Guide MerimetsanAlchemy : alchemic research of fashion, photography and social therapy

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The process of creativity and highly imaginative minds were at work here. From this experience, I am more convinced than ever that following our creative intuition is the best guide to reaching the unexplainable and mysterious workings of our inner being. The photographs presented here are glimpses and revelations of our human complexities.

They hold the keys to our past, present and future. Though these photographs were made by a specific person or persons, they are also open to each viewer's imaginative and personal interpretation. Her operative craftwork and thorough piercing research on the subjects portrayed acts as a tool for revealing the harmony between the masks and roles we enact in everyday life. The photos depict the fragmented and complex alloys of global uprooted identities but always capture the harmonious sides of persons at peace with themselves through the storms of existence.

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With the photographs as manifestations of the design process and a window between two parallel situations of change the portraits are used as a passage for mutual existence. The world of production is mirrored to the world of consumption, but it is in the mirror the transmutation takes form. The situation at Merimetsa is opened to the viewer by using a large format camera with negatives in 8 times 10 inches format and a hundred year old camera. This is done primarily in two steps. The first step is to make craft an ideal, and a quality for understanding our world — for everyone.

The second is to form a deeper understanding and a pride in the craft skills, in crafts- manship. We start with the first step. With the help of sociologist Sharon Zukin, Sennett ar- gues about the need for skill and craftsmanship. This does not aim for a situation where we all have to farm our food ourselves or hunt for our dinner. It is an under- standing of our world through craft and quality, not only for production, but also for a more insightful consumption. Zukin As Sennett proposes, this is a change in our everyday perception of the world.

For this we will need to spend more time exploring our craft and our tools at hand, but we also need to open up our surrounding, to break up our everyday objects, to make them more transparent for engagement and better un- derstand their workings. In labor, the good craftsman is more than a mechanical technician. This ideal comes to life in a traditional craft like making musical instruments; equally in a more modern setting like a scientific laboratory.

Fashion Photography Demonstration with Glenn Norwood - The Photography Show 2018

Sennett We make ourselves tools for reaching larger action spaces, for applying our desire to change the world onto the world though our work. We need to keep this in mind as we apply tools to advance our action spaces. This requires another kind of thinking for designers, but also for us as consumers and as citizens. As Steven Heller argues in the book Citizen Designer; to be a responsible designer requires more than talent, it requires also good citizenship Heller For Hel- ler the key issue is to ask questions, and to work with the answers in order to create responsible decisions.

This means to form a special knowledge or craftsmanship to engage in the devel- opment of skills. The hope is for a hacktivist orchestration of social craftsmanship that leads to new skills and action spaces. This is a social practice on many levels; reverse engineering and understanding systems, developing craftsmanship, show- ing examples that attract participation, creating manuals that lead the way, organ- izing workshops that mobilize energy in the right direction, negotiating continua- tions, and finally plugging the projects back into the system.

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On every level we will collectively explore new action spaces for fashion. To develop a critical usage of existing media chan- nels as well as creating new ones. During these events they assemble and produce T-shirts from ready- made parts together with their visitors, quite similar to collaborative Lego-style production. Visitors hang around in good company, with drinks and music, while an assembly line is created where the various parts of the T-shirts are put together according to your will.

With or without your help. The value of the new garment is created from the bottom up through the open participation in the event, the assembly process, and the community brought together to share and develop their designs. Use the possibilities of what is considered as junk, mak- ing the leftovers of society your pool of treasures. Make models and visionary prototypes.

Make examples of how the single informal action might be turned into a stabilized activity and a sustainable project or business, at least resulting in richness of dignity and self-respect. Map relations and prototype protocols. Be a rhizome, a pack of wolves, a swarm of rats. But be conscious of its risks and take seriously the responsibilities it demands. All these aspects require a large portion of idealism as well as hands-on pragma- tism, applying adaptive imagination to look into unknown fields for interdiscipli- nary building and mobilizing of assets.

The process is open-ended and explorative. It has no big plan but we learn as we go along, and also from our allies and the examples set by others. The uncertainty is also the advantage of the method. It will help us see some possible action spaces for fashion. This has only proved to mean that we are offered more cheap clothes that mainly look the same. Instead we must see how we can also talk back, engage at a deeper level, access the channels and even produce our own programs.

We will investigate how engaged fashion can help the user develop her skills, to put them to use in collaborative ways, and how this approach effects the role of the designer. It is a designer role that orchestrates small change, to help people who want to become fashion-able. It is the modification of systems, programs or devices to give more users access to action spaces that were otherwise unavailable.

These new passages and spaces are shared within the community for others to build further on. Along the line of this chapter we will follow parts of the history of what I call hack- tivism and we will also see it applied in a variety of ways to enrich our perspective on fashion. We will start by following a line of hacking and then to come to see more detailed examples of how the abstract machine of hacktivims operates. I mean these examples offer a furthering of the hacking approach that can give new light on the designer role. As we will come to see, the practices of hacktivism run through many fields and practices and we can from this perspective approach fash- ion in new ways.

