Critical Making is a handmade book project by Garnet Hertz that explores how hands-on productive work ‐ making ‐ can supplement and extend critical reflection on technology and society. It works to blend and extend the fields of design, contemporary art, DIY/craft and technological development. It also can be thought of as an appeal to the electronic DIY maker movement to be critically engaged with culture, history and society: after learning to use a 3D printer, making an LED blink or using an Arduino, then what?

The publication has 70 contributors ‐ primarily from contemporary art and academia ‐ and its 352 pages are bound in ten pocket-sized zine-like volumes. The project takes the topic of DIY culture literally by printing an edition of 300 copies on a hacked photocopier with booklets that were manually folded, stapled and cut. Academic publishing is at a point in history where it deserves to be questioned, and this project proposes that a small-scale run on a photocopier by one person can have more impact than an academic monograph from a major university press.

The 300 finished copies were primarily given away for free to project contributors, individuals and institutions important to them. Some of the handmade copies were traded for reviews, photographs, videos, lectures and were given to library archives. As of February 2013, approximately twenty hardcopies exist, and the project is exploring wider distribution formats that challenge the medium of academic publishing.

Ten booklet pack, hand-stamped title plate, string, envelope containing stickers and map.
  • 352 pages total.
  • Edition size: 300 sets of 10 booklets
    • 100 color cover sets (1000 booklets) with white string and hand-stamped recycled vinyl title plate (AKA "contributor edition")
    • 190 B/W cover sets (2000 booklets) with hand-dyed red sisal string and hand-stamped red cardstock title plate
    • 10 B/W cover sets (100 booklets) with hand-dyed red sisal string and hand-stamped and signed aluminum title plate with hand-hammered serial numbers (AKA "Printed Matter edition of ten")
  • Published: November 23rd 2012.
  • Publisher: Garnet Hertz (AKA "Telharmonium Press, Hollywood, California").
  • Printing process: Photocopy.
  • Binding: Saddle stitch staples.
  • Dimensions:
    • Metric: 162mm (H) x 130mm (W) x 25mm (D)
    • Imperial: 6.375" (H) x 5.125" (W) x 1" (D)

