Occupational hazards of the Maker life

Wednesday 14th February, 2024 - Bruce Sterling

*It’s alarming that maker people — including makertainment people — almost always have scarred hands or bandaged fingers. Not only do they commonly have these new or old injuries, they have them *on camera,* which is even more disquieting.

*It’s not a matter of mere carelessness, it’s more a statistical matter of some slight risk being repeated many, many times. Also, there can be deadline pressures that lead people to hastily cut corners, and that commonly means cutting yourself.

*I can come to terms with this reality, because if you see a blade, drill or table saw, of course you that it’s risky, it’s potent and dangerous. It’s even part of the thrill of craft work. The unseen hazards of the maker life are subtler. For instance, hanging out in a poorly ventilated workshop continuously breathing fine particles of sawdust and invisible laser-boiled miasmas of industrial plastic. You can never slap a bandaid on that.

*The health of Niki de Saint Phalle was ruined by her reckless fondness for Space Age solvents and plastics. It’s good to fully realize that being chic, glamourous, artsy and antic cannot protect you from work hazards.

*It consoles me that there are few ways of life so dangerous as primitive hunting-and-gathering. Really, the less technology you have, the more likely you are to just break your bones while trying to get though the day.