Originally conceived by Tania Bruguera, the Arte Útil Lab was not an exhibition, but rather an investigative space. It evolved throughout its run as projects explored the concept of Arte Útil by creating artistic tools for transformation or social interaction, tools to address current real-world issues, and tools that challenge the role of art as separated from use. Key to the Lab was an extensive public programme that tested Arte Útil against a series of hypotheses.
The Lab hosted four Hypotheses Panels and Working Groups for practitioners and artists discussing and producing examples of Arte Útil throughout the time The Lab was open, with a final presentation of report from the working groups. The four public workshops tested hypotheses critical to formulating the principals of Arte Útil including questions of aesthetics, ethical responsibility, sustainability, reproducibility and accessibility under the sections: Aest-ethics: Moral Aesthetics in Arte Útil; Access & Replication Mechanisms; Project Ecosystem Management; and Usefulness as Ideology. Hypotheses were tested by bringing experts/practitioners in to challenge or support these questions and by analyzing the case studies in the Lab. The events will be recorded in a lab book that will enter the archive.