A Massive Welcome to Steve Almond…
… wandering, Itinerant Product Design Genius, on sabbatical from the UK, and lending his talents to our humble endevour.
An emergent trait of the (emergent) maker movement seems to be a variant of the Digital Gypsy thing… which was made possible by being able to work remotely over the web. (I’ve gone through phases of this myself – setting up for a month in Estonia or Prague (places that are interesting and tech-friendly (ie: free Wifi everywhere) and with cheap rent)(and cheap beer))…
… which is all well and good, but… you wind up spending an awful lot of time doing what you would be doing at home, which is sitting in front of a laptop… and I’ve found that in the time where you’re not, you wind up doing what travelers have been doing since time began, and that’s propping up the corner of some foreign bar.
It’s a bit insular.
The wandering hacker circuit kindof offers a way out of this… as evidenced by Hacker Passports turning up…
Which is a neat idea – get a stamp for each place you visit. Not sure if the passport will be a lasting thing or not… but the “having like-minded people to hook up with anywhere in the world” aspect of it is something I’ve been searching for for years… and it does kindof underline the “embracing of the world” which is one of the central philosphies of the maker movement. It isn’t just digital networking. Physical is a vital part of it. Turning up is 90% of winning.
Now… how The-Wandering-Hacker thing works out economically I don’t know – because one of the things about Digital Gypsydom as practiced by telecommuters, is that it is economically sustainable. Web-Design pays for your contemporary-urban-living-space.
There is a long (well, pre-industrial) history of travelling artisans (the life-blood of The Renaissance)… and I think the key question is: “how can a travelling maker, make money to sustain a travelling habit?”… because if you’re not making money as you go, you’re basically “on holiday”… which is a temporary escape from “work”… and I’m not sure that “work” as we know it (ie: the industrial model) has much of a future. There is a lot more energy, agility and innovation among networks of micro-businesses and freelancers… and although we’re in the worst recession since the 1930s, and in a transitional-phase, which promises to be never-ending… it’s also a more resilient way of operating. In the words of Hugh MacLeod
I don’t have an answer to this… how to “earn as you go”. It’s one of the ways that The Wellington Makerspace differs from other hackerspaces though… we are specifically interested in generating incomes for our people.
And apropos to that, Steve has a background in Product Design, Furniture Design and Industrial Design… and is available for interesting projects in New Zealand, for the next month or so. Get in touch.
His website/portfolio is here, and on it is this:
Which is the coolest thing I have ever seen.
It is simply entitled “C” – and is conceived by artist Andrew Small. Steve did all the CAD/manufacturing/planning designs that made it happen.
It is a sister piece to Second Sun… “marking the end of myth and alluding to scientific measurement”. It is in commemoration of The Venerable Bede who (in his De Ratione Temporum) calculated the correct date for Easter… mentioning in passing that “Easter” is in fact the name of the Germanic instantiation of the Mother/Fertility Goddess. Ishtar to you.
But I digress… When Easter Sunday falls on 4/4, C is in alignment with the sun and the lighthouse
And (as is the way with all good monolyths) is full of stars.
It is made out of 12 tons of mirror-surfaced Indian granite, so will probably last longer than Stonehenge.