Learning from Motor Rock

| Tags: Creativity

From Bike EXIF: “As with all Motor Rock bikes, the craftsmanship is exemplary”. Hot on the heels of ALO Audio in an earlier post I thought I would follow the theme that the DIY movement is adding a high craft component. Motor Rock are, indeed exemplars of this trend. A Japanese member of the craft motorcycle community that has elevated cafe racers to cult status, inspired Deus Ex Machina in Sydney  and is spreading around the world, Motor Rock have remade a classic Kawasaki W650 into a gorgeous high craft object. In other words, DIY enthusiasts are returning quality into everyday objects with enthusiasm.

The same happened in coffee culture. Starbuck’s return to strength was, in part, a response to DIY coffee culture that returned quality to the cafe experience. Young restauranteurs around the world are doing the same for food. The hand made bike movement prompted brands like Public. There is even Local Motors bringing personal innovation to the auto industry.

So, why? In part it is that they can. There have always been enthusiastic amateurs who want to do things their way. But I think this is different. The scale is different. It is a reaction to the low quality of consumerism. Consumerism has gone from brilliant transformative culture to mundane sameness and low quality. In a sense, DIY craft is a reaction to this. The W650 illustrated is simply more desirable than pretty much anything made by major motorcycle manufacturers. At least for some. At a deeper level we hear that, particularly among the young, there is an increasing sense that life has not enough “meaning”. Craft brings humanity to objects, it is about art and the essential nature of humanity to create. As we go further into a world mediated by digital technology we feel further removed from humanity. Paradoxically the same technologies are fueling our capacity to remake consumerism as something more personal and human. iPhones are technological objects, Speck cases, for example, make them human. This is one of the core building blocks of a new global consumerism: personal and human experiences transforming mass manufactured innovation.