Collecting inspiration at Fabra i Coats

On January 13th, Citilab organized a breakout Session at the Fabra i Coats factory. The team that coordinates Expolab attended this meeting and we explained our project. We also were very excited because of the feedback and support we received from the participants- We decided to organzed in the afternoon part of Breakout a fast prototyping session which was a warm-up for the workshop on Thursday 14 January.

People that hadn’t previously met and who met for the first time at Breakout decided to join us and sit around a table with some materials in order to design objects with their own hands in order to think about exhibitions.

We started with an informal chat and we made small drawings on which changes the interent had produced in our own lives and how they conformed a new digital society.

This led to very productive discussions and end up with the creation of objects like the a camera made with folded cardboard and a plastic drinking cup, a representation of a cultural collective day out exploring the concept of real time, a structure that showed transient energy that is latent and diffuse in all the information around as and a proposal of started but unfinished stories that linger online…

But what were the issues that we dealt with, talking and discussing for nearly two hours?

We saw the importance that several processes have acquired in recent decades. For example, we see a displacement of objects and phenomena as important or central to exhibitions. Instead, processes seemed to be the central actors. We talked about processes that happen and how things happen. The process is very important. Learning is also process-based: we learn by doing.

We also pointed to an important change in the daily exchanges of our society. Previously we mostly bought and sold tangible objects, but more and more we do so with intangible ones such as information or knowledge. How are these new products valued? How are they paid for? These are issues that remained in the air, and that are not always easy to answer. Furthermore, we are so occupied in generating information that we can run the risk of infoxication. We can get too saturated and unable to access to everything … However, do we need to access to all the information? All information we receive via the Internet is good? At this point in the discussion we saw that another paradigm has been broken, absolute truth. Perviously lived in a world of the “singular the” (the master, the power, etc.) and now we are in a society of “plural the” (tutorials, voting, etc.). We are breaking the singularity to become a pluralistic society with its advantages and disadvantages.

Andreu Robusté, ESDI advised by designer Josep Maria Marimon, raised the possibility of playing with more spatial options. And indeed, if exhibitions are spaces that gather content, visitors, materials, design and … space, you can play with any of these ingredients. In this first edition of Expolab, we decided to introduce public participation in the design and content, but we may venture to play with space and materials. In fact, Eva Sans shared a good idea: distributing blank maps of the exhibition where every visitor could suggest his or her own itinerary and share it or notwith others.

Javier Rodriguez, developer of the Datos en Crudo, project asked if the exhibition concept as it had been born had any sense or was altogether an obsolete concept. This exciting vision gave rise to a small debate full of questions and challenges: Are exhibitions just stores or ordered objects? Are simply places where objects of the past are preserved? We must preserve the past? Should we learn to get loose a little of this past that weighs on us in order to be able to create new times? Did the stone cave painters think about the future and the preservation of the past? Is is more important to have an experience thatn contemplating an object?

For a while we be discussing the importance of each one having their own experiences and to feel digital technology first hand. A very important concept in this new digital world is real time. Things can happen and now and be published and communicated to the world on the web on the same moment. If in earlier times live broadcasting was reserved for special reports sent in mission away, they are now available to everyone. How interesting it would be to organize a multigenerational day out where people less used to be able to communicate with the world instantly could become real time reporters for one day, and in doing so we aware of how this possibility is now a reality for all citizens?

Finally, someone has to define those who engage in digital technology as the explorers of new horizons, i.e, people who look for new ways of doing things, new processes, for a diversity of paths and platforms to talk to the public . We are in the information age.

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