Bridging art, design and technology through Critical Making.

1 november 2017
1 november 2021
VH 9: Kunst en creatieve industrie
Smart Culture

Digitization led to the construction of 21st century creative industry as a hybrid of art, design and technology in which 20th century art and culture have largely been subsumed. This has shifted attention from aesthetics (‘perception’) to a technology-oriented paradigm of making. Where creative industries contribute aesthetic surplus value to products and services, this often implies a simplified notion of aesthetics as beautification that limits the innovation that artists and designers can contribute to society.

How can 21st century creative practices–art, design, technological making–overcome this industry logic of techno-optimistic makeability and aestheticized products? We propose to research and practically explore a critical notion of making as an alternative. Bringing together critical contemporary art practices and artistic research with today’s design and technology, this project will foster critically informed creative practices.

Therefore, we appropriate the concept of Critical Making. Developed by designer Matt Ratto in several MIT Press books, this concept has been tied to FabLabs and artists’ media labs. In our project, Critical Making will be researched and developed in a broader context of critical theory and artistic research in order to address creative practices in which art, design and technology fundamentally and practically intersect.

Existing Critical Making practices will conversely inform the arts on Open Source models of collective authorship and alternative intellectual property.

The objective is to develop a theory and practice of making products and services that are truly ‘smart’ thanks to the critical reflection that went into their making.


Universiteit Leiden (UL)

Janneke Wesseling
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