Low Cost Photography from the Air BIG BANG DATA

“Low cost photography from the air” is an educative project that aims to teach documentation techniques of the territory throughaereal low-cost pictures taken with globes and kites by using tools from PublicLaboratory, an open science network and organization that collaborates withBasurama.

As part of the program of the exhibition Big Bang Data in the space of the Fundación Telefónica of Madrid (march) and families (may). In the exhibition is included as part of it the  kit de aereal low-cost photography developed by PublicLab together with pictures of the workshop that we did in Castellón Defend the land from the air.

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The workshops were divided in two sessions:

Date of the workshop for teenagers: Saturaday 28 and Sunday 29, March 2015.
Date of the workshop for families: Saturday 16 and Sunday 17, May 2015.
Timetable: Saturday: From16:30 to 20:00 and Sunday: From 10:30 to 13:30.

Methodology of the workshop for teenagers

The workshop was estructured in two sessions of 4 horas: Saturday Morning and Sunday Afternoon .

Sessión 1: presentation; making a case to protect the camera or the phone; excursion to take pictures (Puerta del Sol); review of the pictures; short introduction toPublicLab y Basurama.

Session 2: review and selection of the pictures; practical session to assemble the pictures to form a map (using mapknitter.org); theoretical session about the subjectivity of the maps,  digital cartographies and techniques DIY of aereal pictures.

Session 1. Saturday afternoon.



Presentation of the participants and the monitors.

Making a case to protect the camera

Materials needed: mobile phones of the participants, some rope, plastic bottles (of 2 and 5 liters, empty containers), scissors, cutters, permanent marker. We don´t use it, but it is also possible to use cardboard.

To start we suggested an exercise to work with our hands and start solving step by step how to hang a camera from a balloon that takes picture.

  1. How to get the camera to be horizontal?
    Making of a rope swing (rig or harness) so the camera is horizontal. The participans use their own phones as cameras.
  2. How to protect them against hits?

Making the case from plastic bottles or other containers .

  1. How to get a camera that doesn´t turn over because of the wind?

Puttng glue to the case so it works as a vane (explaining the swivel hitch).

  1. How to hang cases to the rope?

Explaining how to unite with a carabiner to not generate extra tension to the rope.

  1. How to activate the trigger of the camera in continuous mode?

Gum and scotch tape to activate the trigger.

  1. How to blow a balloon?

How to blow up a balloon, tying it and to the rope.

  1. How to transport the balloon?

Precautions to prevent that the balloon blows up.

  1. What happpens if we loose the balloon?

Adding contact mode to the case and in the camera.

Excursion to take pictures

The participants take turns for the transport tasks (holding the rope, the balloon, dropping and picking the rope, trigger the camera, pick back the camera).

18.00h is little bit late to start making pictures: the light starts disappearing, so the pictures are more blurry, and the longs and variable shadows make it more difficult to join the pictures to start making the map.

We had enough time to fly three times over the square of Puerta del Sol. The camera used was a Canon1300 and a minicamera MobiusAction Cam.

Pictures review

It is very important to review the pictures taken with the participants to understand the problems (and possible solutions):

  • blurry pictures
  • moved pictures(not enough light)
  • too close pictures (not enough height, not enough helium or lots of wind)
  • pictures that show the bottle (wrong suggestion to the case)

Introduction to PublicLab andBasurama

We save for the end an introduction in the context of the workshop and the motivations. We wanted to leave for the end these part that is more theoric.

Session 2. Sunday morning

Materials: laptops, tablets, pen drives and hard disks to share the pictures.

Review and selection of the pictures

We went on discussing again the pictures of the previous day and they were distributed among the participants . The collective task was to review the pictures and to select the best to use them to crate a map of the square. It was suggested to the participants to discharge the pictures that were: moved, blurry or taken from too close.

Practice session of assembling pictures to make a map

With mapknitter.org.

Theoretical session of digital cartographies and aereal pictures

About the subjetivity of maps, digital cartographies and DIY techniques for aereal pictuers. Click to see the images

The workshop with families had a similar methodology. The first day we went to take pictures to Vázquez de Mella square and the second to Puerta del Sol. At some time the wind was very strong, but thanks to a good teamwork we achieved to get back back the balloon safe and sound.

