In the 20 years I’ve been on this planet, the closest I’ve got to building something of my own is probably an IKEA coffee table which yes, I agree, doesn’t really count. So visiting the Build Your Own: Tools for Sharing exhibition at FACT showed me some of the amazing work artists and creators are doing from the creation of prosthetics to computer-based gardening.


One of the pieces that stood out to me was the DesktopProsthetics exhibit by Ross Dalziel, Patrick Fenner and Adrian McEwen from DoESLiverpool, who have been able to create prosthetic hands through the use of 3D printing. The exhibition shows each of the intricate pieces being printed and how they slot together to make up a functional prosthetic, called the Raptor Hand. The practicality of this technology is astonishing and reflects how versatile making your own tools can be. The prosthetics are in a variety of bright colours bringing a vibrant and lively element to the project. The exhibition walks through how these prosthetics are made and documents how people all over the world have used them. It was so inspiring to see how these creators and artists had approached an area so complex as prosthetic limbs, and have provided a unique solution that has the capacity to drastically improve the day to day life of so many people.


Another interesting exhibit was Rachel Rayns and Raspberry Pi Foundation’s Neurotic Machines. It consists of a garden controlled by Raspberry Pi technology, observing the changing levels of temperature, light, food and humidity in the garden. The system then decides how to cope with this. The technology is so intricate and it is fulfilling to have an engineering-based piece of work with a woman’s name on! Women aren’t always actively encouraged to pursue such paths, especially where the engineering side is woven beautifully into what I would whole heartedly call art. Being self-sufficient and growing our own food is becoming increasingly popular in the UK, and with the aid of robotics as seen in this exhibit, you can’t help but want to get involved!


The exhibition features many more artists and creators, each with a different perspective on a common or domestic concept that they had built their own tools to fix. This ranged from reclaiming materials in an attempt to combine the old and new, to looking at how Liverpool’s Polish community has influenced Liverpool’s culture. Overall, the exhibition is interesting and relevant but also enjoyably interactive. Art is personal and each visitor can take away a different message, but to me this exhibition represents a group of people striving to be part of the solution rather than the problem, which is an inspiring message. 


Build Your Own: Tools for Sharing is open Tuesday - Sunday, 11am - 6pm until 31 August. Entry to the gallery is free. With the support of the Culture Programme of the European Union