Panel Discussion Prompt: D.I.Y. realness & the prosumptive designer

The D.I.Y. movement in punk and indie rock (through the 80s and 90s) was fueled in large part by anti-corporate, anti-consumer ideology — disillusionment with the polished, prepackaged sheen of much of popular music. The initial logic of the movement ultimately was probably both about rebellion and about simply finding ways to do what one wanted to do (since there were in the early 80s no real networks for independent, edgy bands wanting to release records or go on tour). Bands like Superchunk and Fugazi had to do it themselves. Also, clearly, a concern with authenticity is the subtext in D.I.Y. ethics — doing it yourself is read as acting from motives pure of outside influence.

Elliott Earls has written about the notion of a prosumptive designer — a self-sufficient practicioner who can engage the products of culture in radical ways. Taking advantage of new technologies and tools, the prosumptive designer rethinks and re-envisions existing systems of meaning and fundamentally shifts what has long been thought of as the domain of the designer. In some key ways, this prosumptive ethos echoes the D.I.Y. value structure in independent music. So, how much of the notion of the prosumptive designer is driven by a concern for authenticity in design?