Map of Puerta del Sol (Madrid) made from a single picture of the workshop,

Futuro House is Public Space

Tapiola is a relevant example in the history of nordic garden cities which is having a deep renovation nowadays, with heavy works taking place all around. The core ideas which inspired this urbanism trend are nowadays in the point of view.

In this context, Architecture Information Center Finland chose not distant EMMA, Espoo Museum of Moder Art to host a seminar about ‘Architecture in education for Children’ and invited basurama to host a workshop with local students, using architecture as a tool to experience the city and its functioning.

As an inspiration we used ‘Futuro House’, an experimental architecture icon designed in the 60´s by Matti Suuronen which is also present in EMMA. Futuro House and Tapiola are strongly connected with the utopian trend and we consider that they can really inspire young people learning. Our idea is to use this architectural icons, make them interact with contemporary ingredients and let the students be part of this experience.

Waste is more than the surplus of city functioning, it is present in the all the production processes -tangible or intangible- operating in the city. Waste is also one of the ‘dark sides’ of many of the utopic ideas. Most of these dreams were made obsolescent, mass productive and were made of plastic.
Using waste we advocate for transforming this discarded material into a powerful source of raw material and show the participants experience efficient ways of designing and building.
We also aimed considering ‘wasted’ spaces’, so common in sprawl cities as Tapiola. Inflating the House in this spaces can show the participants how to occupy them and give them life.
The plastic bags used in the workshop were collected by Archinfo and the students themselves some days prior the workshop. During two days they were classified, opened and then taped with scissors and regular tape to make the inflatable architecture surfaces. As a way to experience the scale and the impact of the plastic bags altogether, we took the bubble to different locations.
Basurama has created inflatables in cities as Taipei, Casablanca, Sao Paulo or Bangkok and everywhere we have found abundant discarded material to make them.
With this Manual, you can also make your own Plastic Futuro House.

Cardboard Wild Dreams 2015

During 2015 we have been developing an important creative line of work based on reused cardboard. We carry out several workshops, covering both formative and experimental aspects, with this waste material. The cardboard used in these workshops was harvested from Trash Safaris around the city, gathering the material from the main commercial streets. Cardboard is one of the cheapest materials but also one with the most creative possibilities. Available in excess as it is and available to everyone, we are often not aware of their full potential. Furthermore, cardboard could be defined as a symbol of consumption in modern society, where almost all the goods we buy are transport around the word in boxes made out of this material. Working and experimenting with cardboard allow us to be aware of the big picture, making us face the production system.

Spanish National Library. Cardboard Wild Dreams and Cardboard Challenge workshops.

During Cardboard Challenge the objective was to work over formal and structural experimentation with the cardboard discarded by the National Library. On the other hand, Cardboard Wild Dreams, took place during the weekend (on 14th and 15th May), is an open invitation to play and experiment freely with the cardboard in the National Library garden.

Open Studio Madrid. Cardboard workshop for children.

During the weekend of the 2nd to 4th of October 2015, Basurama´s headquarter, La Nave, was open for the OpenStudio visitors, and we took those open house days to hold a cardboard workshop for children. Fantasy, imagination and creativity together with the endless possibilities of cardboard produced beautiful costumes, sets and devices. Real fun!

Nebrija University Workshop. Cardboard Assembly

Along with students of the College of Fine Arts, Design and Architecture of the Nebrija University, we were researching the possibilities, designing and creating different volumes with reused cardboard. We worked with notions of descriptive geometry mixing them with cardboard capacities.

Tangram workshop in CaixaForum Zaragoza

This was a workshop to train trainers. From the popular puzzle “tangram” we explored different scales and dimensions in a way to reuse the cardboard left over from Christmas gifts into new toys. During the workshops that were held at CaixaForum in Zaragoza during Christmas 2015, the participants built their own “tangram”.

PEI Alphabet furniture system – Battle Royale

Universidad Javeriana dof Bogotá Summer Workshop at Medialab-Prado, Madrid.

