Vodka and Robots

Of all the drink options stocked in our personal bars, Absolut Vodka is the artsiest one. The Swedish elixir has been a longtime advocate for the creators of the world, and this year the brand is stepping it up a notch by launching MakerFest. Part of its global art-supporting #TransformToday crusade, MakerFest is a Canada-wide campaign in celebration of the fresh and fascinating “maker movement” that’s exploded across the North American art scene over the past six years.

“[The maker movement] is the emergence of the do-it-yourself culture,” says Jonathan Moneta, co-founder of Toronto-based 3D printing studio Makelab. Moneta and his business partner Daniel Flynn were commissioned to use their 3D printing skills to create an installation piece for the MakerFest launch party at the AGO (the talked-about Massive 10 bash) on April 10. “All of our grandparents had workshops in their garages and basements, and essentially this is the rebirth of that culture, but with tools of the digital age — microcontrollers, LEDs, electronics, computerized controls and traditional do-it-yourself technology. It’s an exciting time to get back to really making things.” In other words, a maker is a cross between an inventor and an artist. When these creative brains get their hands on some cool technology, sparks fly and bam — they’ve fused, patched, 3D-printed or scrawled together a work of art using outside-the-box thinking and some elbow grease.
In response to the emergence of maker culture, Absolut is setting out to do what vodka does best: fire up the excitement. The brand is doing it by hosting MakerFest events in major Canadian cities at least once a month, all summer long and beyond — from gallery shows, where makers can play a little show and tell with their latest creations, to laid-back gatherings held in more communal venues like local parks.

“This is our opportunity to inspire and challenge makers in different ways, to have their creations showcased to consumers, and also to inspire consumers to co-create with makers,” says Chris Bhowmik, senior brand manager for Absolut Vodka at Corby Spirit and Wine Ltd. in Toronto. “It’s a very inclusive platform — you don’t need to be a maker to get involved with MakerFest. We’re inviting everyone and anyone to our experiences.” And it couldn’t be easier to get on the guest list for these fetes. Absolut promises to tweet updates on its next events, and all hopeful guests have to do is tweet @AbsolutCanada or post on the brand’s Facebook page requesting an invitation to attend that specific party, and they’re in. So really, there’s no excuse not to come out and play with the blinking lights and transfixing movements of the new age of arts and crafts.

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Amanda Storey

Amanda Storey

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