The first time that I heard the word maker it was in front of a TED video. The speaker was Dale Dougherty, creator of the magazine Make, one of the most committed and charismatic spokesmen of the movement. I was struck by his enthusiasm when explaining the revolution of makers, their cohesive and open source movement.
I found him again on the stage of Ouishare with his slides: a machine covered in talking fish, a 3D printer that created a glass, a robot capable of using tools to make a scarf, the latest genial invention at the Makefaire in New Castle.
Dale maintains that the “core” of the makers, what makes them different from everything that has gone before, is a community that knows how to share. The enthusiasm, the accessibility to technologies and information for creating, and interactive collaboration are only the side dish of a group of people who have chosen do-it-yourself as a lifestyle, philosophy, or simply an entertaining game for themselves.
After travelling for two weeks, we also become aware that the beating heart that renders makers special is their belonging to a community, no longer localised in the neighbourhoods as in the 1970s or tied to a city or a nation. It crosses every border, it meets thanks to hangouts, information and prototypes are sent that can be downloaded from the web, it produces ideas where no-one is so consumed by jealousy that they want to hide from the others.
Dale says on the Ted stage, and repeats it on Cabaret Sauvage stage: “Makers are generous, optimists, they have a sense of constructive sharing and a desire to learn from one another. This makes them revolutionaries.”
And this is what I also started to discover, and what I observed in every Fablab and festival. Age, education and personal goals are not important, what counts is making, standing physically or virtually together.
I learned this crossing the France of the Fablabs, like the Artilect of Toulouse or the Faclab of Genevilliers, like as the hackers of Labx of Bordeaux told me, or those of TmpLab during the Hackitoergosum, and as I could observe during the Open Bidouille or in the atmosphere of Ouishare.
Condividere. Sharing. Partagé.
Berlin will teach us how to say it in German.