Made in Machina/e is an ongoing research into the relationship of Nordic design and Chinese manufacturing culture, machine learning and the authorship roles in design. What happens when the product is created not by the functional need, but out of a whim by the market itself? Who gets to decide what features are prioritized, needed or even wanted? Or do they exist just because they can?
Nordic design traditionally thrives on the idea of an author, collective, or societal needs as the deciding factor in what gets designed, manufactured and sold, and to what price. Focusing on nature and materiality to show a lifestyle.
Shanzhai, seen as a design process too, uses the 'natural' availability of components as a deciding factor, merging into unexpected mixed products, designed by no author, for needs that might be for few, like a craft object, but built in an industrial age.
Made in Machina/e explores how to combine these two approaches in design to create a new process. One that uses the marketplace of available components as a new nature to draw from, that replicates the merging with a new machine-driven process and allowing a new type of authorship to designers to emerge.
The components and products already available on digital Chinese markets are fed to a neural network that has been trained on Nordic design ideals. This generates a large number of variables and a human curator can pick up the most interesting, quirky, weird, or even non-human ideas and expand them into briefs for human designers to work with.