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Bachelor of Design, Exhibition Design 2015-2020 National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, India.

All Illustrations and photographs in the document are Copyright of respective owners.

Craft Future by Yatharth is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- Non Commercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Yatharth13091997@gmail.com STRANGEROBOT.design +919911052794


Orignality Statement I hereby declare that this submission is my own work and it contains no full or substantial copy of previously published material, or it does not even contain substantial proportions of material which have been accepted for the award of any other degree or final graduation of any other educational institution, except where due acknowledgement is made in this graduation project. Moreover, I also declare that none of the concepts are borrowed or copied without due acknowledgement. I further declare that the intellectual content of this graduation project is the product of my own work, except to the extent that assistance from others in the project’s design and conception or in style, presentation and linguistic expression is acknowledged. This degree project (or part of it) was not and will not be submitted as assessed work in any other academic course.

Student Name in Full: Yatharth Signature: Date:

Copyright Statement I hereby grant the National Institute of Design the right to archive and to make available my graduation project/thesis/ dissertation in whole or in part in the Institute’s Knowledge Management Centre in all forms of media, now or hereafter known, subject to the provisions of the Copyright Act. I have either used no substantial portions of copyright material in my document or I have obtained permission to use copyright material.

Student Name in Full: Yatharth Signature: Date:

About the document In the following Document, I will be describing my role in a Long term Research & Open Inquiry. The document will outline the journey of formulating an open brief, approach towards theoretical research, structuring hypothesis and Identifying opportunity areas of experiments, prototyping and potential collaboration or projects. I hope this project will be useful to someone working with crafts and future based projects down the line. I also hope this project will serve as a case study for anyone planning to explore an open ended Inquiry for their thesis.

The project refers to all the open source files as

đ&#x;ŒŽ Links The files can be accessed online with the given link number at

Github.com/ strangerobot/ CraftFuture


Synopsis Craft Future is an open-ended, Critical Inquiry. Through Creative Practice it aims to understand the relationship between Crafts as a practice, Technology as a medium and Future as speculations. 1. The Inquiry attempts to study the framework of how we look at crafts and technology through literature review, and research into their history, contemporary state and future possibilities. 2. Through hypothesis and experiments with generative Design, Artificial Intelligence and 3D Printing, it seeks to expand the definition of digital crafts and making. At the same time, the Inquiry analyses the issues of ownership, power and accessibility of technology through an effort at crafting an Amazon Alexa device locally, and the challenges it entails. 3. Finally, it proposes a new framework of looking at crafts through discourse with experts in the field, an emerging manifesto for crafts and a Speculative Craft Exposition of 2035, with a macro outlook and situating crafts within the conversations around the environment, sustainability, city, market, democracy and Non-Alienation. In its current stage the Inquiry is a collection of ideas in formation, Which can be carried forward through various proposals mentioned through the document and sharing the learning in digital crafts to a broader creative audience of artists, students and craftsmen. In that spirit all research, experiments and tools in this Inquiry are shared under an open-source license.

Contents Synopsis Introduction About NID About Exhibition Design

1. Background ..19 1.1. Authors Note 1.2. How it came to be? 1.3. Positions on Crafts, Technology and Future 1.4. What is this project 1.5. How to read this document 1.5.1. As a Toolkit and Resource 1.5.2. As a Critique and Provocation 1.5.3. As a Personal Journey

2. Project Framework ..29 2.1. About the Sponsor 2.2. Project Inspirations 2.2.1. Open Source 2.2.2. Makers Manifesto 2.2.3. Critical Design 2.2.4. Anti-Disciplinary Hypothesis 2.3. Initial Brief 2.3.1. Methodology 2.3.2. Journey 2.4. What is Craft / What is Future 2.5. Studying India Report 2.5.1. Background 2.5.2. Purpose 2.5.3. Conclusions 2.5.4. India Report Project


Framework 3. Crafts ..49 3.1. Understand Crafts 3.1.1. Origins 3.1.2. Design Review of Design on Craft

3.1.3. Romanticism 3.1.4. Politics 3.2. Lenses at Craft 3.2.1. Crafts as Process 3.2.2. Crafts as Action 3.2.3. Crafts as Philosophy 3.2.4. Crafts as Culture 3.3. Contexts of Crafts 3.4. What makes it Craft 3.5. Towards a Definition?

4. Technology ..65 4.1. Technology and Craft 4.1.1. Technology is the tool of Craft 4.1.2. A customised tool 4.1.3. Technological Utopias & Dystopias 4.1.4. Crafted Technologies 4.1.5. Digital Crafts 4.2. Digital Crafts 4.3. What can crafts be?

5. Research & Tools ..85 5.1. Craft Histories 5.2. Indian Handicrafts 5.3. Craft Timelines 5.4. Ethnographic Interview Tool 5.5. Craft and Value 5.6. Craft Statement 5.7. Lenses to Look at Crafts

Practice 6. Generative Crafts ..115 6.1. Crafting with Code 6.2. Pottery 6.2.1. Digital Pottery Tools 6.2.2. Experiments Auto Lota Lota Maker

6.3. Textiles 6.3.1. Weaving Simulations 6.3.2. Threading 6.4. Differential Growth 6.4.1. Background 6.4.2. Scope 6.4.3. Process 6.4.4. Experiments Local Planar Expansion Repulsive Expansion Edge Expansion on a sheet Edge Expansion a closed surface

6.4.5. Relation With Weaving

7. Physical to Digital to Physical ..147 7.1. Physical to Digital 7.1.1. Media to Content 7.1.2. Content & Craft 7.2. Digital to Physical 7.2.1. 3D printing as Craft 7.2.2. Learning 3D Printing- A Personal Guide 7.2.3. Things I made

8. Crafting with Artificial Intelligence ..163 8.1. AI+ Crafts 8.1.1. GAN 8.1.2. Dimensionality Reduction 8.1.3. Pix2Pix 8.1.4. Possibilities & Limitation 8.2. Crafting an AI 8.3. Artificial Intelligence in Creative Practice

9. Crafting Amazon Echo ..181 9.1. Buying an Echo, Who owns it after all? 9.1.1. Prologue 9.1.2. Ownership 9.1.3. Licenses – Agree to Continue 9.1.4. Privacy- What happens to my Data 9.1.5. Right to Open/ Right to Repair 9.2. Making my Own Amazon Echo 9.2.1. What is Inside? 9.2.2. DIY Echo 9.2.3. Hacking it to be my own 9.2.4. Prototyping with Potter


Discourse 10. Craft Future Lab ..207 10.1. Premise 10.2. Report 10.3. Conclusions on Craft 10.4. Directions Forward

11. Value for Crafts ..217 11.1. A Manifesto for the Future 11.1.1. Sustainability 11.1.2. Community 11.1.3. Purpose 11.1.4. Collaboration 11.1.5. Accessibility 11.1.6. Non-Alienation

12. Crafts Expo 2035 ..227 12.1. Synopsis 12.2. Speculation as an Imagination Tool 12.3. The World 12.4. The Basics 12.5. The Journey 12.6. The Citizens 12.7. The Site 12.8. The Pavilion 12.8.1. ENTER SUB SECTIONS AFTER FINISHING 12.9. The Crafts 12.10. Directions Forward

Endnotes 13. Afterthoughts ..263 13.1. Author as Craftsman 13.2. Conclusions 13.3. Critical Reflections 13.4. What is this Project 13.5. Acknowledgements 13.6. Bibliography Mental Health



The project started with a question around what is my position as a designer is and what is a project in the first place. This section describes my positions, expectations, sponsors, the brief ‘Craft Future’ and the framework in which the Inquiry operates.

Chapters 1 Background ...19 2 Project ..29

National Institute of Design

Internationally acclaimed as one of the foremost multidisciplinary institutions in the field of Design education and research, NID is an autonomous institution under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India. The Institute is a relic of the post-Independence task of Nation Building India faced in its early days. Based on the India Report by Charles and Ray Eames the Institute started in 1961 with a focus on improving living standards across the young nation through problem solving, easing the transition from a ‘traditional society’ to a ‘communication society’, and the search for the Indian Identity across all aspects of life. The Education at NID is based on ‘Learning by doing’ and Bauhausian pedagogy. Today with its over 20 courses in IT Integrated, Industrial, Communication, Textiles and Interdisciplinary Design, the Institute sits an Interesting juncture of Cultural Sensitivity and Technological Expertise, Industrial training and Socialist Philosophy. Practical approach and Theoretical imagination of 21st Century design In India. The Environment in NID facilitates observation, contextualisation, sensitivity and self-motivated learning through peers and environment itself.


Exhibition Design Facultuy of Communication Design

Exhibition Design is a transdisciplinary department with very broad scope of work which perhaps the name doesn’t communicate in one glance. The space in which the education happens can range from retail, museums, set design, to communities, from virtual reality to conceptual spaces which trigger discussion and imaginations. The teaching operates at the intersection of Art, Architecture, Design and Technology, with a focus on social design, system thinking, storytelling, hands-on making, teamwork and Anti-disciplinary thinking. The three years in Exhibition design is marked with boundless exploration across mediums, ideologies and a search for agency as a designer not bound by disciplinary boundaries but driven by curiosity and a purpose.

Chapter 1

Background 19

authยบrs Nยบte

I chose this degree project as an opportunity to be able to identify my role as a designer/ researcher and to situate my practice in understanding the relation between emerging technology and social structures. I was looking to expand my skills in emerging tech, especially Artificial Intelligence, at the same time it felt essential to involve myself into critique and discourse around it.

I wanted my project to be not focus on the designed outcome itself, but a process which can contribute to making technology accessible, futures democratic & collectively inform my future work in these directions. Personally, I saw my graduation thesis as an important testing ground for my future academic interest, an opportunity to build things without institutional constraints, and a time to seek clarity of thoughts.



Hºw it came tº be?

At the time of joining, we hadn’t decided the project brief but discussed the common grounds around which the project was going to be framed, namely: India, Future, Technology, Smart Cities, Locale, Heritage and Crafts. After arrival in Goa, I was invited by Ayaz for a dinner. We discussed the interest areas which we would frame the inquiry around,

over a glass of wine and my lowered inhibitions, I ended up agreeing on investigating the relationship between something which I really felt connected to: technology and something which I considered my arch nemesis during my time at NID, ‘crafts’. And thus, the inquiry ‘Craft Future’ was born to investigate relationship between emerging technology and crafts.



Positiยบns on Crafts, technยบlยบgy &Future


Through my time at NID, I failed to connect with craft, although I respected the idea of crafts and the practitioners working with it. It failed to resonate with me. Perhaps it had to do with my personal inhibitions in making things by ‘hand’ and thus a disconnect towards the ‘handicrafts’. Most Importantly, for me craft felt like a relic of the past, something which was important and worth preserving but not something to look into future with, I found no excitement in talking about the past. I could not see crafts fit in a world directed by Machine Learning and Media Environments.

I looked at technology as a two edged sword. With a practice and portfolio built on using it, I was thrilled by the possibility it brought to the table at the same time the often-difficult learning curve was worrying. Behind every technological magic is a Blackbox, which facilitates manipulation and exploitation. The inequality in understanding and control of technology directly translates to socio-economic gap in 21st century. Learning how to use technology was not enough, sharing and making it accessible for the rest of us was something I looked forward to.

Future is 'boring'. The popular depictions of Future make us believe it is made up of exciting possibilities and challenging problems, but I see future as manifestations of already existing issues in the society and the existing promises which are yet to be fulfilled. Future is situated more in your local vegetable market than terraforming efforts on Mars. Future seems like a space easily clouded by grand promises of technology to either fix or break everything, often forgetting the seemingly mundane things which are to happen in future. I see future built around attempts to achieve access, justice and participation for all.

How can we become constant travelers within a border-free, and lingo-legible ‘intellectual Pangea?' How can we traverse a cerebral supercontinent, where the analog of world citizenship governs our identity as thinking—and creating—beings? How can we navigate an atlas that is charted not for four hats, but for one pair of shoes, and with which we can—including some luck and a quantum leap-offaith—inhabit multiple places at once? Can a scientist invent better solutions than an engineer? Is an artist’s mindset really all that different from a scientist’s? Are they simply two ways of operating in the world that are complementary and intertwined? Or, when practicing art, is perhaps what truly counts less the art form and more one’s (way of) being? Ultimately: is there a way to understand the culture of making which transcends a two-dimensional Euclidean geometry—four plots to match four hats—to a more holistic, integrative and globe-like approach? -Neri Oxman, Age Of Entanglement, JoDS


1.4 What is this Project? I am trying to figure out this question out as I write this document. For over last 9 months I have been acting, not always with a fixed goal or deliverable in mind but with a few questions driven by curiosity and interests, all guided by an overarching word, ‘Craft’. I have been asked multiple times to explain this project's purpose in one sentence, I have a different answer for every person each time. Everytime someone asks me who my target audience is, there is an inherit expectation of a design project to 'Do things for someone or some purpose'. Maybe the target audience of this project is everyone, afterall we all are heading for the future and interact with technology. In foundation year of NID, the establishment of difference between Art and Design becomes an important institutional discussion. Seniors, batchmates and even Faculties talk about it extensively. There is a sort of comfort in drawing boundaries. Through classroom design projects, we try to internalise the idea of a ‘Design Process’ and the words it brings with it, prototyping, 'mind maps', 'brainstorming', 'stakeholder mapping', 'user testing,' 'secondary research', 'storyboarding', etc The Idea of Design as creative problem solving, something which can be proven with a set of numbers and tests takes the front seat, As an individual involved in the project, you have to remain as distant from the project as possible but at the same time be able to prove your involvement through neutral metrics and the process. Any sort of Indulgence of the ‘Designer’ and the ‘Design’ carries the risk of becoming too personal and perhaps ‘Artsy’.

The work I have done in last 9 months is neither about problem solving or art. It is not a Design Project in traditional sense as it is not trying to achieve an end goal or fulfill a brief, Its not a personal project either, Its an academic project where I am personally invested. It an Inquiry and discourse about design and technology through the lens of crafts and digital making. In the Essay Age of Entanglement, (Neri Oxman [1],JoDs)proposes “a map for four domains of creative exploration—Science, Engineering, Design and Art—in an attempt to represent the antidisciplinary hypothesis: that knowledge can no longer be ascribed to, or produced within, disciplinary boundaries, but is entirely entangled.” As I have progressed along the Inquiry, I have constantly found it at intersections of multiple disciplines and sometimes even outside all of them. This Inquiry is entangled . I have acted as an Artist, Engineer, Craftsman and Researcher in this project. There is not one design which has happened through the project rather a series of Inquiries with design approaches.

This Inquiry is research through Creative Practice. Here, Design is not the purpose but a medium.

1.5 How to Read this Document? At the end of the day, this document is meant to be read. As an object I feel this document and everything it contains in the words of Paola Antonelli[2], maybe understood as a 'Knotty Object'[3]. Yet I will try to suggest a few ways in which this document can be read


As a Toolkit & Resource I have tried to outline all the tools I have used in this project to the best of my ability. Each experiment is followed by a section on the process, tools, learning resources and source files I have used. In some sections I have tried to list the considerations and proposals for projects I intended to take on through research. I hope the open-source nature of this project encourages the readers to pickup the tools and proposals on their own, add things to it and share it with others. _____________

1 Neri Oxman is an American–Israeli designer and professor at the MIT Media Lab, where she leads the Mediated Matter research group. 2 Paola Antonelli is an Italian author, editor, and curator. She is currently Director of R&D at The Museum of Modern Art, New York City



As a critique & provocation As the inquiry tries to analyse Crafts, Design and Technology critically, I have tried to lay my arguments and understanding of each subject as clear as I could. The inquiry also tends to ask a lot more questions than giving an answer to them, and that is on purpose. I feel the document will be successful in its intent only if it could raise atleast a few eyebrows. The project describes ideas in formation, often through a subjective lens, the arguments in the Inquiry are supposed to act as provocation for the readers. If you agree or disagree with something, I request you to please share it with people around you and drop a line Instagram@CraftFuture.


As a personal Journey And finally, this project is a personal journey of figuring out my own design practice. In pieces throughout the project I have tried to write what I have been feeling, the challenges and how I tried to navigate around them. I hope this project can serve as a meaningful resource for anyone taking up an Open Inquiry for their thesis or anyone trying to figure out their own design journey.

[3] Knotty objects are bigger than the sum of their parts. Viewing them fuses multiple perspectives, thereby generating an expanded, more profound, vision of the world. Knotty objects are so knotty that one can no longer disentangle the disciplines or the disciplinary knowledge that contributed to their creation. If in the Age of Entanglement, we understand objects from a manifold of vantages, Knotty Objects force awareness of their condition through a multivalent approach.

The creation of knotty objects is just as knotty. In fact, the techniques to create them, as well as their ultimate physical expression, are intellectual mirror images of each other: the process reflects the knottiness of their related products. Bluntly, a knotty creator must simultaneously occupy all four domains of the KCC, and bring together insights that are as profoundly scientific as they are artistically insightful. -Age of Entanglement,JoDS

Chapter 2

Project Framework 29


About the Sponsor

The Busride Labs The Busride Labs is a research lab led by Ayaz Basrai and is located in Aldona, Goa. The lab is based on the philosophy of informing theoretical research through commercial and social practice; and informing its practice through research. On the practice side it primarily deals with Built Environments and Hospitality with a touch of whimsical experimentalism. On the theory side the lab focuses on Heritage, Conservation, Crafts, Cities, Speculative futures of India and writings‌lots of writings. In between the two the it deals with collaborations, wild imagination, difficult questions, confusing answers and a humbling Goan backdrop.


Ayaz Basrai Ayaz Graduated in Industrial Design, specialising in Product Design from the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad in 2003. With his brother Zameer, an Architect, he setup the ‘The Busride’ as an Independent Design Studio specialising in the design and creation of built environments, ranging from built environments to exhibition and temporary installations, Institutional and architectural environments. Ayaz’s practice is now heading towards asking some fundamental questions and leaving everyone around him confused in the process, including the Author. Ayaz has acted as a constant guide and inspiration to the author to take a leap of faith in his own ideas while carefully feeding the much needed inputs for thoughts, reflection and imagination.

It is difficult to pinpoint what inspired this project because the range of influences I feel I had on while taking this project spanned across everything I have learned till now. Instead of talking about the people or projects which Inspired me, I will try to outline the schools of thought I subscribed to in this Inquiry

2.2 Project Inspirations 2.2.1

Open Source I have always been awed by the nature and power of open source culture, A bunch of people come together to work on something without any particular monetary intent. The open source movement has a sort of organic way of bringing people together to build large pieces of software which a traditional organization structure would not achieve Open source has liberated knowledge from the trap of copyright and intellectual property by bringing a lot of crucial technologies and educational material in the public domain. In the essay the Cathedral and The Bazaar, Eric Raymond outlines the Open Source model to be something similar to “A great babbling bazaar of differing agendas and approaches”. In the bazaar model the roles of a person is not clearly defined. Rather, it allows for a greater freedom to move between roles.


Makers Manifesto Makers Movement Manifesto refers to a call to action in the 2013 book by Mark Hatch. The Manifesto calls for the readers to start making , sharing and learning together using the new tools and technologies like 3D printing, CNC, Arduino’s becoming accessible. The idea of making things was at the center of this project where I wanted to explore these new tools and understand them better by working with them. "Making is fundamental to what it means to be human. We must make, create and express ourselves to feel whole. There is something unique about making physical things. These things are like little pieces of us and seem to embody portions of our souls" -Mark Hatch, The Makers Manifesto



Critical Design Through my time at NID I had grown more and more interested in looking at design beyond functionality and aesthetics, I often found myself questioning the role of design itself. Early on in NID I was introduced to the approach of Critical Design through exercises in Speculative Design and a group of friends similarly interested in asking a lot of questions. Dunne and Raby[1] define critical design as “Critical Design uses speculative design proposals to challenge narrow assumptions, preconceptions and givens about the role projects play in everyday life. It is more of an attitude than anything else, a position rather than a method. Its opposite is affirmative design: design that reinforces the status quo.” This project tries to employ multiple tools from the spectrum of critical design, including speculative design, discursive design and design critique.


Anti-Disciplinary Hypothesis At the core of MIT Media Labs, one of the organizations I really look up to is the Anti Disciplinary hypothesis, “Interdisciplinary work is when people from different disciplines work together. But antidisciplinary is something very different; it’s about working in spaces that simply do not fit into any existing academic discipline–a specific field of study with its own particular words, frameworks, and methods.“ -Joi Ito[2], Former Director, MIT Media Lab Off lately I started seeing my work veer into territories of Art, Engineering and Science making it difficult to put my work as Design more and more challenging with time. This idea of creating work and studying in a place which does not fall into any academic discipline in particular was an Important motivation for the project.

_____________ 1 Speculative Everything: Design, Fiction, and Social Dreaming. MIT Press, 2014. 2 Ito, Joichi. “Design and Science.” Journal of Design and Science, 2016, doi:10.21428/ f4c68887.



2.3 Initial Brief January 2019: The research Inquiry aims to examine traditional crafts with respect to contemporary technologies and the futures they would bring. Can these technologies change the way the crafts work ? At the same time it also aims to take the larger craft practice and craft process and see how a craft approach can change how we develop technology, how we make cities and how we imagine the future, how can we develop algorithms in small communities ?



The Inquiry is split and presented in three interconnected parts which occurred concurrently through the course of the research. All parts can be read in a non-sequential manner.



It aims to analyse the framework of the words ‘Craft’ and ‘Technology’. Through secondary research and literature review it establishes theoretical tools and ideas in which the Inquiry operates. What do these words mean and how to look at them.