Hacking is a DIY practice of direct intervention, and its application is twofold. Firstly, it is about the skill to open a system, access it and learn to master defences and structure. Secondly, hacking is a specific tactic of changing a system by plug- ging into it and redirecting its flows into a more desirable goal, usually by actively building on it. The hacking line of practice plays with technology through these two approaches, to make it do new things by explicitly using the existing forces and infrastructure within the system for changing it.

It is through actions like this I mean hacking starts to turn into hacktivist engagement. However, as the hacking ethic is also meritocratic and sometimes even elitist it emphasises the individual skills of the hacker and can thus be quite exclusive. Nev- ertheless, a dominant part of the community try to create a symbiotic culture, where all small contributions can plug into each other to form larger emergent systems, such as the Linux operating system.

Throughout this chapter we will follow some different examples of how hacking operates. We will set out on a journey through various forms of hacking, starting from computers. To position hacktivism within a political framework we will then explore how it can be related to a recent rereading of the class struggle described by Marx, but from the perspective of hacking. When we finally apply hacktivism to fashion our first meeting will be through the practice of deconstruction within fashion, which has affected fashion expressions widely over the last decades.

It has often a connotation of an ingenious geek, breaking into forbidden networks, bypassing security systems, stealing passwords and hijacking phones to call for free. In popular media they collaborate with like-minded in their hidden sects to break into banks or steal classified government information. It was a two week open workshop and exhibition on sartorial surgery and garment dissec- tions at the Draakon Gallery, Tallinn, in September Using nonviolent reverse engineering, the project consisted of public dissections of white second- hand clothes, revealing their hidden layers and technical construction.

The gently unstitched pieces were displayed on the walls before being put back together into new mutated forms which were for sale at the gallery. This strict distinction easily comes in a moral dilemma and it frames a dispute that has followed hacking since its birth. It can be also argued that cracking and break- ing things is a constructive practice and necessary for building.

Every hack needs some initial crack, but to differentiate a hack from a simple deconstruction I stress the building and constructive modification as a central aspect of hacking. According to media theorist William J. Mitchell The culture of hardware modification has always been around but only over the last decade has it been popularly referred to as hacking. The aspect of sharing technological activities and modifying consumer items reached a large audience with the rise of amateur radio and car modifying, or modding, in the s.

This line of practice intersected with an expanding popular science magazine culture, documenting the wonders of the rising technological society as well as promoting hobby inventions and leisure activities. The hacking approach to computers started out as an academic subculture when computers were rare and software code and programs was shared among users and programmers.


A good hacker was a good programmer, solving tricky pas- sages with smart bendings of the existing code, adding new critical parts, improv- ing it to make it do what was intended. Hacking and reusing code was a way to shorten queue times to the computers, but also caught the spirit of curious mod- ifications in which many of the academics were interested. Later, as computers became more commonplace this practice became common in the hobby net- works where hardware, programs and operating systems were collectively built upon.

It also implies something more than ordinary or everyday use. Hacking is a used to meaning of reclaiming authorship or co- wide practice, yet it can be condensed to some cen- authorship of a technology by supporting trans- tral points, as illustrated by social researcher Anne parency and unanticipated use. It is about scratch- ing ones own itch, but using unexpected methods.

Hacking is also about creating good implementa- Hacking is to find an own way, to encourage explo- tions or beautiful possibilities, a classic mastery of ration, putting curiosity into action, but also shar- skills or craftsmanship.

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Not only in an aesthetic sense ing this for others to build upon. By sharing, it political questions of access back into the light, sub- is decentralizing control and empowering users at a verting or politicizing closed and hidden functions low level to open a multiplicity of ways for manipu- and uses of networks. It is more about us- A predominant feature in hacking is the explora- ing existing functions, subsystems and parts by tion, or archaeological excavation of hidden proper- creating patchwork and crossover techniques, rather ties in hardware or software.

It is centred on a deep than creating something entirely new or truly and practical curiosity into the substrata of code or unique. In this way it is questioning the concepts of ownership and control. This practice of hardware offer pieces for other to build with, not to finish tinkering takes many shapes, and does not only take something and to build walls around it. This be- technical skills to make it work. The other part of the code are the comments, as much as individual skill and inventiveness.

Wark the lines written after the functions to help a future reader, other than the programmer, to understand what the code is about, what it does and the thinking Hacking in this sense is based on some topics closely of the programmer. The Kraft Carrier and Bodega Bag are generic grocery and market For every new line a limited edition is produced of a hundred copies, bags executed in fine leathers for live object oxymorons.


This type of product transformation can be an example of a hacking tactic turned back into a classic product economy. It plays brilliantly with fashion codes, encourages intervention by revealing a simple way of craft intrusion in fashion. But it does not offer any further tools for participation on the playground it presents.

In this way hacking is made to do something new but at the same time preserve the original parts in- corporated in the new, by simply repurposing origi- nal tools and modus operandi. Quite similarly, paint- ing is learnt by copying the works of great masters since it forces you to look closely at how painting is made.