Medialab Prado

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Grigri Pixel workshop: makers and energy in African cities. Call for collaborators

23.02.2016 - 04.03.2016 16:30h - 20:00h

Place: Alameda 1 y Fablab

The Grigri Pixel Workshop is organized within the framework of the Objects in Common Project with the intention of learning to produce and store sustainable energy, made of waste and discarded materials that are usually found in dumpsters and recycling centers.

Another important aspect of this encounter will be to reflect on the different ways of intervening in urban areas, paying special attention to the way self-organized green spots in Madrid and the African cities, which participate in the project: Bamako, Dakar, Casablanca and Lome.

Grigri Pixel

Grigri: amulet, talisman used in West Africa to protect its owner from bad luck.

Grigri Pixel invites four African makers from Bamako (Mali), Dakar (Senegal), Lomé (Togo) and Casablanca (Morocco) to search for innovative and creative proposals to develop a prototype that offers solutions to the lack of lighting and autonomous energy in African cities. The aim of the workshop is to join the African makers’ knowledge and their strategies, in order to consider digital manufacturing and the production of everyday items from the perspective of other territories. The prototype made during Grigri Pixel will contribute to reflecting on ways of making our cities more inhabitable with technological devices, capable of offering alternative solutions that provide their communities with values for autonomy and good living. A prototype, in the form of a collective amulet or grigri, that protects and lights up the common spaces in towns and cities.

The workshop will begin by asking how we can arrive to solutions that go beyond buying and assembling materials (for example, manufacturing a solar panel by following the instructions in a tutorial). By sharing the experiences of these African makers invited to the workshop we will highlight the items’ scheduled obsolescence and thoroughly study the implications and possibilities that arise when manufacturing with low budgets, recycled materials and scrap technology that are practically useless.

We will try to offer a critical view of digital manufacturing, addressing the questions raised by Objects in Common, the programme that incorporates the Grigri Pixel workshop. The workshop will be run in coordination with the community garden in the Barrio de Lavapiés Ésta es una Plaza. The grigri-amulet will be used to light up a space and create synergies with other places where the prototype will be repeated, as in the case of Ker Thiossane’s Jet d'Eau Garden in Dakar, during the Afropixel Festival held next May. A cross between two similar initiatives, but with a different genealogy, that will take advantage of this opportunity to enable these two self-managed green spaces to share issues and ways of running things.

This creative laboratory will be conducted in alliance with Yago Torroja, electronic engineer, and the group of architects PKMN (@PKMNmad), well acquainted with the Dakar area where the prototype will be implemented. Attending the workshop from the African side will be Mouhamadou Ngom from Ker Thiossane’s Defko Ak Ñep fab lab (Dakar), Zineb El Fasiki from Opentaqaf (Casablanca), Koukou Elolo Amegayibo from Openstreetmap (Lomé) and Mamadou Colibaly from the Yeta Collective (Bamako). Throughout the process, different energy self-management projects will be visited, including Garaldea Sostenible (@garaldea) and digital manufacturing spaces like MakeSpace Madrid (@MakespaceMadrid).

During the final week, the Grigri Pixel participants will attend a final Common Goals meeting. Different European fab labs will be invited to attend to exchange experiences and ways of running these spaces. The final result and the reflections on the process will be shared during a workshop given by Yago Torroja, the Grigri Pixel tutor in Madrid, within the framework of the Afropixel Festival in Dakar, to be held in May 2016. A festival of art, technology and citizenship that will take place in Dakar, coinciding with its Contemporary Art Biennale. In this fifth edition, with the title "Repenser la Ville en Commun", the festival will work on how the city’s public spaces can be created and enjoyed by everyone. An opportunity to present all the reflections related to Common Goals, as well as the Grigri Pixel experience, taking advantage of the fact that Laura Fernández of Medialab-Prado and Susana Moliner, the project coordinator, will be in Dakar. The process will be documented with a publication that will make it easier to repeat the prototype-grigri in the different home towns and cities of the makers invited to the Grigri Pixel residency.

This activity is backed by the ACERCA Programme of Spanish Cooperation with the collaboration of FIIAPP.

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