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Video summary: We were supposed to build a better world. Design and technology were supposed to point the way towards utopia. Instead, we designed a nightmare. Find out why this was our fault and what you can do to help fix it.

I started learning how to code websites around 2000 – that’s almost 20 years ago now. Back then, I was only 13 years old and pretty excited about the future of the web and all the marvellous oppor­tu­nities that digital technology promised to open for humanity. But in 2018, the web and the whole digital tech industry has lost a lot of its shine for me.

When I first attended to the Beyond Tellerrand conference last year, I felt a different vibe than this year. Although all the scandalous behavior of secret services and tech oligarchs in terms of surveillance and abusement of power was already well-known and has been discussed for some years now, the overall mood seemed to be much more positive and uncritial than now. I remember some discussions about Tesla’s latest car models, iPhones and stuff. And that’s okay of course, the latest technology has an important impact on our work at least. But this year, I got the impression that technology was discussed in a much more critial manner and I am really welcoming that. Some announcements about new tech during the last years already started to alienate me, because they often lacked any critical reflection on the topic or product by our community. But as the web industry matures and everyone can see the devas­tating effects of e.g. social media services being exploited by fascists we really need to talk about ethics — better sooner than too late! Although it might feel annoying sometimes; we must realize that being unpolitical about our work is not an option any more (has it ever been?). The web is not an isolated echo chamber and everything we build has an influence on the life of real people.

Mike Monteiro’s great talk reminds us that we cannot affort reducing ourselves to being mere service providers for building an apoca­lyptic future any longer. We are human beings at first, not designers, developers or engineers. We are more than just two hands with a bank account! And we do have a choice who and what we want to work for.

After a long break, I finally took the time to work on a new screen print. Though I have kept on drawing for the better part of the year, I haven’t done any printing (my inkjet does not count …). It almost felt like a shame to have brand-new screens and inks just catching dust in the corner without actually making good use of them. But now that the first test-run has been successfully completed, I’m looking forward for many more to come.

The workshop still needs a lot of love, because the primary focus of artgerechtes​.de has been on producing organic/​fair-​trade fashion and thus the workshop is optimized for printing on clothes in high editions. Estab­lishing the capabilities for handling paper still needs some more equipment to make the process somewhat more effective, but at least the foundation has been laid. My next project will be to improve the printing table.

If you’re interested in buying one of the print shown below, just send an E-Mail to hallo@​fabianmichael.​de or info@​artgerechtes.​de.

After more than a year, I prepared a huge update for this website. A lot has changed — especially under the hood — whereas the layout has been refined at lots of places. Looking back, I collected some thoughts on what the project meant for me and what I learned from it.

In my opinion, personal side projects are always a great way for trying out new things. However, the downside of that is always tht it takes a lot of time. As more of my work shifts towards design and conception, keeping up with the latest web technologies is often more than just a trivial side-task. Though I think that my CSS skills are quite good, JavaScript nowadays often feels a bit like rocket science to me. But that’s okay somehow in an industry, that constantly shifts towards more complex products and thus needs more specialists at some points. On the other hand, being a designer with some decent knowledge about web technologies is never a disad­vantage, especially not since the day we started to design responsive websites. But I guess the hardest thing to learn when working on personal projects, is how to cope with the non-existent deadline. I would say, the best result would be to end up with something between the minimal solution to accomplish your goal and that fancy result that tops everything comparable you had ever seen before. In the end, you should get something you can feel comfortable with and that suits your needs.

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Das Marburger Bekleidungs- und Siebdruck-Kollektiv Artgerechtes​.de existiert seit knapp zehn Jahren und handelt ausschließlich mit fair und ökologisch gehan­delter Bekleidung. Gedruckt wird dabei komplett in Handarbeit in der eigenen Manufaktur. Ich freue mich, unserer erstes gemeinsam entstandenes T-Shirt präsen­tieren zu dürfen!

Das gute Stück mit dem Titel Marina kann absofort online bestellt oder direkt bei Artgerechtes​.de im Laden gekauft werden.

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