Fab City Foundation, Fab Foundation, Meaningful Design Group, and CAST Foundation are creating the conditions for emergent realities in Bali and the wider ASEAN region at the Bali Fab Fest.
Bali Fab Fest is a unique and inclusive event that responds to our post-pandemic reality and need for meaningful connection. The event is a learning experience for both international participants and local stakeholders who invest their efforts into inventing and realizing the future, responding to global challenges such as climate change and social exclusion through small-scale interventions in situated communities. Over ten days of inspiring activities and new connections from October 12th to 22nd, 2022, innovators, activists, techies, specialists, and generalists will gather at the world’s biggest digital fabrication event to accelerate Bali’s transition towards a regenerative economy as the first ‘Fab Island’ that produces everything it consumes. Inspiration for the rest of the ASEAN region and the world.
The event aims to promote and enable meaningful collaborations between makers, entrepreneurs, organizations, and the public sector. The thematic focus in Bali is “Designing Emergent Realities”, aiming to boost the transformation of the island’s economy by harnessing local and global knowledge.
The event is a convergence of the 17th Fab Lab Conference and the 8th Fab City Summit, including the annual pledge for new cities to join the Fab City Network and the annual Academy graduation ceremony. It is organized by the Fab Foundation, the Center for Bits and Atoms at MIT, the Fab City Foundation, and the Meaningful Design Group. The event will be hosted at the Jimbaran Hub — an innovative community cultural space in Southern Bali in collaboration with other locations connected with green innovation initiatives across the island.
Circularity at the Local Level, Connectivity at the Global Level
In a Future Talks podcast interview with Tomas Diez, Executive Director of Fab City Foundation, he shared that some of the key challenges within the Bali ecosystem are waste, traffic, and other issues dependent on tourism and its after-pandemic effect. Bali is also facing challenges linked to the abandonment of productive activities such as agriculture or crafts by the younger generations which is understandable, says Tomas, due to the hospitality-related jobs that provide better economic returns. To contribute to dealing with these challenges, a mentality shift from using natural resources for economic growth at the expense of society to one that has society as the focal point is necessary. Bali is an incredible encounter point of cultures, which unfortunately has gone too far in a model of extractive tourism and low-value creation. Tomas laments the fact that the current tourism model only leaves a small amount of money behind as the main gains tend to go to international conglomerates that invest locally.
For the Bali Fab Fest event, the organizers are designing and prototyping an approach to explore how to deal with these problems through creative connections, new learning perspectives, advanced technology, and the design of sustainable solutions through the Fab Island Challenge as well as over 30 workshops, 50 sessions, and seven social activities — all in person in Bali. The event will make the 41 Fab City member network accessible to the local community. In this way, the younger generation is imparted by nurturing creative thinking that can be harnessed for innovations for solving pressing issues becoming increasingly more complex as we move forward.
This gathering is fundamentally looking to invest in the Bali ecosystem and produce the value of different kinds including planting trees, strengthening local ecosystems, developing solutions, methodologies, tools, and potential collaborations with local institutions. Ultimately seeking to improve and potentialize local manufacturing in Bali by developing its local production capacity through the establishment of Fab Labs, which are places to connect local and global knowledge, tradition and technology, crafts, and new tools. To do that, we need to have important conversations that are conduits for knowledge sharing between local and international participants. Local creators and entrepreneurs in Bali can benefit and learn new means to create the products and services of the future they want. So, the Bali Fab Fest is really about recognizing the potential of the Island and creating more opportunities.
Fab City Full Stack Program Curated for and by Participants
Participants get to curate their experience filled with talks, workshops, and other activities from the most forward-thinking experts and enthusiasts from Bali and across the globe. The event is designed for all skill and knowledge levels and aims to help participants meet new people, create cool things, and engage in the world of digital fabrication. These efforts will be orchestrated using the Fab City Full Stack, a multi-scalar framework for developing new strategies for distributed production in cities and regions. The Full Stack helps Fab City to operationalize the goal of cities producing (almost) everything they consume.
At the Bali Fab Fest, the Full Stack will be used to help conceptualize how each activity in the program can contribute to the collective Fab City roadmap. It will be the framework for the organization of the Bali Fab Fest, guiding how we leverage a distributed global network of experts and cities to organize the daily activities, the workshops, and the submission of research papers, among other meaningful experiences that will be developed locally. Implementing the Fab City Full Stack will also create evidence for how the framework can influence productive relationships between communities, cities, territories, and the environment. We aim that the Fab City Full Stack will establish integration between local communities and the networks present at the event.
As a key mechanism to realize this aim, the Fab City Foundation is hosting the Fab Island Challenge which will see people of different profiles from fashion technologists to scientists form teams to design and prototype long-term projects that synergize the efforts of local initiatives in Bali and can impact local communities on the Island. Ten teams will collaborate to solve ten challenges identified by ten local initiatives. For more details on the Fab Island Challenge, we suggest reading this article.
The Bali Fab Fest is where things start as local communities are linked to international ones in order to leave the experience of the event behind, to leave a legacy. The in-person format for this event is distributed and brings together networks and enthusiasts from around the world after the pandemic to connect in a meaningful way that virtual meetings do not fully support considering timezone differences and other factors that online interactions pose. Hidden ecosystems are often discovered through in-person meetings where new realizations for the local communities come up. One outcome of the event is to engineer the establishment of spaces for open innovations to happen. This includes supporting grassroots organizations to empower them to engage the government in pressing issues of common interest.
Making Sustainability Count
The organization of such an intensive event during a difficult global climate has not come without its challenges. Beyond the novel impacts of the energy crisis and COVID-19 restrictions is the ongoing and urgent question of hosting an in-person event in the face of the climate crisis. The Fab City Foundation has been made aware that this is of utmost importance to our community that our impact is considered, and while we stand by the decision to serve the ASEAN region with this event — for the first time in the history of the Fab City Summit — we are also taking steps to reduce the ecological impact of the event. Primarily we are employing 2054-thinking, developing long-term strategies to boost the local agenda including the establishment of new production spaces for training programs like the Master in Design for Distributed Innovation (MDDI) to increase the local manufacturing capacity in Bali and the Global South. Another approach that Fab City is adopting to put efforts into Bali is to promote carbon and waste offsetting through the ticketing platform and planting trees.
Also, in another workshop and community collaboration with BIO27 Production Platform and Super Vernaculars, 27th Biennale of Design titled ‘Sustainable localities: A material toolkit’ participants will focus on identifying, sourcing, sorting, and showcasing local sustainable and regenerative materials to establish a library of locally available and environmentally friendly materials suitable to be used by makers. Materials of interest are natural, locally grown materials that will include festival waste, invasive species, used materials, new materials made at other workshops, leftover materials, etc. The library will be open-source, and new materials can be added to the collection later on. It will inspire local and foreign makers to develop their projects in a more sustainable manner.
We see Bali as an incredible island for local and global impact investment, developing climate technologies, providing the right infrastructure to thrive, and investing in the creativity and innovation of Indonesians. The methodologies, prototypes, and tools we leave behind after the event will not be complete but will shape the Bali local ecosystem to sustainably create the world they want. We are calling for people to come and invest in innovation and education in and for Indonesia, with a planetary mindset.
Beyond the event, the conversations and connections will continue with the roundtable discussions that are held every three months. We invite you to read more about the Fab City Full Stack here and watch the Future Talks youtube video here as you prepare for the Bali Fab Fest.
Regardless of your expertise: if you are fascinated by technology, new developments, social change, or digital fabrication processes, there is something here for you! Register to join the network and attend Bali Fab Fest here.
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