Creative Industries Convention 2011

Open Design

CIS.doc # 04

Armin Medosch Cory Doctorow Manfred Faßler Lev Manovich Paul Atkinson Gerin Trautenberger Hannes Walter

Yochai Benkler Georg Russegger Ronen Kadushin White Elephant Garmz Patick Dax Evan Jones

Markus Beckedahl Andrea Goetzke Bre Pettis Mark Frauenfelder Ponoko Wienett Peter Troxler


7 8 3 9 0 2

7 4 8 0 3 4

Kiss#2: Collage of 340 pictures under CC-by license (page 21) Artist: Evan Jones

Creative Industries Convention 2011


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Creative Industries Convention 2011


Contents/ Theory
page 16

Contents / Practice
page 04

Introduction Eberhard Schrempf
page 11

Ronan Kadushin Products in a networked Culture
page 13

page 23, 25, 27

Lev Manovic Who is the Author?
page 18, 20 page 04

Introduction Christian Buchmann
page 06 – 07

Paul Atkinson Ghosts of the Profession
page 22

Open Design Now Why Design cannot Remain Exclusive
page 15

Markus Beckedahl / Andrea Goetzke Creative Commons in open Design
page 29

Bre Pettis The Future of Working At Home
page 31

Open Design
page 10

Gerin Trautenberger Creative Commons Basics
page 24

White Elephant Balloon Light
page 17

Mark Frauenfelder Do it Yourself innovation
page 33

Armin Medosch open Design as a new „Design Culture“
page 12

Hannes Walter Designer and a Little More
page 26

Garmz Crowdsourcing
page 19

Ponoko The Factory of the Future
page 35

Cory Doctorow Love the Machine, Hate the Factory
page 14

Yochai Benkler Today innovation is Coming from All Directions
page 28, 30, 32, 34, 36

Fluid Forms intelligent Design by Means of Creative Coding and open source software
page 21

Wienett Handwerk 3.0
page 37

Manfred Faßler Where is open?

Georg Russegger Aleatory Design Models

Evan Jones How the images Are Created

Peter Troxler The Proliferation of Fab Labs

– Imprint:
Publisher: Creative industries styria GmbH CEo: Eberhard schrempf Marienplatz 1, 8020 Graz, Austria T: +43 316 890 598, E Graz, February 2011 isBn no.: 978-3-902748-03-4 Distribution: Verlag neue Arbeit, 1070 Wien

– Concept of publication:
Gerin Trautenberger & Patrick Dax, Microgiants GmbH Andreas Hirsch, Project Management: Barbara Tscherne Translations: otmar Lichtenwörther Proofreading: otmar Lichtenwörther Graphic Design: moodley brand identity Print: Medienfabrik Graz

This publication is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Austria License. To view a copy of this license, visit


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Medienfabrik Graz Dreihackengasse 20, 8020 Graz Telefon: +43 (0) 316 8095-0

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Eberhard schrempf

Christian Buchmann

Nothing has changed the role of the designer as radically as the digitization of the technological and communicative interfaces. Not even twenty years ago the designer was only responsible for shaping a product or for the graphic design/illustration of an entire magazine. The rest of the process – from the initial idea to distriMore economic growth through innovation takes center stage in our new economic strategy “Steiermark Open design is indeed one of the most radical developments in the field of the creative economy. This radical innovation is an important source of inspiration for both economy and society and it facilitates the further development of traditional businesses and economic sectors. Thus not only modern and communicative entrepreneurs benefit from this innovation but, in the long run, traditional business too profits from the changed economic environment. The creative industry is regarded as a forerunner when it comes to using technological innovation and it is a pathfinder for fundamental social changes. These changes encompass all areas of life and are by no means restricted to the creative sector. The paradigm shift that has been accelerated by digitization and digital communication is no longer a science-fiction story but is already happening. Today we are still witnessing the beginnings of these fundamental changes and can thus determine the direction these developments should take. Just like in the times of the invention of the printing press even the most brave forward thinkers cannot foresee the further development of the phone, the Internet and social networks. Open design promises a lot and it is necessary to have a close look at these promises. What we aim for is examining open design with its possible future potential in mind and sounding it out with regard to potential fields of application for designers, but also for entrepreneurs and consumers. Hence keeping track of these new developments and giving possible stimuli for new innovation is of great interest for the Provincial Government of Styria. Hence open design is a current development within the creative economy that is to encourage open collaboration among creative minds and the exchange of ideas. Moreover, open design holds the potential for the Styrian creative economy to open up new perspectives and market opportunities both right here, at the business Thus this open design initiative by the Creative Industries Styria is a useful supplement to the strategic guidelines of the Provincial Government of Styria. Open design is a new motivating force for all those who are interested in a future-oriented Styrian economy and thus enabling a closer interlocking of innovation design and economy. 2020”. Only by means of innovation we can generate value creation, growth and jobs in Styria. In the frame of the new economic strategy “Steiermark 2020” the creative economy – as a main crossroads – will be of special importance. What we aim for is to create new jobs by implementing creative ideas. Open design and open source are comparatively young concepts of creation and production. The key question is as follows: What can product, communication and service design as well as fashion and architecture learn from the open source movement? Creative Commons, Linux or the collaborative tools of Web 2.0 show how collaborative working and living can work. In the process innovative forms of work and production are created which are based on exchange at eye level. The traditional boundaries between product, customer and production are disappearing. The Internet doesn’t only facilitate the distribution of digital works but also of construction plans and patterns for material products. bution – was reserved to other specialists. But today the new role of the designer is not only restricted to one single step but ranges from the strategic product decision and the design process right up to product or customer communication.

location of Styria, and beyond Styria’s borders. In addition, local producers can benefit from open design by means of a wider product range that can be produced at a local level. Since they were founded in 2007 the Creative Industries Styria have been dealing with all new forms of design and the collaboration of designers. Not only collaboration between creative people has been of interest to us but also the collaboration between the Creative Industries Styria and traditional business. In this respect the Creative Industries Styria acts as a source of inspiration making topics of future relevance available for the public at large. The Creative Industries Styria will deal thoroughly with subjects such as Creative Commons, open source and open culture as well as the changed role of the designer in a digitized value-adding process. The Convention 2010 on the subject of „Designing the Creative Societies of the Future“ with the controversial theorist, writer and blogger Cory Doctorow as keynote speaker opened up thematic fields we can use as a starting point in 2011, for both our Convention and this CIS.doc on the subject of open design. On the occasion of the Convention 2011 we examine if open design is more than just a theory – i.e. a novel working method or even an innovative business model.

Open Design
Creative Commons, Linux or the collaborative tools of Web 2.0 show how collaborative working and living can work. Standardized interfaces, the simple exchange of files and communication at eye level between all participants facilitate new forms of working and production for creative people. Today the World Wide Web doesn’t only facilitate the distribution of digital works but also of construction plans, patterns and plans for material products. In the this CIS.doc and on the occasion of the Convention 2011 Creative Industries Styria examines if open design is more than just a theory – i.e. a novel working method or even a new business model.

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Open Design Put to Good Use

which is expressed by one‘s choice of the tools and materials. Last but not least, we could win over Cory Doctorow to allow us to publish his essay “Love the Machine, Hate the Factory” in German language.

In 2010 and, first and foremost, in the Creative Convention in February, CIS emphasized the theme of “Designing the Creative Societies of the Future“. This vol-ume of the CIS.doc series might be seen as a continuation of our topical focus on open source and Creative Commons (CC). Along with up-to-date open design theory it also presents concrete examples and projects which make use of open source and describe collaborative work among creative people. With regard to its content this publication can be divided into two separate fundamental strands. On the one hand it presents examples, applications, tools and models and, on the other, it introduces theoretical approaches and information on open design. The new design of the CIS.doc publication also aims at fulfilling the requirements of additional presentation formats such as iPad and Internet. Beside a theoretical part this reader also provides an overview of the present debate on the subject of open design. In addition to this it also contains a practical part, a cross-section of all current trends and projects using the open design method in their day-today work. Moreover, our open design publication consists of four thematic blocks. The first block of articles (Manovich, Faßler, Walter, Russegger, Benkler) aims at ex-plaining altered processes with regard to authorship and the paradigm shifts related to this. Collaboration on the Internet requires new skills from all participants and entails clear consequences with respect to authorship, rights of use and sharing of works. Open source software and Creative Commons are attempts to simplify communication among creative people and to respond to present-day requirements by means of technological and socio-cultural changes. These multifaceted aspects are examined in the second block of articles. The contributions written by Medosch, Troxler, Trautenberger, Fluid Forms, Beckedahl/Götzke describe ideas and the use of open design at work as well as the newly cre-ated aesthetical forms of expression for designers. Open design and open source are not only tools and methods but have brought forth a clear and recognizable aesthetics,


Gerin Trautenberger The third block, with contributions by Frauenfelder, Kadushin, White Elephant and presentations of wienett, garmz (fashion), crowdsourcing as a business model, Ponoko and Bre Pettis from Makerbot, and Evan’s graphic work, deals with projects and the tools and methods employed in open design, and introduces select Good Practice examples. These examples illustrate the bandwidth of the topic with contributions ranging from concrete application examples to business cases and discussions of various other aspects of open design. The fourth Part shows two examples where open design is used by designers. The Hackchair by Ronen Kadushin and the Balloon-lamp by White-Elephant are published under creative commence license (cc-by-sa) and can be used free by everyone. This publication is meant to be the description of and a starting point for a new development which is still in its infancy today. The examples, theories and projects described herein still have to be negotiated and do not claim to be exhaustive or finalized. For these reasons we placed a great deal of value on inclusiveness when we selected authors, examples and projects and thus avoided exclusion.

Gerin Trautenberger

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Armin Medosch

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BIOGRApHY Armin Medosch is a freelance writer, media artist and theorist who has already participated in many internet projects. since 2007 he has worked on thenextlayer, a collaborative research platform on the subjects of art, politics, open mind and open source software.


