The CMCS helped organize a workshop in Budapest which took place on August 29 – September 1, called Transfabric - A para-sitic workshop on transnational D.I.Y.
The workshop brought together key thinkers and practitioners from the U.S., Europe, China and Iran, who work at the intersection of digital and urban design, making and remaking. The main goal of the workshop was to provide a space for mutual engagement, learning from each others’ experiences and the challenges that individual groups might face, and establishing opportunities for future collaboration.
The workshop contained a strong practical component, in which participants did a hands-on design brainstorming session and a D.I.Y. session. The participants broke out in groups to sketch and build various digital and electronic artifacts, such as an interactive door which can "lock, unlock, open, close, and interact with its “master” using radio frequencies" and post status updates on various social media. Read about other examples of projects the participants took on at the Transfabric blog.
The workshop mostly took place at FabLab Budapest, and partly at Kitchen Budapest. There are a number of Fablabs (which stands for fabrication laboratories) around the world, originating in the fab lab program at the Media Lab at MIT, which allow grassroots communities, individuals and entrepreneurs and businesses to use the tools of technological innovation, such as 3d printing and 3D milling technology, to create prototypes and smart devices that might otherwise require mass production tools.
The organizers of the workshops explained its concept and rationale as follows:
Exploratory and playful engagements with technology are often cited as dominant drivers of innovation. For example, Google’s 20-percent-time culture, encouraging its employees to use 20% of their work time to realize their own technological passions, play and experiment with hard and software, is one of the most illustrating examples of this new work ideology. New ideas of tinkering, technological aesthetics, playing with and un-packing the workings of computational technology are visible way beyond the confines of large IT corporations such as Google or innovation hotbeds such as Silicon Valley. Urban centers across Europe, the U.S. and Asia have experienced a rise in individual and collective creative projects that actively explore novel approaches towards “makings” of and with technology to stimulate new forms of creativity and innovation. Often these are quite interdisciplinary projects, some of which are invested in utilizing technology to encounter familiar urban environments in new ways, to explore the relationship between theory and practice, or between design aesthetics and innovation, etc. Individuals and collectives engaged in these efforts of digital making often share a commitment to the open sharing of ideas and software code across diverse cultural contexts.
The workshop was organized in collaboration by LUCI – Laboratory for Ubiquitous Computing at University of California, Irvine; the Center for Global Communication Studies (CGCS) at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania; and the CMCS. It was sponsored by the CGCS, Google OpenSource Office and Google China Developer Relations, Kitchen Budapest and Fablab Budapest.