By engaging creative practice, it explores the relationship between crafts and technology. The section opens with hypothesis and what if questions and goes on to frame experiments and arguments to test the ideas out. It also outlines the methods and techniques used in the experiments for the reader to refer to and explore on their own.


Using discussions and provocations, discourse attempts to form an expanded understanding of crafts. The section proposes a new framework to look at crafts, and further uses introspective speculations to put down critical imaginations of a city, people and a crafted future.


2 Studying India Report

8 AI in Creative Practice


3&4 Crafts and Technology

The inquiry pursued 3 major streams which simultaneously fed into and informed each other.



AI Workshop


9 Aldona Echo

5 Reasearch and Toolkits


7 Physical to Digital to Physical

6 Generative Crafts


10 Craft Future Lab

11 Values


12 Craft Expo 2035

Directions Forward

Introspection on meaning of Design and Design Education

Introduction to Inquiry, A lot of literature review and secondary reasearch to Identify what these words mean.

Read and Write

Identifying my agency in the project as an active practicioner of technological crafts, thus bringing a new perspective on the subject of crafts.

Forming a sense of what my skills and interests are and building on them

into Digital Crafts, Programming, AI, 3D printing, DIY culture.


Discussion with experts leading to validation of some of my ideas in the project, also giving a wider perspective of Crafts discourse.

Reflecting and Documenting

Expanding the Values into a Speculative world and forming macro picture of what they mean.

Condensing all the theories and Ideas into 6 Values

Navigating Intersection with my Experimental work and Theoretical ideas. Framing the future possiblities as proposals




What is Future The future is a lot of things and it is very hyped these days in design. I am primarily interested in the new upcoming technologies like 3D Manufacturing, Artificial Intelligence(?), Blockchains and Tangible interfaces and exploring their place in craft and design processes, from the level of prototyping, concept iteration and all the way to brief. This is all design Jargon here but what kind of preferable future I am trying to explore is the one where technology is accessible to everyone, power is decentralized, and the status quo is constantly questioned. A big part is to explore not just how crafts would change with time through new technologies and new markets which will emerge. But also, how can we use craft thinking , approach and put them into our Cities, Governments, The Internet, Artificial Intelligence and so on. The aim here is to look for a preferable future through craft. That's one of the reasons the Inquiry keeps its name as craft future and not future of craft or craft of the future. Here In context of Craft and Tech, I would like to highlight a few things which came up during my reading of unbox field notes on Craft and Tech between Jon Rogers and Andrew Prescott, according to Jon a craft approach is about engagement with material and its about the making. Not about aesthetics, efficiency or results.

He draws some contrasts between craft and a design approach:

•Settling in situation vs Problematizing •Building relationship vs Solving Issues •Making things fit vs Fixing things •Community vs Industry •Slow and Flexible vs Fast and Agile In the context of Internet of Things he talks about how the current industrial production of technology focuses on a Tens of Million approaches which centralizes the data and power in the hands of a few people and companies. Whereas what a craft based approach would focus on is Millions of tens model where these devices are in smaller clusters, more customized and have more ownership. Much like how a potter would make small batches of pots which would work in the context of the village sustaining its economy and culture, but through mass manufactured chinese plastic pots, the Lota starts exercising economic and cultural control over the village. The control is especially visible in technology business today where you are not allowed to repair devices you own, much less talk about building your own. In my limited capacity I would also try to look at the open source movement, maker culture and digital crafts.

From Blog


2.4 What is Craft? The project started with an attempt to understand what craft is, the hypothesis was that “Craft is handmade things” will be a rough definition with traditional examples like pottery, weaving maybe some carving. A quick google search lead to the first set of problems of the Inquiry, I didn’t know what craft is.

The first few results depending on who you are from would range from Wikipedia of “Artisanal” to Craft of Writing to Craft Beer. As a word crafts are as heavily loaded and vast as Art and Design. To complicate things even more, the words Art, Craft and Design are often used in overlapping contexts. Coming up with a working definition of ‘Craft’ was going to be a big challenge in this Inquiry It was important to start the search from home, Design.

2.5 Studying India Report 2.5.1

Background In 1958 on an invitation from the Government, Charles and Ray Eames visited India and travelled around for three months. The purpose of the visit was to give “recommendations on a programme of training in design that would serve as an aid to the small industries; and that would resist the present rapid deterioration in design and quality of consumer goods”. Through the visit, Charles and Ray Eames visited several Indian villages, Production and Handicraft hubs and drafted the India Report. India Report became the blueprint of design Education of India with the National Institute of Design being established on its recommendations. The India report most famously talks about the Humble Lota and transformation of India from a ‘Traditional Society’ to ‘Communication Society’. With the metaphor of a Lota the report sets an example of what a small scale production is capable of achieving, According to Eames the lota has adapted to the needs of users of each region, and have become a Design object, which is so universal and so functional which Industrial design can only aim to achieve.

“It is in this climate that handicrafts flourish – changes take place by degrees – there are moments of violence, but the security is in the status quo.” about the risk of our transition into ‘Communication Society’ which values ‘Change’ and ‘Evolution’ over the ‘Status quo’, and the risks our traditional handicrafts face are apparent. Today the Design Education in NID and Other colleges like NIFT, takes a stance of being an intermediate between ‘Traditional’ and ‘Information’ society, With introduction to handicrafts in Foundation, through extensive ‘Craft Documentation’ projects and several Craft centric projects the Institute and its Students undertake.



Purpose The purpose of studying the Eames report was to understand what the philosophy has been the Design Education I got at the NID and how It might unconsciously influence my approach in this work. Another aim was to relook at the report and try to analyse it in a post communication society framework, what the report and its approach to design education means in 21st Century, With Schools around the world like the influential Royal College of Art, Harvard GSD, Design Academy Eindhoven and MIT, taking a more inviting and sometimes pioneering role in technology and future centric education, what it means to be a designer in a country trying to preserve and celebrate its valued tradition and culture, at the same time trying to reach the forefront of the Information revolution?


Conclusions Although India Report in its original state manages to lay down the directions for Design Education in India, it feels Inadequate in dealing with a more contemporary design discourse. The report is a relic from the modernist project with all its merits and important insights, fails to comply with new paths the nation is trying to take forward, where food and shelter are still an important need for a huge portion of the nation but at the same time we are trying to emerge as a thought and industrial leader. The India Report is a report about one ‘The India’, a Young nation with immediate issue of feeding its hungry population & setting up industries. Over last 70 years, the Nation has evolved into a complex collection of India’s and Bharat’s, some versions of the nation still have the same ‘Immediate problems’ while the ‘other versions’ of nation dealing with complex global problems like climate crisis. Often these ‘versions’ of India are entangled, inter-related and often contradictory.

One India Report with its straightforward goals does not encompass all the challenges and aspirations India has today. figure: Charles & Ray Eames, 1958, India Report


India Report Project

India Report Project is a series of Reimagination of what India Report would be if it was written at different junctions of history, today and in future. And, what if a diverse set of people wrote it. Methodology


The India Report was distributed among the peer group and they were asked to read and make amendments to it in their best capacity, some amendments were situated in future. There are no better/right/wrong amendments but multiplicity of them.

The Amended iterations of the India Report were shared on a public forum on Instagram through stories and posts. @CraftFuture

_____ Excerpts From Instagram Ammendment 1 by Yatharth





Conclusion & Scope

In the scope of this project, the report just served to understand what design practice means to me personally.

The project does not aim to write a new India Report but to allow design practitioner to Identify their own value system and design practice.

The project was limited to a very small peer group of ‘thinking’ designers. The outreach can also be limited due to the medium of Instagram

This is a self-reflective exercise which can be Introduced as a part of Foundation programmes in design curriculum, allowing young design students to situate themselves in design practice and start the journey of defining their agency as a designer early on.

Read the full Amendments đ&#x;ŒŽ Link 1

The amendments were shared on Instagram

Contributors Harshali Paralikar Critters Collective



Chapters 3. Understanding Crafts ..49 4. Technology & Crafts ..65 5. Research & Tools ..85

Chapter 3

Crafts 49


Excerpt From Blog

Review of Designs on Craft, DeNicola & Weber (D&W) Modern Craft discourses by designers often describes the craft as ‘traditional’ and ‘handicraft’ or something to be preserved, often missing the ‘everyday socio-economic interactions where authorship,expertise,purpose and history are negotiated’ but instead the way the crafts are described often ends up ‘weigh down the ideological conception of labor’. The discourse also helps reinforce class and power difference between craftsmen, designer,NGOs and so on often downplaying the complexity of craft production in which a single ‘craftsman’ can take multiple roles in a single career moving between labor-producermiddleman-entrepreneur-institutional teacher.

This simplified way of talking about craft also tends to create a contrast between ‘a generic tradition-bound crafts worker’ and ‘designer or development

worker whose knowledge and capacity of creativity is superior and uncontroversial’ further muting the voice of crafts people in the forums design operates. The Development Worker They also talk about the shift in the way we talk about ‘knowledge,work and creativity’ and ‘crafts and labor’ perhaps we have created a distinction between both. They attribute it to post 1990(globalization) shift from ‘the language of co-operatives and grassroots mobilization’ to talks about ‘marketing, business models and entrepreneurship’. The change in priorities has placed middlemen between the maker and there access market and that can be observed as ‘growing assertion among designers to intervene in even more fundamental ways in the process of making’.


Parallelly to the study of India Report, I started looking at the Literature around crafts to get an Idea of how academia and literature have tried to define crafts.

3.1 Understanding Crafts 3.1.1

Origins In his Book, The Invention of Craft, Glenn Adamson (Head of Research at V&A) , Calls craft as a modern invention. Which emerged out of the Industrial Revolution. According to Adamson the concept of :

Industry and Crafts existing through juxtaposition

with there difference being primarily in the labour division and management, Industry represents the erosion of Craftsman’s Autonomy. He argues, crafts and making are the

“most effective means of materialising beliefs, transforming the world around us and controlling others”.


Design According to Adamson,

Design exercises control over crafts through use of Technical drawings over Conceptual ideas.

The designer and design process often plays the role of an intermediate and middle man between the craftsman and the user, and drawings can end up exercising control over the free will of Craftsmen.

It’s almost seen a responsibility of the Modern designer to be the benefactor and protector of the ‘unmodern’ maker and the need is justified through ‘statistical evidence such as income,employment,education,trade,output and access to travel’ the objective forms of data help distinguish the ‘developed’ designers from the ‘underdeveloped maker’ and also necessitate projects to ‘assist’ them.

A Search Result for "Designer Stock Photo India" According to D&W

‘Designers are elite cosmopolitan person who institutionally contribute to a ‘Global Hierarchy of Value’ in which ‘Homogeneous language of culture and ethics has become pervasive and commonsensical and claim that sometimes the ‘expert’ inputs from the designers can limit the craft from becoming contemporary through their own innovation. The design discourse tries to establish the Designer as a person who understands the global market and modern needs and tastes and thus acts as a mediator between the tradition and modernity but instead of “reproduces the presumed tension between innovation and tradition”. The designers which are primarily middle class often tend to to see themselves as people who can “uniquely span the divide between makers and the consumer” and this is direct result of the “evocative dualism of cosmopolitan vs provincial” the middle class designers draw from according to Fischer.

The discourse of Innovation vs Tradition especially puts an expectation on the crafts to be ‘traditional’ to be authentic and marketable, which according to venkatesan is an “Idealized space in which crafts,defined by the middle and upper middle class resides”

Later on, Dawn Nafus and Richard Beckwith (DnS, Critical Craft, Bloomsburry) bring out the oversimplified understanding of craft in which we tend to put craft in either ‘timeless’ or low quality everyday things, often forgetting the complexity which arises in between. They point out this idea of Craft getting closely associated to a patron, like a ruler or businessman leading to thriving of the highest quality of craft or in a way the ‘golden age’ but DnS say that there studies of crafts in India shows that this may not be always true. The narrative of the Golden Age is important as it provides a historical benchmark to our construction of the precolonial India and in multiple ways also constructs a national and regional identity, which was authentic and now in decline.

A Search Result for "Craftsman Stock Photo India"

The ‘Traditional’ Worker They bring attention to the distinction between mental and manual labor again in which the brain conceived the grand plans and the manual labor just carries out the instructions, often erasing the problem solving, creative and management skill of the craftsmen and often deskilling them. They put the forward the argument that most of these crafts have survived various socio-political upheavals in the past with ingenuity showing



Romanticism Edward Said talks about ‘Orientalism’[1] which applies a lot in the Craft Discourse also. For Said, The concept of Orient exists as a way to contrast the west from the east, it’s the difference of ours and theirs. The Concept of Orient is a mirror of self-superiority, which is Invented by the West, for the West, to project what it doesn’t want to acknowledge about itself on the East. Even modern Romanticism in the East, which portrays the east as exotic, sunshine, pure, natural and innocent, becomes a means of controlling the self-Image of the East. The similarity with the relation of Crafts and Industry is remarkable, In an Industrial world, we position crafts as an exotic, anti of Industry, something outside the realms of efficiency and functionality of Industrial produce.

Crafts becomes an Idea to be romanticized but not normalised.


Politics In ‘Traces of Craft’[2] Esther Leslie, characterizes the Hand as a ‘political organ’. Craft’s political legacy can be seen in the Arts and Crafts movement and in Gandhi’s philosophy of Khadi. Modern movements like Craftivism use the idea of using a craft as a tool of activism: "craftivism is a way of looking at life where voicing opinions through creativity makes your voice stronger, your compassion deeper & your quest for justice more infinite". [3] A story of craft activism can be seen in Arpillera, A patchwork craft which became popular among women in Chile during Dictator Pinochet’s regime, the Arpilleras represented and documented human rights violation by the regime and provided a source of income for the families.

As a political tool, Craft becomes the voice of protest, expression and identity, socioeconomic freedom, worker rights and control over means of production. _____________ [1] Orientalism, Edward Said, 1978 [2] Walter Benjamin : Traces of Craft, Eshter Leslie [3] Craftism Wikipedia

that perhaps our simplistic understanding of craft is flawed. Also stepping out of the urban cosmopolitan lens which puts the artisan as the lower class in great despair shows that often in rural context the same artisan can form the middle and upper middle class, often controlling the means of production and even driving the economy of whole geographical region. For example the Chikan Craft in Lucknow is often labelled as a small scale craft industry, which in fact happens to be one of the largest employers in the city, on a sheer scale there is nothing non-industrious about it apart from the lack of machines and distributed production across various households. In economic terms, it’s a full blown industry. It is an industry in which the entrepreneur and worker is not a distinction but actually dictated by the market, often time the agents(primarily female) are also craftsperson who take up smaller commissions from patrons for finer work but other times source mass production to other embroiders working under them. They say that ‘fetishization’ of the craft as tradition often assumes that the central activity of a craftspersons daily life and thus discounting different roles and responsibilities of business,education, management, design and research the person takes. Design is about the industrial division of labour,in which the creative work lies exclusively with the designer , Craft is about the whole process. The craftsperson is not always concerned with the ‘best quality’ of work they can produce, as there is no need to produce great work for a low wage and even sometimes just refuse. This is often seen as designer as a resistance coming from the inertia and solidity of a lower class but instead it is the outcome of the confidence in there own imagination and creativity which is sensitive and responsive to the external determinant, which the design discourse completely disregards. Designers rarely conceive of their significance only limited to ‘bringin artisans work’ instead they take a role of re-inventing the craft where the craft is traditional and the improvisation of the craftspeople is disregarded, the designer dictates what must be preserved and what must be innovated

designer and technician working in all three ways to serve his users’ needs.He was a source both of inspiration and problem solving, functioning always within the core of his society. With the advent of colonialism and industrialism, the integral quality of his role began to disintegrate. Efforts at craft regeneration during India’s freedom movement and in the years after Independence have not yet been able to draw craft back into the center of national consciousness”

On Tradition They are particularly critical of the ‘revivalist’ approach to crafts which somehow keeps reviving itself. Revival is a project which never stops and keeps coming back every year,the media always use terms such as “ancient” “forgotten” “lost” “revived” etc while describing crafts.Revival is always just about to be done, resurrection is always on the verge of being accomplished, and thus the artisan is always in the need of a design revivalist. They suggest either the past efforts have not been enough or simply ineffective and corrupt. Finally on tradition, they say the word puts the working class at the periphery of middle class norm.Liechty and Ortner even suggest that “The very act of construction tradition undermines its political mobilization”. Going further Guss[2] says:

“At the heart of all traditionalizing processes is the desire to mask over the real issues of power and domination. By classifying popular form as traditions they are effectively neutralized and removed from realtime”

According to Ashok Chatterjee[1]:

“The indian craftsman was artist, _____________ [1] Challenges of Transition: Design and Craft in India, Ashok Chatterjee, 1988 [2] The Festive Statr, Guss, 2000


3.2 Lenses at Crafts When trying to understand what ‘Craft’ means it can be useful to look at it through different lenses


Craft as Process How ?

The process lens looks at the craft as the culmination of the whole process of production of an object. From the sourcing of the material, to how the object is made to who uses it. The whole is larger than the sum of it parts. The nature of craft can change with elements of the craft being changed. The process can be broken down into Input-process-output, with Input being the materials and knowledge involved, Process being the tools and techniques involved and the output being the object and user.


Craft as Action What ?

If the practice of making has to be broken down into Art, Design and Craft. Craft would be the execution of the Ideas, it would be the action which manifests Ideas, concepts and beliefs into the real world. The action lens looks at the question of what is being done to materialise these ideas. This lens of crafts operates in the moment of this manifestation, it’s primarily concerned with the tacit knowledge and the experience of the craft.

In Conclusion

What did I learn from it ?

DnW suggest that we should detach craft and tradition,allowing us to look at crafts with other economic activities. And they suggest the culture of pirates, recyclers, makers and DIY enthusiasts as an equivalent to craft practices.They say perhaps the refusal of formal industries, the resourcefulness and the strong understanding of effort and reward is where we can converge craft and contemporary maker culture. Instead of looking at innovation and tradition as separate buckets, look at mixture of both, which the end result often offers.

The essay highlights a few important pointers for the project, the most importantly to stop looking as the project as a conservation of a craft or forcing ‘forcing innovation’ to the craft as a Designer.

I should be looking at the project as an urban craftsman and collaborating with the artisans, my role in the project is not to revive or open ‘global’ markets for the crafts in the future but to work in my capacity towards future and innovation together, sharing knowledge and skill with craftsmen. It’s very difficult to agree with everything DnS are saying though, In criticizing the fetish of designers and industry they are themselves diving into a fetish of ‘Craft doesn’t need anything it’s already self sufficient’. Their approach is still important for me to not forget about the class and power structures and be highly self aware of my role in this imagination of craft future.



Craft as Philosophy Why ?

The philosophy lens tends to delve into the questions of ‘Why’ do we make things. What is the driving purpose of the craft? Is it self-expression? is it peace? is it a desire for excellence? or an attempt to make an impact? This lens of craft allows us to delve into more sociological, metaphysical and political aspects of craft practice. The philosophies may not be isolation and in most cases might be an overlap of a multitudes of why’s.


Craft as Culture Who,When & Where ?

The culture lens asks us to look at the cultural and social meaning of the craft, where they come from, what are the rituals and social structures around them and who practices them. The questions of class, heritage, tradition and identity become important through this lens. This outlook steps back from and situates crafts in a larger macro picture of society and its role inside it.


Contexts of 'Crafts'

As As As As As As As As As

a Profession/Livelihood an Approach Cleverness a Hobby an act of “making” something Small Scale Handmade/ Non Industrial something of value something unique

59 The word craft is often used in varying contexts and meanings, this section tries to visually breakdown the prominent associations with the word.


What makes it 'craft'?

Created by Dmitry Orlov from the Noun Project

Materiality Can we change the material of the craft while it still remains a craft ? What about converting it into a digital form ? Don't material change over time with their availability ?

Local Economy

Created by Georgiana Ionescu from the Noun Project

Can money remain in local system in modern economy? And is it even desirable? Does craft model prevent trade and thus exchange of ideas?

Created by riska ambiya mahfudin from the Noun Project

Created by jokokerto from the Noun Project

Created by corpus delicti from the Noun Project

Local Ecology


The care and love

What meaning does local ecology have when materials can be sourced from anywhere in the world and worked with. The future is in re-localisation? or decentralisation over the internet?

What is tangibility? Digital pieces of work still have value? Digital pieces can be converted back to physical, the designs are still an intellectual property. What about knowledge of craft? Is it tangible?

Can a piece of craft be created with only algorithmic process with no real love to it, just keep generating. While being unique, Industrialised Uniqueness? More Importantly can we train a machine to feel care for the user? What about in exploitative craft clusters? A humane factor like care and love can be explored in automated production by involving the human in the emotional decision-making process and machine systems taking over


Can we breakdown a craft practice into small components and identify what makes it craft and not an industrial practice?


Created by ahmad from the Noun Project

With contemporary craft like 3D printing, there is often no long-term history involved. If crafts is bound by history then how do new crafts emerge? Can we Imagine a craft with no culture and history but something which leads to the formation of one, again 3D printing serves an example?

The Uniqueness

Created by Shiva from the Noun Project

Industrialised uniqueness. Each handmade or crafted object is susceptible to a level of uniqueness either by intent or the process which introduces non-identicalness, providing character(?). The industrial objects don't have such pronounced divergence by design but can easily incorporated an algorithmic approach to uniqueness, like the Hot Chip album cover. Perhaps with more sophisticated production method, each piece can be uniquely made on a set of rules. Identical: Can craft objects be completely identical and still be unique? What about moulds used in pottery? Are they crafted or are they industrialised?