Armin Medosch
and 1968, such basic approaches to a new design culture were developed at the ulm School of Design. Initially,

Ronen Kadushin
photo: Ronen Kasushin, Vague chair

BIOGRApHY Ronen Kadushin is an israeli designer and design educator living in Berlin since 2005. He developed the open design method, where the designs of his products can be downloaded, copied, modified and produced, much as in open source software.

In today’s market-driven culture, industrial designers commit themselves to producers in order to realize their creativity. Producers, with the power to control all aspects of a product, are the gatekeepers of design creativity, deciding what and how products are

This term has no fixed meaning yet. Open design is a concept, a proposal. On the analogy of open source software this could mean: Give us insight into building plans and construction principles so that a new collaborative design culture can emerge. Moreover, open source also means removing the barrier between consumers and producers. What motivates open source programmers is the fact that they use the jointly created programs themselves too. Thus the product “software” turns into a process shared by many – the programmers but also the testers, the authors of bug reports and manuals, in short, the entire lively community. In line with this open design might mean to free oneself from the notion of the product as an already finalized thing and to see design as an open-ended process. Already 40 to 50 years ago, between 1955

the ulm School adhered to the Bauhaus principle of the “Gute Form” (i.e. good form or good design), which expresses an object’s function. Yet from 1957 a new team under the direction of Tomás Maldonado from Argentina pursued a more modern and more radical program. As Maldonado’s colleague Gui Bonsiepe analyzed in a book which was published a few years ago, artistic creativity was not supposed to simply accept the existing world of products uncritically but to keep an eye on the bigger picture. What was called for was “social imagination”. Industrially produced objects are a product of social relationships and create themselves social relationships again. Instead of modifying the outward appearance of a given product design can contain a social outline. Defined like this, open design questions the context a product is embedded in. Which raw materials are required? Which working procedures with which machines, which hierarchies and chains of command? How are the people involved in the process? And how do we eventually get rid of the produced things without any negative environmental impact? Of


“ ”

available to consumers. This situation begins in Industrial design education systems that train designers to integrate into an industrial production scenario and accept that producers have the right to regulate design and indoctrinate their set of values and ends. Fresh approaches and radical views are marginalized as they do not conform with the dogmas of the Church of Industrial Design. But other creative fields that found their products in phase with the realities of the Internet and information technology (fields such as music, communication design, animation photography, text, etc.) are experiencing an unprecedented flood of freely available creative content. Industries that once dominated these fields and have not adapted to this reality are quickly becoming redundant. Designing and producing with this method have an effect not only on the characteristics of the object itself, but also on its modification possibilities and transformation potentials into other products. It suggests a new model for an unbiased marketplace for all to take part. And it empowers the designer to freely pursue creative expressions, realize them as industrially repeatable products and have the ability to globally distribute design.The presentation will be accompanied by a product making demonstration. Enter the open source method, one that revolutionized the software industry, created a viable economy, and gave birth to a flourishing social movement that is community-minded, highly creative and inclusive. A revolution in product development, production and distribution is imminent due to the Internet’s disruptive nature and the easy access to CNC machines. Open design is a proposal to make this happen. It’s aim is to shift Industrial Design to become relevant in a globally networked information society.

Armin Medosch

course, it would mean to overtax them to make the designers alone responsible for all these considerations. Maldonado and Bonsiepe saw them as team workers who moderate the processes. Their dictum was not to put up with what was given but to “create unrest”. In this sense open design is a commitment to change the world. Back then the ulm School of Design failed due to the narrow-mindedness of the funding authorities. Today both the technological and the social framework are much more favorable for the realization of such a program.

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Cory Doctorow

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open Design now

BIOGRApHY Cory Doctorow is a Canadian blogger, journalist, and science fiction author who serves as co-editor of the blog Boing Boing. He is an activist in favour of liberalising copyright laws and a proponent of the Creative Commons.

photo: Joi ito, Creative Commons Attribution 3.0

RElATED lINKS wiki/steampunk

Cory Doctorow
cally every industry saw massive increases in productivity thanks to their work. But all this gain was not without cost. The “unscientific” worker personally worked on several tricky stages of manufacture, often seeing a project through from raw materials to finished product. day could take it easy without holding up a production line. On good days, the work could fly past without creating traffic jams farther down the line. For every gain in efficiency, scientific management exacted a cost in self-determination, personal dignity, and a worker’s connection with what he or she produced. For me, the biggest appeal of steampunk is that it exalts the machine

Open Design Now
The book open Design now – Why Design Cannot Remain Exclusive documents the current state of open design from a variety of perspectives—art history, information and design research, business and legal, arts and design, education, and political science. Open design as the collaborative creation of artifacts by a dispersed group of otherwise unrelated individuals has been growing since the nineteen sixties and since then the Cult of the Connoisseur or specialist has had to give way to the Cult of the Amateur - those who know themselves what is best for them. Open design builds on generative principles that include major features such as open access, reconfigurability and reproducibility, and cover all four aspects of design: object, process, practice and infrastructure. Parts of this infrastructure are copyright tools, ensuring the four freedoms of open source (use, study, redistribution of copies and of modifications), manufacturing tools like the self replicating MakerBots, and fabrication laboratories as places for making and sharing that become the libraries of open design. Designers are starting to adopt open design practices for themselves. The position of design literacy is changing when confronted with digital tools and media. Yet collaborative work combined with individual autonomy, as in open source software development, has not been common practice in design. Current educational models need to be reformulated to reflect the flexibility, openness, and continuous development of open design.

Open Design Now – Why Design Cannot Remain Exclusive. A book by Creative Commons netherlands, Premsela und Waag society. With articles amongst others from Paul Atkinson, Michel Avital, Caroline Hummels, Ronen Kadushin, Andrew Katz, Joris Laarman, Bert Mulder, Jost smiers, Pieter Marleen stikker, John Thakara, Peter Troxler; Bis publishers, Amsterdam. Pictures from Peter Troxler

We’ve heard a lot about how scary the industrialrevolution was — the dislocations it wrought on the agrarian population of the early 19th century were wrenching and terrible, and the revolution was a bloody one. From that time, we have the word Luddite, referring to uprisings against the machines that were undoing ancient ways of living and working. But the troubles of the 1810s were only the beginning. By the end of the century, the workplace was changing again. Workers who’d once again found their lives being dramatically remade by the forces of capital, through a process called “scientific management.” Scientific management (which was also called Taylorism, for its most prominent advocate, Frederick Winslow Taylor) was built around the idea of reducing a manufacturing process to a series of optimized simple steps, creating an assembly line where workers were just part of the machine.



and disparages the mechanization of human creativity (the motto of the excellent and free SteamPunk Magazine is “Love the Machine, Hate the Factory”). It celebrates the elaborate inventions of the scientifically managed enterprise, but imagines those machines coming from individuals who are their own masters. Steampunk doesn’t rail against efficiency — but it never puts efficiency ahead of self-determination. If you’re going to raise your workbench to spare your back, that’s your decision, not something imposed on you from the top down. Here in the 21st century, this kind of manufacture finally seems in reach: a world of desktop fabbers, low-cost workshops, and communities of helpful, like-minded makers puts utopia in our grasp. “Finally, we’ll be able to work like artisans and produce like an assembly line”.

Open design could also become relevant to other domains. Government projects striving for participation and citizen empowerment could benefit from an open design approach. The world´s bigger problems such as depletion and wasting of natural resources, population growth, consumerism and wide-spread poverty may find novel solutions through open design. Eventually, making itself, being at the core of open design, could become a way of material and conceptual exploration and creation of novel understandings and critical solutions. The consequences of this development are enormous, not only for the design profession. End-users of designed products will have to decide to which extent they want to get involved in the design process, or if they simply want to follow the decisions a designer has made for them. Designers and even more so their clients will have to decide how closed they can keep a design project or if they can retain designing for themselves at all. Open design is happening here and now, and design cannot remain exclusive between the arts, science and the media.

Cory Doctorow

He or she could choose how to sit, which tool Taylor, Henry Ford, and Frank and Lillian Gilbreth used time-motion studies, written logbooks, highspeed photography, and other empirical techniques to find wasted motions, wasted time, and potential logjams in manufacturing processes. Practito use when, and in what order to complete the steps. If it was a sunny day with a fine autumn breeze, the worker could choose to plane the joints and keep the smell of the leaves in the air, sav-ing the lacquer for the next day. Workers who were having a bad

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Manfred Faßler

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White Elephant

BIOGRApHY Manfred Faßler is Professor at the institute for Cultural Anthropology and European Ethnology of Johann Wolfgang Goethe university, Frankfurt am Main. in his research and teaching he mainly deals with the evolution of the media and media-integrated knowledge cultures.

White Elephant

market for a slowly emerging global creative middle class, an open market for patent-free ideas? It seems that this much-trumpeted openness with reThe lamp is suspended in midair; its base turns from a static element into merely a counterweight that prevents the lamp from flying away. If you unplug it, it rises to the ceiling and waits there for someone to use it with its dangling cable. All elements used are easily available in DIY stores or on the Internet. The construction manual is published under a CC:BY-NC-ND license: CONSTRuCTION MANuAL:
1) Open the lampholder and remove the existing cable 2) Cut off 2 meters from the electric cable, remove insulation and clamp it into the lampholder 3) Cut off the felt pen 2 cm under the tip using a saw and remove the core. Cut off its cap 1 cm away from the lower end using a Stanley knife. 4) Stick the piece cut off from the cap through the lower part of the lampholder from inside and also insert the tube of the pen as far as possible until it is clamped force-fit and flush. 7) Place the unit consisting of cable, lampholder and tube centrically arranged in the plug-in sleeve and fix it with duct tape on a durable surface. 8) Generously foam the plug-in sleeve with Pu foam holding the tubing with one hand in order to adjust its position if necessary. 9) A the foam hardens cut off a 2cm piece from the tube coupling and seal it with hot glue. Then drill a small hole on the lower end and hang up the key ring. 10) Let the foam harden overnight and cut off the excess hard material with a Stanley knife on the next day without damaging the cable or the tubing.

