Rick Wysocki
"Composing in Three Dimensions"



[screencast of computer desktop; web browser opens and goes to thingiverse; screencast of person looking through thingiverse]

I've always been something of a tinkerer.

Ever since I learned to solder, and probably earlier, I've enjoyed toying around with electronics, computers, and technology generally--learning how it works in ways I can manipulate it.

Though one might think that since I'm now a doctoral student in rhetoric and composition that I've traded my interests in technology for an interest in books, I've never really separated the two in my head.

I've loved books and texts for as long as I've been interested in technology, and I frequently find myself
productively bouncing between the two as I work.

[screencast of user downloading feminism fist design from thingiverse]

If I get stuck on a paper, I'll open up software on my computer and work on some music or, more recently, I'll grab some circuit-bent thing-a-ma-jig laying on my cluttered desk. It helps me think.

[video of Rick working in a maker space at a computer]

Just as I'm always trying to learn more about rhetoric, writing, and language, I'm also always trying to become more knowledgeable about the technology that surrounds me.

This is especially true when it comes to composing technologies.

In fact, you're watching me as I learn to use a new machine, and I like to think of it as a composing technology itself. I'm using a 3D printer to print a design borrowed from John Sherrill, who is himself a doctoral student in rhetoric and composition at Purdue.

[video of 3D printer printing]
This is actually my first time using the 3D printer at the local hacker space where I'm a member, although other members at the space had run me through how to use it before.

The material artifact that I'm composing is John Sherrill's feminism fist. The so-called maker movement has become increasingly popular in recent years, but there have been criticisms about who gets to be included in that movement.

John's design, which is available under Creative Commons on the website thingiverse, engages these criticisms to show that the movements and communities surrounding 3D printing are a space for feminisms.

[Text overlaid on the video: When it comes to technology, there are always access issues, but John's design, which is available under Creative Commons on the website thingiverse, shows one small way that the movements and communities surrounding 3D printing can be a more inclusive space.]

Moreover, this small argument of John's can be printed by anyone who has access to a 3D printer.

The design is finished, although I had a bit of trouble removing it from the print bed, as you can see.

[video of Rick scraping plastic, printed design from print bed]
At a time when there always seems to be some new way to compose, it is good to know that these technologies are understandable, can be learned, and can be employed.

Inevitably, after learning this new composing technology, however, there will be one just as exciting and useful right around the corner, waiting to be engaged.

[image of feminism fist printed design]