This section takes a reductionist approach to break down small chunks from the picture of crafts and tries to question their validity in defining a craft. The list by no means is complete and serves a springboard for hypothesising new ways of looking at crafts.

Non Industrial method

Created by Tomi Triyana from the Noun Project

Industries keep involving the concept of craft, like china’s production villages which specialize in just one form of production like a craft cluster. Decentralised but an industry, nevertheless.

The risk factor

Created by Ralf Schmitzer from the Noun Project

Can digital craft have risks involved through some process Algorithmic risk: Industrial methods are created to minimise the risks involved in the process and are also meant to go through rigorous quality check to ensure consistency but there still exists industries which are high risk and low yield like Chip manufacturing where each lot has a certain chance of failure, the failure although not emerging through human error but through the material properties and imperfections only. A level of uncertainty can be programmed into existing systems to create more risky industrial objects. Although hiking up the costs

The Whole This exercise demonstrated that perhaps a reductionist approach to a word as big as crafts is problematic and incomplete, which makes pinning down the exact definition of crafts extremely difficult and perhaps a futile exercise.

3.5 Towards a definition? To define the word crafts is difficult, Through the literature review and interactions, the meaning of the word keeps changing.Here is small collection of attempts at defining which popped up during the reasearch

Craft is.. ..Most effecting means of materializing beliefs,transforming world around us and controlling others. -Glenn Adamson, The Invention of Craft, 2013

1. Activity involving making things by hand. 2.Skill used to deceive others. -Google Search

..the engagement with material. About the making, not about the aesthetic,efficiency and end result. Extended engagement, responsive, complex+messy, non reliant on industry, human centered,. -Jon Rogers, Berlin Tapes, 2017

.. ot simply factors of production but receptacle and conduits of knowledge. -Clare M. Wilkinson-Weber, ‎Alicia Ory DeNicola, 2016

..intention and attention. Caring about the outcome and the end user -Guy Hurton for Arch Daily, 2013

..Care and risk,where the quality of result is not predetermined. It involves judgement and dexterity, with subjective and personal decisions. Object becomes the documentation of the effort. -David Pye, The Nature and Art of Workmanship, 2008


..Humane-vernacular-idiosyncratic. -Andrew Presscot, Berlin Tapes, 2017

..Is Storytelling

-Walter Benjamin

..Knowledge that empowers maker to take charge of technology. -Peter Dormer

..Distinctive set of knowledge,skills and aptitude centered around a process of reflective engagement with the material world and digital world. - Swart and Yair, Craft Council UK, 2010

..Not only having technical skills but also an attitude and social consciousness. A social obligation to work best for the welfare of its people,An obligation both material and spiritual. -Japanese word Shokunin “Craftsman”

..As a kind of incremental feeling one’s way through the world, stripped of grand plans. -Nafus & Beckwith, Critical Craft, 2016

The challenge of coming with a definition of crafts is that it leaves a lot more questions than answers. The word is perhaps undefinable in traditional sense, the purpose of this project is not to come up with a unifying definition of craft but to acknowledge its multivalence and diversity. For the purpose of this Inquiry, the word craft is understood more as a personal and political positions driven by certain values and ethos. For the initial phase of research a framework of ‘An activity of making done for someone” was used to make sense of ‘Craft practitioners’ [Craft Statement Tool, 5.6 ] &further on the project proposes a value driven outlook at defining crafts [ Values for Crafts, 11.1]

Chapter 4

Technology & Crafts 65

Results for Google image search for "Technology'


4.1 Technology & Craft A quick image search of the word technology returns a wall of chips, brains and mobile phones in different shades of electric blue. This popular imagination of technology is cold, distant and abstract, its glass, robots, bits and bytes, which is quite puzzling because technology is anything but a recent invention. The word Technology is defined by google as “the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes, especially in industry.� Which matches how we culturally imagine technology in 21st century but digging a bit deeper into the etymology of the word itself reveals a different meaning of the word which is much closer to the subject of this inquiry, crafts.

The Crowded Relief Road Electronics market in Ahmedabad, India is situated in the old, heritage district of the city Ahmedavadi Consumer, Youtube

Minority Report, 2002

Blade Runner 1982



Technology is the tool of craft The word techno-logy in its Greek origin basically boils down to the ‘Discourse and Treaty on Art and Craft’, the distinction between the word technology and crafts is something emerged out of rise of capitalism and industrialisation, Its not Inherit in the word itself.

In the book, Culture of Technology (1983) Aronld Pacey uses a triangular diagram to form an extended meaning of technology which involves cultural and organisation aspect of a technology practice. The popular definition of technology is restricted to this technical meaning of what tools, software’s and techniques are used in a process and how efficiently these processes can be achieved.

Technology Practice, The Culture of Technology (1996)

Moving away from the electric blue visuals and clean visual palette of Silicon Valley and Schengen brand of technology, we see the best example of technology practice in Indian repair and electronic markets. These centres of technology are often located in dingy shops in crowded marketplaces, full of people, colours, smells and lights, In the local electronic market, technology becomes a multi-sensory cultural experience. This experience of technology is very different from how the technology Industry sells the imagination of technology and future, living with technology is more like the messy, cultural hotpot of Bladerunner rather than pristine, uniform vision of Minority Report. At the end of day, Technology is nothing special but just a tool.

Traditional Fishermen in Kochi, India

A Commercial Fishing Vehicle, Britannica.com



A Customised Tool Our relationship with technology is often defined in our relationship with the tool. The tool or the means of production is an alien entity enforced upon the subjects by external forces like market and automation. The problem with technology coming from external forces is that it can end up straining the relationship between the Subject and Its work (Product of Labour).

Marx dialectical of Economy

In Craft traditions these tools and technologies come from the tradition itself instead of being enforced, the technologies used are thus highly evolved, context sensitive and customised. An example can be seen in Artisanal fishing communities ( Hussain Indorewala, Craft Future Lab, 2019) where the fishing practice and the tools used have evolved over generations and are driven by the value “Catch only the fish you need to catch”, Such a sensitivity to the environment and context an Ingrown technology brings is often missing in Enforced technology, For example modern fishing along the coast of Mumbai uses scrapers and big motor boats to maximises the harvest, although very high tech and efficient, the practice permanently damages the ecology, greatly reducing the yield overtime. The technique used in Artisanal fishing thus is not ‘Low Tech’ by any means, It is in fact highly evolved technology for the context, something which is contrasting with our expectations of a ‘High Tech’ industrial technique. This misunderstanding of nature and purpose of technology leads to polarised outlook at it.

Luddites destroying looms, Lithograph, 1812

Utopian vison of technology revolutionising education at school by feeding knowledge directly to brain. "At School.” Jean Marc Côté, 1899.



Technological Utopias & Dystopias Much of the fear around technology and automation comes from this idea of its imposition on the worker and the questions around its ownership. David F Noble, open the essay ‘In Defense of Luddism’ ( Progress without people, 1993) with “There is a war on, but only one side is armed: this is the essence of the technology question today” , Luddite which is used as a ‘derogatory’ slang today for people who oppose new technologies, refers to the members of a movement who were worried about how machinery was being used in a ‘fraudulent and deceitful’ to get around labour standards and practices at the peak of Industrialisation of Textile production, the group took a radical approach by burning down and destroying textile machinery, owing to their infamy. There was a fear that the machines are going to disrupt the social practice and accumulate power in the hands of a small group of people. On the other side of the technology debate were the techno determinists, The Industrialist, The Scientists and The Armies. The techno determinist saw the promise of technology in improving lives, making production efficient, making consumption fast. The Luddites in this vision were the ignorant of the ‘Inevitable Technological Change’. One side saw a socially frightening dystopia, the other saw a technological Utopia. In over a century the debate around technology has not changed greatly, with the advent of Industrial machines, then computers and now machine learning. The environment of fear and promise still remains. There is infect a term ‘Neo-Luddites’[1] which is thrown around to discredit the critics of technology. One may say that only one side is armed, with giant corporations like Amazon, Google, Facebook consolidating the capital and power through monopolistic control of technology. Often times the practices of the new technology Industry can be called ‘Fraudulent and deceitful’ as the majority of the population does not understand how they work and how much of our life they can control. Its only natural to fear an exploitation by something we don’t understand or control. On the other side, its also true that technology have brought a lot of positive change, with accessible learning, making it easier and faster to communicate, providing alternate streams of income for families. There is no technological Utopia or Dystopia. The question around technology is not as much about If technology is good or bad, but its about who has the ownership of the tools of production. The question around technology is the same as Industry vs Crafts. The Technology Industry exists as a juxtaposition of crafted technology.

[1] Neo-Luddite is used to describe those who are considered to be anti-technology, or those who dislike or have a difficult time understanding and using modern science and technology.

Project Alias is a DIY project seeking to control how mcuh a smart speaker can listen in. BjørnKarmann, 2019



Crafted Technologies In Berlin Tapes (2017), Jon Rogers talks about a craft approach to technology in context of IOT devices. He outlines a framework of ‘Tens of Millions vs Millions of tens’ which aims to take back control of technological mass production from Shenzhen and Silicon Valley. This craft approach of IOT acknowledges and works in a human centred messy way, It is decentralised in control and production, it builds resilience in complex systems and creates relations with data instead of ‘exploiting it’. He also talks about the Big Five of Internet controlling the versions of internet we experience vs an Internet which has evolved over time through contribution of millions of people, a community not an industry. In ‘Number in Craft’ (Critical Craft, 2016) Nafus talks about communities of home energy enthusiasts who create their own power measurement and optimisation system. In this enthusiast community, each Individual has identified their own needs and has built their system around them. The same data from the sensors is interpreted in a different way and used differently, often these members are driven by the irrelevance of commercially available sensors for their use cases. The people have started crafting the technology and thus taking ownership over it. This seeking of ownership on technology can be seen in a new form of Craft, Digital Crafts.

Shine is a 3D scan of reflective objects , printed and casted with all the defects in 3D scanning process Geoffery Man, 2010



Digital Crafts In words of Peter Dormer[1] :

“Crafts not as handicraft defines contemporary craftsmanship but craft as knowledge that empowers maker to take charge of technology” The term digital crafts can mean a spectrum of things from using a software like photoshop to visualise or all the way to using state of the Art 4D printing for creating functional synthetic organs. What is essentially at the core of Digital crafts is the use of technology, which is often Industrial in its nature for the creation of crafted objects. In the 2010 Report for UK Craft Council, Swartz and Yair describe crafts as “Distinctive set of knowledge, skills and aptitudes centred around a process of reflective engagement of material and digital world” A desire to seek control of the digital and Industrial tools can be seen in the maker communities, where the community is using contemporary tools for purpose of expression, customisation and exploration. Often the community develops its own tools overtime hacking things together or borrowing code and source files from each other, much like Artisanal fishing in Bombay, the tool of craft is developed over time in the community instead of being imposed.

[1] Peter Dormer is a writer and critic specializing in 20thcentury design and applied art


Digital Crafts

Michael Eden

Michael Hansmeyer

Michael Eden a traditional potter by training experiments with Rapid Prototyping techniques and Iconic eighteenth-century porcelains to create digital-classical pottery

An architect by training, Hansmeyer works with computational design to design and print highly intricate architectural columns which draw inspirations from gothic architecture


Also Look

Digital Handmade, Lucy Jhonston


Aki Inomata

Unfold works with Ceramic printing exploring the relations between traditional pottery, gestures and contemporary opensource technology.

Aki Inomata creates 3D printed accommodation for hermit crabs, the structures create a relation between human civilisation and natural world


What can crafts be ?

Craft+Consumer Tech

Craft+3D Printing

Can your next Gadget be made by a Craftsman?

What can craftsmen do with new technologies?

With the huge amount of open-source tools available and easy to access educational resources. Can craftsmen start creating modern technological gadgets with their traditional expertise.

3D printers have gone accessible in last few years, A cheap printer costs 15,000 online with material costing 1000 rupee per KG. 3D files can be downloaded and shared online for free, designs can flow between nations.The only barrier stopping this interaction is technical education on the technology.

Ancient traditions meets modern needs. Who will be these craftsman? What resources do we need? How to prepare our craftsman for a future like this?

With some introduction to techniques like 3D printing, what can a traditional craftsman do ? What would he make ? How to prepare them for such a future?

Project Jacquard is an interactive textile which weaves copper wires and sensors with fabric. Allowing the whole cloth to become a touchscreen.

English potter uses 3D printed vases as moulds for his intricate pottery

This ceramic speaker by nendo is made in collaboration with a master ceramic craftsman. The speaker exposes all its electronic components and celebrates them with traditional Japanese Kutani-ware technique

Emerging objects is using local mud and straws to print architectural sculptures. Perhaps one day it can be used as affordable housing


Craft+Consumer Tech


Can crafts solve Big problems like Climate Change?

Can Craftsmen work with Scientist on biggest questions of today?

Climate Change and Global warming is bringing its set of difficult problems like water shortage, increasing pollution to our cities and countries. Can we use traditional knowledge and material availability of crafts to tackle these monumental challenges placing crafts utility back?

Craft has intricate mathematics intertwined with its processes, often ignored. All through history, craftsmen have been pushing scientific boundaries by using new materials. Developing new tools and even developing new materials. Can we put our craft tacit knowledge with a modern scientist and see how they can collaborate?

Warka water tower convert atmospheric humidity into drinking water using fishing nets and cane structure

This is a passive Air Conditioner by Studio Ant. It uses terracotta and principles of Airflow to cool down the air

Scientist wanted to print a functioning heart. They didn't know how to, so they turned to a America based digital craft studio to help manufacture and design it

This pavillion is made by silkworms on a robot made frame. Silk Pavilion, MIT Media Labs



Can Architecture deploy Crafts on Scale?

Is Crafts the Answer to AI and Automations ?

Through history, Architecture has been an important center of the craft economy, as temples, intricate carvings on house windows, even brick masonry. Can contemporary architecture work with craft techniques to deploy it on a scale? Whether it be a building which cools itself, a living plant facade or geometrical complex structure?

With more and more productions and services getting Automated, the rise of AI and Machine Learning is termed as the 4th Industrial Revolution. And just like the first ones, Its leading to strong reactions across the board. With worries about job displacement, income inequality and the ethics of it. Can we look at crafts as a way to tackle some of these challenges? As arts and crafts movement did in early 20th century?

Janet Echelman uses her inspiration and techniques from Indian Fishing net making to create huge installation in Nets

Bored with standard products, people have started making and selling handmade items online on etsy like platforms

Zaha Hadid Studio used Knitted fabric to construct geometry this structure and poured concrete over to give its strength

Maker Movement is a broad movement around making things and sharing techniques in open communities and maker faires.


Craft+Entertainment Can crafts be consumed? Entertainment Industry is the most powerful cultural sector and is only getting stronger with people spending more time on the screen. Through history Crafts used to take this position in theaters and shows. But can crafts adapt to these modern forms of entertainment and sustain through digital creations?

There are multiple games which allow you to be a craftsman. Paired with real craftsman on the other side helping the player, the market for edutainment will be big

Modern Games and Virtual Environments have a thriving market of virtual clothing and articles in ( Billions of Dollars) which craft can fill with its unique identity and affordable 3D scanning techniques

Craft+Mental Wellbeing Can craft be practiced as a stress buster and therapy? People are looking for new ways to deal with increasingly stressful times and environment. Digital media has been shown to increase, instead of reducing the stress. People are looking for new ways to disconnect,destress and detox. There has been a growing interest in crafts for the same. Can crafts and craftsmen take up the role of therapists?

Chapter 5

Research & Tools 85


Craft Histories A quick study of five different 'craft' movements through 20th-21st Century. Arts & Crafts Movement Arts and Crafts was a 19th century movement which was born out of concerns over the impact of industrial production. The movement wanted to put decorative crafts in forefront again by developing products with more integrity and produced in less dehumanising ways. “a desire to break down the hierarchy of the arts (which elevated fine art like painting and sculpture, but looked down on applied art), to revive and restore dignity to traditional handicrafts and to make art that could be affordable for all.” “Morris believed passionately in the importance of creating beautiful, wellmade objects that could be used in everyday life, and that were produced in a way that allowed their makers to remain connected both with their product and with other people” “ He wanted to free the working classes from the frustration of a working day focused solely on repetitive tasks, and allow them the pleasure of craft-based production in

Time period Late 19th- Early 20th Century Trigger Industrialisation and Mass production’s impact on the quality of products and livelihood of the workers

Top: Chair,William Morris Middle: Grandfather Clock Bottom: Wallpaper,William Morris

which they would engage directly with the creative process from beginning to end.” The movement placed importance on the quality of craftsmanship and its importance in economy. The movement emerged around the same period as Marxism, although not directly related but both were a response to effects of Industrialisation, one was ‘on workers’ other was ‘on products and art’. One of the key drivers for this movement was also to resist the division of labour and separation of ‘design and making’. Critics like John Ruskin also linked a nation’s social health and the way objects are produced. The movement helped in revival of craft traditions in rural communities and generated employment for both men and women. Many leaders of Arts and Crafts movement were trained as Architects. The movement also inspired the establishment of Bauhaus, which was a response to the ‘soul-lessness of Industrial production’.

Reaction Move to simple,functional and beautiful handcrafted products by Artisans affordable by everyone. Impact Revival of rural crafts, Influence on Design schools like Bauhaus and Modernism.


Khadi/Swadeshi Khadi and Swadeshi is a deep rooted socio-political philosophy which led India through its Independence struggle and even further into first few decades of independence till liberalisation in the 1990s.

of khadi for rural self-employment and self-reliance (instead of using cloth manufactured industrially in Britain) in the 1920s in India, thus making khadi an integral part and an icon of the Swadeshi movement”

“The British Raj was selling very high cost cloths to the Indians. The Indian mill owners wanted to monopolise the Indian market themselves. Ever since the American Civil War had caused a shortage of American cotton, Britain would buy cotton from India at cheap prices and use the cotton to manufacture cloth. The khadi movement by Gandhi aimed at boycotting foreign cloth.[7] Mahatma Gandhi began promoting the spinning

As a movement, it encourages the idea of production in villages across India, the idea of a tightly knit local economy which is resilient and independent of foreign control is at its core. THe philosophy still guides contemporary crafts discourse in India and also modern Industrial discourse like ‘Make in India’.

Time period Early 20th Century

Catalysts Cheap Industrial textile production by British, Growing resentment in Indian working and Industrial class

Trigger British Control over textile production, Decline in Indian Artisans condition

The Charkha has come to represent the Indian idenity in the Indian Flag.

Impact A movement to boycott Foreign goods, move towards self dependence and village economy

Top: Gandhi With Charkha Bottom: Khadi Fabric

Maker Movement/DIY/ Repair Culture Maker/DIY culture is a broad spectrum of practices which emerged through 20th Century primarily in urban spaces, the movement has been attributed to the ‘growing disconnect with the physical world’ in modern cities with an emphasis on ‘learningby-doing’ .

printers, laser cutters, CAD software and computer numerical control (CNC) milling machines.”

The marker culture primarily deals with DIY electronics with its ethos in opensource, sharing of knowledge and learning to manifest technology.

Maker movement, along with hacker culture and open-source culture has become part of Corporate, Institutional and Education culture to foster community development and innovation.

“Many products produced by the maker communities have a focus on health (food), sustainable development, environmentalism and local culture, and can from that point of view also be seen as a negative response to disposables, globalised mass, the power of chain stores, multinationals and consumerism.” The marker culture primarily deals with DIY electronics with its ethos in open-source, sharing of knowledge, learning to manifest technology and anti-disciplinary approach. “The growth of the maker movement is often attributed to the rise of makerspaces -- community centres where makers can go to access tools that would otherwise be inaccessible or unaffordable. Peer education and opportunities for collaboration are important maker tools, as are access to digital fabrication tools such as 3D

Time period Late Late 20th Century - Today Trigger Mass Production-generic products, Lack of engagement of hands in consumeristic world, Proprietary technologies [Open Source] Top: Project Alias Middle: Hackerspace, Makezine Bottom: Hackerspace, Makezine

The subject of maker culture creations can be pretty varied but normally is around the idea of novel play, problem solving and upcycling.

Open Source hardware like Arduino, thingiverse, 3D printers provide affordable resources, Platforms like Instructables and Makerspace provides a community to learn and share, and Crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter are providing a road to market for the maker community. Some of the initial seeds of the maker culture can be seen in early technology research labs like Centre for Bits and Atoms, MIT Media Labs and Magazine like Popular Mechanics. The movement in technology has become important in late 1990s and beyond as a reaction to proprietary software, black boxing of technology and “the imaginations of consumers numbed by generic, mass-produced, made-in–China merchandise.”

Reaction A culture & ecosystem of creators, who make,share & learn by working with their hands in community spaces. Often for personal interests, problem solving .Mixing of Industrial production tools with artisanal values.

Impact Re-imagination of education in urban environment, Major shift in Corporate Catalysts Affordable digital technologies, Internet institutions work culture. Debate/Move ,Social networks and Rapid prototyping. towards democratization of technology allowing for new crop of entrepreneurial culture.