Manfred Faßler
RElATED lINKS staff/fassler_home.html

gard to the use of algorithms, product ideas or blueprints has become some kind of design testing market, beta design; or, as a individualistic gesture: first hand openness. A testing market would be convenient and cost-efficient for many, as the actual costs for information products and product information cannot be calculated anyway. Yet one question remains: When does openness close again, when are the FOSS projects (free [without market prices] and open [changeable in use] source) software projects used in economic and professional life? Open must be consumable outside the market, it must be creative barter business. Yet how is creativity, and thus design, conceived in this respect? Is the message “Eat as much as you want from the web cake of OPEN, put your copyrights in the dungeon of economic rules of life and enjoy the Schlauraffenland of OPEN”? Or does “open” imply more than the uncontrolled consumption of other people’s chair, cupboard or software visualization ideas, hence coherent and interrelated creativity? If this is the case – and some websites seem to integrate this

dation of the late nineteen eighties and early nineteen nineties backed the imminent open country of networks and at least thought about pioneering, the highly straining act of founding new worlds. It’s still worth reading J.P. Barlow’s “Declaration of Independence in Cyberspace” in order to understand visions of open networks at that time. Where something was going to happen, was evident: right ahead, who knows. And today? That’s why I’m asking once again: Where is OPEN? What is invented, designed and maintained? Do we aim for an aesthetics of change-sensitive openness beside self-organization, a kind of concept or project aesthetics?

5) Pull the cable through the tube and clip the lampholder. Attach the flat plug to its 11) Cautiously pull the balloon over the fini loose end and quickly test it with the shed lamp, inflate it with helium and plug it candle lamp. in – done. 6) Cut off 10cm of aquarium tubing and plug it into the plug-in sleeve together with the unit consisting of cable, lampholder and tube.


Not at all, I hope. After a couple of years in Internet, media and communication research one may ask the following: Where actually, and what actually, is this new country called “Open”? Is it a legend, a paradise, a post-revolutionary utopia, a Serious Game, an office, a fanfold of networked individualism? Renaissance opened up a small door towards well-proportioned aesthetics. Who walked through it, entered the civil society. Industrial design of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century opened the gates of functionality and everybody was taken in by its alleged forms. The Electronic Frontier Foun-

illuminant 40W

lampholder E14


To begin with: There has never

idea –, we need concepts dealing with the material, concrete, practical and theoretical closure of this openness, with the transition from an idea into a product, no matter if it is a community, content or a chair. Project Poïesis must enable project aesthetics.

tube Ø 9mm, slightly tapered (e. g. from felt pen)

been so much openness! Yet this is no answer to our questions. Not even if we refer to participation, interactivity, tit for tat or collaborative work. First and foremost it is about self-commitment. Free access to everything digital and available in the matrix of online/offline is to be arranged and maintained. So is this rather a free

White Elephant was founded by Tobias Kestel in Graz in 2005 and was joined later by Florian Puschmann. The White Elephant DesignLab specializes in the field of Product Design and Experimental Design. Experimentation and Exploration of materials and their excitability by external influences is an important resource of inspiration.

Pu foam

pipe end, plastic or bamboo Ø 40mm aquarium tubing Ø 6mm inside two-core 230V cable plug, Ø approx. 7mm key ring

to be continued on page 32
All pictures from White Elephant under cc-by-sa

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Lev Manovich

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BIOGRApHY RElATED lINKS lev Manovich is a Russian American media theorist, critic and artist. He currently teaches as a professor for visual arts, art and theory of the new media at the university of California, san Diego and at the European Graduate school in saas-Fee, switzerland. His book The Language of new media has been translated into several languages and is commonly regarded as the first comprehensive description and theory of contemporary new media.

Lev Manovich
“The new media culture involves a number of new models of authorship, which all entail different forms of collaboration”, writes the media theorist Lev Manovich in his text “Who is the Author? Sampling/Remixing/Open Source”. But according to Manovich collective authorship is not a specific characteristic of the new media – history teaches us that it has always been the rule rather than the exception. The romantic model of the “lone individual author” only takes up little space in the history of human culture. Yet the new media offer new variations of earlier forms of collaborative authorship. In the wider context of a contemporary cultural economy, says Manovich, it is in the new media – which can be regarded as the avant-garde of the cultural industry – where new models of authorship, new relationships between producers and consumers and new distribution models are tested. Among other things, Manovich refers to the remix as an example for this. Combining, appropriating and rearranging content is something constant and an integrative element of all human culture. Most human cultures, as Manovich writes elsewhere (remixability essay), developed from integrating and modifying forms and styles derived from other cultures. In his highly acclaimed book The LanDigital technologies and the rapid growth of information on the Internet enable new possibilities of collaborative remixes: No matter if designers integrate historical or cultural forms into their work and modify them or if texts are linked with one another in a guage of new Media Manovich recognized modularity as an essential basic principle of the new media. It is the combination of modularity and remixability that brings forth exciting weblog entry – all this follows the same principles, says Manovich: “Both put to practice remixability.”




„Today innovation is coming from all directions“, says law scholar Yochai Benkler elsewhere in this publication. The two fashion startups garmz and useabrand impressively illustrate this thesis. They use new technologies to open up and democratize the selection, production and distribution mechanisms of the fashion industry. It seems that the online platform, which was launched in summer The principle behind this is called crowdsourcing and is used in many other economic sectors too. Here the creativity and the skills of Internet users are integrated into processes that have formerly been reserved to specialists.

2010, touched a nerve with its concept. The uploaded sketches have already been rated more than 30,000 times. By the end of the year garmz had already 6,500 users from more than 200 countries. First products are available in the online shop, which has been available since early December 2010. Along with production and distribution the company also helps its designers organize their online marketing activities in social networks. By means of crowdsourcing concepts garmz might also be able to estimate the demand for different fashion items and thus minimize market risk. “By including the users in the process we can also create stronger ties to both the platform and the brand”, says Klinger. “garmz helps customers realize their requirements and thus even niche products get their market”. Or, as prominently placed on the company’s website: “Good night, fashion industry. Good morning, designers.”

„Fashion shall be no dictatorship“, says useabrand head designer Anna Rihl. She calls her vienna-based startup “Mo-demokratie“ (mo-democracy). users can upload their sketches to the online platform and they are also involved in the decision making process as to what is going to be produced and what not.


perspectives. The new cultural modularity – where cultural objects are designed from discrete samples results in the future possibility of combining cultural objects with one another like Lego bricks regardless of their materiality and medium. While the traditional definition of cultural modularity – as it was used by designers, architects and artists – was restricted to a limited vocabulary, the new modularity does not draw upon a previously defined vocabulary anymore but any cultural object can become a component of another cultural object – hence we will be able to subscribe to modules – in much the same way as we subscribe to RSS feeds today. Remixability is becoming the key feature of a digitally networked media universe. “Concepts such as open innovation or user innovation enable us to involve several parties directly into the creation of an item and thus to see already at an early stage the strengths and weaknesses of a product”, garmz co-founder Andreas Klinger explains. “The designers get feedback already at the design level and can thus bring the product to the market together with the future customers without taking any risk.” The designers present their sketches on the online platform and the users can rate them and comment on them. Then garmz produces first prototypes of selected fashion design. If sufficient demand is apparent, the items go into serial production and are distributed worldwide via the company’s own online shop. Garmz fully assumes the financial risk and the shares the revenues with the designers. While at useabrand the ideas and sketches of the community flow into the label’s collections the startup garmz, which was also founded in vienna, wants to help young designers to take their first steps in the industry.

Lev Manovich


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Paul Atkinson

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Fluid Forms

paul Atkinson is an industrial designer, design historian and design educator. He is currently a Reader in Design at sheffield Hallam university. He has spoken at a number of international conferences around the world and has had articles published in a number of international design journals.

BIOGRApHY Fluid Forms is the result of
its founder’s, Hannes Walter’s, diploma thesis on the subject of creative coding and design interfaces. Together with stephen Williams, who specialized in algorithmic/generative product design and geometrical modeling, he founded Fluid Forms in Graz, Austria, in 2005.

Foto: http://www. in/photostream/

Photo:Stephen Williams and Hannes Walter in front of the “Streets Clock” Fluid Forms

Rapid Prototyped Automake bowl by Justin Marshall

Paul Atkinson

Open Design and post Industrial Manufacturing For most of our history, the design and production of goods have been carried out by individuals, without the requirement for any kind of professional framework or system. In fact, only since the onset of the Industrial Revolution has the design of a product become so divorced from its manufacture and a heavily regulated process of production, distribution and consumption been put in place. As manufacturing technology progressed, and world-wide communication developed, the 20th Century saw huge refinements in the mass-production of goods to a fixed, pre-

Fluid Forms
Our aesthetic feeling experiences natural forms created by evolution as harmonious and enjoyable. The logic behind this can be simulated by program code, which in its turn can be used for product design. In this way a favorable impression is automatically created. makes use of this principle as a starting point for all its products, which manifests itself immediately in a very natural aesthetics. At the same time the source code for the products is made publicly available. Fluid Forms, in turn, uses geodata as a starting point for very individual jewelwork.

determined design and the establishment of complex, global infrastructures to distribute and sell enormous numbers of identical products – a development that significantly changed the world in which we live. Ironically, it is the latest manufacturing and communication technologies that are moving the processes of design and production away from large centralized systems and placing them in the hands of the individual consumer. The latest developments in desktop digital manufacture, especially 3D printing, coupled with the open distribution network of the Internet,


Design: Fluid Forms, Foto: Karin Lernbeiß

is created. First prototypes of chairs which is strongly inspired by nature. In addition to this, the layer structure of 3D printing is actively used as a design element. The source code for this will also be publicly available sooner or later, enabling other designers to pick up the basic logic and use it for their own Over time such software functions will take on more and more complex More and more frequently, program code is becoming the logical material for the definition of three-dimensional shapes. If the code serves its purpose well and is made available to other creative coders, there is a good chance that the latter combine it with additional functions. So a virtual toolbox, so to speak, for various design purposes tasks. Thus some kind of intelligent aesthetics will take shape which gives form to the desired function at the touch of a button. In this respect the designer’s job will be increasingly to work out the right definitions of task and the appropriate framework conditions. whose structure has been automatically created by program code on the basis of its future user’s weight and the desired weight distribution, and which have subsequently been 3D printed, already exist.

