sashimi Creative weirdness at Maker FaireSashimi Tabernacle Choir. From Dave Hogg’s Flickr feed
pumpkinEmbalmer.jpgTwitpic image from today, spotted on @jonrjohnston’s Twitter feed

One of the things I love about Maker Faire (and MAKE and Make: Television and everything else we do) is the relative mainstreaming we offer to creative weirdness. There’s always an element of fringe creativity and over-the-top whimsical invention at the Faires, makers who don’t paint inside recognizable lines — they march to their own drummer ’cause they are their own drummer — and they made the drum (and it’s unlike any you’ve ever seen or heard).

Maker Faire itself doesn’t fit into any neat category. It’s a “DIY festival,” but it’s also an inventors and science fair, an art exhibition, a hackers convention, a free-for-all cosplay outing, a strange music festival, and lots more. But best of all, it’s a place where people who aren’t afraid to dream up “unique” ideas and give them form have a place to show off their stuff, a place where they are welcomed and respected. Sure there are giggles, and eye-rolls, and “what the heck is THAT!?” questioning points and stares. But in the context of the Faire, most people seem to give the stranger creations some respectful slack; they seem to intuitively understand that, to get a MakerBot, or an Arduino, or a Detroit 2.0, things like… well… like the Sashimi Tabernacle Choir and the Pumpkin Embalmer need to happen, too. As Stewart Brand once said (paraphrase): “You have to look at the edges to figure out where the middle is going.”

Singing with the fishes
Maker Faire Detroit: Pumpkin Embalmer interview

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture, including the first book about the web (Mosaic Quick Tour) and the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots. He is currently working on a best-of collection of his writing, called Borg Like Me.

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