Cyberpunk’s New Face In China
In China’s technology hub, Shenzhen, the local maker movement’s prolific and popular Naomi Wu is drawing attention not only to her own work but her country’s developing technology standards. The shift from manufacturing to innovation at the granular level has meant more accessible and plentiful resources for the curious community.
Through her Patreon-funded YouTube channel, Wu shares reviews of various products, project walkthroughs and slice-of-life moments from her day. Her guiding philosophy that the human body is a hackable device has also led her to certain personal modifications, including cosmetic surgeries.
While the meaning of being a maker can take on several different forms, a recent interview with Wu revealed she considers the definition of being a maker focuses not only on creating but also sharing. For her own work, she uses social media to share her experiments and knowledge, as well as attending events and taking part in local spaces built for the DIY community.
Being in a city built up around the startup and tech industry, places like these and people who work like Naomi Wu are gaining more notice and influencing social and market trends, now. For a Shenzhen native like Wu, building a vast network and array of resources has taken a lifetime of work, but it’s work she shares readily with her supporters and fans.
Having that kind of reach can bring with it some backlash. Wu criticized Shenzhen’s 2016 Maker Fair for its lack of local female Chinese representation, but it was not the first time she had used her vocal social media reach to make waves.
She was accused by the founder of Make: the magazine of being a persona constructed by a team rather than a maker in her own right. He would later retract his claim and would go on to feature her on the cover of the magazine.
Now, Wu uses her name and notoriety to advocate for open-source resources and robust early education in technology.