Born in the USA
P. Atkinson (2020) Born in the USA: Cigar Box Guitars, Object Displacement and Performative DIY.
Journal of Design History
The cigar box guitar is a long-standing cultural artefact which, over the course of its history, has undergone a series of displacements. Initially an acoustic instrument made by impoverished people in the mid-nineteenth century to fulfil a social need to make music and help the singing of traditional folk songs, it soon became a simple do-it-yourself project associated largely with children, and later, in the 1990s, it was reimagined as a serious, electrified musical instrument employed in a particular, performative form of DIY. In this most recent incarnation, the Internet has enabled the cigar box guitar to break free of its American roots to become the focus of a global practice of Performative DIY and a vehicle through which physical and virtual communities of makers support each other, express themselves, explore their creativity and display their self-identities.
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