This week, instead of getting to know a BACA business, I stopped by a BACA community organization, one that has a distinct niche at the intersection of art and technology. In fact, there’s only about 30 of these organizations in the country, and one is located right here at 1418 North Capitol St. NW.
FabLab DC is the only DC outpost of a movement started by an MIT professor to advance “personal fabrication,” the idea is that just as now access to tools for “personal computing” is widespread, in the near future we’ll all have access to tools for personal manufacturing – assembling our own materials, from toys to technology, according to our own specifications from the atoms up. The MIT professor, Neil Gershenfeld, can explain better:
These have spread all around the world helping people create technology, from South Africa to the north of Norway, from rural India to inner-city Boston. Instead of spending vast amounts of money to send computers and energy and communication around the world, you can spend much less to send the means to create it.
FabLab DC is still in its infancy, slowly trying to build its repertoire of tools and a funding base, but it already houses high-tech fab gear like a vinyl cutter, a mini-mill and a desktop 3D printer, all of which can be used to create items like the art below.
The FabLab isn’t open to the public yet, but they do hold periodic workshops. I attended a seminar on “Tanigble Interaction Design” led by designer and artist Rita Shrewbridge, where she told us about her own experiments creating story-telling dresses and a “bearometer.” Like FabLab DC on Facebook or follow their Twitter feed for the latest upcoming events.
FabLab DC is also looking for volunteers to help fundraise, grant-write, present, co-work and more. For more information on how to support this innovative tech and arts hub here in our community, email Phyllis at firstname.lastname@example.org.