Paul Atkinson

mean that there is no longer a need for a design to be made in the thousands to justify the cost of its production, or for that design to be the result of professional design activity.

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ry. This too contributes to an aesthetics

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Paul Atkinson

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Evan Jones

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Evan Jones works in Brisbane, Australia; he completed an honours degree in Mathematics at the university of Queensland. He travelled to Cambridge university on scholarship and completed a PhD in Mathematics and studied Architecture at Kings College. Evan Jones is a talented software engineer and recently he has focused on producing collages from large sets of digital images provided by flickr.
Collage of 200 pictures under CC-by flickr

Paul Atkinson
- What happens when there are no ‘standard’, identical products to purchase? - What happens when the professional designer has little control over the appearance of products? - should professionally mass-produced and nonprofessional, individually designed products be valued differently? - Does the fact that the consumer is involved in the creation of a product detract from or add to its value? I started to explore these questions through running two Post Industrial Manufacturing research projects, Automake and FutureFactories. Both of these systems utilize computer generated random elements and consumer decision-making processes within flexible schemes defined by a designer and a craftsman/ maker. The results have changed the perceptions of consumers towards the products that they create and the processes of design, as well as their perceptions of their own capabilities. The systems not only liberate the designer from the sterile perfection of the manufactured form, but also free the consumer from the dictatorship of owning identical products. Clearly, Post Industrial Manufacturing systems will change the meaning of design. In order to maintain a significant role in the design and production of goods, professional designers will have to lose their egos and change their role from the design of finished products to the creation of systems that will give people the freedom to create high quality designs of their own; systems which free the user from requiring specialist skills in design, yet which produce results retaining the designer’s original intention. The better a particular designer’s system works, the more successful that designer will be. Designers unwilling to change risk becoming ghosts of the profession. In this stage I will typically set restrictions to regions of the target image on how the matches can be made. For example, in some areas I am happy to match larger images with little rotations, while in other areas I may want to
photo: Automake user with printed bowl by Justin Marshall Future Factories Lampadina Mutanta luminaire by Lionel Dean

The boundaries between professional and amateur design (or to put it another way, between designer and user) are quickly being eroded. The bar has been raised from “co-design” and “user-centred design” processes as now, the designer and user are essentially one and the same thing. We are entering a postprofessional era of open design. We are far closer than might be thought to a position where high-quality products, indistinguishable from those produced professionally, can be downloaded, adapted and manufactured by anybody, anywhere, in any material. This not only changes the way we think about design practice and the consumption of design, but the way we need to teach design to future designers.

The first part of the process is to obtain or create a suitable target image. This is the image that I attempt to recreate in the large scale of the collage. It usually takes quite a bit of time and involves trawling image galleries for something suitable. A lot of images simply will not work or not be interesting when reproduced as a collage. I also often look for specific characteristics with which I can test new ideas. After I am happy with the target image, I start matching the component images to the target. I do this using software tools I have been writing for the last couple of years. Essentially the software runs through a large library of potential components and chooses the one that is closest to the underlying image. When I am happy with the matching between components and the target I will then generate the final image. This involves going back the original component images and performing whatever transformation that are required – rotations, scaling, cropping, color tweaks, etc – and then layering them into the final image. Over the years I have written quite a few routines for doing this final rendering so I will ofThis process can take anywhere between a couple of days and a few months to complete, a lot of this is just the computer processing time. For my collages I will run anywhere between a dozen and a hundred matching routines. From a purely logistical level, being able to use the CC licensed images has made the whole project feasible. I would have almost certainly not got nearly as far as I have if I had to rely on my own and friends, images. It is also invaluable from an artistic point of view, because what I can show is not just my work but a synthesis of creativity from hundreds of other artists. I aim to generate synergy, something I consider to be the fundamental goal for this type of work. er rotations and maybe even adjustments to the color channels. These choices affect how closely or loosely the underlying image is reproduced, and on the other hand, how easy it is to view the component image. These sorts of choices allow me to accentuate some areas and make artistic decisions about the final image. Typically I will use between two hundred and six hundred component images to create a collage. These will come from a library of over fifty thousand images from more than four thousand photographers. I developed my library from Flickr images which have been offered under the CC Attribution license. So when I post my collages I also put appropriate acknowledgements to all the artists whose work I have used. ten make ten or twenty images using various different approaches before I am happy with the final result.

Evan Jones


allow for much smaller images, great-

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Gerin Trautenberger

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Gerin Trautenberger,is a trained product and furniture designer and has been working as a designer, writer and curator for net culture projects since 1992. in 2005 he founded the design collective Microgiants. Moreover, he is vice chairman of creativ wirtschaft austria.

Gerin Trautenberger

Markus Beckedahl/ Andrea Goetzke

photos: Markus Beckedahl, Andrea Goetzke

BIOGRApHY Markus Beckedahl is a co-founder of newthinking communications GmbH and as such a consultant on many issues of our digital society and online strategies. in collaboration with Andrea Goetzke, who is responsible for international collabo-rations and works as a copywriter and project manager for newthink-ing, he works on projects such as “re:publica” or “open everything”. Andrea Goetzke works in the field of open source strategies and topics on digital cultural societies. she has managed projects suchs as the series if events “openeverything Berlin” and “all2gethernow” - a discourse on new strategies for a society rich in music and culture.

ExAMPLES The Berlin-based designer Ronen Kadushin is one of the pioneers of open design. Already quite early he experimented with publishing his raw data under a Creative Commons license. This is what motivated him: “It should encourage designers to share their creativity and to create a collection of high quality products.” Thus he shares the objects he designed such as furniture or lamps online under a non-commercial CC license. Owners and users of a laser cutter

The emergence of Creative Commons licenses (CC) and the Creative Commons movement have to be understood as closely related to the massive growth of the Internet and the currently newly developed collaborative forms of work. Digitization and the easy exchange of texts and images mark a paradigm shift with regard to copying and the way we deal with copyrighted works. The creation (Schöpferprinzip, a central principle of German copyright law) of a work is in principle protected by national and international copyright law and does not need any separate registration. What is regulated there, is first and foremost authorship and not the various ways of using a work. usage rights for a work must always be negotiated separately, often with the help of lawyers. These conditions often stand in the way of free, flexible and straightforward communication between creative people. The core of copyright as we know it today is more than 150 years old. Today’s copyright too cannot keep pace with the social and technological developments and needs to be adapted in fundamental ways. For this reason the CC principle was developed in the uSA in 2001. Lawrence Lessig, a law professor at the Stanford Law School, contributed substantially to the implementation of the concept and today it is supported by a broad Creative Commons movement. Only the use of Creative Commons or related software licenses, such as GNu-GPL, facilitates the creation of complex collaborative projects such as LINux or other open source projects. But Creative Commons does not only help create social works of art but is also a tool for working in small groups or on/with the Internet. CC enables the creator of a work to predefine different licensing possibilities on a step-by-step basis. Thus exchanging and using licenses can be simplified significantly – and without any tedious license research or contract negotiations. So everybody can freely use a work, or the licensing rights can be restricted for further usage (see illustration below). Yet CC also provides the possibility to specify the commercial usage of a work.

can manufacture the products using the digital template, e.g. laser In digital design communities Creative Commons licenses were already in use at a rather early stage, e.g. for sharing clip art images, graphics or photos on platforms such as Yet what is really interesting are the first steps out into the material design world of real objects. More and more projects, experiments and examples for how the open source idea can be carried over into the real world can be subsumed under the notion of “open design”. Creative Commons is a uS-based non government organization The CC-BY-NC license grants the right to use for private (non-commercial) purposes if all derivative works are shared under a license identical to the license that governs the original work. If you want to commercially produce the objects, you have to conclude a contract with the designer. RONEN-KADUSHIN.COM/ Yet Kadushin mainly produces and distributes his objects in a conventional manner. Publicly sharing the designs under a CC license is just an additional distribution channel. Along with the creations of other designers his works are available on platforms such as “Movisi – The inspirational furniture store”. The raw designs can be found on his website, but also on platforms such as “flexible stream”. Digital distribution of the designs under a CC license facilitates decentralized production and distribution. Thus the designs can be found in countries where designers otherwise would have never exported their products nor would have advertised for themselves. So if somebody finds a design there and is interested in producing it, he or she can experiment with the design for a start and then possibly agree on jointly producing it with the designer.
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machining them from a steel sheet and manually forming the final product. In this way computer-controlled production technologies and manual work go hand in hand.

Yoichi ito

that has been publishing standardized license texts for copyrighted content since 2001. What is so special about it is the fact that these licenses have meanwhile been adapted to the respective national copyright laws in more than 50 countries and their clauses and freedoms are in force everywhere. The person who takes center stage is the creator, who can grant certain freedoms to use his or her work. With the help of a license kit the creator chooses if the work can be used commercially or non-commercially, if it can be remixed or not and if the same conditions shall apply for the remixes (i.e. any resulting copies or adaptations are also bound by the same licensing agreement) as specified in the copyleft principle from the world of free software. The only condition in all six Creative Commons licenses is the following: The creator must always be named as a source. Free software with its manifold licenses has been the model for the idea of Creative Commons licenses. “All rights reserved” of classic copyright has turned into “Some rights reserved”. So creators can enter their works into a large shared pool of knowledge and creativity, and in the best case scenario, the works can be further processed without any further inquiry and additional agreements.

