It’s a bit of a Behemoth so I’ve documented the project in four chapters, starting with the project’s conception.Our role in society has been reduced to that of the consumer. Our relationships with one another and the material world lay in interwoven networks, so complex and flexible we can’t possibly know everything about what we are buying (or producing). Even a simple pencil becomes an untraceable network; from the individual who cut the timber to the location of the graphite mine.
Capitalism dictates that these networks are infinitely complex and should be governed by ‘the invisible hand’ of the free market but because of this, we as consumers know next to nothing about what we consume. Marx referred to this as alienation, whereby the very act of producing and consuming becomes a relationship between material things and not a social relationship between people.
In the digitised world, we find that not only are we powerless to influence production but we no longer own the goods we buy. We have lost the ability to lend, share or resell our commodities. A ‘used iBook’ for example is concept that is no longer permitted.Consumers are herded into closed and controlled system but there are a number of disruptive groups engaging people with these issues.
The London Hackspace is a community of makers, hackers and collaborators who are actively involved in producing, sharing and reproducing the culture they consume. Producing things becomes a social activity. They blur the line between producer and consumer , challenging the existing authority structure as “Prosumer’s.”
These Prosumer are an offshoot of the open-source movement and as a result, concentrates their efforts within the geek subculture. A narrow but dedicated audience. My plan was to apply this model to popular culture, something with a wider influence.
My aim was to reclaim our culture and modify it to our own ends in the same way these hackers reclaim tech-culture.