fabLAB, the necessary kit for education and contemporary creation

On this occasion, I would like to deal more specifically with the qualities and features of fabLAB located at LABoral Centro de Arte (Gijón)

Published: Jul 22, 2013

By Román Torre (@RTorre)

http://welovecode.net /http://www.romantorre.com

fabLAB at LABoral - and digital fabrication laboratories in general- clearly depend on the context in which they are set and the motivation and interests that will push them forward. To take just a couple of examples of other initiatives in Spain, in the case of FabLAB León which, as reflected on its website, does not come under a specific institution, its revenue is derived from fees, workshops and a number of activities related to the use and experimentation of its equipment and machines. On the other hand, in the case of FabLab Sevilla, the work space is associated with the Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura (E.T.S.A.) [High Technical School of Architecture] which, together with its director José Perez de Lama, develops prototypes and activities which are mostly related to architecture and design.

fabLAB Asturias was created by an institution that fosters artistic creation, a centre that is called "Centre of Art and Industrial Creation", therefore there is no doubt that although its context is different from the two previous examples, its activities are also very close to the world of design and industrial development. However, these are joined by two components which, in my opinion, enhance its value in the current panorama of Fabs and artistic production centres in general: the educational programmes that are more common of a museum that has evolved into a social laboratory and the development of hybrid artistic work in collaboration with companies or other cultural or social institutions.

 

 

We can find an illustration of this centre’s relationship with its social and educational environment in the introduction workshops to creative programming or to digital fabrication, that are aimed at teachers and students within the framework of the School Dropout Prevention Programme 2012-13. This is a great opportunity for the educational community to establish a closer relationship with the new technologies which encourage personal autonomy and critical thinking. The programme, called AuLAB, aims to consolidate itself as an ongoing experimental classroom and will be extended in the coming school year 2013-14, increasing the number of education centres in Asturias for the next course to 23.

 

 

Personally, I do not feel qualified to advise anyone on what would be a good educational system that brings students closer to self-learning and knowledge of new technologies in an objective way. Yet those of us who leave somewhat frustrated by our educational experience and find a degree of shelter in practices that originated in the punk movement - such as Do It Yourself (sometimes represented by the Maker movement) – are led to believe by these initiatives that there is still an opportunity for the system and educational institutions to foster self-sufficiency and practicality of using technology in our lives and personal development.

 

Continuing the support to hybrid proposals infabLAB Asturias and currently in residence, as already explored in this blog, Lot Amorós, Cristina Navarro and Alexandre Oliver are developing the project Flone, the Flying Phone, winner of the Next Things 2013 call for ideas, jointly promoted by LABoral and Telefonica I+D [Telefonica R+D]. In this clearly innovative project, its creators aim to produce a device which will literally enable users to fly and control a mobile phone as if it were a Drone orU.A.V (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle ), engaging in basic tasks from a height such as photographing or using other applications which allow citizens to make use of air space as a research platform.

 

Evidently, in fabLAB they have found the perfect space to develop the proposal, being able to fabricate almost the whole device – from the fragile structure that supports the flight mechanisms to the electronic parts and components used for the project.

In connection with this project and in fabLAB itself, there are ongoing various research lines ran by David Dalmazzo, technical manager at LABoral, and David Pello, coordinator of fabLAB, which are directly related to the previous example, TheDrone project is one clear example. The goal of this programme is to carry out during the course of 2013 all of the design stages, prototyping, data visualisation, tests, etc., involved in the construction of remotely controlled aerial vehicles based on open source that, just as Flone, explore aerial space from the citizen’s perspective.

 

 

Just this weekend of 13 and 14 July, fabLAB Asturias was present at the Mini Marker Fair Bilbao, a series of fairs held worldwide for inventors as a showcase for creators from all over the world in the field of Maker culture.David Pello himself ran, with some success, a couple of workshops on the construction of this series of vehicles being developed in TheDrone project.

And to finish off, as a final example of a project which illustrates the close collaboration of fabLAB with the artists who pass through LABoral, we have at hand the exhibition opening of The Moon Museum, a project by Karlos Gil, winner of the DKV Seguros-Álvarez Margaride Production Grant, who has made, printed and built many of his exhibited pieces directly at the facilities of fabLAB.

 

 

 

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