CONTENTS (Version 2012-11-14-1225)
  • Critical Making - Introduction: 10 pages. Contributor: Garnet Hertz (Making Critical Making / Acknowldgements / How To Cite This Work).
  • Critical Making - Manifestos: 48 pages. Contributors: Daniel Charny (Power of Making), Anne Burdick (To Make is to Know), Norman White (A Summary of My Work Modes and Objectives), Garnet Hertz / John Maeda (All I Want To Be), Michael Dieter / Geert Lovink (Theses on Making in the Digital Age), Carl DiSalvo (Introducing Adversarial Design), Chris Csikszentmihalyi (untitled), Jonah Brucker-Cohen (A Design Methodology for Deconstructing Networks), Julian Bleecker (Design Fiction's Odd Present vs. Science Fiction's Near Future), Julian Oliver / Gordan Savicic / Danja Vasiliev (The Critical Engineering Manifesto).
  • Critical Making - Terms: 56 pages. Contributors: Amanda Williams / Joshua Tanenbaum (Palettes, Punchcards and Politics: Beyond Practicality and Hedonism), Anthony Dunne / Fiona Raby (Huggable Atomic Mushroom), Ginger Coons (Breathing Spot Color: A Critical Making exploration of physical standards), Marisa Cohn / Ylva Ferneaus (untitled), Matthew Manos (Business as a Medium), Leonard Koren (Wabi-Sabi: for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers), Albert Borgman (A Turn to Comprehension of Competence), Benjamin Gaulon (Hardware Hacking and Recycling Strategies in an Age of Technological Obselescence), Alison Powell (Critical Making, Teaching & Politics), Craig Saper (Participatory Decentralization).
  • Critical Making - Projects: 56 pages. Contributors: Patricia Watts (Vollis Simpson), Jay Silver (MaKey MaKey), Rafael Lozano-Hemmer (How to Make Very Large Projects), David Forbes (How I Designed the Video Coat), Golan Levin (Infoviz Graffiti), Ken Gregory (Hazmat Kite), Peter Flemming (untitled), Rob Duarte (Prototype for a Machine that Inserts Razor Blades into Apples), Mike Manalo (Soft Publics), Niklas Roy (Autohonk), Kristen Stubbs (The Hammer: A Do-It-Yourself Muscle-Controlled Light-up Dildo), Norm White (Them Fuckin' Robots / But Gate / Norm's Neuromime), Daniel Jolliffe (Eight Missing Projects of the Maker Generation).
  • Critical Making - Conversations: 40 pages. Interviews: Matt Ratto (interviewed by Garnet Hertz), Natalie Jeremijenko (interviewed by Garnet Hertz), Alex Galloway (interviewed by Garnet Hertz), Phoebe Sengers (interviewed by Garnet Hertz).
  • Critical Making - Places: 44 pages. Contributors: McKenzie Wark (Making New York), Cheryl L'Hirondelle (Cree++), Esben Hardenberg (Kaere Hacker), William James Hollaway / Helen Myers / Henry Jackson (Real Rydaz Lowrider Bike Club), RideSouthLA (Fold, Ride, Share and Rebrand: a Low Tech Crowdmap for Social Change and Biking in South Los Angeles), Kaiton Williams (Tun Yuh Han Mek Fashion: Jamaican DIY and the Making of a New World), Stephen Kovats (Juba: The World's First Open Source City? Open Source and DIY Culture in Post-Conflict Development), Richard Maxwell / Toby Miller (E-Waste: Elephant in the Living Room), Silvia Lindtner (Xinchejian / HAXLR8R).
  • Critical Making - Science: 20 pages. Contributors: Denisa Kera (Ontological Disobedience in the Age of Tinkering: Crowdsourcing Data or Hacking Hardware?), Paul Dourish (The Politics of Information and Participation: Digital Citizenship and Public Science), Stacey Kuznetsov / Alex S. Taylor / Tim Regan / Nicolas Villar / Eric Paulos (At the Seams: DIYbio and Public Engagement with Science).
  • Critical Making - Make: 24 pages. Contributors: Garnet Hertz (Made: Technology on Affluent Leisure Time), Mitch Altman (Do Funding Sources Matter? Why I Chose to Stop Helping at Maker Faire After They Received Military Funding (For a Good Cause)), Dale Dougherty (Makerspaces in Education and DARPA), Mark Pauline / Karen Marcelo (untitled).
  • Critical Making - Childhood: 16 pages. Contributors: Scott Snibbe (Easter 1975 with the Snibbes / Easter 1978 with the Snibbes), Rebecca Niederlander (The Necessity of Authentic Boredom: Caine's Arcade), Reed Ghazala (Bend or Make?), Liz Losh (Badges), Marie Bjerede (Make: A Place for Genders to Intersect?)
  • Critical Making - History: 24 pages. Contributors: Roger Malina (Informant Number 11: 100 Years of Scientific Making in Celebration of Frank Malina), Make It Yourself (1927), Johannes Grensfurthner / Frank Apunkt Schneider (Hacking the Spaces)
  • Envelope: Contributors: Brian Kane (System Upgrade Now - vinyl sticker), RideSouthLA (Watts Ride - map), Garnet Hertz (Made: Technology on Affluent Leisure Time - vinyl sticker / Critical Making hand-stamped sticker).

"Critical Making is a masterpiece. It's not just the best and most important book I've read in more than a year; I firmly believe thousands of people need to read this. Urgently. Critical Making is one of the most important books ever compiled about the DIY movement."
- Golan Levin, Carnegie Mellon University
"Garnet Hertz's zine series, Critical Making, reclaims maker culture from mainstream, commodity fetishism and celebrates the politics, edginess and rigor of the movement. The ten booklet collection is a treasure trove of fabulously insightful and inspiring essays that will connect with new as well as committed practitioners."
- Brooke Singer, Purchase College SUNY
"Critical Making is a momentous publication. Its importance reminds me of how the early nettime readers addressed the politics of digitally networked culture; only Critical Making does this to the tangible."
- Rafael Lozano-Hemmer
"...Critical Making is also a courageous project. While acknowledging the role and importance of O'Reilly and Make Magazine in popularizing the DIY culture, the publication asks us to look at aspects of the DIY culture that go beyond buying an Arduino, getting a MakerBot and reducing DIY to a weekend hobby. Critical Making thus embraces social issues, the history of technology, activism and politics... CM is not the anti-Make Magazine, it is simply an alternative, a forum for electronic DIY practice to discuss hacking, making, kludging, DIYing in a less sanitized, mass-market way."
- Regine Debatty, We Make Money Not Art (read the full review)
"What I find wonderful about Critical Making is the numerous voices ranging from academics to a lowrider bike club writing on the maker topic. It shows how broad based the interests and concerns are, the incredible diversity of people involved and the density of thought invested in making and the movement; you will not find this scope on making anywhere else."
- China Blue, "Entanglement," The Engine Institute, Inc. (read the full review)
"In ten little booklets, Garnet Hertz has assembled with haiku-like economy the voices of artists, teachers, and critics who, over the last few decades, have passionately kindled, nurtured, and shaped the multifaceted, often divergent, energies of a DIY movement that has sought to democratize and humanize the technologies of communication and control."
- Norm White, Ryerson University

