Two years ago, Maker Faire Bilbao had the intriguing theme “Technology is the new rock n’ roll.” Lead organizer and creative director at Espacio Open Karim Asry had explained the intersection: “Self-expression, the collective experience of enjoying something together, identity, skills: there are so many things in common. Many people probably experience the same thing at their first Faire as with their first music concert, thinking something like, ‘How could we have not known about this?'” Over the years, the intersection has not only been metaphorical, but Maker Faire Bilbao has always showcased a healthy sampling of maker-made experimental music.

This year Maker Faire Bilbao, October 27–29, is taking that connection to the next level — they’ve partnered with Bime Music Festival, who is bringing The Prodigy, Franz Ferdinand, and master makers Einstürzende Neubauten (the pioneering industrial band from Berlin who’ve been making their own instruments since the 80s) to their festival on October 27–28. As Asry puts it, “So basically, Bilbao will see its streets filled with music, rockers, makers, and positive digital revolution this week. All the makers will get full access to the festival, and we’ll be fooling around there with VR glasses and more surprises. We really believe that all cultural movements go faster and further when they get close to music. Our time has come in Bilbao!”

It’s also European Maker Week this week, an initiative promoted by European Commission and implemented by Maker Faire Rome in collaboration with Startup Europe. There will be maker activities in 28 countries across Europe, and Bilbao will be celebrating in solidarity through the Maker Faire. Asry adds, “We’ll be happy to show all sides of the maker spirit, from alternative culture to business, cross-pollinating each other under the same roof.”

 

 

Reflections on 5 Years of Maker Faires

Maker Faire Bilbao is now in it’s fifth year at the historic industrial multi-use space dubbed the Cookie Factory, and their lineup includes 60 maker exhibits and more than 150 activities in total, including workshops and talks. Last year’s celebration drew 11,000 attendees. Asry offered some insightful reflections on the Faire and maker culture in Bilbao and beyond:

In moments of uncertainty in Spain, maker culture is more and more necessary as a roadmap for a better future for all. This year will be our 5th anniversary, and it’s a good time to think about how the generation that has grown up with Maker Faire in our city has blossomed in ways impossible before, having access to tools, knowledge, and community spaces. Makerspaces and maker culture, in general, is allowing this generation and the next generations to become better engineers, programmers, artists, biohackers, activists, entrepreneurs, or whatever they want to be, but in its best version. And we’re proud to have contributed to it for sure!

The Cookie Factory has grown into a large-scale makerspace (20,000 square meters) that mixes maker culture with social projects, traditional industries, and contemporary culture, gathering high-tech and low-tech makers in a very emblematic building that fosters woodworkers, metalworkers, a digital fabrication lab, mechanics, a circus school, a rock climbing boulder, and many other DIY activities shaping the soul of the last post-industrial area of a city famous for its Guggenheim Effect.

We’re having makers from all parts of Europe coming to help out through our maker-in-residence program. One of the many examples is French designer duo Irina Pentecouteau and Cecile Laporte, Candid Make, from Toulouse, leaving all types of beautiful pieces all over the Cookie Factory, like these laser-cut lamps. You can follow their adventures online.

The fact that Maker Faire has happened in a non-traditional venue like the Cookie Factory in the post-industrial island of Zorrozaurre, soon to be known as the Maker Island, hopefully, allows us to experiment with many things. We’ll be saying goodbye to the old factory of Vicinay Cadenas, soon to be demolished, one of the larger manufacturers in the world of chains for boats, with a wonderful drone race.

 

 

Curator’s Callouts

With so many exhibits, workshops, and talks, it’s always hard for anyone on the organizing team to choose makers they’re particularly jazzed to see. Asry offered a random sampling:

We’re really happy to have with us Juan González Gómez, “Obijuan,” the first Spanish winner of the O’Reilly Open Source Award, cornerstone of the development of the RepRap community in Spain and now trying to replicate the maker effect with FPGAs.

Bilbao Commons is also a special piece. After their exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Inteligencias Colectivas has taken the maker spirit to all neighborhoods of Bilbao by inviting all types of people to build a beautiful structure that now fosters all types of DIY activities all over the city, with neighbors getting directly involved in both the construction and selecting the activities that join the barrio shows. It’s a resident project of Azkuna Zentroa cultural center.

Cooba the Robo-bar, built by three friends in Zurich, will probably also steal the show with their app-controlled cocktail maker. We spotted this maker hit at the Zurich Mini Maker Faire, an awesome show, by the way.

One thing new this year will be the hardware hacking area curated by the electronics ninjas from PighiXXX electronics, who just published the amazing book ABC: Basic Connections, a collection of neat circuit diagrams that shows you how to properly connect almost anything to your Arduino-compatible board. Alberto Piganti and David Antón created this beautiful set of DIY learn-to-solder kits, soon to be open-sourced for everyone to use.

Drawdio SMD Halloween Edition

Drawdio Though-Hole Ice Cream Edition

TV-B-Gone

Make: Learn to Solder Badge

Future Design

Perusing the variety of makers who will be exhibiting this weekend at Maker Faire Bilbao, we were drawn to the array of interdisciplinary projects with innovative approaches to form factor. Here are just a few that are fun to look at and consider.

LoveProps

LoveProps is a two-person prop-making team comprised of an industrial engineer and a prop enthusiast. They bring imagination to reality by joining forces and skill sets, making handmade objects and custom electronics. Pictured here is the GM01, LoveProps’ nod to Daft Punk in the form of a meticulously crafted light instrument, hand-sculpted, with custom PCB design, wi-fi, MIDI, motion/audio interaction, and 250 RGB LEDs. It’s all about the love.

 

Future Skins Reactive 3D-Printed Wearables

Future Skins is a collaboration between Italian artist and physical interaction designer Paola Tognazzi Drake and Mexican expert 3D modeler Jonathan Ramírez Díaz de León. The project and research investigates how wearable technology can be implemented in everyday life and how, for that to be possible, it’s necessary to design, thinking about the ergonomics of the body, the movement dynamics, and the natural mechanics. 3D printing of the prototypes is in collaboration with 3D-printing expert Gianluca Pugliese on his WASP 3D printers.

 

Domo Experiencia

Domo Experiencia sustainably manufactures and installs geodesic domes of various sizes and utilities, with a focus on  minimal environmental impact. In addition to creating original spaces for tourist complexes, camps, homes, greenhouses, and events, they advise on construction techniques that are energy efficient using bioclimatic and ecological solutions.

Fabricademy

Fabricademy is a new textiles academy at the intersection of textiles, digital fabrication, and biology. This transdisciplinary program focuses on the development of new technologies applied in the textile industry, in its broad range of applications, from the fashion industry and the upcoming wearable market. The two-phase program lasts six months, with three months of seminars and learning modules and three months focusing on individual in-depth applied project research.

 

The-Carcasa-Project

The-Carcasa-Project, by maker Antonio Casas, aims to apply a folded-surface approach to shelter structures, just using overlapped and folded sheets of thin materials, in absence of any linear specifically structural element as bars, sticks, ribs, or beams. The procedure can be embodied in multiple instances, at different scales, with the use of different materials, and in situated contexts.

For all the information you need to join the celebration at Maker Faire Bilbao this weekend, check out the website!