Behind the scenes of MDEFest 2024

Discover the community-driven interventions MDEF students presented throughout the duration of the festival

  • Jun 21, 2024

Each year, the Master in Design for Emergent Futures (MDEF) program, a collaborative endeavour between Fab Lab Barcelona at IAAC and ELISAVA School of Design and Engineering, transcends traditional academic boundaries through its self-organised festival. This vibrant gathering refrains from conventional jury-based presentations, embracing hands-on prototyping and community engagement.

The program does not merely speculate about the future, it actively prototypes these possibilities through situated interventions. By leveraging the multidisciplinary prototyping capabilities inherent in the Fab Lab movement, participants craft software and hardware artefacts. These endeavours engage diverse communities, using practical design processes to investigate complex systemic problems that converged into the 4th edition of the MDEFest.

Engaging the Clot Community

This year, students collaborated with three community spaces in Barcelona’s Clot neighbourhood, not far from our Poblenou headquarters. Akasha Hub, La Cristalería Estudio, and Ssuave3000 hosted one-day activities dedicated to engaging the local community with the results of each field of work. Held from June 10th to 12th, 2024, the festival featured workshops, panels, interactive installations, and exhibitions. These activities aimed to foster future literacy, empower creatives’ collective force, and explore solutions to social and climate crises.

Day 1: ACT

At Akasha Hub, “ACT: Actively Creating Tomorrow” theme centred on sustainable energy generation and storage using accessible, low-tech household methods. This series of interactive exhibitions included WattWise, EcoGen, FuturePortals, AI.RTISANSHIP and LAIA Project.

Day 2: Alquimia

At Ssuave3000, the theme “Alquimia” revolved around the dynamic interplay between nature’s intelligence and technological prowess. The activities celebrated creativity, sustainability, and the interconnectedness of all agents, reflecting a profound appreciation for our environment. Key interventions included Plant Vibras + Soil, ANIMISTIC TECH, Syn_, Elixir, Gaia, 33 and FloraCAM.

Day 3: (Un)seen Exposures

La Cristalería’s theme, “The Last One: (Un)seen Exposures,” navigated the intersections of wearable technology, surveillance, and speculative design, particularly within gender-based violence. This poignant theme aimed to uncover and address the hidden aspects of surveillance and personal security.

Continuing the Journey

The festival’s outcomes are showcased at the ELISAVA Masters Grad Show at TMDC until Friday, June 21st, and at the Shaping Future Cities IAAC Graduation Exhibition, opening on Friday, June 28th at 18:00 and continuing until September at the IAAC Atelier on Pujades 59, near our headquarters. 

The MDEF festival exemplifies the program’s commitment to exploring unique, actionable perspectives by transforming theoretical discourse into tangible, community-driven interventions.
For those willing to learn more, the MDEF students’ repositories offer a wealth of information and insights into their individual research projects.

Jun 21, 2024