Entanglement If maker culture is more inclined towards technology, this broad loosely connected movement talks about entanglement of disciplines like science, engineering, design and art for tackling large issues like Biotech, Climate Change, Artificial intelligence. It involves practitioner involved in traditionally humanities fields collaborating with scientists. This approach is in its nascent stages and is primarily centered around arts courses in top institutions and coincides with rise in alternate approaches of design and spread of maker culture. At the forefront are highly skilled Artists like Nervous Systems, who

Time period Late 20th- Today Trigger Environmental and Technology concerns emerging in 21st century Catalysts Entanglement of traditional fields, rise of open research culture and easily accessible scientific resources, affordable digital fabrication technology

helped scientists in developing a 3D printed heart, Mediated matter group which is producing Brick laying machines, Crochet artists working with Mathematicians. Works happening in fashion Industry with 3D printed garment etc are also part of this artistic research advancing science. On a more local scale the rise of Terracotta as healthy utensils, refrigerators and passive cooling facade point towards an interest in functional crafts and arts. This movement has a long way to go and Might just be an extension of maker movement, or may not materialise into popular crafts.

Reaction Artists, Designers working in Scientific and Technology fields as researchers. Impact Broad Interest - Yet to Materialize

Top: Neri Oxman Middle: Nervous Systems Bottom: Ant Studio

Craft E-Commerce India India is seeing a rise in craft-centered ecommerce start-ups and big players working to build their craft stores. Approaches, Scale or Position in the supply chain may change but the central promise is around 1. Removing middlemen from supply chain and simplify payments 2. Providing crafts access to national and global market 3. Upskilling craftsmen in design and technology. Some E-commerce startups are also providing design inputs, big players like Amazon are providing support in training the craftsmen to use phones to list their products and handle the logistics of shipping. Some platforms are also run by self-help groups and NGOs. For a significant period, especially after Indian globalisation, collapsing on Indian crafts market has been echoed. The traditional markets have disappeared, and consumer expectations have changed, and proliferation of cheap manufactured goods are hard to compete with. Craft exhibitions, Haats, Government

Time period Early 21st century Trigger Diminishing market for crafts in India due to poor market linkages.

Top: Dharavi Market Bottom: Amazon Craft Store

Catalysts High Internet and Smartphone Penetration, Mobile banking, Investments in ecommerce

emporiums and some businesses like Fabindia have been working on providing these linkages for better half of the 20th century. This current rise is fuelled by proliferation of Internet and Smartphones across India, several craftsmen are already using platforms like WhatsApp to communicate and process orders. Increasing quality of cameras on smartphones also allow for easier documentation and presentation of work. Increased focus of the government on opening of bank accounts also helped with the payments. The rise can be seen parallel to the rise of independent craft practitioner platforms like Etsy and even Instagram although they are limited to urban-educated group. The underlying belief of the boom seems to be highly market driven, “Easy and direct access to market can help craftsmen increase their income.�

Reaction Emergence of Ecommerce platforms and Startups, linking market and organising craftsmen through mobile technology. Impact In progress, Too Early to say, Revival of some declining handicrafts, Increased income of some craftsmen.



Indian Handicrafts A study into the current position of Indian crafts.

Excerpts from Instagram Publication




Sources Most facts and figures are sourced from Dasra’s 2013 report “Creating a Livelihood” Figures around E-Commerce and Startups are sourced from articles in Your Story, Better India, Economic Times. Some Stats are taken from Niti Ayog’s 11th Five Year Plan


Timelines A quick Visual timeline study of Pottery and Weaving.








Ethnographic Interview Tool An Ethnographic questionnaire to be used along with the Craft statement to understand a Crafts practice.


Similar Tool

It is to guide through the interview but not actually to be used as a questionnaire in the interview. The interview is conducted, and the questionnaire can act as a tool to organise the information.

DIY Toolkit, Persona Nesta

đ&#x;ŒŽ Link 2

The following shows usage of this tool with a potter in Bicholim Goa.



Annexure 1



Craft & Value A study of relation of monetary, functional and cultural values of a traditionally crafted object (the Lota) in a contemporary marketplace.



A survey and listing of Lota’s available on Amazon India’s website was done, and each item was subjectively assigned a value of 1-5 on the parameters of Functionality, Beauty, Ritual Function, Age and ‘Handmade’-ness. The subjective scores were mapped against the price of the object.

Google Sheets

đ&#x;ŒŽ Link 3 Note

The values do not represent a wide demographic but are subjective to the author.

Parameters Price

How much it costs.


How useful is the Lota in everyday life for functional use, like as a container will be a 3. A purely decoration object would be 1 and a Lota which also acts as a cooking utensil, would be a 5.


How visually compelling or well made the object is. A plastic Lota would be a 1, A standard Industrial Lota would be a 3, and a beautifully hand carved silverware is a 5.

Ritual Function

How ritually functional the Lota is. A special Lota for the purpose of pooja will be a 5, A plastic Lota will be 1 and an average brass Lota would be a 3.


How traditional the object is, A 300-Year-old handmade traditional Lota is a 5, A clay Lota would be a 3, and an industrial Lota would be a 1.


How handmade the object is, A handcrafted clay Lota would be a 5, an industrial Lota with hand carving would be a 3, A purely Industrial Lota would be a 1.










Ritual Use


Conclusion 1.Lota’s at lower end of spectrum are primarily functional with some feature rich products appearing in the middle of the price range, as the price increases the objects tend to become more of show pieces. 2.Form follows function at the lower end of the spectrum, at higher prices form becomes more important 3.The ritual function of the Lota’s peak at the middle of the price range, with semi-precious metals like brass used for pujas. 4.You pay more for handmade things, Industrial objects are cheaper. 5.Very traditional Lota’s sell for higher.


Craft Statement Craft Statement is a tool to summarise and understand a craft or making practice in one phrase. Purpose The research needed a way to make sense of very varied and different sort of making and craft practices. Since the project was not looking at any particular kind of crafts, the tool had to be general purpose enough to accommodate most practices and at the same time allow to gather essential information about a practice. The tool was initially based on a working definition of craft in which, “Craft is an act of making done by a craftsman for someone, serving a purpose�

The tools is to be used to broaden the definition of crafts instead of being used as blinders to limit the meaning of craft.

The tool broke down any making/craft process into series of questions: 1.Who, is the maker. Craftsperson. 2.What, is getting made. Produce, Object and Knowledge. 3.Who are the collaborators. Collaborators. 4.How, it is getting made. Materials, Process and Tools. 5.Whom, it is made for. Users and Stakeholders. 6.Why, It is made. Function, Purpose and Aspirations.

This tool will be used to summarise any existing making/craft and experiments



Is the concept/idea or object getting made






is making

Is the making being done for ? Clients/Self etc



Is the thinking, designing and making happening

with A using

Is the maker or craftsman?

y What

is making


Ex: Wheel/kilin and 3D printing

Ex: Hands/Paper and Processing

Ex: Clay and Big Data


Fabrication tools and techniques

Design tools and techniques

Thinking tools and resources


Experiment & Craft Classification Tool 1



zi | zp | zo

Copy pastable using




Is the maker doing it. Think livelihood, emotions, environment, science etc






The following is an In progress listing for anyone to add to and use.


As a Documentation Tool The tool was used to document the practices encountered and interacted with during the duration of this project. In its documentation implementation, the question on where was also added to add context to the practice.

đ&#x;ŒŽ Link 4

Examples of usage Sandeep Sangaru is a furniture designer making furniture with local craftsmen using technical drawings and local techniques for High-end customers and Museums, for the purpose of pushing crafts to excellence with new design techniques. KD Pandit is Master Craftsman making Terracotta decorations with employed craftsmen using traditional techniques for hotels and resorts, for the purpose of maintaining traditional pottery traditions. Neri Oxamn is a Scientist and Designer making Brick Laying robots with Scientists using Programming, CNC and 3D printing for scientific research, for the purpose of making construction cheaper and faster.

Limitations As with any simplification the tool misses’ nuances of real world. Any craftsman or maker cannot be limited to one sentence or phrase, every individual involves in a variety of making activity with different or even contradicting purpose driving it.

The tool is useful to only understand one aspect of any makers making process, at times multiple sentences are needed. On the other hand, this simplicity makes the phrase a powerful imagination tools for thinking about new making practices.



As an Imagination Tool As an imagination tool, the sentence doesn’t act as a telescope to look into the future but rather as a peephole into what’s possible, showing you a small portion of this future but at the same time hiding the world around it for open imagination. The tool was used to imagine provocative personas for world building in the final phase of the project.

Implementation The tool can be implemented as an automated sentence generator, which frames new ways of imagining crafts. [Chapter 12]

Examples of usage Rima Devi is a housewife making handmade radiation heating sweaters with a Recycle and Engineer using Recycled fast fashion and Knitted coils for local kids and old people to create beautiful clothing for her kids and people in the neighbourhood.the purpose of making construction cheaper and faster.


Lenses to Look at Crafts

Created by Arthur Shlain from the Noun Project










Maker Organised Local Traditional

Labour Resources Culture

Independent Global Cultural









Chapters 6. Generative Crafts ..115 7. Physical to Digital to Physical ..147 8. Crafting Artificial Intelligence ..163 9. Crafting Amazone Echo ..181

Chapter 6

Generative Crafts 115

How might we inspire digital making with physical making & vice versa ?



Crafting with Code Background The experiments in Generative crafts started with an attempt to simulate Crafts process digitally to understand the relation between digital creation and physical making and then use new possibilities provided by generative process to explore new expressions. The core rule behind all the experiments was to avoid using Design

Drawing as a tool to reach an End goal but to create a pipeline which allows serendipitous exploration of forms, at the same time develop and achieve in mastery of tools developed by the user (Author) themselves. The two crafts looked at were weaving and pottery for their completely different approaches in making, whereas

weaving at its basic level is computational and algorithmic (The concept of computers comes from Jacquard Looms) , A weaver plays around with the algorithm to create new forms, Pottery is more parametric, where the basic rules are set by the tool (The wheel) and the craftsman plays around with the parameters (radii) to control the form.

Can algorithms and generative practices complement or completely replace the hand form handicrafts? What does it mean when an abstract entity like code can be used to manipulate parameters of craft instead of direct interaction with the materials? And what would these modes of interaction look like?



On a conceptual level, Wheel based pottery is like the process of lathe. The crafts person primarily plays with the cross section, the form emerges out of rotation of the cross section.

In CAD software this technique is commonly referred to as sweep/loft, where you can create and outline and rotate the outline on an axis to arrive at the form.


Digital Pottery Tools Pottery being one of the oldest and prevalent global craft has also been explored digitally extensively, Primarily the workflow involves a modelling tool and a fabrication process like 3D printing either a mould or directly printing in ceramic material.

In the following section we will be looking at two distinct tools which use the concept of lathe to create pottery.

The shape of the outline determines the profile and the radius of rotation determines the volume.


Lets Create Pottery Sort of a game and a zen experience LCP allows players to create pots on a wheel through simple gestures and even fire it in a virtual furnace. User can buy new brushes, colors, decorations and ornaments like handles and caps as you progress.

to life through a 3D printing partnership within the APP.

The game portion plays out in forms of email orders you receive from people. It treats you like a virtual hobbyist who goes on to establish a craft practice out of it.

It can be argued that in some form it does give that zen feel to the digital craftsmen sitting on a couch in a city but

The game also features a virtual marketplace where digital craftsmen can share their creations.The creations can even come

The app emulates the real craft into a digital realm through an Skeuomorphic Interface and then through 3D printing brings the digital into physical. All without a potter or a potters wheel.

Can it be still called pottery without the material, process, context & the person involved ? Potter Ware

Potter Ware is a 3D printing pottery tool designed by the ceramic printing studio Emerging Objects. Unlike the ‘Let's create pottery’ the tool is meant more for designer, artist and creatives and that reflects in its premium pricing also. The tool provides more technical control over the parameters of the pot being made; interface wise it represents more abstract CAD modelling tools more than a potter’s wheel. Actually, it does not refer to the wheel at all. The interface provides fine control over how a 3D printer would process this model perhaps the reason

why it uses a more abstract wireframe representation (the lines actually show the path 3D printer would follow).

The tool allows pottery to become independent of any reference to the process, materials & the experience.

How Might We Create new Lotas of our Time ?



Experiments “Of all the objects we have seen and admired during our visit to India, the Lota, that simple vessel of everyday use, stands out as perhaps the greatest, the most beautiful. The village women have a process which, with the use of tamarind and ash, each day turns this brass into gold. But how would one go about designing a Lota? First one would have to shut out all preconceived ideas on the subject and then begin to consider factor after factor” In the India Report Charles and Ray Eames talk about all the consideration one might have to go through while making a Lota. They conclude that not one person would have sat and made decisions about all these factors but these are a result of centuries of evolution, One of the hope and reason for an Institution of Design was to “hasten the production of the “Lota’s” of our time”. The following experiments are an attempt to create ‘Lota’s of our time’ through digital creation and fabrication tools. Auto Lota

The Auto Lota uses generative process to create nearly infinite versions of Lota without the need of a designer or craftsman. Achieving and probably exceeding Charles and Ray Eames vision of hastening the creation of Lota’s of our time by a great margin.

The first experiment uses Processing to create a Lota Generator. The Silhouette of a Lota is constructed with a Bezier curve with 5 points, each of these points can move overtime through noise, creating a unique silhouette at any given moment. The program rotates the curve on an axis to create a 3D Lota which keeps evolving over time, generating new forms.


How I did it Tool: Processing Processing is a programming language for creatives and designers, primarily aimed at teaching the concept of programming to first time programmers coming from visual design, new media art and electronic art communities. If you want to learn how to use programming in your design, or you want to make something which no other program offers, Processing is the easiest and fastest entry point with greatly accessible learning resources available.

Source Files đ&#x;ŒŽ Link 5 Concepts I am using: Bezier Curve đ&#x;ŒŽ [https://processing.org/tutorials/curves/] Loops đ&#x;ŒŽ [https://processing.org/tutorials/arrays/] 3D camera đ&#x;ŒŽ [https://processing.org/tutorials/p3d/ How to get started: đ&#x;ŒŽ https://processing.org/ , đ&#x;ŒŽ https://hello.processing.org/ đ&#x;ŒŽ https://www.youtube.com/user/shiffman/ Readings: Processing: A Programming Handbook for Visual Designers, Second Edition License : OpenSource Learner Level : No/Basic understanding of programming Lota Maker

The Lota_Maker is a tool which allows you to create your own custom Lota as per your needs and go about your everyday morning routine, all without leaving the comfort of your home.

Lota Maker uses a parametric design software to make a tool which allows you to create a pot/lota by changing the parameters. The software generates a 3D model which can be 3D printed at a desired scale. The tool when combined with ceramic 3D printing or relevant moulding process can print ceramic artefacts. The experiment disconnects the wheel from the process of pottery while still creating a tangible artefact.


Anecdote Later on, in the project I took the Pot printed through this process to a traditional potter and explained how it was done. He was pleasantly surprised and noted that If only he could understand how to work with these new technologies, he could do so much more

How I did it Tool: Grasshopper Grasshopper is a Parametric design plugin for the 3D CAD Software Rhino. It uses the concept of visual programming to allow users to create designs in Rhino Generatively. Since it’s a full programming language inside a CAD software, it can allow you to control almost any aspect of the things one can already do in Rhino. It can be thought of as a tool which allows one to create own tools and features in a 3D software. Grasshopper is primarily used for generative art, generative design, parametric modelling and can even be used in audio visual, simulation and other contexts.

Source Files đ&#x;ŒŽ Link 6 Concepts I am using: Lofting đ&#x;ŒŽ [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzxQy_TXGlk] , Basics, Baking and Exporting 3D model How to get started: 1. Start by getting used to Rhino and its Interface đ&#x;ŒŽ [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNTYQGqeg-w] , 2. Learn the basics of Grasshopper đ&#x;ŒŽ [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A9OdZKsSIq8] 3. Play around as you go đ&#x;ŒŽ [https://www.youtube.com/channel/ UCjLDKM9EzNdASaNdjBhTqug] , Keywords: Generative Design, Parametric Design Learner Level : Comfortable Understanding of 3D CAD software License : Paid Open Source Alternative : VVVV



Textiles and Computing have a very long history. Textile was the first craft to be automated and infact the starting point from where modern analytical engines were developed. Its only Natural that Textile has been heavily studied by mathematicians and computer scientists

& already has quite sophisticated production tools. This section has been particularly challenging.

for quite some time, and it is indeed very challenging for the purpose of this Graduation Project.

The constant question has been, what to explore ? The underlying mathematics and physics behind a fabric has been the forefront of scientific research community

This section describes very early attempts to do something with a fabric/ thread like material. A lot of failed attempts are behind these two experiments.



Inspirations to look at 3D Printed Fabrics The YouTube channel Make Anything explores different 3D print designs which behave like fabrics đ&#x;ŒŽ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ge-q6iXDAoc

3D Printing Loom Using a modified 3D printer as a CNC Loom to create new materials with fabrics đ&#x;ŒŽ https://3dprint.com/62721/sosanya-3dprinting-loom/

Crochet Simulator A program which allows you to visualise a crochet pattern digitally đ&#x;ŒŽ http://timhutton.github.io/crochet-simulator/

Simulation of a Cane weave structure

Physics simulation of an interwoven circle fabric for 3D printing

Weave Simulations The project attempts to create a drapable material using 3D printing.

Kinematic Dress 6, Nervous Systems

3D printed fashion is in its early stages where makers are exploring new forms, and expressions in clothing and some even exploring the idea of being able to print your own apparels at home. It can often take shape of either of printing pieces of materials joined together by articulate hinges giving the whole piece a fabric like quality, sometimes it is used on top of existing fabric to add new intricate formal expressions, It can also refer to use of CNC knitting process or any combination of all of the above.

The material is built out of circle interwoven into each other and tessellated around. The simulations are run to get an Idea of the final material Might behave. The 3D Printing solution available at disposal was incapable of Printing the Forms.


Interlocking Loops tesslated make a structure which can drape like a fabric

How I did it Tool: Cinema 4D Cinema4D is a 3D Animation Suite with Primary focus on Parametric Motion Graphics. Cinema 4D is not the best tool for a project like this. Alternative : Fusion360 Failure: The approach failed due to the limitation of 3D printing technique at disposal. FDM Printers are not the best for creating a woven structure, A technique like SLS is better suited.

Source Files đ&#x;ŒŽ Link 7 Successful Approach đ&#x;ŒŽ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ge-q6iXDAoc

Pentagons : one point connected at center and another at the circumference of circle

Threading Visualising Threading Patterns through Parametric Modelling

The experiment emerged to algorithmically generate and visualise weave patterns and eventually prototype them using simple rules with craftsmen. The tool was developed on Grasshopper and it allows to play around with creating new weave patterns in closed shapes. There is a collection of algorithms but they all are based on the idea of one point on the shape being connected on other points, the parameters of which can be controlled through sliders.


Iterations made on Grasshoppers by changing tha paramters of which point on the circle connect to each other and what shapes connect them

How I did it Tool: Grasshopper

Source Files đ&#x;ŒŽ Link 8 Concept Used đ&#x;ŒŽ Line Segmentation

How might we learn to make from Nature?



Differential Growth Experiments to simulate growth patterns in natural world


Background Natural systems form complex and functional formation from repeated division of a single cell. The rules governing these processes are often very simple and are governed by environmental factors but can lead very sophisticated formation which can Inform our making process. In this section a growth called ‘Differential Growth’ was simulated.

Source: Nervous Systems

According to Nervous Systems:

To put it simply, some areas grow more than others, and this leads to the formation of macroscopic shape. These shapes result from the interplay between the underlying cellular growth processes and the mechanics of the materials themselves.

Very direct form of differential growth can be seen in plant tropism, where the areas facing sunlight grow at faster rate than the areas away from the sunlight, allowing creepers to climb a tree, or allow plants to expand their surface area to receive maximum amount of sunlight or nutrients.


Scope A growth approach like this allows for creation of notoriously difficult to make structures like the corals, which could be previously accurately modelled through only crochet.

Staghorn Corals

Crocheted Corlas

Marine biologists around the globe are already starting to use 3D printed coral reef to restore marine health by providing support to the growth of corals. Further applications can be in design of more efficient structures of solar power collection or air filtering systems.

3D printed Coral Reef

3D printed Sculptures ,Nervous Systems

Designer/Scientists like Neri Oxman are using these simulated forms to imagine a future where wearable contain living matter, which can help the wearer sustain by providing oxygen, generating nutrients in harsh environments.

Mushtari, Neri Oxman, MIT Media Lab



Process The basic steps of setting a differential growth simulation is: 1. Define a Base Shape. 2. Define the Areas affected by growth 3. Define the Parameters of growth 4. Grow the shape 5. Simulate the physics to check for shape overlaps 6. Repeat Step 4-5 Changing the any of parameters of growth can lead to different forms.

Floraform, Nervous Systems

The first step of the research was to Identify a tool for the simulation. Four tools were tried 1 Processing

3 Grasshopper

Nervous Systems uses processing for Differential Growth, They use custom physics simulation to achieve it. An approach like this although provides more control in the process, can be technically extremely challenging to implement, My attempts at it failed early on owing the complexities of implementing all the parts on my own, which include the physics engine, the 3D renderer and simulation algorithm.

Grasshopper would stand at an intermediate, where it has a powerful 3D engine and Simulation toolkit.

A custom tool like this needs subject specialists working on it.

Houdini is a 3D simulation software, with very powerful physics, 3D rendering and simulation toolkits. The tool is aimed at intermediate to advanced users familiar with 3D software’s, programming and simulation. Houdini hits the sweet spot of a tool perfectly fit for my skillset, Although Houdini has a pretty sharp learning curve,

2 Cinema 4D It stands at another end of the spectrum, with a powerful 3D rendered & physics engine. It has fairly powerful tools to parametrise and grow the shapes, but it severely lacks in the ability to iterate the results in its core toolset (ie, repeating the steps over time). Cinema 4D can be used to an extent to create a rough simulation but falls short.