Co-directed by together with PKMN & Zuloark.


Battle Royale is the name of a film directed by Takeshi Kitano on 2000 presenting an apocaliptic japanese society in which population control becomes a public affair. In the film a group of students nominated as the worst class in the country arrives to a desert island with one only objective… they have to fight and survive different challenges until just one of them remains alive… for that purpouse each student receives a tool, maybe a gun, but maybe a compass or a plastic chicken… so they have to associate and use their intelligence to empower their personal tools to survive.

In our workshop we designed a collaborative strategy based on the film. 4-5 member groups were assigned a tool-kit and a basic shape so that they had to design considerind their limitations but also the possibility of getting alliances.

We chose one material (pine wood 300x10x2,5 cm strips), basic screws, nuts and bolts, and we supplied different tools: saws, a cnc machine, a laser machine, measuring tapes, hammers, sanders, drills… So each group were challenged to design empowering their tools possibilities. The furniture system was based on a pixel grid upon a 60x60cm module, in order to enable the elements assembly, rendering possible that the system works as a catalogue of independent pieces, but also as a continuous system generating landscape or playground collective spaces.

We gave the groups 4 different shapes to design: square, triangle, quarter-circle and K-shape. 16 teams were able to produce 33 pieces of furniture.

At the end of the workshop we checked the communication possibilities of the kit setting different spaces through different letters componing words and messages.


“The Whirlpool of waste” – Roskilde Festival 2013

More pictures here.

A whirlpool of waste emerges in the middle of an ephemeral city. An invented city to consume: Music, drinks, friends, drugs… RoskildeFestival is a great music festival that congregates more than 125.000 people during 9 days offering more than 100 concerts and activities, a great event of masses.

Instead of hiding and making the rubbish invisible, ” the whirlpool of waste” it’s formed as a visible monument of what we are: consumers producing waste. A trash monument that was growing while the festival days where going on. Savages consumers of excess.

A catapult helped the inhabitants of the new city to accumulate garbage in the great installation. A war field where the rubbish was the main protagonist. The game and the action to relate us on the same level with our wastes.

Basurama also made two workshops with the garbage generated during the festival:

  • Disguises and masks workshop.
    Musical instruments workshop.

Video of the catapult in action:

You can see more videos of the process and a broad view of the festival here (by Basurama).

Vertical garden in a School

We were at Lourdes School working with some of their students for the collective construction of a vertical garden and orchar. We built it  from packaging materials such as plastic boxes and plastic bottles.

The objective was to build the vertical garden as a prototype, so the students could work and study it during the academic year. The vertical garden was placed in an area of the school to serve as an educational area . This intervention allowed the students to strat thinking on production processes and to be aware of the requirements (in a small scale) needed. On the other hand they will also be concious of their own potential to built, grow and take care of a garden.

The construction was simple, using packaging materials that the students had been collecting themselves some weeks before. Mainly fruit boxes, plastic bottles and rope.The tools used were simple and accesible to everyone: punches, cutters and a drill.
As the seedbeds were already prepared, after construction they just planted, wateres and picked the fruits.


The intervention was based on a reference of Rosenbaum Studio.

Batumi and its self constructed outdoor itinerant cinema.

More photos

Batumi, Georgia, is a city on the Black Sea and summer booming destination for neighboring countries (Russia, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Armenia) .The city is focusing its developement in the construction of infraestructures and apartments “sun and beach” style.

We were invited by the curators Tamara Bokuchava and Nini Palavandishvil to participate in the Urban Art Festival “Active Art” 2014, first urban art festival in Georgia.

The obejective was to recover discarded materials and give them a new use as well as visibilize that trash is only a “label” that we put on things once their are not more usefull for wath they were designed. We have been working 10 days with Georgian students in the Contemporary Art Center of Batumi (41N 41E) recovering tires to build the seats and packaging plastic for the inflatable screen. The result aselfcontructed open air cinema for summer nights.

The inflatable screen is available at the Contemporary Art Center of Batumi to be used by anyone who want it.  You just have to ask for it!

While tires chairs have been donated to the City of Batumi and will bespread around schools and city parks.



