In the 'Maker Movement,' art is all around us

There is a consumer warning label written in bold letters on the package of Makey Makey, one of Jay Silver's (PopTech 2012) inventions. This is what it says: "WARNING: User may start to believe they can change the way the world works. Extended usage may result in creative confidence."

Makey Makey reflects the way Silver sees art everywhere in the world, and the warning label shows how we are all invited to join him.  

Makey Makey allows users to turn everyday objects into touchpads and manipulate programs or web pages. Simply attach Makey Makey's alligator clips to everyday objects and dial up a program on your computer. If you attach Makey Makey’s alligator clips to a bunch of bananas, and you dial up a piano program, all of a sudden you are playing a banana-piano.

A girl using Makey Makey

In his 2012 PopTech talk in Camden, Silver showed video that he had received through the Internet of people using Makey Makey to turn their dogs into musical instruments, play the "Star Spangled Banner" by biting fruit, and turn their house plants into drums. "I don't know these people," Silver says with a mix of bemusement and pride. 

Those people have embraced Silver's fascination with how we arbitrarily assign meaning to objects. Once we disregard these assigned meanings and follow our creativity, the world is suddenly full of art and possibility.

"What is the purpose of things? And who said that that was the purpose of it?" he asked the Camden audience. "And how do we decide what purpose means or who we should listen to when we designate purpose and meaning in life. Where does it come from? And who said so?"

To capture the spirit of what he called the "Maker Movement," Silver showed video of his own infant son's obvious joy and excitement when he first saw and touched snow. "The world that I would like to live in is a world where everybody helps to make it in their own way, so that it is a hodge-podge of different collections of contributions reflecting everyone’s own internal inspirations," Silver said. "Kind of the way nature is, but for humans."

Jay Silver's PopTech talk appears below:

Rate this post:

  • Meh.
  • Love it!
  • Community Rating: 1
Click and drag above to vote.