The Fab Lab has its roots in the concept of a “Critical Fiction” and takes its name
from the Latin “fabula”: a discourse, story or narrative, which has come into English
as ‘fable’ or ‘fabulous’ (worthy of a story).
In a critical fiction, a story is used to understand problems by discussing them from
another’s point of view. Using it as a meeting concept, by taking on the rôle of
someone distant from their normal persona those taking part in the meeting can
escape their daily concerns and approach the discussion in a new light. Playing a
part is central to the Fab Lab’s success, and this is achieved by supplying costumes,
dressing rooms and a stage that are part of a participant’s journey.
After deciding which dressing-room door to take, each person finds themselves
in a high, narrow room, lit with a soft, otherworldly light and draped in clothes
and props. They decide on their character, perhaps reading the room’s handbook
which is placed prominently on a shelf, and finally make their way through a curtain
and mount the stage.