Trashlab monthly events, at Media Factory as part of Pixelversity 2012 programme (Pixelache Helsinki), aimed to explore experimental art-design-technology practice between hacker and maker cultures, in the context of re/up-cycling and the increased availability of new fabrication tools.

Trashlab’s objective is to build up a community of people (artists, designers, hackers, makers, re/up-cyclers, activists) inside and outside Aalto context, who are concerned with material and electronic waste in contemporary society, and tackle this problem with creative and tangential approaches.

A lecture series called ‘Talking Trash(lab) was organised to complement, which invited local, regional and European guests to speak on related topics, as a presentation on Friday early evening before each Trashlab workshop in Pixelversity 2012 calendar. In addition, ‘Light is History’ project was followed as case-example throughout the year for the overlaps fostered by Trashlab.

Pixelache’s Trashlab:

Keywords: trash, waste, recycling, upcycling, electronics, digital fabrication, social- interface, community development, peer-produced documentation.


The Trashlab relates to the material and social Design department (spatial, product and textiles), as well as the experimental electronics and physical computing aspect in Media Lab. Further, researchers from engineering & economics who are interested in peer-production and peer-based knowledge-production, process aswell as those involved with sustainable business and electronic/material waste management in the local and global context. It is hoped that the ‘Talking Trash(lab)’ process considers what would be appropriate lecture series and communications related to such trans- disciplinary practice.


A monthly lecture series called ‘Talking Trash(lab) accompanies Trashlab, that invites local, regional and European guests to speak on related topics. These take the form of 1hr presentations on Friday evening (e.g. 17.30-18.30), the day before each Saturday Trashlab workshop session. The ‘Talking Trash(lab) lectures is open for anyone to attend who is interested.

The following candidates for lectures in 2012:

1. James Wallbank, Access Space, Sheffield, UK (;
2. Judith Meijer, Kulturlabor Trial & Error. Berlin, DE (;
3. Peter Kuria Githinji, Shalin Finland ry, Helsinki, FI (;

4. Jennifer Gabrys, Goldsmiths University, London, UK (author of Digital Rubbish); 5. Reet Aus, Reet Aus Design, Tallinn, EE (;
6. Manuel Bozzo aka ManUelBO, KORF Collective, La Spezia, IT (;

7. Ernest Truely, Kultuuritehdas Polymer, Tallinn, EE (; 8. Antti Ahonen, Koelse, Helsinki, FI (;
9. Diana Wildschut, De Spullenmannan/Fablab Amersfoort, Amersfoort, NL ( |;

10. Maria Törn, Aalto University School of Engineering, Lahti, FI (;
11. Cindy Kohtala, Creative Sustainability Researcher, Aalto School of Art, Design and Architecture, Helsinki, FI (;
12. Karthikeya Acharya & Samir Bhowmik, Aalto University School of Art, Design and Architecture, Helsinki, FI ( |;

Furthermore, a case-example project fostered within Trashlab programme is ‘Light is History’ (see Appendix B), led by Aalto doctoral students Karthikeya Acharya (Design dept.) and Samir Bhowmik (Media dept.). Demonstrating what may be developed in Trashlab, benefitting from peer-based knowledge-sharing in practical skills, it addresses aspects of co-design and participatory design. The project was develop throughout the year, and presented in December as a ‘Talking trash(lab)’ presentation. An open diary & manual was produced throughout the process, which allows others to contribute and develop the materials.

The ‘home department’ of the application is Aalto ARTS Design department, and project team is as following: Karthikeya Acharya (Aalto ARTS Design), Samir Bhowmik (Aalto ARTS Media) and Andrew Paterson (Aalto ARTS Media/Pixelache Helsinki). Planning and arrangement of the lectures shared among these three persons, with consultation of Maria Törn (Aalto ENG Lahti Centre) and Cindy Kohtala (Aalto ARTS Design/Creative Sustainability), as well as Antti Ahonen (Koelse) and Anu Määttää (Aalto Media Factory FabLab). The Friday lectures was streamed online and documented by Pixelache’s Mikko Laajola. Saturday Trashlab workshops ‘facilitated’ by a key-holder (Samir Bhowmik). ‘Light is History’ project was developed by Acharya & Bhowmik, with support from communications/ production assistant (Design MA studentship). Development of online diary/manual documents using platform & Trash Magazine contribution, led by Paterson.

Andrew Gryf Paterson: | Karthikeya Acharya: | Samir Bhowmik: |