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Creative Industries Convention 2011 BIOGRAFIE Hannes Walter Due to his childhood experience in his father’s smithy Hannes Walter has always been highly interested in the crafts. As a trained electrical engineer he discovered the possibilities of huge laser-cutting facilities when working as a 3D CAD designer. After working in product development in the footwear industry for a while he studied Media Design. That’s when he joined the real and virtual world to launch As one of the two co-founders and CEo of the company he is responsible for product development and organization. For this reason he is particularly interested in digital production processes and creatively linking up different people and fields of research.

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Hannes Walter
ason a redefinition of these terms might make sense.

photo: Karin Lernbeiß

Markus Beckedahl/ Andrea Goetzke
pAMOYO.COM The Berlin-based label Pamoyo introduces the ideas of open design into the world of fashion. It aims at creating sustainably produced fashion based on public domain patterns and designs. “Live green, look good“ is Pamoyo’s motto, and Pamoyo wants to be more than just a fashion label. “For all those who want to create their own fashion patterns instructions are available as to produce one’s own favourite Pamoyo style; e.g. to breathe new life into the worn-out T-shirt you simply cannot live without” – this is how the makers of the label explain one of their motives. The goal is to build a community of designers and people with a sense of style in general who are interested in the philosophy of openness and sustainability. When they use CC licenses for their patterns the people behind Pamoyo want, among other things, to acknowledge the creative process and make it visible – a process that started out a long time before me, the designer, and still is a long way from completion when I have completed my design. Further activities such as clothing upcycling events shall encourage users to reveal the producers in themselves to a greater extent. Is it the designer’s role to sketch out or deliver finished products or rather to provide help and advice for other people in their aesthetic work and to inspire these people’s own creativity with his or her designs?

Pamoyo also supports the openwear community. Openwear is a platform experimenting with new collaborative and open approaches to both the production and distribution of fashion. For this openwear worded their own license, which is similar to the CC licenses, but in addition aims at establishing an open and collaborative openwear brand. For example, you are obliged to publish a derivative design in the openwear community. This is part of this specific agreement (http:// http://faSoftware and platforms for documentation, sharing and collaborative further development of designs for objects, hardware and fashion are vital tools in the open design process. A lot is still up-and-coming. Such software tools and platforms should, on the one ARDUINO.CC The Arduino project is becoming more and more popular among designers and artists. The platform consists of hardware and software and has been developed further as an open source project since 2001. Its core elements are a simple microcontroller which can be triggered with a rather simple development environment. While the development environment was licensed under the GNu GPL, the hardware design was published under the Creative Commons ShareAlike license, which grants extensive freedom of usage, so that the CAD files can be developed further and shared. Arduino products are extensively used at art schools for creating interactive installations and the hacker community too has quickly accepted the project and contributed its share to its success in recent years. FRITzING.ORG Building on Arduino the Fritzing project at the Fachhochschule Potsdam – university of Applied Sciences is developing software and a community with the help of which users can document and collaboratively develop further prototypes. Moreover, Fritzing is said to facilitate the creation of PCB layouts for professional production. At the same time this platform serves as a possible application scenario for hands-on electronics teaching.
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ible, aesthetically appealing and economically viable. An essential element of such design systems can be found on e.g. or the intuitive and easy-to-use user interfaces. With their help the customers become the co-designers of their individual products. When the program logic, as in the case of, is published under an appropriate Creative Commons license, the open source software and open design cycle comes full circle as this code can also be copied and manipulated ad libitum. As it is all about free production data the democratization of production plays an important role. In the current post-industrial revolution mass production is being replaced by individual production carried out from the living room. This can be done by open source production machines such as, by online services such as or by production networks such as or At the same time platforms such as and shapeways.

hand, enable us to come up with documentation of a plan that facilitates its full reproduction but, on the other, allow for the creation of derivative designs. Last but not least, they should be able to handle authorship issues. (Which change was added by which user?) MAKERBOT.COM The Makerbot project offers another outlook on future trends. The company of the same name produces an opensource rapid prototyping 3D printer. With this device it is possible to produce plastic objects up to maximum dimensions of 10x10x15 cm at affordable prices and thus print out 3D designs in plastic. The Makerbot printers are sold as assembly kits (and they are, by the way, themselves open design products, i.e. they are permanently developed further by a community). A large community of designers has gathered around 3D printing technology who share their designs and further develop the technology. The company-owned platform Thingiverse enables users to publish their documentation and raw data and to collaboratively develop them further.


Within the present economic system no individual designer piece is in demand but rather a product that solves a problem for as many customers as possible. The digital revolution has led to a total virtualization where knowledge about production and forms are created and communicated in the form of CAD data. Let us assume someone wants to publicly share such a CAD file. Thus within a democratized design system – we can safely call it open design – the roles of designer and producer, marketer and customer, blur. For this re-

Already the act of sharing this file makes this evident. Platforms such as, or are online platforms that have been conceived with sharing production files for physical products in mind. If the file is publicly shared under an appropriate license, it can be downloaded and manipulated at pleasure. This is the starting point for collective or evolutionary design where various co-designers – i.e. designers rather in the sense of agents – work on a design and good design prevails automatically as it is more frequently manipulated and improved. As to be seen quite well on, this system leads to mashups of multiple already well-functioning parts. For several reasons CAD files are increasingly being created with program code specifically created for this purpose rather than with full software solutions and the mouse. Depending on the type of coding this form of design is called generative design, parametric design or creative coding. Here the coder is at the same time designer and his or her code does not define any fixed product shape but a large number of possible shapes. The term meta design has been suggested for this space of possibilities, which is for logical reasons defined in a way that each and every shape is functional, produc-

com also offer marketing opportunities for the individually created and possibly even individually produced designs. In this way the boundaries between designer, customer, producer and marketer totally blur. The notion of prosumer, i.e. a term blending ‘producer’ and ‘consumer’ has become common usage for this.


Hannes Walter

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BIOGRApHY Yochai Benkler is a law professor at the Harvard Law school <>. in his book The Wealth of Networks and the essay “Coase‘s Penguin”, among other publications, he deals with questions pertaining to internet production and copyrights.

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Yochai Benkler


Markus Beckedahl/ Andrea Goetzke
photo: by GuTEsTun production Berlin

fold perspectives and modes of expression, in a new form of popular culture.

sume that there is a business model that can put the production of information and cultural goods to good use. This model is based on exclusion and paying for cultural goods. Yet this is far from being the only model. E.g. two thirds of the software industry’s turnovers are generated with services that do not depend on copyrights. In the music business the labels mainly make money with copyrights. Musicians primarily make money with live shows, which have nothing to do with copyrights. When peer-to-peer networks shook the traditional copy system, the record industry fell into crisis. Yet today artists have more possibilities than ever before, they can do what they want and make money with live concerts or develop other business opportunities. The text printed here is an excerpt from a longer interview on the occasion of the ars electronica, Linz, in 2008, which was also published in the ORF Futurezone.

THINGIVERSE.COM The designs on the Thingiverse platform are published under CC licenses. People experiment with new possibilities of 3D printing and the creation of modified and technically improved works is more often than not clearly welcome. The more people deal with a design and check out how an object can be technically improved, the more fully developed a printing template eventually becomes. E.g. already on the homepage you can find the category “Newest Derivatives”. DAIlYDUMp.ORG Another illustrative example for the use of CC licenses for open design in practice comes from a small business in India. The Daily Dump offers composters made of Terracotta, plus plenty of information on the subject of composting. The entire business model, the design of the pots, info material and all sorts of other items used in the business process, such as aprons etc, are publicly available on the Internet under a CC license. Prospective business partners can experiment with the material; if they want to open their own shop and enter a business relationship with Daily Dump, they have to make a contract with the parent company. If this business is successful it can achieve much more than only one single small composting business. So what can be achieved?

* Pots and info material are permanently improved – and thus of the working basis for all people involved * It inspires many people to work in the composting business * It tackles the waste problem in India on a much broader basis Nevertheless there will be still enough work on the local level. But the idea of open design also penetrates further into other communities. OpenDrawCommunity wants to create a shared pool for the creation of etch templates for model railways which can be made available for private use under a Creative Commons license. EN.WIKIpEDIA.ORG/WIKI/FAlAB In contrast to open source software, where everybody can work on a computer at home, the production of design objects always requires materials and in many cases specific tools, from soldering irons and sewing machines to laser cutters and 3D printers. Thus, along with the open design movement, we have also seen the emergence of places where tools can be collaboratively used. In many countries of the world there are meanwhile so called Fab Labs, which make tools for the production of open design objects available. Open Design City in Berlin is one such example.

These examples illustrate that CC licenses are used for different reasons and for different uses in the field of the design of physical objects. Some share their designs in addition to traditional local production, as a source of inspiration for others, to advertise themselves in order to maybe establish new contacts this way etc (as is the case with Ronen Kadushin or the fashion label Pamoyo). Others aim at improving a design by means of collaborative work, as is the case with many designers of 3D printers or Arduino hackers. Design projects that are collaboratively laid out from scratch, like Makerbot perhaps, are not yet that widespread. What we see now are tentative first steps and open design pioneers are drawing additional attention due to a still small market which can easily be kept track of. But more and more young designers are taking the philosophy behind open design, sharing and collaboration, for granted. Open design has come to stay.

In which ways have the new collaborative modes of production changed our culture? Benkler: The pool of people who can actively participate in the production of information and cultural goods has radically widened. The industrial model of information production, which appeared in the nineteenth century, requires a high amount of costs for the production and distribution of cultural goods. Due to increased mobility and broadcasting the distribution opportunities have been extended too. Both the cost and the coverage have increased. Those who had sufficient funding to create an effective production and distribution system could also decide who says what to whom with which authority.

