Manufacturing matters in the 21st century

Near-Future Laboratory colleague Julian Bleecker wrote an important piece about manufacturing (as part of the Share Festival Catalog 2008):

"First, we’re not talking about manufacturing (...) Manufacturing evokes cavernous, cold, awesomely huge assembly lines with scales all out of proportion to the experiences of mere mortals. (...) If anything, we’re talking about a kind of materialization of ideas. Slick connections between an your imagination, a circuit board and a 3D printer. It’s artful for its scale and personalization. Small-scale, passionate, individual ideas made material. (...) The sad consequences of manufacturing’s scale is that it defaults to the least common denominator. (...) True customization means materializing one’s own designs, one’s own imagination. This is where we begin. (...) What makes it worth talking about is that it is the power of creation that manufacturing is able to achieve, but done at an entirely different scale - quicker, cheaper, individually, with fewer intermediaries and fewer incumberances. (...) The “manufacturing process” is a kind of extended sketching activity. Ideas are first expressed informally, perhaps with a simple “wouldn’t it be cool if..?” question at a moment of inspiration."

And why this is important to interaction design:

"these expressive objects form their interactivity around physical actions that may include the Nabaztag’s articulating rabbit-like ears, or Clocky the coy alarm clocks that roll away when you try to hit the snooze button, or Maywa Denki’s punch-drunk dancing BitMan character. These are distinct kinds of digital objects that mix physical space, digital technology and design. (...) The weak signals suggest kinds of design-art-technology that are growing tired of the screen. (...) What is emerging is an ability to make your own stuff - not just “skinning” your mobile or modding an MP3 player. Materializing ideas is about making your own - “whatever” - unanticipated, unknow, visionary, expressive things. It is not a manufacturing process"

Why do I blog this? some important points here about why manufacturing is important, what is is and what does that mean for human practices. This is relevant at a time where hardware fabrication and manufacturing has been left over to south asian countries and that we should not give away our effort to build concrete things (and do only so called "virtual" building).