So far within the Maker Culture, we’ve looked at a wide array of events and movements, as well as how technology has shaped the maker experience. Today, however, we will look at some events that were born specifically out of this cultural wave. The World Maker Faire and Burning Man are two starkly different events for Makers that take place around the world. These events promote technology, creation, teamwork, and exploration within the show and tell. They’re also a great way to promote forward-looking Makers who are innovating new and existing technologies and methods of creation.
The World Maker Faire hosts large and small-scale Maker Faires all over the world. These fairs host around 200,000 people annually; in 2017, there were 190 smaller-scale Maker Faires all around the world with 30 larger ones in big cities. Each separate fair is hosted out of a school, community building, or larger convention center. These family-friendly, weekend-long events feature DIY spaces, more 3D printers than you can imagine, robotics teams, costumes, food and retail from around the world. Makers are able to present in panels about STEM and STEAM topics, their focuses are on innovation as they celebrate the past forms of creation as well.
On September 22nd, the World Maker Faire will take place in Corona, New York at the New York Hall of Science. While there, you can get inspired by all of the projects and art installations focused on electronics, robotics, 3D printing, and fabrication. Some notable Makers who will be there are Possibility Studios – a Makerspace out of NY, Mass Destruction 10 – a New England combat robot building group, and the Fearless Fixers – a group who teaches the users on how to repair day-to-day electronics. To find a Maker Faire that is local to you, visit the Maker Faire website: https://makerfaire.com/map/
Burning Man is another example of a maker gathering, but this one is on the other end of the spectrum. Where the World Maker Faire takes place indoors and operates as more of a convention, Burning Man is a little rawer. Taking place outside in the Black Rock Desert, Nevada, the event starts with an empty desert and ends with what the event-goers refer to as Black Rock City, a temporary city dedicated to family, art, self-expression, and relying on yourself. Artists and creators from around the world attend this week-long event. The event, which states that it is not a convention but a community, relies on ten principles that explore the values of their community: radical inclusion, gifting, decommodification, radical self-reliance, radical self-expression, communal effort, civic responsibility, leaving no trace (respecting the environment), participation, and immediacy.
Now through January 2019, the Smithsonian seeks to bring the art of Burning Man to the east coast by hosting an exhibit called “No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man” at its Renwick Gallery. With room-sized installations and framed photographs of installations that were later burned with the city, you will be able to get a feel of the growth of this event and the culture and community around it. Many of the exhibits feature smaller scale pieces, “Truth is Beauty” by Marco Cochrane, was a 55’ dancer that was recreated to be 30’ so that it could fit within the gallery. Others are VR booths that are set up to digitally walk through a museum of the artist’s full collection of interactive pieces. Also, there are artists who are setting up new pieces entirely for this exhibit, who have nothing but photos to represent their works as they have burned them all. By walking into this gallery, which is mere steps away from the White House, you will truly feel like you’re stepping into Black Rock City.
These gatherings, though very different, are focused around the exact same thing: creating and making together. There is a focus on community and networking that gives you a “these are my people,” feeling when you enter. Though they’re hosted in two different environments: one indoors and the other outdoors, both of them are filled to the brim with people who are unashamed to be themselves. These gatherings and the overall Maker Movement are helping people embrace who they are and share what they’re doing. With the “show and tell” mindset, Maker gatherings are a facet that continues to bring the community together.