  • Stanford University Library Special Collections
  • Royal College of Art Library Special Collections
  • Kingston University London Library Special Collections
  • Occidental College Library Special Collections
  • University of Southern California Library Special Collections
  • UCLA Charles E. Young Research Library Department of Special Collections
  • OCAD University Library
  • ACAD Luke Lindoe Library
  • Carnegie Mellon Special Collections

  • 2013: Adhocracy, New Museum, New York (Curator: Joseph Grima)

Critical Making (covers)

Critical Making - Projects

Critical Making - Science

Critical Making - Manifestos

Critical Making - Terms

Critical Making - Conversations

Critical Making - Make

Critical Making - Places

Critical Making - Open Source

Critical Making - History

Critical Making - Students

Critical Making - Childhood

Critical Making (stack of booklets)

Contributor List: Mitch Altman (Noisebridge), Francois Bar (RideSouthLA), Marie Bjerede, Tafarai Bayne (RideSouthLA), Julian Bleecker (Nokia), Albert Borgmann (U Montana), Jonah Brucker-Cohen (Parsons), Anne Burdick (Art Center), Daniel Charny (Royal College of Art), Marisa Cohn, Ginger Coons (U Toronto), Chris Csikszentmihalyi (Art Center), Michael Dieter, Carl DiSalvo (Georgia Tech), Dale Dougherty (Make Magazine), Paul Dourish (UC Irvine), Rob Duarte (Florida State University), Anthony Dunne (Dunne & Raby), Ylva Ferneaus, Peter Flemming (Concordia), David Forbes (Cathode Corner), Alex Galloway (NYU), Benjamin Gaulon (Recyclism), Reed Ghazala, Ken Gregory, Johannes Grensfurthner (Monochrom), Esben Hardenberg (Innovation Lab), Garnet Hertz (UC Irvine), William James Hollaway (Real Rydaz), Henry Jackson (Real Rydaz), Natalie Jeremijenko (NYU), Daniel Jolliffe (U Ottawa), Brian Kane (RISD), Denisa Kera (National University of Singapore), Otto Khera (RideSouthLA), Leonard Koren, Stephen Kovats, Stacey Kuznetsov (Carnegie Mellon), Cheryl L'Hirondelle, Golan Levin (Carnegie Mellon), Silvia Lindtner (UC Irvine), Liz Losh (UCSD), Geert Lovink (Hogeschool van Amsterdam), Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Roger Malina (Leonardo), Michael Manalo (Rare Studio), Matthew Manos (verynice), Karen Marcelo (Survival Research Labs), Richard Maxwell (CUNY), Toby Miller (UCR), Helen Myers (Real Rydaz), Rebecca Niederlander, Julian Oliver (Critical Engineering), Mark Pauline (Survival Research Labs), Eric Paulos (Berkeley), Allison Powell (London School of Economics), Fiona Raby (Dunne & Raby), Matt Ratto (University of Toronto), Tim Regan (Microsoft), Niklas Roy, Craig Saper, Gordan Savičić (Critical Engineering), Frank Apunkt Schneider (Monochrom), Phoebe Sengers (Cornell), Jay Silver (MIT), Scott Snibbe, Benjamin Stokes (RideSouthLA), Kristen Stubbs (Toymaker), Josh Tanenbaum (Simon Fraser), Danja Vasiliev (Critical Engineering), George Villaneuva (RideSouthLA), Nicolas Villar (Microsoft), McKenzie Wark (New School), Patricia Watts, Norm White (Ryerson), Amanda Williams (Wyld), and Kaiton Williams (Cornell).

Acknowlegments: The term 'Critical Making': Matt Ratto. Funding: Paul Dourish, Gillian Hayes, NSF. Transcription: Amelia Guimarin, Jessica Kao, Maroof Moral, Sarah Choukam. Booklet labor: Amelia Guimarin, Jessica Kao, Max Hertz, Emma Hertz, Kohl Hertz, Dahlia Hegab, Vahan Hartooni, Rachel Rose Ulgado. Hacked photocopier courtesy of: Jason Cleaver, Jim Doyle. Facilities: Department of Informatics at UC Irvine. Inspiration: Mitch Altman vs. Tim O'Reilly.