From 21 September 2014 to 28 October 2014 I did a project called Lab in-a Lab as my residency program for Age of Wonderland from Baltan Laboratories and Hivos for Dutch Design Week 2014 in Eindhoven, Netherlands. Lab in-a Lab is a project based residency program consists with small-scale workshop activities, participatory art-science projects, and collaborative works. The idea of the Lab in-a Lab is to stimulate social innovations within the community using art-science as a tool through alternative education activities. These activities are conducted throughout the residency periods, which the results later will be exhibited in Dutch Design Week Festival. Lab in-a Lab project will start with building an adequate lab infrastructure designed for the whole activities during the residency period will take place. The project activities reflect the transition of Laboratory as not only an exclusive space for scientific research, but also embrace social and creative practices inside of it. This project would like to do a social experiment in combining art and science practices within the communities, which present the definition of a Laboratory in the contemporary culture.
I learned from my experience working with communities, there are very limited options available to the public for learning and sharing. The formal education system are build for us to be specialised and focused on a specific subject leaving very limited options for those who’s interested in interdisciplinary practices. I believe this particular situation is the main reason why there are many interest from the people in art-science workshops, which is a practice that comes naturally to Hackteria and Lifepatch. In every creative places, there is always a grassroots community which works in local social outreach and if you look hard enough, ask the right people, or even lucky, you might find them. For my case it was more of a luck, I met a community called Corner Spot who have conducted consistently small scale workshops for the community in Doornakers of Eindhoven.
I met Minsung Wang and Connor Trawinsky, both are designers working in Corner Spot. We clicked in an instant and they started to organising several sessions of workshops at a classroom from an abandoned school which Corner Spot in charged of. For an introduction, I used a design from Marc Dusseiller developed during Tourdigrade of HackteriaLab 2014 – Yogyakarta. It’s a simple bio-electronic synth which is purposely designed so it’s relatively easy for beginner to construct and allows a basic introduction to biology and electronics. So I etched some PCB’s prepare some tools and using some of boxology knowledge for a mobile lab. Corner Spot are 20-30 minutes away by bike from Baltan Laboratories, and to be honest, it was quite harsh for my Indonesian spoiled legs.
Even though the workshop was organised spontaneously, it attract quite a lot of participants with different age and gender. I found myself enjoying the first session of workshop with 8 participants in an empty class. The second one was enormous, there were 14 participants and 2 visitors joined the workshop. Surprisingly, all of them are students from Technical University and Design Academy of Eindhoven. Out of all the reasons, seems they really wanted this kind of knowledge but there were none available at their school, so this kind of workshop allows them to learn something new. Somewhere in the line between art and science.
After several workshops of introduction to bio-electronics, I conducted a series of intensive workshops for those who interested in-depth of electronics basic knowledge. The series was conducted in the same class room and organised by Corner Spot. Several of the previous workshop participants signed up for the 2-days session of workshop, which teaches how to read a schematic, design their own circuit and make the hand-drawn Printed Circuit Boards. This workshops was designed for the participants could later create and produce circuits for their own practice and the production could be easily conducted at home.
The last but not least, the most integral part of the project is collaborations. Interdisciplinary practices in art and science involving communities is the major part of my interest that I would like to present during Dutch Design week. The collaborations that was presented are person to person collaboration with different background discipline, which represented with mirror hack project conducted by Emi Uda and myself; Community to community collaboration that was represented with Biodesign for the Real World project, conducted by School of Life Science EPFL, ArtSci Bangalore and Lifepatch. All of these collaborations were presented during Dutch Design Week 2014 in forms of workshops and exhibition.
Lab in a Lab: http://labinalab.tumblr.com
Age of Wonderland: http://ageofwonderland.nl
Dutch Design Week: http://ddw.nl