An interview on Making with

Markus Vogl

Assistant Professor , Myers School of Art at the University of Akron

About Markus

Markus Vogl is an Assistant Professor in Graphic Design at the Myers School of Art at the University of Akron and a NE Ohio based multimedia artist experimenting in multiple sensory experiences combining sound, environments and interactive installation. He holds a Masters of Fine Art degree in New Media from Donau Universitaet Krems/transart institute and has 25 years of experience in the field. Originally from Salzburg, Austria he has exhibited internationally in the U.S., Asia, Europe and Australia. He has been recognized in Leonardo magazine for his collaboration Circadian Capital. He has received a 2012 NEA Media in Arts Grant for S.A.R.A.: Synesthetic Augmented Reality Application, a wearable synesthetic performance device. S.A.R.A. has been shown at ingenuityfest, Collider, the Cleveland Public Theater, the Academy of Visual Arts in Hongkong and Nanyang University Singapore. His collaborative research was recently presented at the 2014 International Symposium on Wearable Computing's Design Exhibition at Seattle's EMP, where the project S.A.R.A. received the'aesthetic design' jury award. He has presented papers at the Shapeshifting conference in Auckland, New Zealand, the New Media Art Caucus Artist showcases during the Annual College Art Association Conference, South by SouthWest Austin, Texas, Digital Fashion, London, Computers and the History of Art conference, London and the BIFT/ITAA research Symposium at Beijing and has been a featured speaker at events in the US.

What is Making?

Making is simply a democratic extension of the DIY movement. It encompasses all individuals who create for themselves or others. Here are some areas in which making is prevalent, but by no means are limited to: Arts, crafts, object design, software design which could result in objects (like 3D prints), jewelry, fashion, but also craft beers or other commodities to simply name a few.

Who are Makers?

All types of individuals. Generally people who enjoy using their hands, while improving upon or creating a new, stand-alone or part of a larger system, object. 

Why is Making important?

“Making” has always been important, yet under this sub-heading and with the creation of Dale Dougherty’s Make magazine and the attention the Open Source movement has garnered, the Making movement in it’s own right has seen incredible attention and sparked a renaissance with hand skills and the interest in repairing or improving existing machinery (digital or analog) moving away from the throw away society to a wanting to repair society. As a side effect individuals have been not only able to mend things, yet are also able to create and invent new things. Due to the attention he movement has received thousands of business’ have opened and succeeded while sourcing local materials and engaging the local community.

What is an exciting example of Making and why?

For example we are working on the release of an Open Source Loom that will allow for users to build their own electromechanically controlled loom. But of course the arduino, a small open source microcontroller, that can be used as the electronic brain to some many inventions like open (and closed ) source 3D printers (another good example) would be a better example.

How is Making transforming education?

We are using making tools such as 3D printing, laser cutters and all tools available in a fab lab to augment our teaching. Furthermore physical computing with the arduino microcontroller and mobile platforms have been extremely helpful to create real world solutions.

How can Making change my community?

Besides all the Open Source efforts and collaborations I am involved in (S.A.R.A., OSLOOM, Coded Fashion) the University of Akron is involved in building a fab lab and is participating in creating a large Maker Space in Akron. 

How does Making solve big problems?

One of the strengths of the making movement is the direct involvement of the community. Immediate feedback and the entire involvement of the “crowd” via brain and financial power leads to better design solutions and an open source attitude leads to a new approach that many generations and society’s can share through direct access via the net. This can lead to better products, further reach of knowledge sharing, ultimately benefitting the many rather then the few.