How does this affect the economy? Benkler: Today innovation is coming from all possible directions. Before, innovation came predominantly from enterprises and was market-driven. Today we see that significant innovation comes from the periphery. Wiki, blogging and peer-to-peer software, for example. Today innovation does not only happen within an enterprise or within the frame of the copyright and patent system anymore. It develops from social interaction and collaboration. Thus a new form of competition arises for enterprises. For example, the music industry had to deal with peer-to-peer file sharing. At the same time also many business opportunities arise for enterprises. So Google incorporated Blogger. And Google’s PageRank too defines relevance primarily in terms of what is in-

The Internet has led to an inversion of the funding structure. Today we have a billion people who have the means to produce, store and circulate information. The new productive communities neither need a business model nor proprietary rights to participate in cultural production. This has resulted in mani-

teresting for the people. The new modes of production also question traditional business models, which are based on copyrights. So where do peer production and copyrights tread on each other’s toes? Benkler: Copyrights basically as-


Yochai Bwnkler


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Georg Russegger

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Pre Bettis

Georg Russegger is a software developer, curator, media and communication scholar. As an artist he uses the pseudonym of Grischinka Teufl. He lives and works in Vienna and Tokyo. Currently he is scientific Manager at Kunstuniversität Linz, AT.


BIOGRApHY Bre pettis is an entrepreneur, video blogger and founder of Makerbot industries. Bre is also known for DiY video podcasts for MAKE and for the History Hacker pilot on the History Channel. He is one of the founders of the Brooklyn - based hacker space nYC Resistor.

Georg Russegger
tion dispositions and cultures of interaction, complexity design has now more My idea of design in the given context is one of an artificial process (Poiesis) of conceiving and creating possible realities. But I don’t refer to “artificiality” as opposed to “naturalness” because we cannot make this distinction so easily in a highly complex neural network of invention such as the human brain. According to Herbert A. Simon’s seminal work, engineering, medicine, economy, architecture and art do not deal with necessities but with contingencies, i.e. contexts that operate with the transformation of unlikely things into probabilities hence frequently under conditions of aleatory moments (coincidences). In this short text contribution I am going to focus on the question how things can be (design) with particular reference to the human capabilities and knowledge cultures linked to this, which claim so called openness for themselves. Proceeding on the reality of sociocultural everyday life which is increasingly being negotiated in digitally networked, multi-sensorial codified and computer-centered communicaAlthough this starting point is marked in principle by the linking of human and non-human powers, it manifests a shift in the material relationships,
to be continued on page 30

Bre Pettis
In a interview with cnn, you where talking about democratizing manufacturing - could you describe what you mean by that? Our mission with MakerBot is to bring the tools of manufacturing to the masses. We‘re dedicated to supporting creative people so they can make anything. We got started hacking on 3D printers so that we could afford to have a 3D printer and then we decided to make it so that everyone could have one. Makerbot is a huge success - who is buying this machine? It‘s a mix. It‘s mostly programmers, engineers, tinkering moms and dads, and regular folks that want to live in the future. How do people use it in their business - or do people create new business opportunities by using a MakerBot? Most people use a MakerBot for their own satisfaction and to make the things that they need but there are a bunch of people using a MakerBot in their business. My favorite is when people come up with a pro-

photo: Patrick Dax

than ever become a fundamental and global requirement for humankind. Collaboration models between humans and machines can only be perpetuated within these data and information structures, if access and possibilities of modification and intervention are, as a matter of principle, laid out open for communities and projects, so that the complexity associated to them can be kept manageable and developable in the long run. Computerized and automated systems are increasingly being deployed in order to relate human productivity especially to the fields of invention and design. To achieve this we test, develop and apply smart, i.e. intelligent, clever, ingenious, shrewd, skillful and elegant or resourceful methods, in order to put the complexity around us, which results from computer-assisted operating systems and living environments, to good use in an innovative manner.

Hybrid program consisting of subject culture and modifications of artifacts, collaboratively coupled in project dispositions

photo: scott Beale / Laughing squid

... not bigger than a microwave which can produce everything you need for everyday life – sounds like a science-fiction novel, doesn’t it? But already today we can see what will be taken for granted in many households in the foreseeable future. The replicator of star Trek, which “replicated“ food and everyday consumer goods still was an idealistic thought experiment but the projects that have been underway in the DIY scene for the past three years are bringing us a big step closer to this vision of the future. Founder Bre Pettis describes the idea behind it as follows: “We want to democratize manufacturing ... and therefore we developed the MakerBot self assembling kit ...... it´s about personal manufacturing“. In another interview, which can be found on the Shapeways website, Bre Pettis outlines its differences to the two other comparable projects: “The main difference between a MakerBot Cupcake CNC and a RepRap is how much time it takes to make one. The RepRap project is an academic research project and it can take a few months to gather the materials and then put a RepRap together and then a lot of experimentation to get it to print. The MakerBot CupCake CNC is a kit and can be printing things out after a weekend of assembly with a friend.“ Along with commercially distributing the MakerBot assembly kit, the founders of MakerBot also run a platform for sharing and exchanging 3D designs – Thingiverse. With these projects the idea of independent self-supply has indeed come within reach. You can build your own home manufactory and, in addition, you can deliver commissioned work for others whenever there are surplus time and resources available.

semi-intelligent, multi-sensorially networked and partially automated soft- and hardware agents in media-integrated interaction environments and configurations of information

duct and sell it. I‘ve seen everything from camera accessories to iPod docks. People also use it to make parts for other 3D printers like the RepRap and then sell those parts on eBay. Also, when used in design shops it gets used to make prototypes for mass manufactured things.
Bre Pettis in a conversation with Gerin Trautenberger.

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Georg Russegger

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Mark Frauenfelder

Georg Russegger
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Mark Frauenfelder is a blogger, illustrator, and journalist. He is founder and editor-inchief of MAKE magazine and co-editor of the collaborative weblog Boing Boing.

attention performance, attendance models and collaborative relations between these agents, which no longer can be classified along the lines of the traditional distinction between subject and object. It is in the reproduction of skills rather than in the replication of products where I see the foundations of the abilities which gain significance under the paradigm of open design. Already in 1982 Serge Moscovici noted in this respect that: “manpower is modeled by skills and abilities, by a code that provides it with a leeway to work in a given frame”. In project-related design environments (cf. Flusser 1989, Faßler 1999) this updated open source coding of ability models and working methods is increasingly being transformed in a way that the project participants’ own skills become communicatively, collaboratively and normatively linkable and accessible, in the form of design and production processes, techniques being edited and presented in line with Open Cast objectives. These basically highly dynamic forms of cooperation and co-organization in project communities are arranged by information and design programs in shortterm or medium-term models in order to be concentrated in material contexts. Project sense is always marked as open (changeable, adaptable, etc) in relation to the respective know-how of the project communities and, due to its flexibility, it is the opposite of the standardized production process because it is fueled by heterogeneous skills and techniques of individual project participants. Thus design, form and function (with regard to the design process) cannot be separated from both: technology and medium, the software becomes cultureware in the process. This suggests that we use “open source intelligence” (Stalder, Hirsh; 2002) in form of complexity design and information design based on related knowledge cultures. In this respect the definition of the moddr, who in modification cultures not only modifies and extends existing design models and systems on the basis of computerized design and production environments but also rebuilds and uses them contrary to their initial purposes, takes up an important position in open design prototyping. In the course of the further development of existing generations of technological, What takes center stage in this study is a life form (or form of survival) which I call Smartject. As a hybrid socio-cultural program of bio-neuronally and technologically and medially coupled bodies it makes use of cultural operating systems by applying the method of self-design. This self-design manifests itself in the interactive interconnection of semi-intelligent agents (Smartifacts) and multi-senso-mechatronically coupled programs. So the Smartject by necessity provides new framework conditions and criteria for productivity and life planning which are only over time transformed into conventions and values. Yet these values are not necessarily subject to a logic or causality but more and more come into operation in the form of biographical scenography which must be understood as a view through the eyes of a player on his or her game – a game whose rules can be constantly transformed as required or desired. social and cultural codes existing designs are transformed in such a way that they are transferred into novel versions or variants in the form of a reconfiguration of existing offers. This fundamental formability is an important basis for further development and the creation of dynamic norms and standards. In the recent human design history, which was and still is marked by media evolution, the shift from highly standardized design processes towards normative yet open source systems marks a fundamental paradigm shift in design processes. In this context aleatory moments and situations, which can be cross-read as synonyms for combinatory coincidences and loss of control that goes along with them, the center action is applied in form of a ludic turn within creation processes – which claims a fundamental error-friendliness and dynamics of modification in the production processes of open design as it places its emphasis on playing or experimentalizing – a known innovation strategy but definitely one that has to be revisited in explorations for the future. Here, coincidence plays a more and more important role, as it does in all creative processes. Or, as Klaus Mainzer puts it: “The interplay of contingency and redundancy enables creativity and innovation” (Mainzer, 2007). These randomizers will show if an open design paradigm can set off the artificial introduction of changes of perspective and thus can be used for constructively further developing design processes and exploring the blind spots inherent in them. What is presently necessary for the terminological frame of open design is the following: To design open and collaborative aleatory processes in such a way that maximum accessibility of (in)formation offers are guaranteed, coupled with models of usable complexity, generate globally connectable forms of communication and thus new foundations for innovation.
Georg Russegger

Mark Frauenfelder


Eventually 3D printers will become as commonplace in people‘s homes and offices as laser printers are today. But in the meantime, websites like and are the equivalent

In the last couple of years do-it-yourselfers have gained access to a myriad of new tools and services to help them design, prototype, fund, manufacture, and sell the things they make. Most of these tools and services are free or very inexpensive, and they hint at a future in which individuals and small collectives will offer viable alternatives to mass-produced goods.

