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DIY ethic refers to the ethic of self-sufficiency through completing tasks without the aid of a paid expert. Explicitly meaning, "do it yourself", the DIY ethic promotes the idea that anyone is capable of performing a variety of tasks rather than relying on paid specialists.
The DIY ethic requires that the adherent seeks out the knowledge required to complete a given task. This ethic emerges in correspondence to the punk subculture, the DIY ethic is tied to punk ideology and anticonsumerism. Central to the ethic is the empowerment of individuals and communities, encouraging the employment of alternative approaches when faced with bureaucratic or societal obstacles to achieving their objectives.
According to the punk aesthetic, one can express oneself and produce moving and serious works with limited means. Arguably, the earliest example of this attitude was the punk music scene of the 1970s. It supports the rejection of consumer culture, using existing systems or existing processes that would foster dependence on established societal structures.
The DIY punk ethic also applies to simple everyday living, such as:
Some educators also engage in DIY teaching techniques, sometimes referred to as Edupunk.
Commercial DIY music has its origins in the mid 1970s punk rock scene. It developed as a way to circumnavigate the mainstream music industry. By controlling the entire production and distribution chain, DIY music bands can develop a closer relationship between artists and fans. The DIY ethic gives total control over the final product without need to compromise with record labels.
Emerging punk bands such as Death, who recorded their earliest demos in a bedroom without any professional equipment, began to record their music, produce albums, merchandise, distribute and promote their works independently, outside the established music industry system. So extreme was their desire for independence that they often performed at basement shows in residential homes rather than at traditional venues in order to avoid corporate sponsorship and ensure their creative freedom. Since many venues tend to shy away from more experimental music, houses and other private venues were often the only places these bands could play.
The German punk band Mono für Alle! perfected the mass production of the self-made DIY album. Their album included a tinkered wooden cover and sold over 6000 units from their website and other alternative sources.
In the skateboarding culture, DIY skateparks are parks or skate spots made by skaters themselves. That involves woodworking, concrete work and a vast variety of craftsmanship to build the most original and creative spaces to skate.
It is argued that the first DIY skatepark built was Burnside Skatepark, located in Portland, OR. Built without permission by skateboarders and later sanctioned by the city, Burnside is the preeminent example of action. The Park appears in the movie Free Willy in 1993. In 1999, the park is part of Tony Hawk's Tony Hawk (series) video game. In 2007, it becomes the epicenter for Gus Van Sant's Paranoid Park (film).
After that the culture spread over and other parks started to appear. A few examples are, Philadelphia's FDR Skatepark, San Diego's Washington Street, San Pedro's Channel Street, Seattle's Marginal Way, St Louis' King's Highway and most recently Portland's Brooklyn Street Skate Spot.
The DIY skateboarding culture made its way to Europe, Brazil's Praça Duó and other parts of the world, being the main style and theme for Pontus Alv's unique approach to skateboarding film making in Strongest of the Strange.
DIY bicycle projects can include creative ways to revamp or transform your bike, but are primarily built on empowering cyclists to understand how their bikes work and how easy they are to fix themselves in order to make cycling an even easier transportation option. Cycling has also seen an explosion of DIY-style shops ("bike co-ops"), such as the Bicycle Kitchen in Los Angeles, where anyone can come in and be mentored by a volunteer and get access to tools for maintaining and modifying their own bicycle.
Having originated in the late 1960s and early 1970s in the form of the free festival movement, mutating through protest camps (thus incorporating elements of earlier radical tendencies such as the beat and peace movements) and into punk through bands such as Crass, DIY culture became something of a recognised movement in the 1990s in the UK, where the protest (the direct action) and party (the festival) converged. The prime example of this movement was the Exodus Collective. This development constituted a significant cross-pollination of pleasure and politics resembling the anti-disciplinary politics of the 1960s. During the 1990s, demonstrating the desire for an economy of mutual aid and co-operation, the commitment to the non-commodification of art, the appropriation of digital and communication technologies for free community purposes, and the commitment to alternative technologies such as biodiesel. From 1991-1997 the Conservative government cracked down on squatting, animal rights activists, greens, travellers, as well as raves, parties and dance culture.
In 1994, the United Kingdom passed the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 which contained several sections designed to curtail the growing free party and anti-road protest movements (sometimes embodied by ravers and travellers). It empowered police to arrest citizens who appeared to be preparing to hold a rave, waiting for a rave to start, or attending a rave.
Technological developments, new internet platforms, applications and innovations in the last ten years have made it easier for artists, makers and creators of all types to circumvent professional studios and create high-quality work themselves. Developments in media software and the proliferation of high-speed internet access have given artists of all ages and abilities from across the globe, the opportunity to make their own films, records, or other creative content, and distribute it over the web. Such works were usually displayed on a private homepage, and gained popularity through word-of-mouth recommendations or being attached to chain letters (known as viral distribution).
Sites like Newgrounds and DeviantArt allow users to post their art and receive community critique, while Instructables allows DIYers to exhibit their works in an instructional how-to format. It is becoming common for content creators to share and receive compensation for their work online. Musicians can distribute their wares over the internet, independently of commercial funding, using the same computer they used to record.
Yet, it remains within the subculture of punk music where the homemade, A4, stapled and photocopied fanzines of the late 1970s fostered the 'do-it-yourself' (DIY) production techniques of cut-n-paste letterforms, photocopied and collaged images, hand-scrawled and typewritten texts, to create a recognizable graphic design aesthetic.