BOCHUM FACTORY of LEISURE and CARE (BFPfW): How to become a Granny?

Participation in project “This is not Detroit”, by Schauspielhaus Bochum and Urbane Kunst Ruhr. Bochum, Germany 12th -21st June, 2014.

The project aims to reflect on the future of the industry, of the labor and of European cities. Artists from Poland, England and Spain (the countries where Opel factories are running) have been invited to propose projects

Basurama has propose the project Bochumer Freizeit und PflegeWerk ( BFPfW).

“Sit under the sun, abdicate and be your own king.” Fernando Pessoa.

Eric Hobsbawm used to claim that London Tube was the biggest luxury mankind ever had: no yacht, sports car, or jewelry can be compared to that collective effort. BFPfW is a proposal for enjoying and reflecting on how to manage our collective wealth, taking care of our common ground and of each other in the time when we are all becoming grannies.

Good old Europe, like in granny’s, is the only place where carework still means something: in the ruthless post-capitalist societies arising in emergent countries and in the nightmares we have when facing the future, we have to take care of each other, both as the ultimate and the indispensable way of keeping ourselves together.

Everyone is welcome to propose all kind uses for the BFPfW, and to enjoy it. Can we think of a collective relax, fun and meeting space we manage, where we set the cooperation rules and colonnise this spaces that the failure of capitalism leftover for our future?

BFPfW was a factory that produced hand-made deckchairs with reused publicity banners and converting chairs into rocking chairs, together with a tap water cocktails and, specially a huge terrain vague that went green with years of rain. We were taking pictures from above with the handmade aerial pictures kit develop by publiclab.org

During the two weeks of its public opening, the BFPfW produced around 100 deckchairs and 50 rocking chairs that were used to enjoy the biggest, good looking and wilder terrain vague in town. The idea of low-cost, human scale parks that include luxuries such as those deckchairs and the sauna nearby (A work by Modulor Beat). The idea of getting together, building together, enjoying what we have together. Regular, very different people swinged by, had a chat or a tap water cocktail, took a walk, build or not… A small project for those willing to get together and getting old quietly and with others.


Let’s get old, indeed. Let’s get old happily, together, taking care of each other. The song by the swedish band Lacrosse that inspired us for that motto, and the videoclip we staged as a tribute to them. Europe is growing older irremediably next century. There are other continents with vibrant young people who are taking over. We are all become grannies, so we must learn to get older with happiness.


We also invited ALAS and Stiftung Freizeit for doing a workshop with kids and white boxes.

and Entupunto to help us become a granny with her knitting workshops.

BASURAMA were also the CURATORS of the SPANISH PARTICIPATION in the This is not Detroit

The selected participans from Zaragoza where:

Undo Estudio – Asalto Festival.

Proyecto Esto no es un solar – Gravols di Monte Architects.

Festival Trayectos –Urban Dance Festival


A_Zofra – Metropolitan Observatory of Zaragoza.

Plastic Surrealims – LIGHT

More photos here.

“Living in plastic bags”. Overconsumption, waste and desire.
Creativity workshop “Plastic Surrealism” in Antonio Gala Foundation, Córdoba.
21 – 22 February, 2014.

Workshop of thought and action carried out with the young residents of Antonio Gala Foundation in Córdoba. With writers, artists, visual artists and musicians. Braking their creative routine to get into the mundane materiality of plastic. Collective process of experimentation to intervene our bodies and our spaces.

LIGHT, final intervention. Habitable letters in the patio of the Palacio de Viana.
In each habitable letter was an action happening. In the letter L (poetry), you could be written a poem. In the letter U (music), you could listen to music from previously recorded plastic sounds. In the letter Z (drawing), you could write or draw on it.

Balloon mapping workshop

At Basurama we were invited to participate in the 7 000 000 000 art exhibition curated by arlandismarroqui in the EACC (Espai d’art contemporani de Castelló), and we develop a project to fit the exhibition and our purposes: we wanted to start a local chapter of balloon&kite mappers in Spain, using Public Lab tools, and awake the inactive Public Lab mail list in Spanish. To fulfil our goals we organized a 3 day workshop (January 31st – february 2nd 2014) with local groups to produce 3 local maps.

