[matilda] Sheffield Hacklab proposal

Chris chris at aktivix.org
Wed Jul 13 13:50:18 BST 2005


There has been various discussions about keeping the
Indymedia lab that was using during the Sheffield G8 open
as an on-going project in the Matlida St building.

People I have spoken to seem to think that doing it as an
independent project from Indymedia would make sense, it
could involve more people and perhaps do more things...

So, here is a suggestion...

A Proposal for a Sheffield Hacklab

Hacklabs [1] were born from the annual Italian
Hackmeetings [2] which started in 1998 [3] from the
necesity "to create permanent physical and autonomous
spaces to experiment, create and learn next to others with
similar interests" [4] and they soon spread to Spain and
there is now a large number of Hacklabs in southern Europe
[4] and they are spreading north... Last year there was
the first transnational hackmeeting [6].  

Hacklabs are DIY, self-sufficient spaces based on the
horizontal model of decision-making, they are "autonomous
technology zones, spaces for learning, for making your own
media, for the sharing and developing of free and
not-for-commercial-use technologies and software, for
battling surveillance and alienation, for ongoing projects
and for using new forms of communication in direct
action." [7]

A Sheffield Hacklab would be a space where hackers [8],
Free software activists [9], social campaigners, and
progressive activists of all varieties can get together as
hacktivists; "Hacktivism is root. It is the use of one's
collective or individual ingenuity to circumvent
limitations, to hack clever solutions to complex problems
using computer and Internet technology. Hacktivism is a
continually evolving and open process; its tactics and
methodology are not static. In this sense no one owns
hacktivism - it has no prophet, no gospel and no canonized
literature. Hacktivism is a rhizomic, open-source
phenomenon." [10]. 

Practically the Sheffield Hacklab would be a space in the
Matilda social centre [11] with recycled computers running
Free software, it would be somewhere where you can bring
your computer if it's broken, somewhere to experiment with
wirless technologies, somwehere to learn to use Free
software for making your own media, photos, graphics,
music, web sites, somewhere to play games, and much

It should be a space that is used to subvert sexual
streotypes, somewhere where Gender Changers [12] workshops
and Eclectic Tech Carnival [13] type activities can be
held, "We want to help women feel confident enough to
'hack' their own way into northern and male domination of
digital technology." [14].

To make this happen will take a lot of reality hacking,
but we have a head start with a space and the kit from the
G8 Indymedia lab [15] which has been donated by Lowtech
[16]. What is needed next is practical things,
workbenches, furniture etc, it has also been suggested
that we could try to run the lab on solar / wind power

What next? There is a Matilda meeting on Monday 18th July
[18], at that there will hopefully be an oppertunity to
have a Sheffield Hacklab sub-meeting, there also a
Sheffield Hacklab wiki page,
https://en.wiki.aktivix.org/Sheffield_hacklab and an email
list will be set up soon.

Get involved! Together we can Hack Sheffield!


[1] http://www.infoanarchy.org/wiki/index.php/Hacklabs

[2] http://www.hackmeeting.org/

[3] http://www.hackmeeting.org/storia.html

[4] http://info.interactivist.net/article.pl?sid=04/08/13/0751254

[5] http://www.hacklabs.org/

[6] http://www.transhackmeeting.org/

[7] http://www.wombles.org.uk/mediahacklab/mediahacklab.php

[8] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hacker

[9] http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/

[10] http://www.thehacktivist.com/hacktivism.php

[11] https://wiki.sheffieldsocialforum.org.uk/MATILDA

[12] http://www.genderchangers.org/

[13] http://eclectictechcarnival.org/

[14] http://eclectictechcarnival.org/manifesto.html

[15] http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/sheffield/2005/06/313617.html

[16] http://www.lowtech.org/ 

[17] http://lists.aktivix.org/pipermail/g8-sheffield/2005-June/000755.html

[18] http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/sheffield/2005/06/315253.html

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