of desktop publishing service bureaus. For a small fee you can send your 3D design to and and have them print out a model in plastic, metal, or other material. These service bureaus will also manufacture and sell your product to anyone around the world who wants one. Most of the things that DIYers make are funded out-of-pocket. But

When I went to work in 1985 at Memorex as a disk drive design engineer, I designed components on a drafting table with pencil and paper. In 1986 the company installed a CAD/CAM system, which cost many thousands of dollars per seat with an additional charge for every minute anyone used the software. Today, 3D design programs like Google Sketchup, Blender, and Alibre PE are not only much more powerful than the software I was using 25 years ago, they are much cheaper, too. (Alibre PE is $99 and Google Sketchup and Blender are free.) DIYers are using these programs to design everything from bicycles to chicken coops to model rocket components. And they are sharing their 3D designs on websites like, where other people can download the designs, modify them, and then make their own versions of products using the models. And the tools that they are using to make these objects are getting more powerful and cheaper all the time, too. Do you remember when laser printers, which cost $100 today, used to cost $10,000? A similar thing is happening with manufacturing machines. Low-end laser cutters cost about $7000, compared to $20,000 just a couple of years ago. And 3D printers, such as MakerBot Industries‘ Thing-O-Matic (a rapid prototyping machine that prints out objects in the same kind of plastic that Lego bricks are made of) sell for about $1200.

for more ambitious garage entrepreneurs, websites like Kickstarter. com allow DIYers to post requests for project funding. The next phase in crowdsource funding will be small scale securities markets in which individual investors will share in the profits of financially successful project. And finally, the Web itself has become the great enabler of do-ityourself innovation. It allows communities of interest to communicate with each other, greatly accelerating the evolution of designs of everything from amateur unmanned flying drones to cigar box guitars. The Web also serves as an indexed surplus store where almost anything anyone would want can be found with a simple search. In the 19th century people made most of the things that they used – furniture, clothing, shelter, food. We may see a return to a world where individuals make many of the things they use every day, but be connected to other innovative individuals around the world who help them realize their goals.

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Is this the betrayal of the online

consumption of the living space didn’t get in each other’s way. Design subsisted on these highly prolonged asynchronies which were alien to or remote from each other. Design had his own economy of time, although it depended on the market. Yet precisely this has broken away. So talking about openness without considering the collapse of temporal and perceptive borders is something I definitely cannot relate to.

commons? No. If the creative abundance of inconsistency means a lot to designing web users, they cannot exclusively refer to openness. If they did, some sort of design per contingency or design per click frequency would at best remain. Designers as

ponoko calls itself „your personal factory“ and is a small, but significant manufacturer of three-dimensional products based in Wellington, new Zealand. it gained some considerable media attention because of its unique business model. Ponoko is one of the first manufacturers that uses distributed manufacturing and on-demand manufacturing.

sign is a real but virtual cloud of cognitive capitalism (T. Negri; Y. BoutangMoulier). Hence: How is OPEN? What for? I have nothing against openness beyond or even against traditional hierarchies, institutions and power structures. Even less if it is about online structures, online/offline habitats, neighborly web action, the intelligence of correlations / in correlations. Yet this is exactly what can only very rarely be found on the web pages, forums and blogs on the issue of openness that I have viewed. I guess this continues on all the more than one hundred million websites that call for, present, explain and praise open design, open access, open creativity, open whatever – I wasn’t able to check out all of them. But if openness is linked to creativity, or even any variant of design – thus crosses the borderline between maintenance and moderated access rights – it isn’t first and foremost about market and consumption anymore. Then the inventing and designing subject not only has to differentiate him- or herself from others but also to make his or her design distinctive, one-of-a-kind and eye-catching. And this means: highlight it. So difference as a brand merges into the claim for openness. Possibly, community as a project brand is aimed for within the FOSS structures. Yet this would require community design – not in the fashion of Second Life but with a similar gesture. So the question >WHERE is OPEN?< turns into >HOW is OPEN?<, or into the following question: Who on the Internet shuts the door, for how long and for which people?


clickworkers? It is possible that some We cannot rule out that Open Deof us think along these lines. Yet for me the artistic, creative, aesthetic, poetic and functional decision for a design is not only more than all this. It is something different. It is deliberate and well-justified differentiation from ego-consuming the big web cake. Possibly, using Web 2.0 events and product formats is cool, at least cooler than over-air-conditioned malls and sudorific style shops. But consumption is no design only because design encourages consumption. Thus this phrase doesn’t express any equation. Design is an option, an expectation; design is billions of options and expectations. Of course, any design plays in the world league of promise, and of appearance. As opposed to the big truths and grand narratives that emphasize the >once forever< design stands for >forever for once<, for the moment of use and consumption. And as we deal with a travelling circus here, travelling consumption, the styles are subject to change. Only for this reason can design disappear and reappear in a different shape, or, rarely, turn into a classic, beyond its initial promise of use. No openness can replace this. The singularity of any creation of color, form, function, movement or use is a double agent: it encourages us to consume an offer but, possibly, it is also the vehicle of status advantages within different social strata. What is even more important is the fact that it can evoke changes in our perception or perhaps support socio-political programs such as the architectural ideal of functionalism of the nineteen twenties – light, air and sun. This worked out because the times of the social functions, the designs, and the times of the

photos: ©Ponoko

I guess this won’t work, as taking out products from the open market randomness brings lifetime into play. How can we conceive of design between the poles of offline and online? Design as border-crossing in a collaborative no-man’s-land, or as an intermediary? Which economies of time are thinkable? Real time/lifetime or real time = lifetime or real time plus lifetime, or real time minus lifetime? What looks playful at first is serious web culture. When we read about user generated content today, go in for it and represent it, we are mediators of complex dynamics where collapse is no day-to-day event but the crisis of our concepts of control and design more than apparent. Our web present isn’t marked by openness anymore but by “competing paradigms” (Nina Lilian Etkins). And this competition manifests itself in all those discussions about knowledge, attention deficits, the dumbing-down through the Internet and saving our society (an educated and well-informed society where reflection is encouraged). It’s about interpretative supremacy, patterns of regulation and lead concepts. The battle for the virtual topologies, the political and economical reach, is in full swing, not only since documentation of the cyber attack on nuclear facilities in the Iran, which are run with Siemens software, has been available. And this has a considerable impact on the discussion of the aesthetics and pragmatics of openness.
to be continued on page 34


Not only the starting point of the value chain – such as design and product development – is changed by the digitization and standardization of interfaces but also the end of traditional value creation: production. In the near future traditional manufactories and the production of small series will follow rules of the game which are completely different from today’s rules. The present picture of productive holdings is either marked by the craftsmanship of a family business or specialized departments of medium-sized companies. Within these structures traditional working techniques are passed down from generation to generation or specialized production techniques become the unique selling proposition by means of extensive machine use in order to be able to produce standardized products at low cost. These closed systems work according to their own rules and new innovative production or collaborative working models have a hard time asserting themselves within these structures One project that aims to break this closed cycle is a small startup from New zealand named Ponoko. Ponoko call themselves digital fabricators who want to offer new freedoms to creators, and new possibilities of participation in the design process to buyers.


A creator can use the digital platform to present and sell his designs and cutting plans of a product. Customers who like a product design can pay for the design in the Pomoko online shop and download the files. After successfully downloading the files the customer can have the product manufactured by the producer of his confidence or by Ponoko. Then it is packaged and shipped to the customer. Thus the radical new approach exemplified by Ponoko promises the division of design, payment and production. So a product can be designed in Europe, it is paid via Ponoko in New zealand and it is produced in a local production facility in the united States.


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Consumption has moved to the top of

the list of issues.

wienett is an online marketplace for local handicraft and design products. The platform was founded by Anita Posch and Martina Gruber in 2007. What wienett aims for is selling one-of-a-kind handmade and sustainable products and making them available for the public at large via sales exhibitions.

7. 6.
Only a quick glance on backs of books and into digital archives reveals that we are still looking for a coherent understanding of digital transformations of our everyday life in the information age. The unassuming library in my office alone is filled with design words such as cyberspace, smartmobs, virtual realities, intelligent environments, science of the artificial, visual intelligence, networks, scaled networks, geospaces, evolutionary algorithms, post social time, cultural evolution, artificial intelligence, glocalisation, second modernity, games, e-sports, Space Invaders, homo ludens, screenagers, Interface I, II, III and time and time again media, communication, information, les immateriaux, cyborgs, weblogs, social software, Second Life. We abandon the questions that result in these terms as quickly as we consume the terms and some of their points and learn about them. Above all, what we learn from them, slowly but nevertheless: The world’s experimental cultures cannot be reduced to things, and the latter cannot be reduced to materials and functions. Things are conceived, have programmatic and generative kinship relations to us human beings, and, more recently, they even think, are networked and interactive in a cybernetic sense. Do we have an idea, a concept, or several ideas and concepts that might help us to explain the pressing questions of the present life of our species? No, we are still looking for them. understandably. For 40 years of digital media stand against 4,000 years of analog explanations of God and the world, hence 1% against 99%. Pointing out that nowadays not only a small bunch of wise guys but billions of clever friends participate can be well justified though but this is also where the difficulties actually begin, as these friends have no common home, no common city, no permanent territory. The digital classical age begins with the end of the Neolithic Period. Moreover, the friends, fans and communities are no displaced people but fall in the categories of nomads, driven people, experimental people, developers or beta testers. How can we speak of culture, of social systems, when there is no final test, no guarantee that it works and no permanent functional dependencies? So what are we talking about when talking about design?

