Documentary about hardware hackers

Repurpose is a documentary about people who take old electronics and turn them into something cool.

A look into the hardware hacking community in Montreal, including the Foulab collective. Why are more and more hobbyists experimenting with hacks and circuit bends? What relationship does this imply about consumer society and technological advancement? Is this a real-world analog of 'user generated content'?
(Via Laughing Squid)


  1. Hiya! Thanks for the repost!

    Documentary by me, Jack Oatmon.

    More cool coverage to come. This week: Mutek Montreal.

  2. Interesting, but I’d get a new narrator. The voice over on this feels like it’s being done by an 8-year-old kid who doesn’t have much more insight into the content than the viewer.

  3. Yeah. That’s what I was going for. It’s about geeks more than it is for geeks. I could have gone on and on about the technical side, but most people have no idea what an oscilloscope is or what a circuit bend is. The subject is the social phenomenon, not so much the actual gadgets.

    However, having said that, on current projects I’m being a bit more didactic. Thanks for the critique.

    PS. Can’t really get a ‘new narrator’ cuz the narrator is also the videographer, graphic designer, writer, researcher, editor, producer and interviewer! It’s all done by me unfortunately. And I have a terrible voice.

  4. aw jeez: “what do call that again? A teletype machine.” Don’t tell me no one here ever made a paper Telex tape?

  5. Music sounds like Venetian Snares “Huge Chrome Cylinder Box Unfolding”, which has circuit bends of all sorts of 80’s kit, including a Speak-and-Spell.

  6. Good work Jack, I don’t find your voice or commentary style irritating in the least. If anything, it’s reminiscent of Ira Glass who I enjoy immensely.

  7. At the weekend my kids (4 1/2 and 3) came home from a charity shop with a couple of cars they wanted me to put batteries in – ‘sure’ I say ‘where are the controllers?’ O
    f course they didn’t have them and they were devastated. The eldests suggestion was to get a hammer and knife to break into the shop to get them.
    I took the geekier view that we could transpose the rc receiver from an old toy into the car he bought. We did this together, he helped me stripping the wires and soldering it up.
    I don’t think this would have been possible for me if it wasn’t for osmosis via Make/instructables/hack-a-day.
    It worked pretty well and the wife and myself were suitably impressed with my skillz. Harry drove it around for a minute before dead-panning “The lights don’t work”
    The guy on the video says the transistor made it more difficult, I’d argue that the IC sounded the death knell for hobby electronics and smt hammered the nails in. Tooling around with this stuff has a steep learning curve these days and can be disheartening when faced down by modern ‘magic’ like an i-phone.
    The light that didn’t work turned out to be a tri-color led with an ic embedded that cycles it through 7 colours. I wired it so that it lights when one of the motors is on, but would still swear it’s voodoo.

  8. i really liked this! and i didn’t mind the narrator either. it lended itself to the whole feel!

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