It was a great time in Castellón. We were able to show how to do balloon mapping to a wide range of people (activists, photographers, mappers) and start a small community of users, let’s see how it develops.

You can check the website with maps and photos of the “Defiende el territorio desde el aire” project (in Spainsh).

Our attempt and results

1. Preproduction

We bought 2 balloon mapping kits (with and without kites) and 2 extra balloons from the Public Lab store. We discovered a week before the workshop that the packages was held in customs, we had to pay taxes (74€).

We bought 2 compact cameras: the Canon Powershot a1300 and a1400 (165€) and 16GB SD cards and rechargeable batteries.

We bought the helium and transported it in a big rented van that could fit the balloon when inflated, so to avoid inflating and deinflating it.

2. Contact local groups

We made a public call and emailed/phone called different local environmental groups and citizens. We asked them which places they would be interested to map and made collaboratively a list with potential locations to map. We wanted to support local struggles that were already engaged with the defense of the territory. Castellón region is a good example in Spain to show the destruction the real estate bubble caused.

We got some groups engaged in the project in Valencia and Castellón:

  • In El Saler village, a local organization was fighting to revert the construction of road into a street to recover their historic access to their harbour lake. Map available.
  • In Castellón, a local ecologist group was interested in having a look to what was happening in an industrial area (El Serrallo) in the harbour that contained a BP refinery, an incinerator plant for dangerous substances, and two thermal plants. Map available.
  • A new residential area was going to be built, but it got stopped and left a “broken” mountain at the north of La Vall d’Uixó. Map available. The local group of Ecologistes en Acció is planning to use the photos for their mobilizations.

3. The workshop: theory and practice

We split the workshop in parts:

Theory (indoors):

Friday afternoon we organized a 3 hour workshop on:

  • introduction to Basurama, Public Lab and 6000km project.
  • digital cartographies (Open Street Map, GPS traces, layers)
  • aerial photography (passenger pigeon, pole photography, and ballon mapping)
  • a mapknitter session with existing photos from mapmill (Tidmarsh Farm)
  • free licensing theory, open research
  • discussion on which locations to map. Local groups told what was interesting for them.

Around 20 people showed up: ecologists, artists and local activists. Ecologistes en Acció del País Valencià y Molts Mons.

Practice (outdoors):

On Saturday (10am until sunset at 6pm) we made a session in Castellón outskirts with all the participants from Friday, We taught how to build a rig and inflate a balloon. We made our first flights in the vicinity of the refinery, El Serrallo. We only could get the border of such a huge industrial area, wind didn’t help

After a good paella lunch we continued mapping in Moncofar, in one of those places where streets have been built, but no buildigns are around. We got many motion blurred pictures (we had wrongly set the mode of the camera to aperture mode), not enought to build a good map.

After every flight we downloaded the images to our laptop and to the laptop of one of the participants. For next time we have to remember to tell participants to bring their own laptops, usb or hard drives to bring the images home with them. Later on it is much more complicated to transfer so many images (6200 images that day, 6 flights in 2 locations, 15.3GB). There was not enough wind to fly kites.


Results were great but we were concerned with the lack of sharpness of the images, check the thread about this in the Grassroots Mapping list. Cheap Canon powershot a1400 and a1300 are great, but not the best quality. The final maps looked good, though!

In some of the images, because of the strong wind (or other deffect), the camera moved inside the 5 liter water PET Bottle with the Rubber Band Rig, and we got some or the corners of the images with the bottle. we tried in the next flights to fix the camera better.

Introduction to the workshop at Casa de la Demaná, in El Saler (Valencia).

Introduction to the workshop at Casa de la Demaná, in El Saler (Valencia).

On Sunday we travelled 1 hour south, to the outskirts of Valencia city, to El Saler to map the CV-500 road that separated since decades villagers from their lake. After a quick introduction (a short version of the Friday workshop + how to build a rig) in the indoors space of the local association we started mapping. We made a boat trip to map the road and the lake as well.

