Research Critique 3 – Critical Making

Critical Making is a term coined initially by Matt Ratto in 2008 and first used in 2009 to describe the combination of critical thinking and hands-on reading. It seeks to combine material engagements with technologies to make social statements, opening up and extending critical social reflection. It combines ‘critical thinking’ and ‘ making’, acting as a glue between the conceptual theory and physical hands-on work. Critical making also has similarities with the practice of critical design, in which both pushes users into more complex emotional and psychological territory by questioning social norms and stimulating discussion and criticism of design itself. Critical making is very focused on the process of making the art/object itself than being focused on the final product. It is process-oriented, scholarship-oriented and the final prototypes can speak for themselves.

The issues with standard methods of technological design now often produce standards and systems that lack cultural richness, emotion, and human-oriented values. Principles like efficiency and productivity are overemphasised by the industry, and this causes and contributes to a overworking, overproducing and over-consuming consumer-oriented culture.

Critical Making counters this by giving designers and the public a chance to break out of this cycle, step back and reconsider and rethink a broader spectrum of human experience. It can also help to highlight and bring attention to people, perspective and practices that are forgotten in conventional product development workflows, and consider what it means to be human. Critical making can help reintroduce criticality back into the post-2010 maker culture, so that it can un-sanitize, un-smooth and re-politise. At the same time, Critical Making can make actionable design strategies accessible to the public, interaction design community and translatable to the practices of technology designers. The public can also be more informed by perspectives in philosophy of technology as the prototypes produced materially articulate particular stances and ideas. They can operate as a type of boundary negotiating artefact or boundary object. All these helps increase public legibility. Moreover, materials speculations can mediate exchanges among scholars of different fields. Critically engaged artworks can do a detailed breakdown of a topic, but critically made objects and appeal to audience’s emotions and can get the message across clearly if through fully implemented.

Attached below is a video of a booklet made critically from a workshop led by Garnet Hertz.

79% Work Clock

Attached is my slides for the research done for Researcher of the Week. 🙂

DN1010 Researcher of the Week


Micro-project 3 – TOGETHER SPLIT


For Micro-Project 3, we experimented with the video call function on social media, in our case, instagram, to perform a piece. We crafted a storyline of 4 girls being trapped in a house after being kidnapped, and used the split screens to signify 4 different neighbouring rooms in the same house. We chose different spots in adm (in classrooms, outside along the corridor, in the toilet etc) while video calling, and even though we were in a different physical space, we played with the idea of the split screen on our phone screens to create another space (‘house’) that had many rooms and that we were in rooms only right next to one another.

Through this, we better understood the creation of a third space as well as the idea of Do-It-With-Others (DIWO). This project’s final product was only possible because our teams worked together for the final product through the use of social media tools.

Our group initially had a script we wanted to follow so that we were able to finish the narrative the way we wanted it to be. But as time passed and the number of failed attempts taken, we realised that it was faster and more efficient if we just improvised on our own, and hence we threw away the idea of following the script. Moreover, the order of the screens differ on each screen, and hence made it even harder for us to coordinate since we were at different physical space and needed to follow the order of the screens on the phone screen that was in charge of recording. The third space that we created was also easily disturbed by outside online platforms such as whatsapp, as shown below.

Out of the 3 Micro-projects,

      1. The project I felt that I had the most

creative control

     over was the second micro-project, crowd-soured art. This was because although my group’s project was based on the responses that were collected on instagram story’s poll function, the final art piece we envisioned to make was still based on us (the artists) and whether we choose to use the data as it is or tweak it to adhere to our ideas.
      2. The project with the most

unpredictable outcome

     would be the third project, the project above. We initially wanted to follow a script and had spent most of the time planning out our scenes, but yet when we were filming, nothing went out way and we ended up improvising everything.
      3. The project the best illustrates the concepts of

DIWO & Open Source 

    was the second project, which taps on the use of a public platform that the public has access to (albeit it being instagram – with the limitations being that only users with internet and an account with instagram will be able to access), and at the same time engaging with the public to influence our art.
    DIWO allows many more possibilities to art as compared to individual art/making and hence introduces many more ideas and creativeness into the art scene. Open source is inclusive given its public nature and allows active participation to the once passive audiences. Now, audiences can become co-creators, opening up new beginnings and new inspirations to the art scene.