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Award 2019 - Longlisted

Agbogbloshie Makerspace Platform
– DK Osseo-Asare & Yasmine Abbas

About the project

Agbogbloshie Makerspace Platform (AMP) is a participatory project to retrofit the future of the Agbogbloshie scrapyard in Accra, Ghana—today portrayed in global media as “the world’s largest e-waste dump”, typifying technology’s toxic fallout: The problem of planned obsolescence in a time of consumer culture. AMP is a maker collective sited at and around the Agbogbloshie scrapyard, understood as a regional hub for recycling and local manufacturing—West Africa’s symbolic and symbiotic epicenter of urban mining—where materials, parts, and components are reclaimed from expired consumer goods, remade as feedstock for new manufacturing and repurposed with new use-value.

Integrating the practical know-how of grassroots makers with the technical knowledge of students and young professionals in STEAM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics), AMP operates as an experimental STEAM-powered innovation engine to induce urban collaboration. Through hands-on maker workshops that leverage the scrapyard as the repository of both collective knowledge and materials, AMP brings together youth from different cultural backgrounds to co-create an open architecture for “crafting space”.

Designed to be fabricated with people, AMP spacecraft deploys for community empowerment. A simultaneously open-source technology toolkit, makers-space kiosk, and urban robot, process of re(up)cycling and platform for invention, spacecraft transform environment through reassembly and adaptation. Within spacecraft, stories of unmaking, making and remaking unfold—told by alchemists, shapeshifters, and Afronauts exploring the generative possibilities of waste—combining bricolage and ingenuity, morphing matter into media and, in the process, expanding humanity through new models of justice and agency.

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About the artist

Initiated by DK Osseo-Asare and Yasmine Abbas in 2012, AMP has engaged over 1500 youth from West Africa, Europe and the United States in the AMP Makers’ Collective—750+ scrap dealers and makers from Ghana’s informal sector and 750+ young STEAM practitioners—to reimagine electronic landscapes and pan-urban waste streams‚ co-developing manuals for e-waste handling, mobile phone app for grassroots maker ecosystems and deployable makers-space “spacecraft” prototypes in Accra, Ghana, and Dakar, Senegal.