Back in 2008 at The Last HOPE, we said that Hackerspaces were possible everywhere and your excuses are invalid. We had an awesome Hackerspace Village and Hardware Hacking Area, and provided inspiration to hundreds of folks who would go on to build their own Hackerspaces all over the world.
It’s now 2010. Hackerspaces are everywhere and our rallying cry from 2008 has been heard all over the world. Spaces that kicked off the movement like NYCResistor and HacDC have matured and moved into larger quarters and spawned very successful startups from Open Source ideas. Spaces like Hive76 and AlphaOne Labs have proven that big cities need more than one Hackerspace. Now that we’re well on our way to “Hackerspaces Everywhere!”, we think it’s time to change the cry to “Hackerspaces Forever!”
“Hackerspaces Forever!” is the theme of The Hackerspace Village at The NEXT Hope and the panel discussion taking place at the next hope. In addition to a Hardware Hacking Area that’s in a prime position in the Mezzanine level, we have an awesome group of speakers lined up to tell you how their Hackerspaces are working on growing, expanding and being around for a very long time:
Mitch Altman (Noisebridge, San Francisco, USA)
Mitch likes to trick people into doing what they love to do
Sean Bonner (Crashspace, Los Angeles, USA / HackspaceSG, Singapore)
We’re not really sure what Sean Bonner does, but it’s awesome.
Johannes Grenzfurthner (hackbus.at, Vienna, Austria)
Writer, artist, director, DIY researcher
Markus “fin” Hametner (Metalab, Vienna, Austria)
Less serious than Nick Farr
Alexander Heid (HackMiami, Miami, FL, USA)
President, HackMiami and Co-Chair of South Florida OWASP
Nathan “JimShoe” Warner (Makers Local 256, Huntsville, AL, USA)
Former Chairman, Charter Member of Makers Local 256
Matt Joyce (NYC Resistor, Brooklyn, NY, USA)
Once Banned from HOPE, twice spoken at HOPE
Carlyn Maw (Crashspace, Los Angeles, CA, USA)
Crashpace Cat Herder and canonical source of awesomeness
Far McKon (Hive 76, Philadelphia, PA, USA)
Co-Founder of Hive76, Instigator of weird and interesting projects, and a ginger
psytek (Alpha One Labs, Brooklyn, NY, USA)
Inventor and engineer currently building a Flying Saucer at Alpha One Labs.
The “Hackerspaces Forever!” panel will be moderated by Nick Farr.
San Francisco hacker space Noisebridge is proud to present Anti/Surveillance Fashion Show at the upcoming Maker Faire in San Mateo, CA USA. Anti/Surveillance is a runway show exploring the uses of wearables for surveillance, and for hiding from surveillance. We are currently accepting submissions for participation in the show.
Constantly under the lens of the camera, fashion is a natural form in which to explore the relationship between surveillance and culture. How are we watched? How do we watch? How do we present ourselves to the eyes of the world? At Maker Faire 2010, May 22-23, we will be presenting Anti/Surveillance, a runway show that explores the role of and our relationship with surveillance in our society.
We are looking for submissions covering the range from playful to practical. Do you make accessories that blind CCTV cameras with IR LEDs? Have you imagined makeup that will thwart face detection? Ever built an invisibility coat? Or maybe you just like to put QR codes on all your clothing to make it easier for people to track you.
If you are interested in showing wearable work that explores the boundaries of surveillance please submit your work to be included in Anti/Surveillance Fashion Show. To submit your project, please send the following information to email@example.com as soon as possible:
A photo or short video of your project, or a link to a URL with photo(s) or video(s)
A few sentences describing your project and how it relates to surveillance
How the item is worn on the body, and any physical restrictions on the model wearing it
Any special requirements for care or use of the item
The recent history of what has happened at “the Forsk“, a hackerspace in Malmö, Sweden before and after the police raid(s).
Let’s start with a timeline to give you a quick round-up of where we are, since unfortunately many articles referred to are written in Swedish.
At this point (22-01-2010) there are still no allegations concerning the hackerspace, but in statements towards press people, these terms get mentioned:
“Preparation for Grand Theft”
“Breaking of the special knife law”
“Breaking alcohol laws”
Asked about these allegations, the prosecutor claimed that this is nothing they will press charges on. (or something similar)
When we ask the police to return our stuff, they say no as they haven’t been able to use or understand any of the data they
cloned of any of the disks. For this reason, they decide to keep the machines to bargain with.
(one laptop unrelated to the hackerspace is handed back, but is totally wrecked (one disk is overwritten with garbage data, dvd-player is broken))
Police contacts employers and relatives to people in the hackerspace to push them in to give up information on people in hackerspace and what “passwords” they may have.
Police decides to hand back ink, wifi-antenna, Linksys-router and three out of ten bus cards.
