Promissory equipment: the fabric of participation in DIY practices
Morgan Meyer (MINES ParisTech)
Paper short abstract:
This paper examines the equipment developed within DIY movements, be it in biology, medicine, ecology or agriculture. I argue that these objects act as promissory equipment, enacted through a convergence between material practices and moral visions (openness, sharing, democracy, autonomy, …).
Paper long abstract:
DIY practices and movements have gained momentum in recent years, be it in biology, medicine, ecology or agriculture. This paper examines some of the tools and equipment developed within these movements, whether in garages, 'in the wild', at home or in open laboratories. These tools are, in a sense, 'convivial tools': equipment that is less expensive than the equipment that professional scientists use, and that is designed to be more accessible, more mobile, more transparent, more repairable and smaller. Even more so, their conviviality is not only fostered by making them 'open', but also by allowing them to be further modified and improved. I argue that these objects come to act as promissory equipment: they are presented and circulated as success stories, they promise future, user-led innovations and serve to demonstrate the potential of DIY practices to be realized. They are particularly interesting for their evocative power, a power that arises from a convergence between material practices and moral visions (openness, sharing, democracy, autonomy, …), between the redesign of practical objects and the articulation of political objectives.
Collaboration in/with "open labs": studying the objects of boundary-making and crossing