KIBU has started in 2007 and was founded by Magyar Telekom, the largest Hungarian telco. The aim was to create a media lab in Budapest, deals with art and technology and opens up opportunities of young talented people in town. Adam-Somlai Fischer was the first creative initiator of the project and led KIBU for 2ys. Kitchen Budapest has moved from this starting point and became mix of art and technology lab and an ICT think tank.
Methodologies very in order to serve different aims of the organization.
How can someone become a KIBU researcher? First of all, he/she should apply for a researcher position with cv, motivation letter, portfolio, project proposal and reflections on our previous projects. We select the best applicants and we offer them a researcher position with or without a monthly stipend. KIBU researchers get a 3 months contract which can be prolonged more times if we both agree upon.
KIBU researchers gather ideas, brainstorm and develop projects. They teach and learn during workshops and collaborative work. They are required to collaborate always. They help, give feedback to each other. They organize, participate and give workshops. They work on events which we organize, host or participate (exhibitions,festivals, shows, talks, conferences).
There is a large network around KIBU which consists of former KIBU researchers, personal and professional network, other cultural institutions, media labs, businesses, press, activists, organizers of related events, etc. They are in our 'pool' and they can connect to KIBU in many ways: collaborating on projects, give feedback, ask for feedback, giving commissions, offer presence or promotion, media partnership, invite us to show our work, give talk, visit us. get inspired by us, inspire us.
We have connections mainly to art, design and technology universities. We do exchange and internship program with universities in Hungary and abroad (f.e. Italy). We offer them workshops and courses within their educational program, which can take place either at KIBU or at the school. These workshops can focus on various topics, usage of a certain tool (programming language, software, hardware), design projects, trends or more theoretic fields.
We work on commissions by external business partners. Often they are Magyar Telekom-related companies. (= companies within Magyar Telekom's portfolio: origo.hu, iWiW.hu for instance)
Many times we are visited by school groups, business people or individuals who are interested in our space, working methodology and projects. Depending on our capacity we try to welcome as many such visitors as possible. Sometime people just drop-in.
A drop-in visitor who came to visit KIBU without prior notification. After they found KIBU closed, he sent this email: "Noooooo we came from italy to KIBU and you are CLOSED!!! Can you give me some material about your lab/organization/spaces? Hy Stefano"
local context: well known in creative, young people (from Fine Art University, Design University,
Since we do lots of projects at the same time, it is always hard to finish projects in time and in a good, final phase. At Kitchen Budapest researchers organize themselves organically, they establish workgroups for projects but there is no such as 'you have to this and that'.
Of course, we started thinking on introducing more strict rules for working and time management. But at the same time we are afraid of making KIBU working structure too corporate. Also, researchers are not paid a full salary, so why could we expect them to deliver professional work and work in full-time?
Usually our projects are not enough documented. Therefore their status depends a lot on knowledge of specific persons or they are device dependent. We often face the following problems:
Also, since many of our project involve great number of devices (f.e. two powerful laptops by researchers, one camera, one hifi stereo, two desk lamps, specific cables) it is impossible to store these devices with the projects. Even if we compile the devices in one box, people just go and grab what they need for another project. Then we run around crazily asking 'where is that type of firewire cable' for the (b)AR project?'.
Several projects of KIBU could be understood or interpreted in business context. However, many of our researchers don't think of commercializing their project. They prefer freedom and working on new projects instead of focusing on a specific project, investing large amount of work and lot of time into one project and developing it to a real business. We respect their choice so there is nothing like a 'you must do this and that' thing.
Also we face problems of finding external parties who would be interested in picking up a project of KIBU and turning it into business.
There is a level we miss between prototype-level and business-level.