Ana Lisa Alperovich

Human and Machine is a proposal for an educational program at the Design Academy Eindhoven. The hypothetical four-year Bachelors department is designed to support students to develop their own manufacturing techniques, tools and machines for making design. In order for students to develop their future work methodology while addressing personal interests and shared needs, it provides practical and critical skills that draw upon research, collaboration and experimentation, while taking inspiration from both ancient crafts and new technologies. Whether by organising or disorganising structures, models, economies or the design discipline itself, the Human and Machine program aims to breed designers who are passionate and want to contribute to changing society. Each year, the department takes a field trip to a unique location, such as ‘Garbage Island’ in the Indian Ocean or a vacant car factory in Yantai, China, where the making of machines has different resonances and urgencies. Each visit is based on the relationship between place, material flows and human resources. Small-scale manufacturing systems can be built and academic ideas can be tested in real world scenarios. The Human and Machine Bachelors brings international students, alumni, technicians, theorists, critics, writers, craftsmen, bio-hackers, curious inventors and industry together to design tools for reshaping the relationship between making, design and livelihood.

Title thesis
‘Semi-industrial Machines: How Designers in Eindhoven are Reshaping Design, Manufacturing and Livelihoods, Through Self-built Machines’

Thesis abstract
As manufacturing digitalises, the world globalises, design democratises, and labour markets fail, there is a mixed sense of anxiety and techno-optimism. The Third Industrial Revolution enabled a shift in power around manufacturing, from industrial producers and those controlling infrastructure to the individual designer and consumer. As a consequence, people who make things have started to shift their focus from objects to processes, building their own machines that make things. This new approach to design has been growing for the past eight years around the world, but the city of Eindhoven, in the south of the Netherlands, has been a particularly vibrant site for the emergence of these ‘semi-industrial machines’. By crafting their own devices, a breed of young designers who graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven are forging a new relationship with machines, one that changes the dynamic from subordination to collaboration; from automation to a newly found autonomy and self-reliance. They are also creating their own working models, strategies, and both physical and digital networks by merging craftsmanship and industrial production methods. By rethinking how they want to live and work, these machine-making designers are ultimately redesigning a genre of design better suited to these uncertain times.

Thesis keywords
machines, tools, livelihoods, Eindhoven, Design Academy Eindhoven

Graduation project, 2017

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