Linguistic help to describe this

What I want to propose is to eventually talk about what’s happening: about consumption, about experimental consumption, about converging consumption and performance-enhancing consumption. It’s not noble lounge or seminar room reflection that calls for the slowdown and selection of information streams but the consuming body: it is the biochemistry of perception, of fun, of sensomotorics, of recognition, of the dull or electrifying thought. In this case switching from communication to consumption means taking altered conditions of context seriously. What takes center stage is learning & selective consumption. This covers the consumption of data, information, images and communities. Learning is a change of behavioral possibilities that outlasts time. It is initiated by experience and observation, use and reflection. It won’t be immediately and easily make sense to everyone to hear of the consumption of informational group life. But for a couple of years already the problem hasn’t only been about data, image, film and information streams that people expose themselves recklessly to. Meanwhile it seems that communities and content networks represent a hazard similar to the immense volumes of data. We are talking about content overload (Steve Hardagon), content overdose (Rob Blatt), or social network overdose. In the context of the social media hype we are talking of overload caused by social networks, of an overdose of relationships. Who would have thought five years ago that at some point in the future an overdose of the social is brought forward as criticism of digital changes of the world as we know it? Overdose? Wasn’t the social of the past centuries
to be continued on page 36

was provided by Alvin Toffler, with “prosumer”, hence the merging of “producer” and “consumer”. In his book The Third Wave (1980) he responded with this term to the end of serial mass production seeing the emergence of a stronger product and market power of the consumer. In recent years a successor of this neologism emerged – the “produser”, a combination of “producer” and “user”. This is a response to the creative and collaborative participation required in user-controlled projects. In these projects information is not only disseminated but it is provided with semantic markers. Content is created, information and content is collected. They provide the structural frame for the intertemporal consumption of information. This can be found in the fields of open source software, computer games, file sharing, video hosting, photo sharing, platforms such as Flickr, Wikipedia and real-time sharing. Although different in focus they nevertheless build upon a small number of universal basic principles. This directs our attention to different formats of information transformation and links up questions pertaining consumption to the product and its production. The concept underlying this assumes that information consumption is commons-based, that it consists of peer-to-peer relations and that innovation is guaranteed by creative commons. This comes close to the model of endogenous growth as proposed by the Portuguese economist Sérgio Rebelo in 1991 but won’t take us any further forward if we want to find an answer to the following question: What kind of correlations are we talking about when talking about information-based human lifestyles?

wienett was founded as an online marketplace for handicraft and design created by small businesses. More than three years ago, its two founders, Anita Posch und Martina Gruber, had the idea to create a sales platform for local products. What wienett aims for is selling one-of-a-kind handmade and sustainable products and making them available for the public at large via sales exhibitions. At the same time wienett is a community of small businesses and creative people who jointly run and further develop the online platform. - Production in the region - Fair working conditions - Ecological aspects - Products that last - Handicraft products, i.e. handmade products - Guarantee the continued existence of the small businesses

photo: susanne Jakszus

We, the wienett team, coined the term HANDWERK 3.0 in the frame of a project and as the title of a sales exhibition in summer 2009. What we mean with HANDWERK 3.0 is the renaissance of crafts among the ‘neue Selbstständige’ (i.e. the new self-employed, a term that only applies to Austria) and entrepreneurs. These include crafts such as bookbinding, shoe making, jewelry design, textile and furniture design etc. HANDWERK 3.0 demands independent and high quality design, product sustainability and ethical manufacture. 3.0 refers to the appreciation of work as we claim it. It must be self-determined and positive, and it must create values – for the producers too. Thus we ask for the end of the exploitation of all the people working self-employed, not only of those who work in the creative field. Entrepreneurs create jobs, creativity derives from diversity. 3.0 also stands for innovation within the crafts –and

On the basis of our experiences with wienett and in collaboration with a large number of small-scale producers we created the manifesto Handwerk 3.0 for the wienett platform in summer 2009.

What lasts longer is what counts for us. In the wienett online shop you find a large selection of sustainably produced products from the region. Neither people nor the environment have been exploited for the products we bring to market. This is what we consider important.


here, first and foremost, for the further development of existing and available manual skills by means of fresh approaches and with a focus on their actual application. In this respect we remove creations and products from their traditionally known contexts and newly interpret and develop them (as prototypes). The final result is, ideally, a new, marketable, individual and local product.

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photo: © innoC

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Manfred Faßler


photo: Light bottles

Has this still anything to do with

culture, economy and society, with politics and the public? If yes, in which sense? If no, is there any change we can embrace? If no again: What drives us? Which rules do we follow? Or are the rules only options anymore, shouts from the sewer or from the roadside? And which options do we support? In 2005 Michel Bauwens addressed this issue in his book Peer to Peer and Human Evolution, thus discussing what he called integral processes of information use. The gist of it: Leave off all attitudes of observation from the outside. In 2006 Chris Anderson published The Long Tail, which was subtitled How Endless Choice is Creating unlimited Demand. Both approaches shifted our attention to processes whose formats are unclear or not yet existing. In a way as if the consumption of information created the information economy, which in its turn, creates the consumption of information, one could speak of integral consumption and of “intertemporal consumption” (A. Stobbe 1991). This new format of consumption contradicts the classic theory of the preservation of the current working power – as productive consumption was formulated from John Stuart Mill to Karl Marx. Thus neither management scientists nor socialists got themselves into this so far. The idea behind the term “intertemporal consumption“, as used by Stobbe and others, is a decision to save up money and accrue interest. Hence we deal with a rational individual decision. Future production and distribution shall be influenced. Yet this term can also be used in a different sense, i.e. as consumption without a clear goal in mind, as random or networked consumption. For this, consumption can be translated from the individual decision into a network or group decision. This might not make sense to everyone: group consumption. In this way the intertemporal, preparative consumption could be translated into interactive consumption. Possibly, this wording contradicts our commonsensical feeling for language, as we are used to understand consumption exclusively on an individual or microeconomical level. Interactive consumption focuses on networking and puts the individual’s satisfaction on the waiting list. Thus we have achieved a threefold definition of consumption: As unintentional storing of future possibilities, as current preservation of the working power and adaptation to given conditions, and as the production and maintenance of interactive group processes.

the Holy Grail of modernity, which is being invoked now to save what can still be saved? Hence, no OPENNESS but conventional CLOSEDNESS? And what should this be? And how can OPEN COMMuNITY DESIGN position itself in this matter? What we hear from the direction of digital communities are proposals that only relate to the communities themselves – which is logical. A little bit of technological assistance is added to the content overdose:, for simultaneous news updates, TweetDeck, to select the forwards of the news, RSS, to be able to read blogs, websites and updates in a structured way. Yet there is indeed reason to fear that we fail in the social aspect of the networks; that we fail in the social, as if social software betrayed the social. Shall a society which is differentiated along the lines of class and function be ideologically activated against social networks? Over the past decades of digital overwhelming we still haven’t learnt to keep the right distance from the switches, ports, hard-discs, soft-, hard- and wetware items, information streams and data that allows us to switch from the aesthetics of information to intelligent consumption, to conceive a condition of life organized around information. We talked and we are still talking of interactivity, immersion, participation, deliberative or direct democracy, creativity – yet there is a fundamental lack of discourse around the economic, normative, legal, ethic and competitive condition of informational contexts.

Peter Troxler

peter Troxler is an independent researcher at the intersection of business administration, society and technology. His interest and expertise are in management systems, such as quality and knowledge management. Currently he is editor of the book Open Design Now – Why Design Can No Longer Be Exclusive.


With the advent of digital fabrication technology, what used to be called ‘shared machine shops’ and hackerspaces are becoming the incubators of the digital age: Fab Lab, short for fabrication laboratory. Based on a concept developed by Neil Gershenfeld at the MIT, these initiatives are typically centred around workshops equipped with relatively inexpensive, digitally controlled fabrication machines such as laser cutters, CNC routers and 3D printers. users produce two- and three-dimensional things that once could only be made using equipment that cost hundreds of thousands of Euros. They use digital drawings and open-source software to control the machines; and they build electronic circuits and digital gadgets. From a handful of Fab Labs in 2004 the network has grown to over fifty active labs with as many in preparation. Some of the labs are part of an educational institution, be it a high school or university, some act as business incubators for inventors and tinkerers, and others have found their place as catalysers for artists, designers and other creative minds.

What makes Fab Labs different from just any shared machine shop is that they explicitly subscribe to a common charter that firmly institutes Fab Labs as a global network of local labs, stipulates open access, and establishes peer learning as a core feature. The charter makes Fab Labs the ideal places to practice open design, as it requires that ‘designs and processes developed in fab labs must remain available for individual use’. Beyond that it allows intellectual property protection ‘however you choose’. Even more, the charter explicitly continues that ‘commercial activities can be incubated in fab labs’. Yet it cautions against potential conflict with open access, and encourages business activity to both grow beyond the lab. Successful businesses should give back to the inventors, labs, and networks that contributed to their success. Fab Labs incorporate an interesting mix of char-


Not user generated content but

content consuming design to achieve content generated design. It is about the creative paradox of design consuming content or: the openness that consumes itself, that always aims for a new event. So, which community are we looking for, which one do we really want and dream of, design and program? Then openness means: to adapt to the heterogeneity of both the origin of ideas and the future of projects. So, no randomized design but the responsibility to design the forms of openness with an open civilization in mind. Hence, WHERE is OPEN? In the permanently changing forms of collaboration between the people.

The Alpine region has been relatively slow in taking up the concept of Fab Labs. The Ars Electronica Center, Linz, operates a Fab Lab, equipped with a small selection of digital production tools and geared more towards playful learning than open design. The vienna Happylab – founded in 2006 as an innovation incubator, later hackerspace – has recently been rebranded as a FabLab. The first Fab Lab in Switzerland has just opened in Lucerne, and a few more labs are planned at the university of Erlangen-Nuremberg and in Munich.

acteristics that might seem contradictory at first, but might well be considered the best practical approximation of what Yochai Benkler describes as commons-based peer production that gives more people more control over their productivity in a self-directed and community-oriented way, essentially the basis of open design.