Police raids founder of hackerspace grill-bit (MMN-o) in Swedish city Umeå (and blog host for forskningsavd). During this bust, the police confiscates four servers, one laptop and one external USB-drive. The forskningsavd.se blog goes offline due to the raid.
The police accuses MMN-o of computer intrusion, prosecutors disagree on the charges but continue with charges.
The charges are based on MMN-o using the Internet connection at his rented office to set up a VPN.
According to the ISP this VPN disturbed the service for other customers since it was “complex to limit its bandwidth” and this type
of connection was not agreed upon. Further the ISP refused to contact MMN-o in person since this would “give him a chance to remove
something illegal before the raid”.
Here is an article written by MMN-o in Swedish
More recently he made this statement, as an argument to why police had decided to put “thepiratebay.org” in the countrywide DNS filter against childporn:
“The police have documented evidence that child-pornographic content is
hosted at The Pirate Bay”
“This will not stand, ya know, this aggression will not stand, man.“
We will not be victims, we wil continue we will grow and we will
learn, build, recycle and change!
Forskningsavdelningen means Research Department. “Forskning” is the
idea of analyzing circumstances and document them to learn and change
behaviour. Our department are good at this. We are not sad, hurt,
outraged or offended we are innovation we are change we are friendship
and we “forsk” our way to the future. We will not excuse our selves
for our curiosity.
I’ll admit, this post is coming a bit late, but we’re still recovering from our month-long sleepless, caffeinated, sprint across North America. On the plus side, we’re done filming! We visited as many hackerspaces and makerspaces as we could in a month, but that was the easy part….
Now begins the post-production work.
We’ll be working for a quite a while on getting everything just right, so unfortunately I can’t give an exact date of release. I can, however, tell you that we’re going to try to have it done by next spring. Believe me, we’re just as excited to see the finished film as you are!
I want to say thank you to the dozens of people who helped us out along the way. Without the car trips, beds, and donations of both hackerspace members and kind strangers, there is absolutely no way we could have done this. We may have had the cameras, but it was all of you who made this possible. Thank you!!
For updates on the film, check out www.twohandsproject.com! I’ll do my best to keep all of you in the loop here on hackerspaces.org as well.
Congrats to i3Detroit on the grand opening of their new space in Royal Oak, MI (near Detroit). Not only is their space incredibly cool, they brought in the Mayor to officially cut the ribbon. Of course, being hackers, they’re not going to settle for oversized scissors and a red ribbon with a bow. Instead, watch as Mayor Ellison cuts through a 40-conductor ribbon cable with an oxyacetylene cutting torch:
To boot, their space is DOPE!! Tis ground level with a garage door, electronics lab, classroom, reading loft, and…they’ve got metalworking equipment!!! Oh, dear angle grinder and MIG welder, how I love your sparks, smoke, noise…and how I hope see you join with microcontrollers and heavy duty servos to make robots that fix abandoned buildings! How I would love to see a homebrew alt fuel open source automobile roll out the i3 doors! Pipe dreams?? Only time will tell…
Is it only a matter of time before we have a Head of State blasting open the doors of their country’s latest hackerspace? Hopefully so!
First of all, please introduce yourself – who is behind syn₂cat and what do you do for a living?
While syn₂cat began as a two men project in August 2008, it has by now developed into a fully fledged non-profit organisation, featuring 4 administrative members and 4 additional officers. The initial founders, Steve and David are a freelance IT consultant and a political science student respectively.
Of the additional people that soon stocked up the syn₂cat office, macfreak109 is a school teacher in information science, xx5y is a microelectronics engineer, Bartek a post-grad physics student, Gunstick a sysadmin and Michel is a student in secondary school. We only now got reinforced by an 8th crew member.
So how did you come up with the idea to found a hackerspace?
The idea of a hackerspace was born out of desperation
David felt that, should he ever have to return to Luxembourg after university, there’d have to be a hackerspace. Visiting the Metalab in Vienna, though only for a short hour and without much going on, was a key moment in filing that decision.
Though the idea of building a hackerspace was initially scheduled for after David’s graduation, we spontaneously decided to do it “right there and now”. Since then, the project has been steadily growing like an open source project, with its “developers” learning by doing how to run such a show.
What are your future plans for the hackerspace?
Bootstrapping the space is still the near future and once we accomplished that, attracting more people and launching projects will be our focus. One group will focus on youth projects to get more young people into thinking outside the box and begin seeing solutions instead of problems.
Another future task is to constantly shift the responsibility of the actual space to other, maybe younger, people. Although we talked about an “administrative” board, we are far from paper tigers and want to keep the complexity as flat as possible.
Why do you think is the movement spreading so fast right now?
