Memes of Production
Computer-Numerically Controlled tools have been around for more than half a century, but have only recently been taken up by users not considered professional technicians. CAD tools as a commodity and the popularization of 3D printers in particular have led to new groups of users participating in digital fabrication. In this reading group, we will explore contemporary practices of digital fabrication, the prototype-production spectrum, end-user fabrication tools, distributed production, open source hardware, and related topics. In our analysis we will draw from Science and Technology Studies methodology to delineate between the promises and practices described in the readings.
While this reading group is mainly focused on fabrication research, we will also include related readings from computer-supported cooperative work, online communities, computer graphics, and media studies. We might also sometimes read field bus specifications or other technical documentation.
After the first week, students will be expected to lead discussions on the readings. We will produce annotated bibliographies to help contextualize fabrication research and ground our own design and engineering practices. Students who are not prepared to complete the readings, lead discussions, and produce their own bibliographies should not apply. The schedule will have one hour of discussion plus two hours of assigned reading a week. We meet Thursdays from 3:30-4:30pm.
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