Friday, December 04, 2009

Public Craft

The next Open Source Embroidery project will be a book. Exactly what kind of book and how it will be published is still up for discussion. But it will be somewhere between a reader and source book of craft and code.

For newcomers to this blog - the Open Source Embroidery (OSE) project investigates how the open source software development model has been incorporated into the language of cultural participation. Tracing the history of craft and code from Ada Lovelace's notes on the Jaquard Loom and the Analytical Engine, to contemporary networked creativity using fabric and coded threads. ... However, there is still a gap between the 'theorists' and the 'practitioners' within the wider field. And I think there is a need for an accessible and rigorous publication bringing together key texts, new writing, and visual pages of art, craft and code.

A primary aim of the OSE project has been to make material the often invisible processes of digital networks and code. So it is important that the book exists as a coherent physical publication - as well as having some kind of open online publishing format. The urgent need for a critical enquiry might lead us to keep the texts as a permanent component, whilst enabling the visual pages to be selected.

I've just started to read Richard Sennett's The Craftsman where he describes Linux "a public craft"(Sennet, 2009, p24). His investigation into the relationship between technical and conceptual development in the process of making seems to make the OSE book a timely proposition. Unfortunately several of the books' reviews get bogged down in the argument as to whether Wikipedia is any good, and miss the point about the public ownership of craft skills, and the social networks which support both tradition and innovation. I can recommend Roger Scruton's review in The Times.

Watch this space for further info. We'll be sending out a call for contributions in early 2010.

1 comment:

Max the Lobster said...

count me in! if possible