Ethnography Matters Post

Ethnography Matters invited Silvia Lindtner and Amelia Guimarin to write a post based on our Hacked Matter fieldwork and filming in Shenzhen in April, 2014. Below is an excerpt and video we produced for the post. Check out the whole article here.

“Making” is envisioned as a new mode of engaging the world, empowering citizens to turn from passive consumers into active participants in economic processes, state affairs and technological innovation. It is heralded as the saviour of broken economies and educational systems, across developed and developing regions alike. This vision of the rising maker is a powerful one. Indeed, it has attracted significant corporate investment (from places like Intel), drawn the attention of governments (from Obama to China) and mobilized money and people across regions (enabled in part by the set-up of new hardware accelerators like HAXLR8R). Making gets people excited (again). It is the story of adventure and of conquering unfamiliar territory to reinvent how technological futures are made today — at its heart it is a vision of technological and social progress. Journalists, scholars, and makers alike have been busy telling this story, joining in on the promotion of making as the harbinger of an industrial revolution (Anderson 2012). What has fallen through the cracks, however, are other stories of making that do not neatly fit the maker story of linear technological progress, of the Californian culture of cool and of embarking on a bold adventure. In this blog post, we focus on telling this other story of making — of those makers who are rarely thought of as makers and whose stories are less often told. Earlier this month, we traveled to Shenzhen to attend China’s first featured Maker Faire.

Slate Article

Silvia recently published an article with Slate about "innovate with China" in Shenzhen, featuring Seeed Studio and Eric Pan. Below an excerpt. Check out the whole article here:

This Manufacturing Hub Is Also Becoming the Center of Chinese Creativity

The 30-year-old city of Shenzhen, which is in the southern region of China, is typically thought of as a place where copycat and large factories pump out products designed elsewhere. While Silicon Valley is heralded as the site of unparalleled technological creativity, China is rendered as its unimaginative counterpart: Silicon Valley comes up with the ideas and China manufacturers them. The evidence of this approach towards innovation is emblazoned on the iPhone: “Designed by Apple in California. Assembled in China.”

But in Shenzhen, there is a company at the forefront of changing this idea that “made in” inherently stands for China and “created in” inherently for California... [keep reading the rest of the article here].

Hacked Matter III: Living Machines

We are excited to announce the third of a series of Hacked Matter events focused on researching the intersection of maker culture and manufacturing in China. Hacked Matter, in partnership with the IFTF (Institute for the Future), will host and curate a program for the Shenzhen Maker Faire including a series of panels and conversations. These conversations bring together key stakeholders from the smaller-scale maker world together with large-scale manufacturers. There are two primary research goals for this event:

1. To take full advantage of the site and explore Shenzhen’s unique maker culture and its deep links with the manufacturing ecosystem of the Pearl River Delta. Hacked Matter believes that this is a vital moment in the relationship between a global maker culture and the specificities of manufacturing in China. The Shenzhen Maker Faire provides a singular opportunity for both investigation and participation into these emerging networks.

2. To develop the theme ‘Living Machines,’ which encompasses the idea of making a living through machines, living with machines, machines that live inside us (from wearable and embedded computing to biotech) as well as machines that come to life. 




9:30am - 11:30am: Guided tour through the Shenzhen Maker Faire


2:00pm - 2:30pm: "Research Perspectives" introduction to Hacked Matter & IFTF by Lyn Jeffrey, Silvia Lindtner, Anna Greenspan & David Li

2:40pm - 3:40pm: “Making a living with Machines” featuring Eric Pan (Seeed Studio) and Terry Cheng (Foxconn)

3:50pm - 4:50pm: “Machines that live inside us” Featuring Eri Gentry (Biocurious) & Scott Edmunds (BGI) (1 hr) 

5:00pm - 5:30pm: “When Makers meet Manufacturers: What comes next?” Wrap up (Anna, Silvia, David, Lyn)


7:00pm - 8:30pm: "Maker City roundtable" + Meet Up 



Research conversations & explorations 



10:00am - 2:00pm: Visit & Guided tour through BGI, the world's largest genomics sequencing company

afternoon: TBD