It allows the flexibility of processing and ease of use of Cinema 4D, but the physics simulation toolkit in Grasshopper has a severe learning curve and thus could not be used for this purpose. 4.Houdini

I was able to follow the tutorials and able to develop a rudimentary understanding of how to develop a basic simulation.


Local Planar Expansion to maximise the Surface Area recieving Sunlight. Similar Growth can be seen in Conks which grow on the side of trees and certain corals.

3D printing the form was challenging as upto 95% of surface was horizontal


Repulsive Expansion to maximise the Surface Area in contact with Air in Minimum volume Similar Growth can be seen in Structures like brain corals and also Growth in tight spaces like braind and Walnuts


Edge Expansion on Sheet To Maximise the availble surface area in contact with Air on a thin surface Growth like this can be seen in Sea Weed and other sheet liking living forms, Including flowers.


A 3D Printed model of the Form

Edge Expansion on a Closed Surface To Maximise the Availble surface area with no volume contsraints Growth like this can be seen in Staghorn Corals

How I did it Tool: Houdini Houdini is a 3D computer graphics tool with primary focus on procedural creation. Houdini can be used to create visual effects, environmental assets and simulated animation among other 3D graphics. It mixes 3D Design tools with a powerful node-based programming system, allowing the users to design custom scripts for generating visuals. The toolsets differ from a CAD program like rhino and grasshopper as it focuses on iterative creation over precise measurements. Alternative : Blender

Source Files đ&#x;ŒŽ Link 9 Concepts I am using : Solvers đ&#x;ŒŽ [ https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=jyOa5Azp5F4] Point Relax đ&#x;ŒŽ [ https://www.sidefx.com/docs/houdini/ nodes/sop/relax.html] How to get started 1. Learn the Interface of Houdini đ&#x;ŒŽ [ https://www. youtube.com/watch?v=Uxmvqokzm5U] 2. Follow Entagma for their tutorial series đ&#x;ŒŽ [ https:// vimeo.com/entagma] Keywords: Generative Design, Parametric Design Learner Level : Intermediate to Advanced in 3D Animation, Rudimentary understanding of Node based programming License : Paid/Free for learners


Relation with weaving In course of our interactions with craftsmen, we wanted to pilot a process of generative crafts to test out the feasibility of building these nature inspired forms at a scale. Although the prototype could not happen due to unavailability of craftsmen, field research revealed similarities between differential growth and cane weaving which can be explored in future.

The form in Question is this Light cone

The form starts from a point/circle and expands overtime. Looked from the bottom, It has an L-Tree[1] distribution. Which is remarkably similar to linear differential growth.

[1] LTree : LTree in Generative design refers to a fractal formation, where each branch keep splitting into two or more branches, overtime leading to formation of a tree like structure


If the process is repeated overtime, the irregularities in the distribution of each layer will act as an organic noise leading to differential growth and formation of faceted structure.

A Similar approach is used in crochet

Further Possibilities Further experiments are needed to test out the feasibility of such forms using forms of weaving but from the existing examples in crochet, Edge based growth can be explored in handicrafts for the time being.

The existing simulated forms can be casted or printed in terracota or concrete to experiments with its a viability as an aquatic biome.

Chapter 7

Physical to Digital to Physical 147

How might We involve physical making in digital making?


“The "content" of any medium is always another medium. The content of writing is speech, just as the written word is the content of print, and print is the content of the telegraph. If it is asked, "What is the content of speech?," it is necessary to say, "It is an actual process of thought, which is in itself nonverbal." An abstract painting represents direct manifestation of creative thought processes as they might appear in computer designs.� -Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media

7.1 Physical to Digital


The Teapot The computer history museum in mountain view California has a peculiar Item in its collection, a teapot. The teapot is instantly familiar, mostly because it looks like what one would imagine a white ceramic teapot to look like, also because how famous this teapot is. The teapot has appeared in popular media like Simpsons, Toy Story and The Sims. The teapot would be even more familiar to a 3D artist, in 3D Modelling community the teapot is often referred jokingly as the 6th platonic solid because how ubiquitous it is across all 3D applications.

The teapot is referred to as the Utah Teapot, the lore goes that Martin Newell, a computer graphics researcher wanted to run some tests and wanted a model of a familiar object for that, at the moment he was having tea, so he quickly hand sketched the teapot in front of him, later on he modelled the teapot by hand on a computer and made the files freely available for other researchers to use, the teapot caught on in the research community and over time became a staple of tech demos and 3D programs.

What Newell did was to convert the material form of the teapots into 1s and 0s, computer coordinates. In effect, the Material teapot became the content of the Digital teapot. The conversion was not perfect, Newell squished the height of the teapot to look visually more pleasing to him. Newell didn’t only convert the media of the teapot, he also added content to it, he added value to the teapot, he crafted the Utah teapot in the process. The original teapot Newell used is still manufactured by a German retailer, in 2017 the retailer renamed the teapot to ‘Utah Teapot’ from a generic name ‘Household Teapot’.

The following experiments are an exploration of how an object of craft, like a humble terracotta matka manifest itself with a digital maker and thus find new expressions, value and context.


Can we involve existing physical craft in the digital making process by converting the materiality to 0s & 1s? What does it mean for a craft object to become free of its material form? Does its value still remain? Can it take up new functions ? Can we bring back it into the physical world through rapid prototyping mixing the digital & handicraft?

Photograph of the Matka with Markers

A Processed 3D pointcloud generated from Photographs


Media to Content In words of David Pye

“The object becomes the documentation of the effort�

The first step was to convert the physical object into a digital artefact. This was achieved by 3D scanning a Terracotta matka using photogrammetry technique, and then further on cleaning up the 3D model thus generated. At the end of the process a 3D model was achieved, although not perfect.

The 3D scanning introduced some artefacts, the Artefacts were not cleaned up as they represented the conversion, the imperfections embedded the history of the object, the process and the tools involved, the 3D model already became a unique craft piece in itself.


Simplified 3D model generated through Photogrammetry

How I did it Tool: Phone Camera, Agisoft Metascan for Photogrammetry Photogrammetry which roughly means, ‘measurements through photographs’ is a technique to extract high quality 3D models from photographs and videos. The technique can be used to cheaply create 3D scans of realworld objects, spaces or architecture using digital cameras, It is currently primarily used in 3D Games, VFX industry, Heritage conservation and GIS mapping. Photogrammetry can be done quite accessibly in last few years with computers getting faster and phone cameras getting better.

Source Files đ&#x;ŒŽ Link 10 Keywords: 3D Scan, Photogrammetry, Targets, Mesh Cleanup Learner Level: Early to Intermediate with 3D tools How to get Started 1.Learn how to create 3D Scans đ&#x;ŒŽ [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ye-C-OOFsX8] 2.Learn how to clean up models đ&#x;ŒŽ [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i5e2S8o7Ujc] 3.Learn how to use in your particular use case: Google “Photogrammetry for â€? (VR/3D Printing/ Games etc)


Content & Craft

Now since the object was now free of its material form, it became available to digital craftsmanship. The Matka became the central visual identity for the Craft Future Lab [Chapter 10]

The experiments in Cinema 4D played around with visual expressions the base form afforded.


In 2009, Unfold Studio from Belgium 3D printed the Utah teapot in ceramic, complete the full circle of materialisation, digitisation and re-materialisation.

7.2 Digital to Physical 7.2.1

3D Printing as Craft 3D printing collectively refers to technologies which allow materialisation through computer instructions. Although there are different techniques of 3D printing[1], we will be primarily talking about a category of 3D printers called Desktop FDM Printers. Desktop FDM printers are the most popular and affordable type of consumer 3D printers. In principle, it consists of 1. A part which extrudes material 2. A mechanism which controls where the material is extruded.

[1] https://3dinsider.com/3d-printer-types/

How might We materialise our digital crafts?


Its effectively like coiling technique in pottery. The 3D shape is formed by the computer coiling layers of material on top of previous layers.

Despite the apparent simplicity of the process,

3D printing is anything but an automated process. Unlike a Paper Printer, the act of using a 3D printer takes a lot more involvement, every 3D printer acts different, every material behaves in its own way, depending on factors like humidity and temperature the results in 3D printing for the same model can change completely. Modelling for 3D printing requires its own sensibilities and understanding of the constraints of the machines being used. Configuring the 3D print file for a perfectly made model can be a sophisticated task in itself with infinite ways of going about it, the fact that most affordable 3D printers are DIY makes every printer an extremely personal and unique device. The DIY 3D printer is not a product but a highly customisable tool, the 3D printing enthusiast community is highly involved in customisation, hacking and experimenting with the tool. It represents a piece of technology on the other end of spectrum of an Amazon echo.

The relation between a 3D printer and the User, is much more personal and subjective compared to say, A laser printer. The relation is more similar to a potter and his wheel, The act of 3D printing is an act of craft, involving “Care and risk, where the quality of result is not predetermined. It involves judgement and dexterity, with subjective and personal decisions� in words of David Pye.


Excerpt From Blog

Learning the Craft – A personal guide

Prologue My journey into 3D printing started in the middle of the project from a need of being able to print the 3D models I was creating and a curiosity to understand how additive manufacturing works. The process of getting into 3D printing ended up being something which needed more attention and time than I initially Imagined.

This section hopes to act as a guide for anyone planning to get into 3D printing while reading this document.

Buying Buying a 3D printer can be a challenging task for a newcomer, Its often difficult to know what type of printer you need and how much you should spend on it. The starting point for me was to understand my budget, which was something very entry level. The second question I had to look at was what technology I should be getting, FDM is cheaper, faster but less precise, Resin provides better results but is more expensive and messier. I wanted to buy something which could be customised with different materials and can be modded as per need, An FDM printer made the most sense as it allowed me to play around with different materials like food, clay or chocolate, and even potentially convert it into a laser cutter.

The final question was to understand what kind of FDM printer, I wanted to buy a Delta printer which is really great for radial prints like vases as I primarily imagined printing Lotas but I settled for a standard XY cartesian printer as it was more general purpose in the long run. Resource: https://all3dp.com/1/how-to-buy3d-printer-buying-guide/

Now I knew what I was looking for: “Cheap Cartesian FDM Printer� The process of choosing the right one out of different options and websites available can be extremely challenging too, I had to spend considerable time reading about different printers, watching reviews and most crucially looking what other people are making with the printer I was planning to buy. I used the official Instagram hashtag of the printer to find all variety of things community was making with my shortlisted printers to identify which one suits my need better. Resource : https://all3dp.com/buyers-guides/, YouTube , Instagram, ThingiVerse After all the research I finally settled on the Any Cubic i3 Mega for its Easy Setup, relatively big print volume and Easy operation, which was essential as the printer was to be used by the office after I leave, low maintenance was important. I ordered the printer from a certified seller off AliExpress.


Using, Making & Mistakes Assemble

Research/ Ask for help

With a DIY 3D printer, you don’t just buy it, but you have to build it, The experience is a lot like building your own furniture. The printer I got came with all the tools needed and very well documented instructions on how to assemble the pieces together, it took a full afternoon to get it in a place to switch on.

Although its very difficult to exactly outline how to get started with 3D printing, as the journey is very different for everyone and the only way to learn is as you go. It is normally a good idea to spend a lot of time trying and researching and also joining a dedicated forum for your 3D printer (on Facebook, reddit, etc) is a good idea. Your printer will break down and behave erratically every once in a while, its very important to ask for help when that happens.

Calibrate A new 3D Printer cannot be used straight away after assembling, the first few days go into calibrating the device, ensuring the plate is at right height, understanding what right height is, figuring what’s the right temperature. Normally the printer should come with a sample print file, which is a good place to start. Calibration guide : https://all3dp.com/2/howto-calibrate-a-3d-printer-simply-explained/

Test For me it took a few weeks to make sense that my prints were not as good as they could be, A significant amount of time also goes in learning, and configuring the software(called a Slicer). Identifying the right software and the right settings is very crucial, it normally takes a lot of failed attempts, iterations and mixed results to identify what works for your particular setup. Some prints to calibrate : https://all3dp. com/2/3d-printer-test-print-10-best-3dmodels-to-torture-your-3d-printer/

Repeat At the time of writing of this Doc, I am still trying to figure out what works best with my printer. Although the results are better than they ever have been, occasionally new issues keep coming up, which are equal parts fun and frustrating to deal with. It’s very useful to subscribe to interesting blogs and YouTube channels who are experimenting with 3D printing. YouTube Channels: RCLifeOn , Make Anything.

Share The 3D printing community is built on knowledge shared and open-sourced by the members of the community over the years. Share your results, ask for feedback and help others.


Things I Made A lot of the failed prints and things in general done over time have gone lost as I didn’t document them well at that point but here are some things I made and printed, which I have documented, all files are available in respective section


Way forward 3D printing especially in plastic accumulates a lot of waste plastic, although in theory it can be replaced, in practice the process can end up being difficult and expensive. For now we have collected all the failed prints till we come across a viable way to use them. For Recycling đ&#x;ŒŽ preciousplastic.com/

Another goal would be to change the materials and try something starch/wheat based and potentially clay, to explore the idea of 3D printing and being able to print ceramics straight off the printer and perhaps introducing it to a few area potters.

For Ceramic Printing Kit: đ&#x;ŒŽ www.stoneflower3d.com/


Chapter 8

Crafting with Artificial Intelligence 163

How might we use Artificial Intelligence in our creative practice?



AI + Crafts Series of experiments trying to understand where does the modern promise of Artificial Intelligence fit in crafts processes? Can we use the AI as a tool to imagine new motifs and forms? Or can we displace a human worker completely from the crafts process? What is the role of human in a craft process after all ?

About Machine Learning/AI Art Machine Learning as a field has been around for over two decades and Artists and Researchers have been exploring its creative uses for as long. Machine Learning Art can be traced back to early days of Generative and Computational Art, although it might be difficult to exactly pinpoint what

Datasets The set of experiments were done on a Sample of Classical Chairs, Typographic works, Mughal Paintings and Collection of Rugs.

exactly constitutes Artificial Intelligence as it’s a broad field of study with lots of overlaps with other fields of computation. As any other computational tool, Machine Learning allows us to 1. Make sense of some data 2. Generate new data and 3.Any combination of the other two.

The work with Machine Learning Art involves finding a dataset you want to create something with, finding new ways to generate results and make sense of it.

Input: Images of Mughal painting from Pinterest

The GAN generated Images with reminisence of recognizable forms.

Input: Images form #36Days_B

Forms generated through feeding 36 Days of type created an almost surrealgrim horror version of Characters

167 Input: Images of 'Classical Chairs' from Pinterest

8.1.1 GAN

The first set of Experiments tried using Generative Adversarial Networks[refer], trained on the image samples scraped from internet through Pinterest and Instagram hashtags. In all 4 cases the GAN produced images which were reminiscent of the original photographs with a vaguely to easily identifiable

Code Source đ&#x;ŒŽ Link 11

form but with a layer of abstraction introduced by the limits of dataset, training time and simply the ability of Current GANs. The new visuals created although by no measure could replace work by a human craftsperson, but It did allow for a new look

at the traditional motifs. Instead of developing finished visual work, the GANs created a springboard for inspiration. The outcome could be interpreted into new forms of expression with almost a dream like quality which a traditional mood board or visual library may not achieve.

Mapping of Typographic Exploration by their visual character


Dimensionality Reduction The second set of experiment explored Dimensionality Reduction [1] on typographic data to see how they can be used to make sense of , organise and analyse Visual

Inspiration. The following program takes data from 1000s of images from #36_Days_of_type and maps them according to there visual similarity.

Code Source đ&#x;ŒŽ Link 12

[1]Dimensionality Reduction: Refers to a class of Algorithms which simplify complex Inter-relation of Data into simple 2D or 3D maps


The Algorithm trained on a 3D render and its wireframe takes a hand drawn sketch and converts it into a 3D render style


Pix2Pix The final experiments were done using pix2pix to see how a Machine learning tool can aid in the production process for Animation and Rendering. The data set was a set of Line and Full renders of a typographic Animation. The final program was able to Generate rendered visuals

Code Source đ&#x;ŒŽ Link 13

out of 3D wireframes, even with a rudimentary ability to place shadows and reflection according to lighting, with a potential of greatly speeding up a rendering process. The tool was also able to render a hand drawn animation in the given style, with a possibility of aiding Traditional Animators.


Possiblities & Limitations At the time of writing, userfriendly tools like Runway App have emerged which weren’t available at the time of the experiments, opening up machine learning to a larger number of creatives. Although the technological barrier is still quite high, opening up the tools to a broader audience has great possibilities.

In the next section we look at our attempt to introduce the tools we used above to Designers through Workshops.

How to get Started

RunwayML App simplifies ML algorithms Into easily understandable UI.

Further Readings Machine Learning For Artists, Gene Kogan Artists and Machine Intelligence, Google



Excerpt From Blog

Crafting an Artificial Intelligence

Extracting Geometry data from Images

Drawing Parallels between Craft process and Machine learning through engagement with the data as material. For the last week and past few months I have been Increasingly working with Artificial Intelligence or more specifically Machine Learning. I have trained a system which can classify gestures, an object recognition system, a few generative algorithms and algorithms to visualize datasets. With more and more experience I have started to see machine learning less as an objective way of computing rather a very personalised and subjective way of dealing with algorithms. Almost always you have to feel your way around with the datasets and parameters and even the best approach doesn’t give a result which is objectively correct. It’s more organic than computational, same trained model can give different results every time its run. I will breaking down the process for three experiments I have worked on and try to draw parallels to the exploratory nature of crafts.

Section A : Gesture Recognition We had to train a gesture recognition system to detect gestures of Traditional Indian instruments like sitar,tabla etc. Standard gesture recognition are highly stable in simple gestures like waving hands and clap etc. We were dealing with a system which was able to differentiate between very similar gestures of playing table,harmonium and sitting still.

Sourcing the Data To collect data, we would go sit in turns and try record all the gestures for different people in varying poses and train it on a classifier. The challenge was after initial success, we

started realising, if people were of different height than we have trained for, the algorithm would not work. So we started modifying the dataset to make it height agonistic, that is we took the spinal cord’s length of a person and divides by the length of all the limbs. The data stopped taking absolute lengths of limbs but rather just the proportions and angles between them, which would remain more or less equal among most age groups and cultures. Our experimentations lead us to realize also that we can not build a robust system through just training a lot of data to algorithm, since every person would interpret the action and gesture differently, more data would actually confuse the system. For example some people play tabla too close to their sitting positions which can start confusing the system between both actions.

but how do you train a system on all the other actions you could be doing when not playing tabla, one approach could be to try all permutation and combinations but that can quickly lead to the program to start all gestures as not playing tabla, including the gesture of playing tabla. Too much data can result in noise.

Processing model which emerged for final system

We needed better data. We determined the easiest way to do so would be direct people to make certain gestures rather than letting people interpret the actions. We used icons to tell people what can be recognized and UI feedback to let people know what action the machine thought they were doing. This gave us more control over the kind of data were getting from people. We sourced the material for our need and filtered out what would be useful for us.

Processing the Data Just having the data run through is not enough. You need a way to make sense of it too. A classification system can only tell from the categories it knows. It’s easy to detect true positives, i.e. if a particular gesture out of 5 was enacted, but it’s far difficult to detect a case of that none of the gestures were detected. For the classifier, the action of not doing anything is also a gesture, and you need to give example of all the gestures. It’s easy to show this is how one plays tabla

The problem needed a way of cross checking the validity of our detection. After experimenting with different ways of processing the data, we settled on using the motion data, i.e the speed of each limb to identify the gestures and the position data which identified the arrangement of limbs and a mixed data, which through machine learning magic would account for the relation between two. We ran all these data through three different classifiers and then cross checked there validity, only letting a detection filter through if 2 or more classifier matched. The approach was not most accurate but worked for our use cases.

The solution came out of playing with the system and figuring as we went instead of an elaborate scientific planning.

Section B : Visualising Datasets Recently I have been trying to visualize a dataset collected from 36DaysOfType through instagram, the goal was to group ‘visually similar’ type together to understand what kind of work people are producing using t SNE Dimensionality reduction algorithm


Mapping of 36DaysOfType images by geometry

Interpreting the Mapping done through tSNE

Sourcing the Data


Collection of data was fairly simple through a script which downloaded all the posts on an instagram hashtag. The difficult part was to understand what does ‘Visually Similar’ actually mean, a simple run of the images lead to images getting grouped through there colors and ‘style’ but since here we are dealing with typography, just the colors of an image doesn’t tell much about the typefaces used. The challenged was to extract font information from the images and then map them, with my knowledge and timeframe I could not train another system altogether to identify the fonts for each image, so I tried to strip the images of all colors, and only preserve the geometrical information,ie the outlines of the characters, Running a visual similarity algorithm on a pure black and white image dataset lead to mapping of similar typefaces and treatments closer to each other.

The important point about working with tSNE is that the mapping of data points it generates is not necessarily accurate in statistical sense. And the mapping can vary greatly between different runs and the results depend heavily on a few parameters called hyperparameters like perplexity and learning rate. There is no general rule about if more of this number would give better result or less,and there is no way to evaluate if the results are good or not, if you don’t know what the result should actually look like,

the results are subjective both on algorithm level and at your level. The only way to go around tSNE parameters is to ‘feel your way through it’ and try all sorts of values and using your ‘intuition’ to judge what result you consider good enough for your purpose for there is lack of an absolutely accurate result.

Stock Photos for Artificial Intelligence tend to show something magical and scientific. data driven.

