The hyperbolic title is drafted against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic: having been self-quarantined at home for a month (tomorrow marks Day 31) I’ve found myself with an abundance of ‘spare time’ to finally begin plowing through my backlog of photographs. One of the folders of images that was largely already pre-put aside but not sorted was my collection of images from World Maker Faire 2018 – the last Maker Faire to take place in NYC and the last Maker Faire I attended at all – thus the hyperbolic title when considering how the world moves forward post-COVID.

I whittled my initial collection of just over 300 images and videos down to a more manageable 200 or so; photographs help me recall moments and flows throughout the day, and even now 18 months later the memories hold as much significance as the days immediately after the event. Here’s what I recall:

“Glowing Crystal Mountains growing from the ground. Created by hand with traditional glass blowing techiques and reclaimed industrial materials. The Mountain series is a monument to the intense geological energy of the earth.”

I immediately made my way first to the Viscusi Gallery inside the NYSCI building. Having been involved in Maker Faire’s production for several years prior, I knew the Viscusi eventually gets ‘filled up’ and can become hard to see things later in the day; but it’s relatively empty immediately after the gates open.

One of the first pieces to catch my eyes was Mountains by Andrew Erdos, mounds of handcrafted glass, lit from below/within.

Also in the gallery was a brilliant piece by Robert Fitzsimons & Lucy J — a Planetarium Umbrella! — an umbrella with a star map being projected up into it – depending on where you move the umbrella the star map changes — AWESOME!

This was also where I first encountered the Move38 Blinks tiles & game:

These things were brilliant magnetic-snapping LED tiles that talk to each other (I forget over which frequency/protocol) and so you can imagine them being applicable for everything from learning to code to complex tabletop gaming. Fascinating!

went and saw Dorothy Jones-Davis from Nation of Makers give a talk on Center Stage – very inspiring talk and effective to see the maker movement distilled into 10 sort of fragments, from innovation to social change (shoutout to AS220 on the screen!).

there was this really neat installation of ‘space junk’ in the Great Hall – by Inhye Lee & Hyomin Kim 

“Debris Space addresses the worsening issue of space debris orbiting the Earth. Objects that represent memorable space junk in history float above a physical environment that resembles the Earth, using an electromagnetic levitation technology.” … I guess I didn’t take a video, but the objects are all floating above the pedestal, and spinning.”

I really thought I got a video but apparently I didn’t – but you can imagine the space junk items are magnetically floating above the pedestals (thus the strong shadows), and spinning. 

Tazeoo Park’s Digital Being installation is always a wonder, and this year was no disappointment:

I was pretty heavy into the talks this year – finally having the time to sit and watch them in real-time! Was especially interested in ‘academic’ talks to sort of glean how institutions were engaging “making” at this point in time, while I weighted the possibility of accepting a full-time position where I now work, at Queens College (CUNY):

I then went on a rambling free-form tour of some of the electronics and project tents – including robot pumpkins, vertical terrariums, and more!

I was pretty intrigued by the Quest for Space initiative – which puts K-12 projects in space aboard the ISS:

also this ‘ampli’ project was amazing:

I began to make my way indoors, to catch another Center Stage talk, and saw some more cool projects along the way, including some interactive art:

and some incredible cardboard electronics projects:

also 0H10 M1KE’s always-excessive sketchbooks:

OK there’s still time before the talk, so I’ll spend some time gawking at and loving Tapigami 😀

Here are some detail shots:

Around 4PM it was time for that talk on Center Stage, moderated by Oriana Leckert, featuring Orien McNeill, Carolina Salguero, & Olivia Fu discuss For the Love of Water: Creating Art and Community Off NYC’s Shores:

but before the day is out I’mma catch some snooze tunes courtesy of Wollesonic Laboratories:

on my way out I caught Heidi Neilson’s Moon Arrow:

OK Day 2 was a bit overcast, and unfortunately or not this was the day I had reserved to tour some of the outside zones – so some of the images are a bit dark or contrasty, because they were edited to compensate for the cloud cover – but enjoy:

started off the day by inspecting this aweeeeeeeesome synthesizer project — dang I forget who it is by, and I have seen them again since then, but don’t have them in my rolodex. What an awesome looking synth:

next up some amazing projects by the Northampton Community College Fab Lab folx:

Made my way to Zone 4 to check out some art vans and tiny homes:

also the Shelter 2.0 folx, including a demo by Bill Young of the genius fixture solution they designed for slot-fixing components:

lastly in this area of Zone 4 was some incredible work by System Architecs:

caught a talk by the folx at Baltimore County Public Library about their make-IT Place:

Next up here’s a pretty random tour of various projects sprinkled throughout the grounds:

including this great installation of model trains – including SLA 3D-printed parts – by some folx under the banner of Interborough Transit Co.:

next up was a talk by Carmel Snow on the 3D CNC Knit Revolution — this talk has really stuck with me for a while, and I wish it was on Make:’s YouTube channel so I could listen to it again. Carmel contextualized the history of knitting as a proto-digital art, and one of the first ‘CNC’ skills – fascinating! They had great enthusiasm for their subject matter and their own fabric/textile art is really really good – an excellent talk by an excellent artist.

And some final tours of stand-out maker projects to close out a wonderful weekend:

the RotoMill project was a gorgeous CNC:

some impressive projects from the 3D-printer village area:

Some wild fingernail-covered horse sculptures by Rose Byrne:

“The FurReal Horses of the Apocalypse… stifling cuteness all grown up. They’re back. They know about Craigslist. They’re mad.”

some nicely made ceramic flasks – I’m sad I didn’t impulse buy one, as I can’t remember who made them:

A robot band:

Robot Band++ by Tetsuji Katsuda

someone doing some freehand – and a-ma-zing – embroidery:

And lastly my two interesting favorites of the show – unexpected even for me, an AI-powered game of Connect-4 and a diorama of Ben Hur.

The MARVIN game was simply amazing – a great combination of computer, AI, and analog skill like cutting wood, creating gears and levers, things like this. And all made by high school students!

and this Ben Hur diorama by a Long Island maker was so odd & wonderful, I’m simply enamored by it:

what an absolutely crazy and wonderful work, and great way to finish off a fabulous weekend!

Dang I’mma miss Maker Faire…