Friday, November 02, 2007

Maker Faire, part 5: of techno-optimism and reconstructed fashion

As one would expect at a faire, there were faire rides and merry-go-rounds. Supposedly they were all homemade? The amazing thing about them was that (I may be wrong on this) none of them ran on electric power. The ones I saw were all pedal-powered. Sure, these merry-go-rounds were nothing like roller-coasters in industrial entertainment parks, but they also required more active participation on the rider's part than simply giving in to mercy of the centrifugal force. And some of them, like this circular see-saw, managed to frighten some riders. Apparently, pedaling was less trivial than they thought. It got me wondering, by the way -- do the riders all need to pedal synchronously, in phase and at the same speed? What happens if one of them slacks off or falls out of phase? :-)

(I didn't go on any of the rides, I must say. I'm way too uncoordinated for that. One look at them makes me lose my balance. :-))

And this rolling wheel was just stunning, but I wasn't sure if it could move on its own, or if it needed to be pushed. In this picture, a bunch of people are pushing it, but maybe just because they need to help it up the hill?

More than anything else in this Faire, the merry-go-rounds and the modified cars left me optimistic in general about the ability of western civilization to survive the looming energy crisis. Oil may run out one day, but human ingenuity is under no such threat, it seems.

And then there was Swap-o-Rama-Rama, a two day event where you were supposed to be able to drop off your used clothing and be taught, or inspired, create new, reconstructed clothes out of stuff people dropped off. I didn't even stop by to check it out, because I knew it would ignite in me a temptation to start making clothes again. Sewing and knitting were my major hobbies in high school and college, but I abandoned them in favor of hobbies that hold a more profound appeal to me, such as writing. But I checked out their fashion show at the end of the day. They demonstrated clothes that were, IIRC, created during the day out of stuff people dropped off. Most of them were quite original. As I understand it, the creators of those clothes were actual fashion designers who specialize in "reconstructed" fashion. An ordinary person off the street, such as myself, would not likely have created something as good in just one day. But it was still interesting to see. Men's ties seemed to be a prominent sub-theme. Several of the dresses shown at the fashion show were made out of ties. Well, it was good to see ties can be put to good use: I don't remember the last time I saw anyone wearing a tie according to its purpose. :-)

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