The road CV-500 that separates EL Saler villager from their harbour's lake.

The road CV-500 that separates EL Saler villager from their harbour’s lake.

The regional association of associations Avinença had announce the workshop and many people (around 50) came to the workshop. It was difficult to manage such a big group. Our plan was to use the 2 kits and split the group in two, but one of the cameras was missing! It appeared later inside a bag… keep your cameras close!

After a brief meal in a bar we tried to find a place were to show the photos and make a quick demonstration with mapknitter. (5 fligths in one location, 5291 photos, 14.7GB).

Mapping from a boat going to l'Albufera

Mapping from a boat going to l’Albufera

4. Postproduction

After 3 days of intense flying and workshopping we still had to select and knit and print the maps for the exhibition. We made an extra flight in La Vall d’Uixó to be sure we had good images!

Though every night after flying we had ordered the images, we still had to select the good ones and decide which ones could be good enough to build a map. We wanted to make this process collaboratively with local groups, but due to the short time we had left we had to do it on our own (we had to come leave Castellón) Rubén and me, the Basurama team at Castellón.

After a long mapknitting session until late that night we started exporting the three maps. We had some problems with the tool crashing, better export them one at a time.

Next morning we continue fixing some errors in the maps and exporting. Later on we used Inkscape to prepare the maps for printing: add scale, north and explanatory text. Ready for print in 1.2×1.2m paper and hang onto the wall.


For next time it would be better to to some extra time to make a mapknitting session with the participants, otherwise they don’t get a sense of the whole process (though we have explained it) and maps appear magically finished!

5. Exhibition

The results of the workshop at EACC in the 7 000 000 000 exhibition

The results of the workshop at EACC in the 7 000 000 000 exhibition

The collective exhibition was opening on Friday night, the day the workshop was starting. We displayed previous related maps and a note on the wall saying that we would print the results of the workshop.

Public Lab balloon Mapping kit at the exhibition

Public Lab balloon Mapping kit at the exhibition

Our section displayed:

  • Previous maps: Saugus Landfill (MA, USA), Ruins of PAU ensanche Vallecas (Madrid, Spain).
  • Balloon and kite mapping kit
  • Google maps and Bing aerial photographs of the locations local groups wanted to map.
  • List of the locations local groups wanted to map
  • Screen with photos of the workshop
  • Maps, results of the workshop
  • Balloon (while the helium inside lasted)


Polígono industrial El Serrallo #
Castellón de la Plana. 1 febrero 2014.

El Serrallo (Castellón)
In Castellón, a local ecologist group was interested in having a look to what was happening in an industrial area (El Serrallo) in the harbour that contained a BP refinery, an incinerator plant for dangerous substances, and two thermal plants. Map available.

Carretera CV-500 a su paso por El Saler
Valencia, España. 2 de febrero 2014

El Saler and the CV-500 road

El Saler and the CV-500 road

In El Saler village, a local organization was fighting to revert the construction of road into a street to recover their historic access to their harbour lake. Map available.

PAI inacabado en La Vall d’Uixó #
Castellón. España. 3 febrero 2014

Mapa de un PAI inacabado en La Vall d'Uixó.

A new residential area was going to be built, but it got stopped and left a “broken” mountain at the north of La Vall d’Uixó. Map available. The local group of Ecologistes en Acció is planning to use the photos for their mobilizations.

The public Public Lab balloon mapping kit

Kit para hacer fotos con globos y cometas de uso público

One of the main goals was to build a local community of balloon mappers. One kit with a camera and a bottle rig remained in the exhibition space, and the other ready for the participants to use during the 3 months that the exhibition lasts, until April 27th 2014. Many people got excited during the workshop, but then we know that it is not easy, even when you have the kit, to organize a flight. Let’s see how it works.

The project has participated inen

The propject has taken part in different forum and exhibitions:

Thanks to / Collaborators

Public Lab  community for helping us think and organize this set of activities
Locations and research: Avinença, Ecologistes en Acció del País Valencià, Molts Mons and Casal Popular de Castelló
Photos: Lot and Lucía helped with the documentation.

This text is partially crossposted at PublicLab.org.