BB: Does maker culture, and its mass-market mirror of “artisanal” production, have any shared roots with the SI’s emphasis on producing highly-designed, limited-run free journals and books?

MW: Yes and no. One wouldn’t want to be part of this whole disruptive technology language, which is pure California ideology [Ed. – “The Californian Ideology” was a 1995 essay by Richard Barbrook and Andy Cameron exploring the “counter-culture libertarianism” at work in Silicon Valley technoculture]. One would not want to get too close to the petit bourgeois Brooklynization of everything, the organic beard oil for 20 dollars.  But, I think, not just Marxists, but a lot of people with pretensions to critical theory got very remote from practices of making, and to not understand the production technologies of our time is an enormous oversight. To at least know how to make one thing is an extremely helpful way of understanding what production is, what labor is. So with the launch of The Spectacle of Disintegration, I’m doing limited edition Guy Debord action figures that are 3D printed, and we’re gonna release the file to print your own for free. There is something that is really interesting about 3D printing, but it’s a proprietary technology. On the one hand, it enables a certain kind of détournement, but on the other hand is already being recuperated before it’s even on the market. I actually walked past MakerBot on my way here. Just down on Houston, there’s a little showroom down there, and it kind of reminds me of the Apple 2 before the Mac. It’s at that stage. So yeah I really recommend that one do what Debord did in that sense. He learned how to produce journals. He was really good at it. He was a good editor and production manager. The twelve issues of the Internationale Situationniste are really lovely handmade objects.

July 30, 2015