The Ataris

A magazine for hacking the world

I have fallen in love with this new magazine — Ready Made. I picked it up a few months ago in a supermarket, and was totally fascinated by its mix: It’s like a Martha Stewart Living for broke, DIY-minded young adults with an ecological sensibility.

To wit: Every issue consists of a dozen or so really hilarious projects you can make using cheap, found, or recycled materials. In recent issues, they’re run instructions on how to make a waterproof skirt out of broken umbrellas, a set of lamps out of discarded retro blenders, or a “trash can wall sconce”. The thing is, these items are not only fun, they’re strikingly beautiful: Part of the governing aesthetic is to take an item or material and rethink it with a new purpose.

Which is what I ultimately find so cool about the magazine. At core, it has a hacker spirit: Take the stuff around you and push it to weird new limits.

Check out the images for a few of their projects here, at this page. The one labelled #2 is their design for a “pegboard table” — essentially a table with an internal light and a pegboard surface, allowing you to arrange the pegs in lite-bright-style patterns. That’s as creatively fun as the totally demented casemods that computer geeks have recently been making. In the current issue, they pretty much plant the needle on the weird-o-meter by printing instructions on how to grow a grass couch. I’m not kidding — you can check out the instructions here.

(Actually, my only complaint about the magazine is that they don’t publish complete archives of every issue. Probably, they’re aiming to market it to someone, which sucks; I wish I had all those crazy projects to refer to online now.)

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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