Journal of peer production on Shared Machine Shops


Reflecting on the real impact of Maker Movement and next steps in the Journal of Peer Production Issue #5:

Despite the marketing clangour of the “maker movement”, shared machine shops are currently “fringe phenomena” since they play a minor role in the production of wealth, knowledge, political consensus and the social organisation of life. Interestingly, however, they also prominently share the core transformations experienced in contemporary capitalism. That is, for the individual: the convergence of work, labour and other aspects of life. Moreover, on a systemic level: the rapid development of algorithmically driven technical systems and their intensifying role in social organisation. Finally, as a corollary: the practical and legitimation crisis of modern institutions, echoed by renewed attempts at self-organisation.

Contribution by various protagonists of the makers’ scene. Here’s the executive summary:

  • Shared Machine Shops are not new.
  • Fab Labs are not about technology.
  • Sharing is not happening.
  • Hackerspaces are not open.
  • Technology is not neutral.
  • Hackerspaces are not solving problems.
  • Fab Labs are not the seeds of a revolution.

Read the issue >>


Exchanging ideas on open fashion and tech at MeshCon: podcasts are online!


How to reap the benefits of participatory production in the textile industry was the topic of the first edition of MeshCon taking place in Berlin last October from 10 to 15, 2014:

We are developing concepts and Free and Open Source technologies for fair and environment friendly production of garments and textiles at home and in the industry. MeshCon Berlin brings together industry representatives, fashion designers, pattern creators, knitters, textile manipulators, FOSS developers and DIY hardware makers. The event offers a place to exchange new ideas in personalized fashion and technologies in the garment production.

I was invited to give a talk, but I couldn’t travel in those days.
I suggest to listen to the recorded files in 13 podcasts of the event, and especially:

Empowering Users through Design – book


I’m happy to announce that, together with Serena Cangiano, I contributed to the book  Empowering Users through Design  – Springer – with a chapter called:
Open Sourcing Wearables: the Impact of Open Technologies and User Engagement in the Design of Body-Borne Interactive Products.

Here’s the Abstract of the chapter:
Wearable technology is the “next big thing” in tech industries. Analysts forecast a consistent growth and this sector is becoming appealing to many corporations. Aim of this chapter is to present the field of wearable technology and to highlight unexplored issues generated by the relation of such technologies with the domain of proprietary versus open source businesses. If wearable technologies sell the promise of an augmented self by providing access to bio data, we can witness the emerging of a contradictory scenario: while we acquire knowledge about our bio-self through body borne devices, we also feed voluntarily a powerful data stream whose commodifcation and, subsequent marketability, represents the core element of the current business models related to internet connected services and social media platforms.

In general the book:

  • Examines the possibility of a new end-user “engagement” in ongoing digital/technological products and services development
  • Employs a cross-disciplinary research approach to explore new user roles and status
  • Analyzes recent initiatives leading to user empowerment to enable people to escape their status as “end-user/customer”

At the crossroads of various disciplines, this collective work examines the possibility of a new end-user “engagement” in ongoing digital/technological products and services development. It provides an overview of recent research specifically focused on the user’s democratic participation and empowerment. It also enables readers to better identify the main opportunities of participatory design, a concept which encourages the blurring of the role between user and designer. This allows people to escape their status as “end-user” and to elevate themselves to the level of creator.

This book explores new avenues for rethinking the processes and practices of corporate innovation in order to cope with current socio-economic and technological changes. In so doing, it aims to help companies renew industrial models that allow them to design and produce new ranges of technological products and services by giving the user an active role in the development process, far beyond the basic role of consumer.

Intended for designers, design researchers and scientists interested in innovation and technology management, this book also provides a valuable resource for professionals involved in technology-based innovation processes.

Thanks to Dr. David Bihanic for inviting to contribute.

Video report di Fashion Goes Interactive


Il video del workshop alla Tinkering Zone del Museo della Scienza e della Tecnica di Milano.
che si e’ tenuto l’8 novembre 2014, in collaborazione con Henkel. Spunti, riflessioni e idee nel video reportage realizzato durante la giornata. Contributi di Zoe Romano, Cristina Tajani, Maria Xanthoudaki e Maria Grazia Mattei.