Viva DIY Cuba! “As the crisis became more severe, people’s creativity grew more powerful. . .”

MV5BMTIyMjc3Mzc5M15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDY4MDQzMQ@@._V1_SY317_CR0,0,214,317_Back in 2006, I was utterly entranced when I viewed “The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil.” And in fact, that film was my eureka moment, starting me on the path to permaculture.

The film focused especially on Cuba’s initial crisis of avoiding starvation when the Soviet oil spigots turned off back in 1992-93. (The average Cuban lost 20 pounds that first winter. I doubt Cubans were obese in the first place, compared to nearly 40% of the U.S. now.) Like the U.S., Cuba had relied on Big Ag, which requires Big Oil for giant machines and pesticides.

But of course all sorts of other things must have changed, too, during that “special period” in Cuba’s history. This article documents how necessity is, indeed, the mother of invention.

“An incredible variety of gadgets made by ordinary people emerged during this period. Cubans experienced a profound new relation to each other and their stuff through widespread making and knowledge sharing. This unique historical period offers perhaps the best idea of what a large-scale DIY society would look like and suggests how resilient such a society would be.”

Is Cuba the First Large-scale Maker Society?

October 1, 2013

By Kelly McCartney

shareable.net

When the U.S. left Cuba in the 1960s, it took most of the Cuba’s engineers with it. In their absence, Fidel Castro encouraged citizens to learn how to make their own stuff. So, they did. And, in the 70s, a culture of garage innovation was born from the revolutionaries, scientists, mechanics, and ordinary folk who formed the National Association of Innovators and Rationalizers (ANIR).

When the collapse of the Soviet Union triggered a severe economic crisis in 1991, euphemistically called “The Special Period in the Time of Peace,” Cuban DIY culture flourished out of necessity. An incredible variety of gadgets made by ordinary people emerged during this period. Cubans experienced a profound new relation to each other and their stuff through widespread making and knowledge sharing. This unique historical period offers perhaps the best idea of what a large-scale DIY society would look like and suggests how resilient such a society would be.

Designer Ernesto Oroza has collected many of these inventions qua art pieces under his “Technological Disobedience” umbrella. Explaining the experience of his countrymen, Oroza notes, “As the crisis became more severe, people’s creativity grew more powerful, and everywhere you looked, you saw solutions to the needs that people faced all the time, in every aspect of life. Transportation, children’s toys, food, clothing…everything was replaced with substitutes produced by the people.”

This entry was posted in 2013, new economy, unity consciousness, Uranus square Pluto, visions of the future, waking up, wild new ideas, zone zero zero. Bookmark the permalink.

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