Algorithmic Craft The above two incidences and other experiments I have been doing has made me rely more and more on my ‘intuition’ and ‘gut feeling’ about how to process and evaluate a certain dataset. It always has been a process of playing around with the algorithm and data till I am satisfied with results, which echoes more with the craft approach of ‘engaging playfully with the materiality rather than pure mathematical reasoning and logic the word algorithm invokes.

The machine learning algorithms and data are more like a lump of clay and a potters tool, which can take form through engaging with them as you go and developing a relation with the material. Overtime one starts developing a feel for what may or may not work and also very essentially start accepting the roughness and artifacts left through the process, the mistakes and roughness becomes a character of the work you are producing rather than being a defect and can perhaps provide value in future.

This brings me to the danger of calling Machine Learning the 4th Industrial Revolution, Machine learning lacks the ‘finish’ and ‘objectivity’ of Industrial Nature. We risk ignoring the subjectivity and error prone results machine learning can lead to, perhaps as illustrated by various ethical voices raising in the AI community, A scientific-industrial trust in machine learning can result in pseudo-scientific results full of bias and subjectivity under the blanket term of ‘algorithmic objectivity.


Source: XKCD

How might we introduce Machine Learning to creatives?



Artificial Intelligence in Creative Practice A Handson Workshop introducing creatives to Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Background The Inquiry aimed at looking how use of machine learning can augment a creative practice, In particular design practice. A big question was how to introduce machine learning to non-technical creatives at the same time exploring the new possibilities it can bring for me as a technically equipped designer.

The Ideal goal of the exercise was to be able to facilitate a collaboration between a Machine Learning Algorithm and a Craftsman but that was difficult in the scope of the project.

Methodology The Inquiry finally took form of a workshop at International Design for Social Development Conference, Gandhinagar (2019) and was attended by an audience of design students, professors & professionals. The workshop sets the context by inviting participants to put down what they think or know about the terms ‘Artificial Intelligence’ and’ Intelligence Augmentation’. This paves a way for an interactive presentation on the history of tools and how they can augment intelligence by allowing human and machine skills to complement each other.

Second part of the workshops aims to demystify the word ‘Artificial Intelligence’ and introduces various Machine Learning methods through activities in which the participants learn how to identify and draw a subject they never encountered before. This allows the participants to draw parallels between human learning and machine intelligence. The next few activities use contextual puzzles and games to draw the limitations of similarity between Machine and Human intelligence in the current state of technology as of 2019. The next segment of the workshop gives the participants a chance to

collaborate with two different machine learning algorithms. Teaming up in groups of three, participants playfully negotiate with the AI to imagine and tangibly prototype an AI+Human designed Chair. The workshop concludes with participants contextualising the new chairs they create with the AI, presenting them in an exhibit followed by a roundtable discussion on data, creativity, ethics and future use of such algorithms in design processes.

One of the workflows of AI and Paricipant Collaborations


Toilet Chair by one of the Groups where the AI mistook a toilet for a chair and gave that as a breif

Limitation & Scope The workshop at its current scale and format was limited to a design audience and could not be introduced to traditional craftsmen. Also, the limited time available with the workshop doesn’t allow the participants to have sufficient hands on to take up the exploration on their own.

The workshop is a work in progress with opportunities to reach a larger set of creative practices, through collaboration and sharing what we tried to achieve in this workshop.

Zine đ&#x;ŒŽ Link 14


Paper đ&#x;ŒŽ Link 15

đ&#x;”? Tags

Further Readings đ&#x;ŒŽ Link 16

Harshali Paralikar

Artificial Intelligence Design Accessiblity

Chapter 9

Crafting Amazon Echo 181

Schematics of an Amazon Echo Dot

“When a human engages with an Echo, or another voice-enabled AI device, they are acting as much more than just an endproduct consumer. It is difficult to place the human user of an AI system into a single category: rather, they deserve to be considered as a hybrid case. Just as the Greek chimera was a mythological animal that was part lion, goat, snake and monster, the Echo user is simultaneously a consumer, a resource, a worker, and a product.� -Kate Crawford & Vladan Joler, Anatomy of an AI


Anatomy of An AI System | Anatomyof.AI

In the essay ‘Anatomy of An AI System’ Kate Crawford and Vladan Joler describe what goes behind one request a user makes to Amazon’s Alexa. An innocent query “Alexa, Turn on the lights” goes through a system riddled with issues of data, labour and resources. The extent of interlinked chain is impossible to humanly imagine, They tried to map every single step in the chain to understand an Amazon Echo in 3 steps : birth, life and death.

The following section looks at the Amazon Echo and describes an attempt by the author to seek its ownership and make it his own.

How might we take control of Technology ?


9.1 Buying an Echo, Who owns it after all ? 9.1.1

Prologue I have a 2nd Generation Amazon Echo Dot. I don’t own it, I have it. In the book Sapiens (2011), Yuval Noah Harari talks about entities and ideas, like nation, religion and companies, which although cannot be proved to be real, have a life of their own. Alexa has a life of it own, technically it may not be an Artificial Intelligence which can pass a Turing test[2] yet, but on a system level it does act as an intelligence of its own. ( or Maybe one controlled by Amazon). In this ecosystem I am a user[3]. A user is a single cell in the giant technological body of Amazon and Alexa. I have roles to perform, I get oxygen from the system [services] , I convert it into food for the system [data]. It is true that in social and technological constructs an Individual has a very small role, after all the concept of Individualism is a social construct itself rooted in 19th century but that all is beyond the point.

All definitions from Google Search [1] a product is an object or system made available for consumer use; it is anything that can be offered to a market to satisfy the desire or need of a customer [2] The Turing test, developed by Alan Turing in 1950, is a test of a machine's ability to exhibit intelligent behaviour equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human. [3] A user is a person who utilizes a computer or network service. Users of computer systems and software products generally lack the technical expertise required to fully understand how they work.


Ownership This section is not about the philosophy ,nature of being or the social constructs around them. This section asks a very simple question,

“I paid Amazon 3000 Rupees for this Echo dot, How much of it do I own ?” - What does the 3000 Rupee buy me ? I know the answer to this question for most everyday things although they are still part of larger ecosystems, I buy an apple, I can eat it, make jam out of it, plant a new apple tree, let it rot, give to someone hungry. It is still part of a larger food supply chain but my interaction with the chain is limited to creating a demand and paying money for it. I am not a user of the apple, I own it. This is not true for your Apple iPhone or Amazon Alexa, perhaps almost anything produced by modern technology Industry. The opening chapter of ‘Free as in Freedom’by Sam Williams (2002, Orielly) describes a story of Richard Stallman trying to fix a printer. The story goes like this, Richard Stallman, a Young programmer working at MIT’s AI Lab, had a broken printer. Being an engineer, he tries to fix it, It was normal back then, You would buy a device it would come with a manual, you read the manual, you play around and fix it, maybe you explore enough, you can even make it better by adding new features. More or less like how I would treat my bicycle, I can oil it, fix a puncture or completely change the frame and tyres, Its my bike after all. This printer was different, for it didn’t come with an operator manual describing how it works, the only way to fix it was to ask the company which made it (XEROX) to fix it. In simple terms,

The printer was still owned by XEROX, Stallman was just ‘a user' Fast forward it The story goes on to describe the birth of Opensource, Linux, Free Software, DIY, Maker movement and Hacker culture but I want to pause here and think what it means. The relation between the Machine and the Operator changed.

The operator is now a user, of the machine owned by the creators of the machine on their license. The reasons for such a shift in ownership structure is a complex story of our ongoing struggles to understand and frame IP Laws and Copyright Protections for software and code which is inseparable from the hardware at times.



Licenses – Agree to continue An analogy could be, You can own a book physically but not the words inside. And just like the first few pages of the book normally mention about the limitation of ownership of a reader, “Not to be reproduced without permission of copyright holders”, we Agree countless terms and conditions by choosing to use a device like Echo. A legal agreement is reached, perhaps a license. But not all licenses are made equally, Buying a book may not allow you to make photocopies and sell it to your friends but It doesn’t stop you from taking notes or passing it on to friends or donating it to a library. With the Amazon Echo, the situation is not so straight forward. Even discounting the software (words) Amazon Echo’s hardware(printed book) is not limited to the Device I have at home, Most of the hardware is what one would call ‘is in the cloud’, i.e. The computing Infrastructure setup by Amazon is where the Alexa AI assistant runs, the device at my home is just an entry point into the system. Without logging onto the cloud, the device is just slightly more useful than a paperweight. When you buy an Amazon Echo dot, you must download the Alexa App to use the device, which needs you to sign up for an Amazon account. By signing up you agree to Amazon’s conditions of use and all the terms, a total of 13 mandatory terms[1]. that all is beyond the point.

[1] https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201566380


Privacy, What happens to my Data? We not only agree to terms of us using services provided by Amazon, we also accept the terms of Amazon using our data. Earlier this year, Bloomberg wrote about the possibility of workers at Amazon being able to listen to your conversations with Alexa. Not only these conversations are potentially used to improve the Alexa system, thus leading to issues of unpaid immaterial labour, there is a lack of clarity on how much data is stored, where it is stored and how it is used. Legal cases and reporting have constantly found the language used by Amazon to be vague and often conflicting. According to Privacy International Org [1] : “We are largely ignorant of the full range of data that connected devices generate about users, what is collected by servers and what persists on the device itself and thus could be extracted by those with the technical means. Unless we have the requisite skills, it is extremely difficult to gain insight and mechanisms such as subject access requests, where data protection laws exist, are unlikely to give the full picture. 1.

We do not know what data connected devices in the home may collect, including accidentally; 2. We do not know what they store on the device; 3. We do not know how long the data on the device remains and whether it is ever fully erased; 4. There is a risk of unequal access to data, whereby the police believe they can access data that the owner of the device cannot or does not know exists. In conclusion, When we purchase an Echo Dot, We don’t know the answer to:

“I paid 3000 Rupees for Amazon Echo, How much of it do I own? and How much of my data it owns?”

[1] https://privacyinternational.org/news-analysis/2819/mystery-amazon-echo-data



Right to Open Right to Repair What is it made of, how much can I control? The issue of ownership extends to the hardware itself, If I don’t agree with the terms of software provided by Amazon Echo, Can I Install a software I agree to? The Answer is complicated. Prior to the October 2018 ruling of DMCA (US) the act of Jailbreaking (Installing unofficial software) an Amazon Alexa device would void the warranty, Today the software and hardware of technological produce is so tightly knit that making modifications or even completely changing the software itself counts as breach of vague “Improper use of the device”. What is proper use of the device and who dictates that? Amazon would make a fair point that I am not allowed to make changes to the software as it can compromise the device and its for my safety only but at the same time by limiting user access to device configuration takes away the users right to discover defects, repair issues or take control of how the device functions. [1]

Amazon and other manufacturers retain full control of what is ‘Authorized’ on a device a user has paid a full price for.

“I paid 3000 Rupees for Amazon Echo, How much of it do I own? and How much of my data it owns? How much changes can I make for my needs?” The discussion around these user rights often get colloquially referred to as Right to Repair: “The right to repair electronics refers to government legislation that is intended to allow consumers the ability to repair and modify their own consumer electronic devices, where otherwise the manufacturer of such devices require the consumer to use only their offered services”[2] Even though the Right to Repair debate is primarily centred around US and EU, The products and services are used across the globe particularly with a focus on the global south, where the conversations around data, privacy[3] and right to repair are still in its early stages. What can explain the state of consumer rights in global south better than the fact that Amazon Echo can be used in Hindi[5] and other regional languages but the ‘Terms and Conditions’ are only available in English [4]

[1] https://hothardware.com/news/eff-files-for-dmca-exemption-to-jailbreak-amazon-echo-google-home-apple-homepod [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronics_right_to_repair [3] https://privacyinternational.org/state-privacy/1002/state-privacy-india [4] As of 29/10/2019 https://www.amazon.in/gp/help/customer/display.html?language=hi [5] https://gadgets.ndtv.com/smart-home/features/alexa-hindi-support-amazon-india-voice-platform-adoption-2111824

How can we Craft our own technology?



Making my own Amazon Echo

IFixit Amazon Echo Dot Teardown

To explore the 3 emergent questions of ownership, I set out on a mission to create my own Echo speaker and Potentially be able to create the speakers locally in the village. Therefore taking the ownership from Amazon and bringing it back to the users. From an Industrial Produce to a Crafted Creation.


What is Inside ? The project started by opening up a 2nd generation Echo Dot to understand what it is made of. Amazon Echo is a voice assistant + speaker by Amazon. It features a voice assistant Alexa and is primarily placed for home usage in kitchen and living rooms. The device needs

internet and an amazon account to perform its actions. Starting at around 4K the echo dot provides a budget option in the smart speaker space. The motivation to open up the device comes from the ‘Anatomy of an AI’ project by Vladen Joler In the current teardown, the idea is just to note the components and looking at how all of it is put

together in its design and maybe even craft. Produced collectively by multiple stakeholders including miners in Africa, coders in Seattle and the consumers in India. I will be referring to Ifixit[1] to guide me through opening an 2017 Amazon Echo Dot.

[1] https://www.ifixit.com/Device/Amazon_Echo_Dot_2nd_Generation

đ&#x;’Źđ&#x;’Ź Inside an

Echo Dot what makes an AI smart speaker tick ? An investigative Inquiry @Craftfuture

Annexure 2 đ&#x;ŒŽ Link 17

An Important Note this inquiry is mostly around the physical build of the device but like all technologies it has an abstract level of software built and operated by amazon running on it which is perhaps not visible or tangible to us apart from the interaction design but has some manifestation as the infrastructure running the software in the cloud.

Deconstructing the device is a small step in a long process to fully understand the whole ecosystem of technology which is highly centralized.

Hardware Amazon Echo Dot 2nd Gen Medium Instagram Stories Tools Standard Screwdriver Kit


Conclusions Conclusions of opening Echo Dot, As expected, a dot is a tightly packed device but with a surprising level of access to its internals. The full report of the opening can be found on the Instagram stories but the overall most important parts in the device are: 1.Speaker, Echo dot has a really small speaker with quite small fidelity 2.The motherboard, Which also houses the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth modules 3.Heatsink to cool the components 4.The far field microphones, which might be a challenge in building our own system 5.The LED rings and controls do add an extra layer of user interaction but can be certainly simplified. All of this needs to be done around the price of 3-4K.

9.2.2 DIY Echo

The Aim was to build a version of Echo using off the shelf hardware. It did not turn out to be really that challenging. In Amazon’s vision, Alexa is not about the hardware but the platform. It's not about how many speakers are sold but much data is routed through Amazon servers.

On Using AWS ( Amazon Web Servers) : Data, Centralization and Decentralized futures? To facilitate this Amazon and so has Google opened up its software development kit (through their AWS service) for everyone to create their own Alexa devices, a device can be setup free of cost in less than an hour of work. Although it does allow people to create the smart assistant according to their needs, it's important to note that the software is anything but open source, A quick read of the Terms and Conditions while setting up the system bring out these points: 1.You are not allowed to modify, reverse-engineer or repurpose the software. 2.Amazon does not provide any warranty or responsibility of the software’s function or use. 3.Amazon has no obligations to provide support 4.In case of a legal dispute, You are expected to support amazon and pay legal fees

In other words, Amazon retains full control and ownership of the software and only leasing it out to us in return of the data payment we bring to Amazon. This does not seem to fulfil our mission of decentralizing the AI technology, to really localize the technology, the data flows also need to be retained and process locally. One way to achieve this is to use open-source alternatives which allow local processing of the requests and only communicate with ‘cloud’ when permission is granted but in practice, these systems tend to be highly inefficient and inaccurate compared to a centralized server and expertise provided by servers at Amazon.

Open Source Alternatives

Mycroft mycroft.ai/ Volareo volareo.live/ Jasper jasperproject.github.io/

A Note: The difficulty with Open Source alternatives in ‘Smart’ speaker space is not the software code but the data. Today a lot of applications in our life use machine learning for tasks like voice recognition or making sense of what we say, and this needs data, often proprietary making it difficult for everyone to have access to tools needed for building alternatives to offerings from corporation like Amazon. Open-Source Initiatives like Mozilla Common Voice are trying to bridge this gap by crowdsourcing voice recognition data and make it available to everyone. I urge the readers to take a moment off their day and contribute their voice. :) voice.mozilla.org


Inspiration Ek Prayog is an ongoing journey in making by Sahil Thappa. Sahil handmakes bluetooth speakers with off the shelf parts and shares the instructions and designs on Instructables. His project and work is an experiment is design democracy, open source and making.

đ&#x;ŒŽ ekprayogblog.wordpress.com/

At the current stage of computing having local processing of data on local servers is extremely slow and difficult, not to say that these hurdles cannot be overcome, one solution can come through faster and more efficient processing, in last decade or so mobile processing has been getting more and more efficient allowing AI applications to run directly on devices, current mobile phones can process simple AI tasks at decent enough rates but at the same time with cheaper and faster data transfer, It is just cheaper to process the data remotely on a server, which continue and would

continue to be more efficient and faster as the systems are much larger scale and purpose built.

to deploy for a project like this. Centralized computing system still tend to be the way to go.

Another way could be to decentralize the processing into local network of processing devices available in the village to form a sort of cluster servers. The idea of peer-peer decentralized computing has been a holy grail of technology for the longest time, existing in forms of Torrent networks, TOR and now Blockchains. In practice these systems tend to be highly resilient and private but suffer in speed and efficiency, making it extremely difficult

Perhaps a strategy for now could be a compromise between local and centralized. As presented by project Alias. Which uses a local computer to determine when thw Alexa should be listening or not.[1] Continuing on the setup, the basic parts needed are 1.A Linux based computer, I used a Raspberry Pi [ A small affordable Computer ] 2.Microphone 3.Speaker 4.Internet connection

[1] https://www.instructables.com/id/Project-Alias/

An Illustration of a Raspberry Pi

Making The device is built in 5 Parts

I followed the steps

1.The Processor Raspberry Pi 3b

mentioned at đ&#x;ŒŽ somtips.com/ amazon-alexa-assistant-onraspberry-pi-3b-plus/

2.The Software Amazon Alexa SDK 3.The Microphone Off the Shelf 4.The Speaker Off the Shelf 5.Casing Open

[1] A collection

and Managed to get a basic setup working although the microphones were an issue as a simple off the shelf microphone is not great at a room scale with possibility of background noise in the detected audio. But this seems to be a problem to be solved through either custom cluster of mic sensors or through a far field array[1].

of microphones designed to pickup sound from distance


A setup by DigiKey.Hu No Documentation of My Setup

Challenges Although making my own smart speaker was not exactly an extremely challenging exercise (still mildly challenging), it did not seem to add much more advantage and control over Amazon’s offering. As long as we continue to use the software provided by Amazon, there can be very limited ownership over how the device functions, perhaps making your own would only struggle with issues of DIY Hardware.

In conversation with Vladen Vladen: “Locally crafted AI system is much harder quest that You are probably imagining. Its just a question how deep You want to go into it. The most easy task is to produce design for the device cover locally. Anything else will be much harder. First of all in case of Amazon AVS, device is not what You are having in Your hand. The real device is somewhere else in some data centre. Its the same situation also if You are using Pi with AVS.

Another level of the problem are learning data sets - You will need to get thousands of hours of labelled voice material in order to properly train one machine learning system by Yourself. If you want to go into production of the hardware in Goa - good luck in trying to find 2/3 of the periodic table of elements and excavating them locally :)” Yatharth: Oh No!


Hacking it to be my own: Covering it up Creating a whole Alexa from scratch even without the software is a challenging exercise with minimal benefits. After putting the filter of “producing it locally in the village” it becomes even more challenging when training and material resources are factored in. An alternative could be to try to gain ownership of the Echo dot, by ‘Designing a cover for it’.

Typologies of ‘Covers’ Cosmetics



Covers or Modifications which change the visual nature of the product, It can be seen at a level of cosmetic customization. Visual covers allow the ‘users’ to take ownership of the aesthetic context of the device. Examples of this could range from laptop stickers to phone covers.

Additions to the existing product which enhance or add on to the ability of the device without changing the core working much. Augmentations allow for users to take some ownership of functional context of the device. Example can be battery banks and laptop coolers.

Additions to the device which greatly change the function and working of the device. Hacks can allow users to take ownership of how the device works.


Proposals This section describes proposals for three such covers to be built with craftsmen.

Concept Note Amazon has designed the Echo Dots in its Seattle Office, the material and aesthetic choices made in the production of an Echo reflects more to the values of its designers sitting at Seattle, trying to design it for the global market. A blue plastic or a fabric case, like our glass and metal phones have become the new normal for how technology is marketed to us. A standardised, generic imagination of a global consumer. These objects take a very important part in our everyday life, an Echo literally sits in our bedrooms. Over the years as a counter of Silicon Valley’s brand of standardisation (looking at you apple), people have started expressing themselves through cases, stickers and accessories. A cuttingedge technological gadget at the end of the day is still a part of our homes,

How much agency do we have on how the Echo fits in our house? Can we hack its Industrial Design into a Homely Craft? Can it reflect the tastes and personality of the household it belongs to?

Sound Lota Sound Lota is a case which enhances the acoustics of your Alexa through reverberations through the terracotta body.

Battery Lota Free your Echo dot from home, take it around with you with the Battery Lota which converts Echo dot into a versatile Bluetooth speaker just like a real lota.


Alexa Devi Alexa is like a goddess who knows all the answers and can help solve your problems. Alexa Devi provides a proper shrine for her in a brass coated lota perfect fit for your home mandir.

Suraksha Kavach Surakcha kavach protects your privacy by creating a barrier between your data and Echo dot. The project uses a raspberry pi embedded with speakers to drown the echo dot in noise when you don’t want it to listen.


