We could never have predicted it, but MadRim has reunited in Lima, Peru! How insanely loco is that?!
Madison is here with two fellow Kaospilots, running workshops to study sustainable business models for Fab Labs, and I’m involved in communications for the Floating Fab Lab project (FLF), blogging and managing social media outreach. Tour de Fab may have opened some very adult doors for us, but we’re still the same partners in grime as last year. Madulthood is all about seizing spontaneous chances and throwing yourself into new things, even when learning kicks you in the ass.
Here in Lima, we’ve spent substantial time at Fab Lab Lima, a popular maker hub in the classy district of San Isidro. Their physical space will be changing dramatically in the near future; in fact, construction workers banged away at the concrete steps for most of the day, a most pleasant background noise, I’m sure you can imagine. Fab Lab Lima will be converted into a Fab Cafe, and the Fab Lab will relocate to another part of the city. As it exists now, Fab Lab Lima possesses all the traditional tools for digital fabrication of course, and also includes a co-working and meeting space upstairs. Additionally, they have an outdoor balcony on the roof, crucial for jovial social gatherings involving food and beer. It’s a lively place, people popping in and out all day, with a lovely atmosphere of focus and fun.
Beno Juarez, founder and mastermind behind the entire Latin American network of Fab Labs–known as Fab Lat–described Fab Lab Lima as a “spirit,” because their location is constantly changing. “We don’t know where we’re going next,” he told me with a grin.
Fab Lab Peru was organized at the Fab7 Forum and Symposium in Lima in 2011, first established as Fab Lab Lima in the National University of Engineering. When Fab Lab Lima moved for the first time, they left the completely stocked Fab Lab at the university, renaming it Fab Lab UNI. After existing in a downtown museum for a spell, Fab Lab Lima moved to its current location in San Isidro.
Fab Lab Peru is more a concept than an actual physical place, operating out of Fab Lab Lima for the present, though that could change as soon as Fab Lab Lima moves again. The entire Fab Lat network is likewise run through the hub of Fab Lab Lima. Fab Lat is responsible for the growth of the Fab Lab network in Latin America, developing specific regions, such as the qhapaq ñan, the Inca Trail, a stretch of Pacific coastline running from Ecuador into Chile. In the coming weeks, I will follow the qhapaq ñan from Lima to Santiago, checking into Fab Labs along the way and promoting the FLF.
The Floating Fab Lab is arguably Fab Lat’s most ambitious project. It’s in the development stage as team members search for funding. They’ve already secured substantial government support; next week, in fact, several team members, including Beno and Madison, will journey into the Amazon to Iquitos to meet with SIMA, a marine shipyard that has volunteered to construct the FLF. PIAS, the social development branch of the military marines, has received three boats confiscated from narcotics traffickers on the Amazon River, and will donate one to the FLF project if the boat proves suitable. And that’s exactly what Beno aims to determine during the next week.
So–we’re still at it, stumbling through the world seemingly at random. Atoms collide. Sparks ignite. I get the feeling we’re on the right track, doing the right thing. The Floating Fab Lab is a most worthwhile and positive project, and it’s pretty exciting that we’re both independently involved. MadRim: coming soon to a jungle near you!