Timelab Gent

Remko Siemerink

Last Friday (20 April), we made a visit with our Open Design Lab to Timelab in Ghent, Belgium. This foundation and its Fablab are housed at a typical Ghent location at the Brusselsepoortstraat 97

What can we find at this place? This is what they say in their 'about' on the website:

Timelab is a new platform in Ghent, a workplace for art, technology and society. Timelab consists of a FabLab, an artists-in-residence programme, social research and get-togethers where artists, experts and other interested parties can meet, exchange ideas and find inspiration. 

This looks quite similar to what we would say about ourselves. But their are a lot of differences of course. Timelab is just like Waag a foundation, and therefore also depending on subsidies. An important difference is that they ask you to become a member of their Fablab. In Amsterdam we use a different model. Just like we do, Timelab organizes workshops and other events. But Waag is older than Timelab and has a lot more staff. This means that Timelab has to work with volunteers, artists and other individuals to support projects. You can sense that the organisation of Timelab is much younger, which comes with both advantages and disadvantages.

The differences between the Fablabs is very clear too, but this is more in general often the case. People that have visited more than one Fablab know that they all differ. The age of a Fablab is an important factor in this. A two year difference in age may look insignificant, but if you look at speed of the developments in recent years, that is indeed like the difference between a baby and an infant of two years of age. There are so many other factors that make every Fablab unique, even if the basic equipment roughly the same, like housing, atmosphere, knowledge, additional machinery, tool and also rules. Two interesting facilities that Timelab has to offer are the members kitchen and residential space. One can experiment with food and it also offers artists a temporary space to live. (Waag does have a tradition of artist residencies, but we cannot offers them housing at the premises).

About the author

  • Remko Siemerink worked from 2011-2013 at Waag as Interaction developer.