Prototyping with potter We worked with a potter to prototype a case for the echo. The case was based on one of the designs of household container the potter had at his disposal. The design was modified to accommodate space for microphone reception and speaker output.

Working with Craftsman During the project I worked with a master potter in North Goa, The Initial first interactions went into building a relation with him and interviewing him. Annexure 1 [KD Pandit] Post Interview, we started collaboration on the Alexa Case, I wanted to establish a nonhierarchical relation in this project so Instead of trying to go with a sketch, I started trying work with what was already available at his workshop, the idea was to slowly move into the realm of experimentation. What quickly became apparent was that this non-hierarchical relation was easier said than done as the potter expected me to have some clarity of what I wanted, which I didn’t know, Working with his own samples limited the imagination severely, the desire to experiment was not necessarily high in the first few phases, which can be attributed to the age of potter and the fact that it’s a livelihood which is supposed to be stable. Despite all the initial promises, working with sketches seemed to be the easiest and most efficient way of moving in the project. Similar problems emerged during the work with Weavers. Although I still avoided using sketches for the duration of the project, it ended up being extremely challenging. [Design and Crafts, 3.1.2.a]


KD Pandit Working on The prototype

Basic First Prototype with outlets for audio and Inlets for USB and sound.

Base Design started with customised for the Echo Dot



Alongside the theoretical and experimental inquiry, the project involved in Craft discourse through Labs, Interaction with Craftsmen,experts and through a speculative inquiry into the future of craft

Chapters 10. Craft Future Lab ..207 11. Values for Crafts ..217 12. Craft Expo 2035 ..227

Chapter 10

Craft Future Lab 207

Synopsis Craft Future Lab is first in the series of Inquiries we are conducting at The Busride Labs. The Lab in the July of 2019 Aimed to bring together experts and practitioners of Crafts to discuss and understand what the state of crafts in India is, what kind of practices are already existing, What are the stories and Where does the future of Craft lie.

Format The following section summarises the discussion which happened at the Lab. Each Discussion was led by one of the participants and touched upon the topics of Future of Crafts, Craft and Stories, Crafts and Design, Crafts and Heritage, Craft Commons and Finally an Open Discussion.


10.1 Premise Crafts have been an ingrained part of our cultural, economic and political heritage. With over 7 million directly involved artisans (up to 200million involved indirectly), the Handicraft industry is India’s second largest sector, contributing to over 13% of Indian Exports. The handicrafts and its highly skilled artisans have been taking roles of worker, artists, designers, entrepreneurs and political leaders, often all of them simultaneously. With a country wide shift of focus on Urbanisation and Industrialisation, Indian crafts have changed from the Gandhian dream of swaraj, khadi and the village economy. Making, Designing and Marketing have become disembodied. A 3rd of the national population has urbanised, lifestyles have changed and so have the needs. Indian crafts is feeling the pressure of change and it’s also reacting, with reskilling, new design inputs, reorganisation and adapting to modern markets. Craft-Centric brands and ecommerce websites have come up. NonGovernment Organisations, Craft communities and Corporate Social Responsibility programs are trying to assist and sometimes leverage from the crafts, each with its own pros and cons. With difficult questions around heritage, culture, authenticity, equity and empowerment of the crafts and the craftsmen

The lab wanted to explore what Indian crafts can be in 2035. How to negotiate between cultural heritage and modern needs? Can craft break beyond the object it manifests? What does Craft mean in the globalised world with its technological promises? In the world of Instant access to information, E-commerce, 3D printing, Open-Source, Maker culture and Entanglement of Traditional fields of education, What does being a 21st century craftsman entail ?

Can a craftsman become a problem solver, a storyteller and a community leader? Does craft have answer to the big economic, environmental and political problems of our times ? What does craft tell us about equity, accessibility and creativity? What are the preferable futures for Indian crafts and Craftsmen? And how do we get there?




Annexure 3 đ&#x;ŒŽ Link 18



Conclusions on Crafts

Craft is a Multivalent Practice

Crafts can be utilitarian and Problem Solving

Craft and Institutions are closely related

Craft as a practice can range from working on utility products for the masses to highly intricate artefacts for collections and museums. Often a practitioner has to deal with seemingly contradictory engagement with craft. All approaches are equally valid and are often closely interlinked in the ecosystem. There is no one right answer.

Crafts emerged out of need of solving problems in everyday life, serving a functional or ritualistic utility. We can start imagining contemporary crafts less as purely cultural items and start finding utility in modern life and rituals, and even going as far as taking a central role in solving big problems around affordability and sustainability.

Crafts in India flourished around Institutions like Temples and Royal Courts, These Institutes would be the centre of rituals and practices of which different crafts and craftsmen would serve, making them an Indispensable part of the ecosystem. Even today Temples and Religious rituals help several craft sustain and thrive. In Contemporary Institutions like Corporations and Government, There is an opportunity to involve Craft ecosystem.

Environment will be an important Avenue for Crafts Craft products and Approach can provide Environmentally sensitive Alternatives to products and services we use today. From bamboo straws to passive cooling systems for skyscrapers, using local crafts can provide solutions to our environmental problems, using local materials, skills, sustainable techniques and cutting down on transportation among other things.

Technology and Craft are not exclusive Craft does not need to be primitive and old, Both contemporary and traditional crafts have developed their own technologies over the years pushing the boundaries of the crafts, Modern Digital ‘Technology’ has been following similar ethos to craft in terms of open source and DIY movements. Craftsmen across both digital and traditional crafts adapt and customise technology according to there needs. We can start looking at making the modern technology more crafted/people centric and craft more technological.

Craft is a collaborative ecosystem Crafts form a part of larger ecosystem of workers and craftsmen involved at different levels, At its simplest A Weaver and Farmer had a very strong relations, with Farmer providing the weaver with the Grass and the Weaver providing storage for the farmer, The relations had been collaborative. A modern designer-craftsman relation is less collaborative and more hierarchical. We can Imagine new Collaborative relationship of craftsmen with Scientists, Makers, Doctors etc.


Storytelling and the Latent Value in craft can be a driving force Crafts contain the stories of its making, history and the people often hidden in plain sight, These stories provide value to crafted objects over Industrial mass produce. In modern consumerist economy, the stories and origin of the objects are ignored in favour of Faster, Better and Cheaper, we often either tend to look at crafts through exotic lens or through consumerist lens, trying to compare with industrial objects. The stories, journey and value chain through which any crafted object goes can be a powerful tool to add value to crafts.

Craft can be nonalienated labour At the end of day, Craft is any labour which is not exploitative, respects the worker and the worker connects. Crafts is a nonalienating labour. It can happen in an industrial setting, or a rural household or a corporate cubicle. If a craft setting replicates Industrial exploitation , and an Industry allows its worker sufficient freedom, our definitions of craft collapse. Craft is about People, not culture. People form culture.

Meaningful Market Linkages and Training For crafts to be economically sustainable, It needs to link to markets eventually. Today one of the biggest challenges with craft is its often weak or middlemen ridden market linkage, not allowing the craftsmen to engage directly with market. The barriers can be logistical, or product being not high on demand or just lack of touch of craftsmen with modern trends. New institutions like Delhi Haat, which can link Craftsmen to Market while training them in using new technologies and Also providing platform for skill exchange and international showcase will be important.

Craft as a school of thought and community Crafts have been traditionally linked to birth and place in Caste and Class system, Often propagating the social issues in name of tradition. With communication technology, Crafts can have potential to free itself from traditional boundaries and rather become a school thought. A modern craft like programming and 3D art is not bound by traditional classes but is propagated through tutorials and online forums, allowing anyone to become part of the community and practice it.

10.4 Directions The conclusions from the Lab and Earlier research were condensed and proposals and way forward from the labs were put on axis of threats vs opportunity and future vs today. To identify the urgency and timelines of the proposal



Documentation Crafts Carry culture. The social, political and economic threats and changes will lead to loss of the culture. Accessible documentation of crafts can provide repository of culture in future, whatever shape it takes Expected Outcomes 1. Documentation of a local craft. 2. Putting it out through public engagement Time Period: A few months Communication/Outreach

Crafts as Customised Technology


Portraits of Craftsmen

Expected Outcomes 1. Study of customization of tools in craft 2. Manifesto for Technology A product/Tool deployed with a craftsman

‘Not Anti but Custom technology’ Customization and openness can provide important directions for deployment of technology

Expected Outcomes 1. Persona and World of varied craft practitioners 2. Comics/Cards/Web Narratives around these personas

Time Period: 3-4 Weeks Theory/Built form

The future craftsmen are people with diverse professions and practices relevant to there time but share the core values of crafts.

Time Period: 2-3 Weeks Communication/Outreach


Crafts can be deployed to tackle the problems of environment and ecology

Problem Solving


Craft practice is polyvalent with multiple roles and positions to take.

Expected Outcomes 1. Proposal and prototypes for an installation to tackle a climate crisis in future 2. Narratives of Rituals and life around such an installation


Expected Outcomes 1. Mapping Major buckets and system of practice 2. A toolkit to situate and Analyse the practices 3. Publication

Time Period: 4-5 Weeks Built Form/Proposal

Time Period: Longterm Proposals/Theory

Expected Outcomes 1. Prototype/Suggestion of a system Preliminary Implication analysis

Crafts dont have a concept of IP or Credits, Lack of such a frameworks can lead to designer/trader exploitation, misjudgement of the value on the materials and work put into a piece


Time Period: 1-2 Weeks Theory/Toolkit



Value Chains - IP Credit Crafts are not about individual ownership and should not be limited to a community by virtue of birth. Craft-Common allows knowledge, resources and ideas to flow between craft and non craft practices. Expected Outcomes 1. Study of craft institutions, skill sharing and exchange models. 2. Proposal of a craft common platform Testing the Idea with a Lab/ Workshop Time Period: Few Months Theory/Workshop


Chapter 11

Values for Crafts 217

11.1 A manifesto for the future. When we think about Crafts, we either have an image of an object, a person or maybe an activity in our imagination. Discourses on Craft often spend a lot of time in defining the form of the craft: is it the process or a person or a thing? An interesting question we can try asking is, What is not crafts ? Is something Industrial not Crafts? What about Crafts done on an Industrial scale? Or Industrial objects made on a small scale? The relation between Crafts and Industry is very convoluted, Crafts-Industry and Industrial Crafts are two terms which are oxymoronic in themselves but represent the complexity of modern Crafts quite aptly. To understand and define craft, It is more important to not look at what is being made or how it is being made but Why it is being made. A Form (What) or Process (How) centric lens favours the workmanship, the labour put in and the exquisite materials used in the process over who the worker is, how is the labour treated and if the materials are sourced sustainably. A value (Why) centric lens allows us to identify crafts in activities which are traditionally excluded from the craft discourse, Like Industrial Crafts, Open Source Programming, Recycling, Jugaad etc. The idea is to not create hard boundaries between crafts and industry but to identify what our positions are in the discourse through using values as tools, The boundaries can be fluid.


We propose six lenses to look at a craft activity and six accompanying values which would be important for craft in future.

Resources – Sustainable People - Community based Purpose - Problem Framing Interaction - Collaborative Knowledge - Accessible Labour - Unalienated

These values are not a destination or a checklist to be ticked off by a practice to be qualified as a future craft practice. These values are suggestive in their nature, aiming to aid our imagination of what roles craft could take in our future rather than a singular prescriptive definition of crafts.

Created by Made by Made from the Noun Project


Sustainability Crafts would need to be environmentally sustainable in how and where the material is sourced from and how they are used. Sustainable may mean, to only use locally sourced materials or it can also mean to change the way the traditional crafts is practiced by using new materials or techniques. The produce and the scale of craft should not end up repeating the industrial exploitation of resources. For example. Despite being more sustainable We cannot expect all houses to be constructed of Wood as we cannot support that amount of deforestation. Similarly a large scale deployment of baked terracotta can add up to huge carbon emission.

Crafts should work for lowering the environmental impact, not increasing it for romanticism. What: Material Resources


Created by Maxim Kulikov from the Noun Project


Community Crafts should take a role in building the community and culture around it. The community may be geographical, cultural or interest based, but for the craft to thrive and make an impact it must involve a number of similarly inclined stakeholders. Giving everyone a voice and role in the process. Craft builds community, community builds crafts. For example, In traditional religious institutions like temples and cathedrals, the rituals sustain the craft economy around the temples. The culture, the craft and economy are interconnected through rituals. In a more contemporary example, Open-Source culture like GitHub, Thing verse show individuals across classes and cultures sharing values forming a community of contributors helping along in development, testing and reaching to new users. What: Work community Limitations: Will keep out artistic/scientific making.

Created by bezier master from the Noun Project


Purpose Crafts cannot afford to take a purely non-functional, luxury and aesthetic space. Future crafts will actively participate in solving contemporary problems, whether it be on a global scale around construction techniques and pollution, or personal scale in helping us combat stress. From hacking technology to shaping it, crafts will adapt to the issues of the times. For instance,A product like MittiCool uses terracotta to provide low cost, affordable refrigeration to rural population. And Warka water towers are using traditional weaving techniques to collect water from the air. What : Wicked Problems Limitations : Excludes crafts and making activity with cultural or ritualistic function. Challenge of defining what is problem is already big.



Collaboration Crafts should not be a silo-ed activity. Future craft practice will involve different fields of knowledge, not just designers and artist but economists, data-scientists, material researcher, AI engineers to take up big contemporary problems and push the making forward. Everyone involved in the process will be equal parts a maker and craftsman. For Instance, in a traditional village community, the craftsmen and the farmers were co-dependent on each other for tools and materials. In a contemporary society, the relation extends to modern professions and fields of education, a new codependence. It can be seen as Entanglement of create fields as Neri Oxman puts it or collaborations, like the work of Nervous Systems in 3D printing a heart. The idea is to imagine crafts in this landscape. Constraints: Direct Collaborators Limitations : Very fine line between collaboration and workeremployer relations.

Created by Yu luck from the Noun Project


Accessiblity Crafts practices will be accessible in its knowledge and in who can practice it. A practice need not be tied to a class or caste, allowing craftsmen to move along the crafts as they need, The knowledge and training will be available on open platforms to learn and move forward together. The tools and technology will follow a similar trend and make itself open to tinkering and exploration. Crafts have a class and caste problem, especially in India. Socio-Economic identity and position is defined by the profession. An accessible craft means that given someone has an interest in it, they can pursue it with the knowledge easily available to them without discrimination. A limited example of this can be seen in the form of YouTube tutorials, MOOC courses and Makerspaces. Constraint : Training and Knowledge transfer + Technology Limitations: Works against the traditional structure of crafts and disregards individualistic craftsmen.


Created by Nithinan Tatah from the Noun Project


Non-alienation The practice will be about the people and community first and foremost. The labour is respected and the craftsmen will take ownership of their craft. The Un-Alienation can happen at the level of economy, purpose or aspiration. Perhaps the most difficult and vague value to achieve, It should at its simplest thrive to make the craftsmen proud in there craft, while providing a respectable sustenance. Giving an Example of Unalienated labour is tricky because every task has varying level of alienation/alienation perhaps it depends on time also. The characters of non-alienation can be : 1. Fair pay 2. Interest in work 3. Sense of Pride 4. Ownership of the work Limitations: Alienation is difficult to define, also at what scale to define it? Social ? Individual ?

Chapter 12

Crafts Expo 2035 227

Synopsis At the end of the research, the values were tested out in a speculative framework of a Craft Expo in year of 2035. The speculations are a series of sketches of the city, labour, environment and position of crafts and craftsmen in our futures.


The Continuous Monument – Superstudio

Archigram, Radical Design & Speculative Imaginations To Imagine this Speculative Framework 2035, the Inquiry takes heavy Inspirations from the work of Radical Design Studios like Archigram and Superstudio at the same time It tries to merge it with critcality of contemporary speculative design practice to talk about a future of crafts.

"The Radical Design movement exhibited a similar desire to that of Speculative Design as they presented visions of possible futures as a means of critique and provocation. Where perhaps they differed was in terms of their motivation. Radical Design wanted to break from the past, whereas Speculative Design exhibits a greater degree of criticality of our journeys to, and visions of, such futures." -SpeculativeEdu.Eu, The Radical Design Movement

Plugin City, Archigram

Instant City, Archigram


Moving City, Archigram

A Speculative Archipellago, David Verbeek

City Dreams Bodys Isek Kingelez

Other Expos Great Exhibition, 1851

Dubai World Expo, 2020

Public, Participatory & Community based

Creativity, Agency & Unalienated Labour

How might We Craft our Urban and Technological Environments?

Built & Natural


Speculation as an Imagination Tool The Speculative Inquiry looks at the future of crafts through two central provocations set in the year of 2035 in the City of Delhi. The Hypothetical India Crafts Expo, the world around it, the events leading to it, and its aftermath, serve as the premise for an attempt to explore what new roles and meanings craft might take and what values will be driving it.

The Inquiry acted as imagination tool for a future with expanded look at crafts accounting for its sociopolitical, technological and environmental dimensions. The sketches shaped the theoretical conclusions of the project by grounding them into a tangible future.

Decentralised, Humanised & Accessible


Production of service, products, culture or knowledge.

How might Crafts manifest itself in the Age of Entanglement? Anti-disciplinary and Interlinked, where knowledge is not produced within traditional silos of disciplines.

Driving Values

A Note

Sustainability Community Problem Solving Collaboration Accessibility Non-Alienation

The exercise is Introspective in its nature, the drawings and writings are used as personal tools to make sense of the world.


The World


Playgrounds Craft for Ecological Needs Cultural Exchanges Technological Craft Products 3D Printing/CNC in Crafts

Next big things Promising ideas gaining momentum


Craft as Entertainment Crafts for therapy Craft Tourism

Hot right now Fast and agile experiments, just a few will stick Ecommerce Etsy Amazon Model Health Consious Products

Ethically organically sourced Products VR/AR Documentation WhatsApp Direct 2 Consumers

Established The already recognized ideas and players Design Documentaion Craft Museums Delhi Haat Training Institutes

Design Brands Fab India Fashion Designers

SHGs NGOs Dastkari Haat Samiti

Incumbents The one’s that “have always been there”. Traditional Markets

Local Haats Melsa

Utilitarian Products



An exercise to define the basic framework of the world. Based on Actionable Futures Toolkit by Nordkapp


System Actors Users Products Culture Education Commerce

Tech Comapnies Government Ministries

Money Buisnesses

Big Corporates



Traditional Skills

Master Craftsmen Educated Craftsmen


Local Small Scale Craftsmen

Training Centers



Stakeholders Community


Creative Professionals



Educational Institutions


Woman/ Children



Cultures Communities

Platforms Markets




Landscapes The external forces affecting the future world we are building. What are the trends and forces driving the change in for example the politics and what are the incentives driving technology? What about ethics?




Polluted cities, Resource Congestions, Increasing Temperature ,Undoing damage & upgrading environmental infrastructure as big priority,

Revivalist Governments, Presenting India as a Global Leader, Increasing political participation



Increased focus on Creative Industries, Rising GDPs, Increased Foreign Investments

Increasing migration to Urban Environment, Digital subculture and communities emerging, Increasing focus on preserving cultural loss



Accessible Digital Creation tools, Increased efficiency of recycling across the board, A Mature digital content industry, Tracking supply chain possible through blockchains Increasing Automation.

Severe restriction on construction and mining Industries, Nationwide Job Security, Limitations on Automation.

Ethical Repairable device/ Recycle, Accessible tech, Opensource Knowledge


The Basics

What is the Event

Why is it happening

•India is organising its first Craft expo •The expo is being held at Delhi •There is a craft show at expo •The craft show was launched with a keynote/ address/performance by the Craft Minister of India with participation from leading Craftsmen

•Since 2025, Indian Crafts has overcome a lot of difficulties and now has a leading Industry •India is becoming a craft-led country •The event is showcasing the achievements and work done by Indian craftsmen •The event is adapting a new motto for crafts in the nation

What is the world around it

What led to the event in last 15 years (2020)

•India has emerged as a global superpower •Big problems/ Big Solutions •Global economy is led by sustainability rather than tech •African countries as emergent powers •Move towards healthier lifestyles •Interactive Entertainment as one of the most profitable Industries •Tech Industry as the status quo like retail and real-state

•India focusing on its creative industries •India faced with problems which need sustainable solutions •Opening of vocational and co-learning institutions •Introduction of making/hands-on-work and lifelong learning in the curricula •Penetration of accessible technology, makerspaces and new tools in rural ares •Megalopolises becoming unwieldy, emergence of multiple feeder cities


A Sketch of the world in which the Expo is happening and the Stakeholders involved

Active Paricipants


•Makers •Educators •Industries •Researchers/Scientists •Design/Architect/Planners/Policy Makers •Artists •Musicians •Tool makers

Craft Ministry

Attendees/Visitors •Politicians •Civilians •Small Artist and Craftsmen •Students •Tourists

2019-2030 Formation of Unified Ministry of Crafts to put India at forefront of creative Industry Increased focus by Architects/Designers/ Makers on using local resources and tracking the supply chain and people involved. Collaborative haat/maker/ lifelong educational spaces popping all over nation bringing different groups of people into crafts and leading to new crafts in first place.


The Journey The Timeline Which Lead to the Expo in 2035

What is ‘Beyond Sustainability’ ? If sustainability is catching up creating a balance with Natural Ecosystem. The Expo is mandating an active effort to first catchup and then restore the damage done.

