Garnet Hertz – Art + DIY Electronics


The MIT Press, ISBN 978-0262044936, English, 344 pages, 2023, USA

The liberating spirit of DIY (Do It Yourself) is certainly not new, neither in culture nor in art, but it has been interpreted and, above all, defined in many different and ambiguous ways. Over the years, Hertz has developed practices and methodologies based on a critical approach to the much-vaunted ‘do it yourself’ that has been fuelled by 3D printers and the proliferation of Fab Labs. In this book, one can read between the lines of his constantly updated personal manifesto based on what he defines as a ‘DIY mentality’ as he reconstructs a hundred years of DIY in art and outlines the political differences in making. The current scenario of commercial enterprises on one side, scattered independent efforts on the other, and many hybrid versions in between need historical context. Hertz has identified relevant projects and events and learned from them. In this respect, the book consists of two introductory chapters defining and historically situating electronic art and DIY, followed by thirteen chapters, each discussing famous artworks as case studies, with relevant technical details forming a lexicon. The book’s themes (frugality, exploration, identity, disobedience and selling out) follow a clear trajectory extracting and fostering values from techniques, and Hertz’s exhortations to maintain and develop this mindset is as essential as ever.