AS220 Labs: Folk technology in downtown Providence
Shawn Wallace is the Director of AS220 Labs - the year-old "tech arm" of AS220, which among many other things is home to the Providence Fab Lab (in partnership with MIT). At the next Providence Geek Dinner, Shawn will be presenting an overview of the Labs' amazing programs and projects. Details here and RSVP at Facebook.
Tools foster conviviality to the extent to which they can be easily used, by anybody, as often or as seldom as desired, for the accomplishment of a purpose chosen by the user.
-- from Tools for Conviviality by Ivan Illich
In our current mode of production, technologies progress through three watershed moments when rules change and opportunities mushroom and flower. The first watershed is when a technology is formulated in a way that can actually be realized (e.g. that first ugly lump of a transistor back in the 40s). The second watershed is when it is commoditized (e.g. consumer electronics). The third is when the technology becomes accessible to everyone (folk electronics).
AS220 Labs works in the realm of folk technology; making tools accessible and indulging in the opportunities presented by the current watershed moment in history as all sorts of computing and fabrication tools become common and the knowledge of their use becomes commonly shared. Everywhere I go it's happening; it must be a Zeitgeist. See the hundreds of spaces listed at hackerspaces.org for wikification (sniglet for "verifying fact via wiki"). In fact, if you connect all the dots for the various hacker spaces pictured on that web site's Google map, you can spell out "Meme Bucket" (try it!).
So AS220 has become kind of a local hub in this global network of hacker spaces. For example, this weekend we'll be hosting a 3D Printing Summit featuring demos and howtos by Zack Smith from NYCResistor/Makerbot and Bruce Wattendorf from the RepRap Project. We're also training a new generation of artist hackers with our Introduction to Arduino classes that resume on June 23rd.
Click here to read Shawn's interview with PBN.
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