This is obvious: technological revolutions or progress do not totally oust what was there before. Photography did not do that to painting; films did not do it to the theatre; microwave ovens did not do it to traditional ones. What, among other things, change does entail is that, if the previous solution is to survive, it must find its own specificity, a strong and non-replaceable peculiarity.
So, the maker movement is apparently descending on Italy but because it will be grafted onto our Italian tradition, it will have both a responsibility and excellent opportunities – all on the condition that it knows and appreciates the terrain on which it is growing. Italy has a different history, different inventors, its own peculiar business and growth models, its own creative industry and a tough imagery which will test the resistance of the spontaneous and widespread maker phenomenon. The same, however, applies and will be beneficial to the new artisans (analogical or digital, working on lathes, with their hands or at a computer) who cannot afford to miss or ignore the force of the Internet, whatever their ambitions.
Long live the Maker faire but, most of all, long live people like Massimo Banzi, co-curator Riccardo Luna (recently named Digital Champion by the Renzi government), Enrico Bassi, founder of the first Fablab in Italy who is helping other labs to open up in various ways to this model (the latest is Opendot, opened on 25 September last in Milan), Zoe Romano and Costantino Bongiorno of Wemake (who recently subtitled previewed in Italy a splendid documentary on the maker movement) and so many more who have, indeed, “opened” their skills up to the rest of us who are loathe to leave and in limbo in our little old worlds.
Great if they really do transfer to our children those tools missed not only by my mother’s generation but also part of my own; if they talk to them and teach them to build their own solutions whenever they don’t want to seek them out, wouldn’t find them as they would like or don’t have the means to purchase them, exploiting their own (mass) difference and even without being a genius or a revolutionary.