chapter  50
Making Things to make Sense of Things
DIY as Research and Practice
ByKat Jungnickel
Pages 11

This chapter is about making as research or, more specifically, making things to make sense of things. I draw on a mixed method project about the cycling boom of the late nineteenth century, gender relations, and radical feminist cultures of invention. The 1890s were a remarkable period of socio-technical change. Here, the history of Victorian women’s inventiveness is rendered visible in the form of design patents for new types of cycle wear, specifically “convertible” costumes that enabled the wearer to adapt street wear to cycle wear when required. As a tactic for making sense of the complexity of these designs, I collaborated with an interdisciplinary research team—pattern cutter, weaver, and artist—to sew a collection of convertible cycle wear inspired by these patents. Taking a DIY (Do-It-Yourself) ethic as both a central theme in the research and my practice, I discuss what emerges in this process of learning from doing, rendering public the mess, mistakes, and tangential happenings and how making and entangling through design histories surfaces new and different ways of exploring mobilities, gender relations, and inventive practice.