before industrial culture, everything was made by hand. Almost impossible for us to imagine these days, when we have almost everything at our fingertips. Production was artisanal, there was not usually a direct correlation between what could be imagined and what could be created.

Fast forward to industrial culture, which still held sharp boundaries between conception and production. This often involved an assembly line, and the mass production of objects.  Most likely, your parents grew up in this era; the one that came before the internet.

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Unimaginable to us, Millennials/Gen Y, is a time where the internet was non-existent. I mean, sure, we lived through dial-up internet where you had to make sure no one was using the home phone. And sure, we “suffered” through the time when smart phones didn’t exist and mobile phones were simply for calling, texting, and to play ‘bounce‘. But what about before any of this existed. Could you imagine not being able to contact someone unless via letter, or on the home phone?

However, impossible that may be, the real point of this post is to focus on the craft, and the digital making process that has simplified it for us. Digitalisation has dissolved the boundaries between what we can imagine and what we can actually create. Production is determined by the logical of mass customisation. We are no longer worried about ‘one size fits all’, but more, ‘one size that can be easily adapted to properly account for everyone individually’.

Without touching on too many distinct and difficult terms, present day digital aesthetics focus on a few main elements.

Rapid prototyping, think about making a truck load of memes and posting the two best. Digital allows for the constant ability to create many versions before the final one.

Experimentation, that is, you are able to create whatever you like, in whatever way you please. You can fail numerous times before you succeed.

Error discovery, you can make mistakes many times over, before you reach the conclusion of how you will create something, and what you will create!

Modification leading to unexpected outcomes, this is almost like adaptability, your openness to constantly be changing and modifying your product or creation. Often, you will go or end up in a direction you did not imagine you would be.

All in all, the digital age has opened up various doors for creativity. But more than that, it has allowed us the ability to actually have the ability to follow through and physically  create what we have imagined. Money is not so much a barrier anymore, the failure of an online meme will not set us financially back, our attempts at making a YouTube account will not leave us too out-of-pocket. Failure does not hold the ramifications it once did.

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This is important, our ability to constantly portray messages and information in unique ways, means individuals are more empowered. Information is consumed in ways, often without the consumer realising just how much of an effect it has on them. We can even recreate something that already exists, and remediate it into something entirely new; all within our digital devices. We hold immense power at our fingertips (literally), and can only hope to utilise this in ways not done before.

So, what are you waiting for? Go create, prototype, fail and succeed!

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