The Arts and Technology Center of the City Council of Zaragoza, Ethiopia is celebrating a decade. Art, science and technology come together in an innovative and sometimes experimental way, but with the ability to always look to the future, this cultural space has become one of the most unique in Spain.
An “area of interest”, the company defined itself, a decade after its launch in Zaragoza, it established itself as a reference center for the research, production and dissemination of new technologies and avant-garde arts in Europe. ‘Hubs’ of 16 other cities in 13 European countries and some major cultural attractions in Spain.
Promoted by the Zaragoza City Council, it was launched in 2013 with the aim of hosting and supporting the most innovative artistic expressions, organizing cultural events and providing resources to entrepreneurs for their technology-based business ideas.
The result is a ‘hub’ of more than 16,000 square meters containing sustainable development, laboratories, makerspaces, exhibition halls, an auditorium and business archives. The city council of the Aragonese capital has indicated that the center bases its existence on “opening the eyes” of citizens about the latest trends in development.
Carlos Gimeno, Municipal Councilor for Economy, Digital Transformation and Transparency of the Zaragoza City Council, indicated that the center should become a tractor in the process of elevating the city to the Olympus of “smart cities”. “Ecosystem.” Sustainable urban innovation is under construction and faces an unbeatable opportunity to focus a good portion of its efforts on the benefit of the majority.
“The center must continue its evolution to bring science closer to the citizen, to provide them with new digital services and to improve the applications of the digital environment, effectively managing everything and creating a comprehensive ecosystem. The use of data,” Gimeno highlighted during the anniversary event.
Over the past decade, Etopia has created 46 major exhibitions and showcased 230 audiovisual works with its own programming in its Virtual Room and its iconic central 400 square meter LED façade. – Aviation Exhibition Hall. Free.
Works such as Nestor Lizalde, an Aragonese artist specializing in new media and visual arts; Or the German Mario Klingmann, a pioneer of art created by artificial intelligence, products for fields such as dance, theater or music creation have also crossed these gaps.
Offering sound, dance and multi-disciplinary creative laboratories, with the capacity to house up to 36 artists at a time, Ethiopia has a prominent place in the artists’ residence, the largest in Europe.
More than 250 projects by emerging and established faculty have emerged from within its walls, making Zaragoza an exchange point for artists from across Europe, with scholarship programs such as the Hedy Lamarr residency aimed at women working in new media. or Author Residency, born in 2018.
Quarry with Ethiopian children
Cultural diffusion along these lines has facilitated digital access to a growing body of artistic and entertainment content. Since 2013, the Center’s website has published nearly half a thousand free-access materials, with more than 100,000 visits each year.
Since its inception, the operation of this cultural container has had a clear mission to reach small children, promoting the birth of Ethiopian children.
“It is a great success and a necessity to lower our gaze on small citizens and maintain the technological colonies as a quarry, creating industries and for the future development of Zaragoza as a smart city. Intervention in future anniversaries and they must continue their creative approach in this direction,” commented Carlos Jimeno.
This learning and experimentation program welcomes more than 700 boys and girls to its colonies each year, offering an ideal approach to robotics, artificial intelligence, microbiology or the metaverse. In 2023 alone, Etopia Kids workshops and other programs for school students at the center have welcomed more than 7,000 boys and girls.
Entrepreneurship and ‘Startups’
Following its philosophy of combining art with technology, Etopia has carved out a niche for itself, with the impetus provided by the Zaragoza City Council, as one of the centers of business innovation, supporting the activity of 1,650 entrepreneurs in the past. Decade..
Through its specialized center La Terminal, dedicated to the incubation and acceleration of startups and companies at the seed stage located in the Aragon region, Ethiopia has already promoted a total of 330 business projects.
Facilitating the first steps of entrepreneurs and focusing on contributing to the transformation of the Aragonese production model is CIEM Zaragoza, an incubator managed by Grupo Init. Startups or entrepreneurial projects linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
A memory book
On the occasion of its tenth anniversary, the ‘Laboratory of Future Questions’ was published, an editorial project coordinated by journalist and writer Isabel Seprian, which brings together more than 40 voices from the worlds of technology, art and education. , science and entrepreneurship, what questions a center like Ethiopia should contribute to answering in the coming decades.
Issues such as the work models of the future, the new architecture of cities in the digital age or how to address climate change are addressed from a kaleidoscopic and proactive perspective.
Etopia is the International Center of Contemporary Culture of the Zaragoza City Council, a workshop for creators and technologists, a training space specialized in the intersection between art and technology, a laboratory of ideas for the digital city and a business archive.
In addition, it collaborates with other institutions such as the University of Zaragoza, which manages the center’s open innovation labs through BIFI. It maintains close ties with Zaragoza Knowledge City Foundation (FZC) to provide this space with disruptive content related to art, technology, science and business entrepreneurship.