241 United Nation Sustainable Development Goals Timeline Ends in 2030, The world needs new development goals.

India Craft Expo gets approved by the Citizens of Delhi. With the mandate of “Beyond Sustainability�


JAN 2030

The City mandates the pavilion to be built as an environmental public infrastructure for the city.


What is ‘Beyond Sustainability’ ? If sustainability is catching up creating a balance with Natural Ecosystem. The Expo is mandating an active effort to first catchup and then restore the damage done.



The Citizens Every citizen is a craftsman in their capacities, the craft produced is not always tangible or traditionally defined and driven by financial or market functions. The distinction between the work, life and crafts is blurred, the activity of craft is an integral part of everyday. The interaction between these craft citizens is networked in a multidimensional rhizome. In this urban environment, there is no hierarchy of high crafts and low crafts, the act of making is not linked to the classes, castes and community. The crafts and the knowledge of craft exists in the public domain, allowing craftsmen to pickup new crafts and share their knowledge with potential craftsmen.

The Citizen

Rima Devi Radiation Knitter, Houswife

Ramesh Mahto eGold Recycler, Technologist

What They Make

Handmade Radiation Heating Sweaters

Extracts gold off old electronics + repairs instructions/teaching online

Who they work With

Fashion Designer, Recycler, Engineer

Jwellers,Recyclers, Educators

What tools & Techniques they use

Stitching, Wireless Radition Energy, Recycled Fast Fashion clothes

Gold Extracter, MR Videos

For whom they make

Local Kids & Old People

Jwellers, People who want to learn more about tech

Driving Purpose

To create beautiful clothing for her kids and people in the neighbour hood

To teach people about how to work with whatever technology they have


Rima Devi moved from Bihar in the early 2020 with her husband who was working at the airport in Dwarka.

Ramesh studied engineering online and comes from a family of recyclers, he is working in Gurgaon at a Jwellery design co-operative which extracts gold from ewaste.

Artworks by Kunal Lokhande Instagram@Kunal.png


Citizen as Craftsman

The city is Inhabited by citizens and urban craftsmen, who make, collaborate and share their creations.

These personas are an exploration of the inhabitants of the city

Mahesh Prajapati Digital Potter, Craftsman

Chitra Prakash Open Eco-Architect,

Raghu Purohit Environmental IP Lawyer, Craft Lawyer

digital artifacts ceramic prints

carbon activated architecture open affordable housing

litigation on river rights creates IP tracking RFID tags

Musicians/Artists, Architects

scientists policy makers

Technologists Local Communities Architects

3D printer, Procedural modelling

material and structural understanding

Law and IP Rights understanding

Sells digital artifacts for Entertainment Indsutry, Working with Architect on complex digital geometric facades

city government, rural housing schemes

environment makers/craftsmen local communities

To help traditional pottery be part of the modern entertainment industry through his digital skills

To make sustainable housing accessible to eveyone and help city breathe better

To provide legal rights to the river to preserve it and the people around it, also make the supply chain and IP visible in crafts market of India

Mahesh born in a potter family learned 3D modelling and printing early on in school and went onto bring it into his family tradition. His knowledge of both domains allows him to have intutive form skills in clay, which architectects have been seeking to deploy in last few years

Chitra Prakash has been a practising Architect for last 20 years across India. she became part of goverment's open housing scheme to help people build better and sustainble houses through open/shared architecural designs, She also likes spending time in the nature but since movig to delhi, the low quality of Air has got him interested in developing architecture which can help the city filter its air, her position as an open architect allows her interventions to spread fast. Bakes in her free time

Born in a fishing comunity in mumbai, Raghu did schooling in IP Law and is a vocal proponents of rights of makers and envirnoment.. He is learning pottery right now as a meditative process to keep stress away.


The Site

The expo takes place at the historic Pragati Maidan which in popular public imagination stands as the place for expos and trade fairs, also the site in the center of Delhi holds a position of being a relic of modernist vision of India, Perhaps a Crystal Palace of India? On the peripheries of Pragati Maidan, The National Handicrafts museum and the National Science center stand adjacent to each other. The site stands at the intersection of craft heritage, contemporary imagination and futuristic ambitions of the nation, making it a plausible site for The Craft Expo. The Expo acts as the bridge builder across science and crafts, a place of convergence, a place for the idea of entanglement, a place for an imagination of making, crafts and knowledge which isn’t bound by boundaries. A market, A celebration of Indian culture, A scientific research center, A maker workshop, A trade show, all exist


What would be the site of a Craft Expo in the City of Delhi? And What Considerations would go Into it?


The Pavillion



The Pavillion

The structure is not built but grown over time, Like a mushroom the structure takes the city’s waste as nutrients and grows into a faceted structure optimized for increased floor space, increased surface area to be able to capture more sunlight, rainwater and provide more façade space for air filtration. The algorithm if we may call it responds to the need of the cities. The façade is built with collaboration of machines and craft communities, On a standard base woven grid of copper cables and algae infused pillars, communities take up cells of the grid to craft a unique identity, The whole pavilion is made of a sort of a collaboration history, a complex generative identity of the pavilion emerges over time. The pavilion is a cultural map of Indian making. The structure is not a result of an Architects vision but natural algorithms and combined ownership of the communities.

251 The structure is built in two parts, the core structure and the facades.


The Pavillion



The Pavillion

The expo defines a vision of a piece of public infrastructure, conceived, made and inhabited by the commons. The commons is not just the humans but the environment they inhabit and there collective imaginations too. The crafted city becomes inseparable from its subjects, it is a piece of art and function created by and inhabited by them. One of the big problems of studying culture and technology as individual phenomenon if that it often negates the larger whole in which they exist, the become forces working again each other or trying to compete, instead of an amalgamation of environmental factors. This piece of public architecture does not belong to culture of technology but the physical and social environment of its times.

255 The pavilion is not just meant to be sight or spectacle for the city and nation but a functional infrastructure for the future of city.


The Pavillion

The pavilion is not just meant to be sight or spectacle for the city and nation but a functional infrastructure for the future of city. Environmentally, the structure serves as a carbon sink for the city, made out of waste and sewage, the structure is a vertical land fill, its woven mesh of charged wiring allows it absorb and clean up the smog from the air, Its algae covered façade photosynthesize and generate oxygen and energy for the city, the solar and terrace farm generate food and energy for the pavilion. The building acts as a lota of knowledge, culture and energy for the city. The NO2 collected through the smog can be converted into Nitrogen Fertilizers, the whole structure can act as a battery for the city, storing the energy generated from the nearby Pragati Solar Power Grid. As a cultural center the building becomes a place of confluence, for makers, thinkers, dreamers and the market. The structure is owned by the community, It’s a common. The building allows the community to take a place in the space and share it. The pavilion provides spaces for new expressions of crafts through performances, meditations and a convergence of the virtual and the real. With all its roles, it still serves as a spectacle of possibilities, cultural multivalence and what a city can achieve with its citizens.



The Crafts

The expo imagines and celebrates craft as a diverse set of practices ranging from performance arts to guided group meditation to traditional crafts to crafts as a service. It accommodates all forms of crafts existing and becomes a place of emergence of new crafts itself.


The full Inquiry can be presented as a form of public Exhibition on the Crafts Expo 2035, where future acts as a narrative subtext to the ideas in this document. The narrative is presented through a series of digital and physical artefacts as a part of a Retrospective Exhibition on the India Crafts Expo, set in near future of 2035. The Retrospective talks about the events leading to the expo, the happening at the expo, Collaterals and the Aftermath of the expo. Some amount of work has already been done on the pre-production of the exhibition, with the message media Matrix Which can be found at đ&#x;ŒŽ Link 19


Directions Forward


How to Design a Retrospective of the Future ? 1.Speculation The speculation uses the 6 Values from the previous section and projects them into future to create a world. 2.Retrospective The retrospective uses the speculations to create artefacts which act as windows into the speculative world.

t Re


s ro

at ul ec

Artefacts as Lenses

pe ive





2035 Reasearch





Chapters 13. Afterthoughts ..263

Chapter 13

Afterthoughts 265

13.1 Author as Craftsman In the Craft Expo, I see myself as a craftsman, I see my crafts as an explorer and an educator perhaps. As an explorer I move along the fringes of technological imagination, I make things, I break them, I attempt seek connections between my practice and my background and I see gaps. In my journey as this craftsman, I am part of a community, A community of other craftsmen who have made this knowledge accessible which allows me to deal with, understand and to an extent seek control of technology and by that virtue perhaps, a little ability to shape small bits of my future.

“Those with least power to shape the future suffer its worst consequences” -Anab Jain, Superflux

My crafts are to pass on this knowledge, The journey of finding how to pass on this knowledge is going to be long and slow and will probably never be complete but this piece of crafts, the document, the reader is reading, is one of the first steps I attempt to make in this direction. There is a lot to be done, for a start through the journey of writing this doc I could not find a single ‘Processing’ tutorial in Hindi or other regional languages, As a craftsman practicing digital crafts, its unfortunate to find that my crafts is limited to the upper middle class, urban, English speaking crowd. A crowd which I became part of recently. At the time of writing this document I see closing this gap as my craft, if my work till now and in future Inspires a single person or allows them to pick up and pass on the crafts, I would consider my project success. With this Inquiry cannot claim to predict the future or solve a real-world problem of access to technology, or even revolutionize a craft, I never intended to do that because I don’t think one person is capable of that, it takes a village. This Inquiry with all its vagueness and untied threads has become an important juncture for me to sit and reflect on where to go next, And I hope it has allowed the reader to reflect too.


13.2 Conclusions Its always better to set a realistic expectation for the reader. The Inquiry by no means is complete, the expo and theories are ideas in formation. This section does not tie everything together into a comprehensive and perhaps a satisfactory conclusion. It is challenging to conclude an ongoing and by nature an open Inquiry. The Inquiry started with a question on ‘How future can inform crafts and How crafts can inform future’ After almost a 9 month long engagement with the question, I feel have started to see a relation between what these words mean to me.




If future is the destination we are trying to reach, the craft is the journey of reaching there and technology is the medium. The medium and the journey are different for every traveler and so is the destination.

Crafts Through the Inquiry I have started seeing crafts in a different light. For me craft now represents a sensitive and reflective engagement with the medium (technology). In its form craft represents an innate desire to understand our tools, surroundings and how they relate.

Technology As I engaged more and more with technological crafts practice, Technology became more tangible and normalized for me. With practice it became a medium which can be tamed and mastered. Using technology to create work allowed me to look at it even more critically and clearly.

Future Future is still elusive, but through an attempt to speculate it. I felt futures are its core projection of our beliefs and values. I tried to imagine a ‘provocative’ future of technology and crafts through a ‘speculative design’ process, What I ended up with was a reflection of my own Ideas about the two, A provocation for no one else, but self.

Design This inquiry never aimed to be a design project. The decision came out of a fear and worry perhaps of how limiting this idea of design process can be in a serendipitous open ended research. The process seemed like a hinderance rather than a facilitator. Since the Inquiry also aimed to critically look at design practice itself, stepping outside the framework allowed for a more critical look at how Institutionalized our design education can be. The way we internalize ‘problem solving’, ‘function over form’, ‘user interviews’ etc, validating everything with numbers, sticky notes and mind maps, Despite a decision to step out of it, I could still feel the fear, pressure and being unsure of validity of this inquiry. At the same time what design process has taught me over last 4 years was that its okay to step out of it, and that’s what this Open Ended Inquiry represents.


Open-Ended Inquiry •

An Open-Ended Inquiry is challenging.

Investigating questions of this scope need a lot of mental bandwidth.

An open-ended inquiry by its nature becomes introspective. To introspect means to question and challenge your own beliefs, It can be subjective , self-indulgent, overwhelming and humbling, often all of them at the same time.

To be without goals is refreshing and at the same time needs a lot of engagement to keep moving

In an open inquiry the search for question becomes more important than a search for solutions

With an inquiry of this large a scope, the open-ended process itself limits the scope by a negotiation between the inquirer’s abilities and ambitions.

In an Inquiry its okay to have opinions, if the goal is to challenge them.

Lastly an open Inquiry is all about finding as many dead ends, making as many mistakes as possible, and failing.


Critical Reflections This inquiry is not without its faults and missed opportunities:


Lack of Collaboration

Design Process

I conducted this Inquiry largely independently which although allowed to form a personal understanding of the subject, the lack of external collaboration or critique resulted in a lot of half baked ideas, proposals which could have been easily tested out in the given time frame and a challenge in explaining in ideas. A discursive inquiry without discussion is kind of missing the point. The document and the Instagram publication tries to bridge this gap but a lot more can be done as these are limited to a very small niche audience.

For this project I tried to avoid design process, although the intent was novel, being outside a framework lead to a lot of re-inventing the wheel and missed tools which could have been repurposed and greatly helped in the Inquiry. Design process with all its problems and limitations, gets things done when they need to be done, and allows for evaluation which is as important as talking and doing in an Inquiry like this.

Limited Primary Research The Inquiry was primarily based on secondary research, reading and hands on practice. As a project about crafts and futures, the inquiry missed the opportunity to engage with more practicing craftsmen and understanding their life’s, aspirations and philosophies. Although I tried to attempt an engagement with a few craftsmen, I found myself hindered by my imbalanced interest in exploring my own practice. A balance between primary research with local practitioners and my practice would have been more insightful in understanding crafts.

Westernized Outlook As you would read through the documents and references, it would start becoming clearer that the inquiry primarily refers to western thinkers and designers despite being conducted in the Indian framework. This is not completely a missed opportunity by me as the writings and philosophy on the subjects of technology, design and crafts is documented predominantly for western authors, which makes it even more important for researchers like me to go a step further and look for Indian narratives on the subject, which by no means is not present or visible, Gandhi, Ashok Chatterjee, MP Ranjan, Jaya Jaitley and Pupul Jayakar are some names which come from top of the head, there is more to uncover specially in Indian narratives of technology, which is an important next step for this inquiry.

The Scope The scope of the project was broad, really broad. The challenge it brought along was that I was talking about things much larger than myself, and somethings which I barely know about. The lack of focus can be perhaps felt through this document, which covers a lot but at the same time feels consistently surface level. I felt a lot of promising ideas were left as promises and scratches on the surface. The scope of the Inquiry was too big for a six-month timeline, perhaps a smaller scope at some point in the project would have helped in formation more refined ideas, outcomes and clearer conclusion.

13.4 What is this Project

I think after last 9 months and writing this 270 page document I feel this project can be explained with a very humbling diagram by Matt Might

This Inquiry by no means is as thorough as a PHd, Afterall it’s a bachelor’s thesis but the goal of this Inquiry is similar, to one day attempt and make a small-small dent in the circle of human knowledge. The Inquiry is a part of the journey, thank you for being here.


An Illustrated Guide to PhD, Matt Might

13.5 Acknowledgements I have never written an acknowledgement page before, I don’t know where to begin and whom all to thank, maybe I am just little scared that this list will never be complete, but I will try my best. I am grateful to Harshali Paralikar for being an angel through this project, life and beyond. Her recommendation landed me this project of a lifetime, her enthusiasm in the project and its tangents and everything in between kept pushing me even at my lowest she helped me get back up and keep moving. I didn’t know a person can make such a profound impact on someone acting as an inspiration, support, collaborator, a friend and an eloquent proof-reader, Now I know. I am greatly thankful to Ayaz Basrai for giving me this opportunity, guiding me through the complexity maze of the project, the patience, trust and support he put in me. His intellectual probes provided just the right amount of imagination and self confidence I needed to take on this project. Thank you, Tanishka Kachru for being the most amazing guide I ever had at NID; for allowing me to make mistakes and find my own voice in design over last 3 years; for reassuring me through even the gloomiest of times of this graduation project, that its going to be okay, that I am going to graduate; for making me trust myself and my work. The Critters Collective: Aarushi, Madhu, Harshali, Ajitesh, Manan and Mrinalini for keeping this brain running and alive. I will miss everyone at the Greenhouse, Jarudhi for lighting up mornings with intense debates, Whole Tandem and Quicksand team for an honour to work in a space with them. Ketki for keeping the Greenhouse up and running, Aunty for the homely food and being a mom figure so far from home.


Krishnan Ghosh for being an amazing roommate, Supreetha for being my weekend plans buddy. Neeraj and Afreen for lighting up the time in Goa, and Wednesday plans. Amrita Barua for being there always ready for a plan to Blue moons. Thank your everyone mentioned above for being Guinea pigs in my cooking adventures. I am unimaginably grateful all friends who held me together in my most difficult times despite being so far away Vikram, Aarushi, Jyothi, Komal, Harshali, Supreetha and Mrinalini. Thank you Shristi Sharma for bringing the smile on my face after a long day at work, for listening to my rants and being the motivation, I needed. The whole of ENUGIS, Anirddh, Akshay, Britto, Krishnan, Komal, Shristi, Gouthami, Jessica, Shubangi and Vishwa for the amazing journey through college! A shout out to you guys! I am thankful for everyone who contributed to this project in big and small ways, directly or indirectly, I don’t know what I could have done without you guys, an Incomplete list: Kunal, Shravani, Abhishek, Aishwarya, Utkarsh, Deepti, Rohan, Declan, Yash and Sahil Thappa. And lastly, thank you papa, mummy and bhai for everything in last 21 years. And to the reader, for taking your time to read this document, I hope this document could be useful to you in your journey. Thank you everyone.


13.6 Bibliography

Books Adamson, Glenn. The Invention of Craft. Cook, Peter. Archigram. Birkhäuser, 1991. Hatch, Mark. The Maker Movement Manifesto: Rules for Innovation in the New World of Crafters, Hackers, and Tinkerers. McGraw-Hill Education, 2014. Johnston, Lucy. Digital Handmade. Thames & Hudson, 2015. Pacey, Arnold. Meaning in Technology. MIT Press, 2014. Ranjan, Aditi, and M. P. Ranjan. Handmade in India a Geographic Encyclopedia of Indian Handicrafts. Abbeville Press, 2009. Raymond, Eric Steven. The Cathedral and the Bazaar. Snowball Publishing, 2009. Shillito, Ann Marie. Digital Crafts: Industrial Technologies for Applied Artists and Designer Makers. Bloomsbury Visual Arts, 2019. Speculative Everything: Design, Fiction, and Social Dreaming. MIT Press, 2014. Spruch, Edward W. Orientalism. Pantheon Books, 1978. Wilkinson-Weber, Clare M., and Alicia Ory. DeNicola. Critical Craft: Technology, Globalization, and Capitalism. Bloomsbury Academic, 2016. Woebken, Chris. Extrapolation Factory Operator's Manual. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2016.

Papers & Reports Kate Crawford and Vladan Joler, “Anatomy of an AI System: The Amazon Echo As An Anatomical Map of Human Labor, Data and Planetary Resources,” AI Now Institute and Share Lab, (September 7, 2018) Ito, Joichi. “Antidisciplinary.” Joi Ito's Web, 2014, doi:10.31859/20141002.1939. Oxman, Neri. “Age of Entanglement.” Journal of Design and Science, 2016, doi:10.21428/7e0583ad. Yair, Karen, and Mary Schwarz. “Making Value: Craft in Changing Times.” Cultural Trends, vol. 20, no. 3-4, 2011, pp. 309–316., doi:10.1080/095489 63.2011.589711. Zoran, Amit, and Leah Buechley. “Hybrid Reassemblage: An Exploration of Craft, Digital Fabrication and Artifact Uniqueness.” Leonardo, vol. 46, no. 1, 2013, pp. 4–10., doi:10.1162/ leon_a_00477. Dasra.org. (2019). Dasra | Crafting a Livelihood: Building Sustainability for Indian Artisans. [online] Available at: https://www.dasra.org/ resource/creating-livelihoods-for-artisans [Accessed 4 Dec. 2019].

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Project Files

People Jon Rogers Jaya Jaitly Hussain Indorewala Ayaz Basrai Tanrigini Jindal Vladan Joler Fernando Velho Sandeep Sangaru Sahil Thappa Tanishka Kachru Ashok Chatterjee

All Source file with đ&#x;ŒŽ Links can be accessed at Github.com/strangerobot/CraftFuture

Websites craftscouncil.org.uk Yourstory.com Anatomyof.ai All3Dp.com Instructables.com Thingiverse.com Make.com ArchitecturalDigest.com Livemint.com Newyorktimes.com TheGaurdian.com Medium.com www.emergingobjects.com Wikipedia.com Wired.com Fastcompany.com

Instagram.com/craftfuture Medium.com/Crafted-Futures

Author Yatharth Strangerobot.design Instagram.com/Strangerobot Researchgate.net/profile/Yatharth_Yatharth Github.com/strangerobot https://issuu.com/strangerobot

Mental Health Last 270 pages talk about my work and can give an impression of the work being the only thing on mind over last 9 Months. We often tend to intertwine ourselves and our work so much that we forget to acknowledge how we are feeling, its not always easy to focus on work, it’s not always possible to give our best, its not always easy to keep moving, and that’s okay.

It’s okay to be not okay. Although not visible through this project, but there were moments I was not okay, and that’s an equally important part of this document as the inquiry. I am grateful for all my friends, colleagues, my family, my therapist and lastly my employer for listening and supporting me through difficult times. If you are reading this and you feel you or someone you know are not okay, give yourself time, speak to someone, or seek help from a friend or trusted one. If you need to talk to someone or just someone to just listen, feel free to contact me at +919911052794 Thank you and All the best


December 2019

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Craft Future  

Craft Future is an open-ended, Critical Inquiry. Through Creative Practice it aims to understand the relationship between Crafts as a practi...

Craft Future  

Craft Future is an open-ended, Critical Inquiry. Through Creative Practice it aims to understand the relationship between Crafts as a practi...