Already being as Amsterdam Fashion Institute student in the HVA Makerslab quite often, I got asked to do the minor. As I always have been interested in different product area's other than fashion as well, I definitely was open minded to working interdisciplinary in such a minor.
For me reason enough to become one of the pioneers and guinea-pigs for the first Makerslab Minor. To just see how I could apply my fashion knowledge into a a bigger area then only clothes. And to just see what a sharing in knowledge could eventually deliver.
The Makerslab is one of the most recent developed area's on the HVA Amstelcampus and provides the faculty of Design, Media and Communication a place to develop products. In the lab there are industrial lasercutters/-engravers, 3D printers, a plotter, vacuümform machine, body scanner, soldering irons and a polystyrene cutter. Also next to that there is an area with more noisy tools like a band saw, pillar drill machine, sanding machine, several punches and polishing machine.
The First Weeks
In the first weeks of the minor you'll get in touch with how to create and develop products with the machines that are in the makerslab. By getting to know the option in a playful manner you will eventually be able to use the machines in the eventual groups project which will take part in the final 12 weeks of the semester.
Mapping the Knowledge Mile
The Amstelcampus of the HVA is centred along a street from Amstelstation all the way down to The Waag, which is part of the city centre. In the early days all kind of newspapers and international known brands had their headquarters on this road. Now a days it is still a melting pot of business and students which can provide each other in several ways.
To stimulate the development and the connection of the brands and the students in and around this area, a initiative called "The Knowledge Mile" is created. The Knowledge Mile has the main focus to to create a living and work environment that goes hand-in-hand.
To get information about this road they map and trace all kind of things. All data can be informative now or in the future, and can help the people or the brands upon this mile. To us to map something of our interest and put the information in a leporello.
The end-result for this project is a leporello that shows the amount of Electro Magnetic Radiation along the mile. We measured this walking along the mile and also traveling underneath it by underground. The data we got out of that is translated into a graphic that shows the amount of radiation, this is used to make the cut out of the edge of the leporello. A map is engraved to make the cutout match with the location.
Eventually the interesting mapping subject, the keycolors of the Knowledge Mile that are used, and that we used the technique of the laser as printer (to get color out of the material instead of putting it on with a printer) made that they chose to showcase it.
During the first weeks there was quite a low pace compared to normal school semesters. This probably has to do with the high pace we have at AMFI but also with being the first to be in this minor and not knowing what level to expect from the students. But not having a enormous time pressure luckily gives the ability to make a professional product and challenge myself.
Instaglasses / Key to social media success
An art object can be designed just to look nice, but most of the time there is a deeper layer behind it. It can show zeitgeist or let people start a conversation about a certain topic. To us to develop a 3Dimensional product that can be putten in a museum to reflect our zeitgeist but also starts up a conversation.
To start of this assignment we got trained in putting "what if" questions on the stand. This was done to make the design more interesting instead of only aesthetic. As we are challenged already at AMFI to put a bigger meaning to products we design, this was quite an easy task to fulfil.
Eventually I ended up with "What if Social Media was Physical". Therefor I took all kind of abbreviations to different social media, and putten them in a different context to question; if we would still make use of social media if we got more aware of how and wherefor we use it.
By using the 3D printer mostly I was able to minimise the waste and it also made connection to nowadays zeitgeist, if the social media already didn't do the job. Because the key was done quite easily and I had some time left I also made the glasses.
By putting them on the table with the titles "Key to Social Media Success" and "Instaglasses" they were presented. And actually they did start up the conversation about disadvantages of the use of social media.
A ten week group-project in which we only got those two words "Making Sense" to start of. Our researcher Rebecca Breuer wanted to give us a blanc page to eventually see what we were able to end up with by using the sources of the makerslab.
After having a coffee with Rebecca to see how we could streamline this without pinning an expectation to the end result we ended up with the question “How can we generate new, meaningful bodily felt experiences?”
The only restriction she gave us was to take ethical guidelines in account, as we would do experiments connecting to the body.
Eventually we took inspiration out of the book "When Old technologies were New" by Carolyn Marvin. By fully tracing the text and understand the predictions that are done, with taking notion that it was done in another era, we started to translate those ideas to our zeitgeist.
As electricity wasn't visible in the19th century they used the body as medium to showcase it as well. Which sometimes led to injuries or in the worst cases to death or paralysation. As we didn't want to take it this far but were obsessed by the old medical instruments they invented, which we now perceive as funny, we researched subjects which now can be perceived as magic.
This led from mora-therapy to Electric Magnetic Fields (EMF), from which we don't know if they harm the body. Eventually putting this together by taking a nerve that comes to surface in the body as tool to communicate the detection of a EMF. The nerve we used eventually is what we know as the funny bone and kind of feels as an electric shock when you'll hurt the nerve.
So what we eventually got was the EMF as input and the creation of the numb feeling in your arm as output. To us it was the task to make this 19th century look-a-like medical instrument that would fulfil this task. The trail to come there we documented and you are able to see underneath.