It gained a lot of momentum by the Hackers on a Plane project and the incredible amount of hackerspaces growing in the US. The sudden US movement had its spark from some German hackerspace visits so I guess it was the Germans again
Interestingly enough this amalgamate of people starting open spaces backlashed to Europe again to give rise to a new iteration of hacker- or open spaces. The movement is nothing new but currently it sees fit in the hacker culture which sees an imminent uprise. To get to the point: People saw peers doing cool things in cool spaces and thought – “us too!” – and started doing it too.
Another factor might be the rise of social networks which allow ideas to spread quickly, especially amongst technically minded people. Hackerspaces take the connections made online and map them into the physical world.
The next big things will be our OpenWeekend where we show the space to the general public and keep it open for 36h straight. Further, we are also planning regular Python classes and electronics (soldering) sessions, with another focus on attracting other peer-groups such as user groups , the Chaos Computer Club, miniature railway hackers etc…
And the last question, where can we find some pictures?
The one-month old Abbenay hacklab has put out a call for support from the Hackerspace community. In the spirit of ASCII and PUSCII, they opened up operations in a squat in downtown Stockholm. While squats are unusual in Sweden, this particular space has been able to stay open for a month.
We are however facing an imminent eviction threat and police pressure has been significantly increasing lately – with civil cops coming very often to take pictures of the house and sirens waking us up early in the morning. This call is asking you to contact the landlord to show support to the hacklab and the squat…
Herein lies a rather unique opportunity. While you may not agree with the politics behind squatting, Abbenay’s call for support is asking for an open dialogue with the building’s landlord, advocating on behalf of Hackerspaces and asking for reasonable accommodation. Here is an opportunity to purposefully advocate for a fellow Hackerspace, not by necessarily aligning yourself with the politics of the situation but by appealing to a property owner why it’s in his community’s best interest to allow Abbenay to continue.
Although their methods are questionable, please consider what benefits you and your fellow citizens could enjoy from having such a dedicated team of goofy researchers in your capital city. Beyond the obvious press coverage…you would be surprised … how productive and ingenious these people can be, and how shaking and beneficial such an endeavor can be for the local community.
Those of you who have started hackerspaces know how difficult the bootstrapping process is, as well as how beneficial these spaces are to the technically creative and curious where you live. While your hackerspace probably took a different route in coming to be, consider that every Hackerspace confronts its own forming and operating challenges differently. Consider how you give and receive help at your hackerspace and consider that what Abbenay is asking for isn’t that much different.
While this post is a bit of a departure from my theoretical musings of late, I believe this is a fascinating situation with a good working solution that shows promise. Even if Abbenay is ultimately evicted, the mere process of reaching out to a property owner in another part of the world can help you frame your own thoughts about your Hackerspace and how the magic and struggles in your space relate to those in spaces throughout the world.
After the California adventure, we made our way up to Seattle. After getting in late, we met with Justin Martenstein from a hackerspace known as Saturday House. Unfortunately we learned that Saturday House is no more, and we discussed several reasons why hackerspaces can fail.
The next day we met with Rob, another member of Saturday House, and then Willow and Baron, who are starting a new space in Seattle called Jigsaw Renaissance. Baron was awesome enough to give us a ride out to Vancouver that night, where we checked out VHS. After driving us back to Seattle, Baron dropped us off at Bill Beaty’s house.
Bill Beaty is clearly a mad scientist, but awesome nonetheless. We interviewed him the next morning, as he seemed to know quite a bit about the history of the local hackerspaces. Following that, we talked with Noid about The Black Lodge (fomerly known as Eastside Hackerspace).
Having finished the West Coast portion of the trip, we shot across the country to Charlotte, North Carolina. Teleco Bob gave us a ride from there to Atlanta, where we experienced the beauty of FreesideAtlanta. Their space is huge!
The following day we caught a ride with Freeside to the Hackerspace Meetup at Makers Local 256 in Hunstville, Alabama. Great ideas were discussed, including things which could very well change the direction of hackerspaces at large… more on that in a later post.
Now that the chaos has subsided a bit, we are sitting in the airport, waiting for a flight to Chicago, eager to continue capturing the passion and creativity of the hackerspaces that await.
After visiting so many spaces, I’ve noticed a few things. At first glance, it seems that the only common feature of these spaces is that they are all different… but upon taking a closer look, similarities do appear. These places all share more or less the same core values; they realize that having a place for people to gather, share ideas, and create new things is vastly important.
I think I’m starting to get a feel for the nature of these hackerspaces. While there have always been places “like” hackerspaces that embody the nature of collaboration and creativity, the difference now is that these places are being created by many different kinds of people in society. In other words, hackerspaces come in flavors; some are artist inspired, some are entrepreneur inspired, and some are coder inspired.
It is refreshing to know that no matter who starts these spaces, they all seem to be teeming with the hacker spirit.
- Jordan Bunker (writing from the Long Beach Airport)