Making Making Lab
*Making Making Lab* was designed as a place for conducting mid-reviews of the activities and consulting advices for the next phase of Making Lab, upon its one year anniversary. Until present, Making Lab has held more than 25 public events, internal projects and research to continue contemplating on the junction of open source technology and community.
Along with introductory remarks on the project’s intention and process, Making Lab shares specific information about budget size, means of implementation, and the planned projects not yet implemented. Then, media artist Seungjoon Choi and Fabcoop, both of whom greatly inspired the conception of Making Lab, explain their own work in the relevant contexts. In their presentations, they answer questions posed by Making Lab, and also share their experience and thoughts, discussing how participatory art based on making could be represented, developed, and expanded both in and out of educational institutions.
Citizens who were involved either directly or indirectly with Making Lab’s activities for the past year, are the audience and participants of *Making Making Lab*. Direct participants—including artists, workshop participants, parents, APAP docents—as well as citizens interested in related culture can join freely *Making Making Lab* to share their opinions and discuss about the present and future of Making Lab.
The entire discussion will be published on the website in a downloadable full-text format.
Director of Making Lab’s Note
Making Lab was commissioned for the reopening of Anyang Pavilion, a key project of the 4th APAP. Unlike previous art biennials or public art festivals, the 4th APAP focused essentially on the stories of the citizens to create a participatory public art. Thus, Making Lab was allowed to take a different approach, while receiving the necessary support from the 4th APAP.
We hoped Making Lab to flourish as a makerspace where users play a leading role in the management of the space. We strived to create conducive environment for this to happen. On Thursday evenings and weekends, Making Lab received many visitors to various workshops; a total number of more than 250 citizens participated during six months since the launch of preparatory program, and many more citizens sat in. Diversity in the ages and backgrounds of the participants allowed for numerous new attempts. While some citizens made repeated visits to different programs, a wide array of feedbacks provided huge support for the development of Making Lab. However, only few citizens utilized the space on weekdays with no scheduled workshops. The location—situated in Anyang Pavilion, apart from residential area—and operating hours of daytime contributed partly to low utilization of the space. The spatial feature of Making Lab, which is open rather than separated, also impeded creating the space that enables intense concentration.
In Making Lab, an act of making is in itself a work of art and an artwork. Enabling an environment in which artists can educate and make with citizens is, in a broader sense, a way of social participatory practice. Therefore, it is not plausible to draw a dual dichotomy between the making process and the outputs. Nevertheless, it is possible to differentiate the participants’ own experiences from the outputs, remaining either in physical or non-physical forms. Along with perennial facilities established in Anyang Pavilion, artworks, kits, manuals, and recorded documents such as photographs or videos from various events are stored in Making Lab. As the participants are able to reflect upon their works, recorded documents function as the medium which completes the participants’ experiences and promotes greater participation in the future. Now, we have to think about ways to revitalize Making Lab through preservation and utilization of these documents, and moreover, how to establish new Making Labs in other communities based on sharing.
Through holding multiple teacher meetings and open forums in Anyang Pavilion, we had a chance to meet with many teachers in Anyang and other regions. Most of the classroom activities involving experiential learning tend to repeat basic curriculum, leaving little room for creativity. However, in recent times, examples of using open source hardware such as Arduino to conduct experiments for physics or chemistry class are emerging. Moreover, some high schools specialized in technology or vocational education, run classes and club activities including robot making.
Nowadays, most schools run their own experiential learning programs—for instance, field trips or outdoor programs—regularly each semester within the schools’ budget. About 10 students from Anyang High School participated in *Making Handmade Ccomputa* workshop, as a part of these programs. The amount of fee for group visits was set as equivalent to that of youths—5,000KRW—which was regarded as an appropriate level.
However, workshops planned by Making Lab are far from advanced or extended courses from regular educational institutions. Making Lab tried to arrange activities with unique objectives outside of the limits of regular curriculum and private tutoring. Making Lab examines whether media literacy education as a part of public art projects—specifically, kits and workshops applying open source hardware—can be utilized under real life educational settings. In the long term, Making Lab aims to enable the citizens to utilize spaces to produce their own works.
Public art events in forms of art biennials or festivals usually come to life as a one-time event for a limited period of time. We wanted to overcome this limitation and create a more sustainable lab. For a makerspace to be used continuously by the members of the local communities, it was imperative to present clearly-defined operational goals. Therefore, Making Lab focused mainly on its original intention to study computational media, and concentrated in efforts on building the most realistic case through systemic planning and efficient operation encompassing both domestic and overseas artists.
The task of Making Lab was not confined to completing a makerspace with fully equipped relevant facilities and operational plans. Rather, Making Lab attempted to venture out realistic and original potentials of a local community-based makerspace, and envision these potentials in various ways through citizens’ participation. In a way, these attempts involve processes of critical analysis as we might understand and analyze already existing examples and propose new alternatives.