What is digital craftsmanship? Who are the artisans of today’s electronic media? Digital craftsmanship theme will focus on what individual designers or small teams are able to create with easily accessible technology and how this can be paradigmatically different from the traditional production methods. Pixelache explores this theme by inviting digital media labs, study programmes and companies to present their design practice.
One approach to digital craftsmanship is to separate digital media to various ‘materials’ – sound, graphics, software, hardware – and to develop expertise in tools and methods to work on them. This type of specialist training can be very useful but it is not enough. Digital media as a ‘material’ is constantly changing, the tools are evolving and new types of social interaction are emerging. What kind of design process can reach the best results in this context? What are the tools and methods that designers should invest in today? Are open source tools and hardware going to win over closed proprietary systems?
One of the main tasks of digital media today is to support and encourage collective, collaborative activities. In his paper Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture, Henry Jenkins has proposed a list of skills that are useful when dealing with participatory culture that is flourishing in the world of interconnected digital media. These skills are play, performance, simulation, appropriation, multitasking, distributed cognition, collective intelligence, judgment, transmedia navigation, networking and negotiation. Jenkins proposes that not just digital media designers but *everyone* should develop these skills. How can designers and educational institutions respond to this challenge today?
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The participants of Pixelache 09 Digital Craftsmanship theme are:
- UdK Berlin (DE) The Berlin University of the Arts Digital Media class
- ART+COM (DE) digital media company
- Culture Lab Newcastle (UK) Digital Media MRes programme
- Kitchen Budapest (HU) new media lab
- Konstfack (SE) university college of arts, crafts, design in Stockholm
- Taik Media Lab (FI) school of digital design at the University of Art and Design Helsinki
- Yatta (FI) concept agency