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Reverse Engineers
Regine Debatty, 18 Feb 05

Reverse Engineers, an exhibition that takes place on Feb. 19 - March 19, at the Carnegie Art Center, will feature artists who embrace reverse engineering as a means of critically understanding, intervening in and reinventing the world.

One of the participating artist is Natalie Jeremijenko (previously interviewed by Emily). Her HowStuffisMade project is an on-line encyclopedia of labor conditions and manufacturing processes involved in the production of contemporary products. These "photo essays" can be used both as a consumer guide to commodities (blue jeans, plastic bags, fortune cookies, paper clips, etc.) and as a prototype curriculum for training future engineers and designers.

The HowStuffisMade website is designed as a TWiki, an open-content, editable system that allows visitors to modify, correct and/or contribute new content. As the artist writes “this system has the potential to change design practices, and industry practices… Because future generations of designers and future managers will be introduced to manufacturing and labor issues much earlier and much more vividly in their career (most engineers and almost all management students graduate without a single visit to a manufacturing facility), they may be better equipped to explore and develop designs to address these issues.”

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