A laboratory is defined as a room or building equipped for scientific experiments, research, or teaching. In a most simplistic definition, the Felt Lab is a room in the Quarry building in St Jacob’s that is equipped with interactive digital display technology for experiments, research, teaching and learning. The nuts and bolts are simple – lots of advanced technology in a room.
The inner workings are what make the space truly interesting. The Felt Lab isn’t only equipped with technologies for explorations, but is also equipped with a large knowledge database within the people who use the space. From developers to artists, there is an ability to come to the space with an idea, and have mentoring, assistance and advice on which technologies best suit the ideas, which software works best for particular applications of ideas to hardware, and even where one can find that esoteric developer who would be willing to share an algorithm to kickstart a project. This style of collaboration is what draws artists into the lab to help them bring their ideas to fruition.
This past week, Belgian international artist Hazim Kamaledin stopped into the lab with an ambitious goal to create an immersive experience – Black Spring. Collaboration partners Kamaledin’s company tg Cactusbloem and MT Space from Kitchener are creating this performance to be placed at The Courtyard at Bonnie Stewart. The project has witnessed blue sky ambitious thinkering, and the inevitable reduction to viability. In the process of these discussions, Kamaledin has partnered with various people at the lab to assist with the technical creation of this immersive experience. Great things spawn from the discussions in this community and indeed the lab comes to life as more than just a storehouse for equipment. The Felt Lab exists as a living space where collaborators can organise around technology and ideas.
The true strength of the lab is that artists and entrepreneurs congregate in a single space – and when they do, ideas fly. But ideas at the lab are not transient or left in the blue sky. These ideas are harnessed, groomed, brought into a space where they are made possible. Ideas conceived in the lab become reality.