De Certeau on how people modify artifacts
Lucie Giard describes how Michel de Certeau sees people's link with artifact in the following terms:
Certeau’s originality lay in his refusal to endorse the old opposition of high culture versus popular culture, translated into the dichotomy of creative art versus mass production. On the contrary, he moved his attention from the objects (movies, comic books, rock bands records, and the like) to what he called "operations" that people perform with these objects. What was at stake for him was the way people use some readymade objects, the way they organize their private space, their office, or their working-place, the way they "practice" their environment and all public space available to them (shopping malls, town streets, airports and railway stations, movie theatres, and the like). By so doing, Certeau focused his reflection on the ordinary "practices" of every man and woman in his/her everyday life. Thus he substituted the assumption of a large-scale anonymous creativity of ordinary people for the all-too-common presupposition about a passive mass consumption of objects and products. Every man or woman could be regarded as the "producer" of his/her own lifestyle through the true "art" of recycling objects, adapting and transforming readymade products.
Michel de Certeau's social philosophy was based on the notion of détournement and collage, whose techniques allow “weak” people to subvert the social constraints built by “strong” people, even when the weaker apparently comply with their rulers’ injunctions
This approach is so close to what we see today in terms of DIY activities related to technology/life hacking... To get more about De Certeau, read The Practice of Everyday Life.