This is our entry for the Hackerspaces book, which will be released around 25C3. It will probably also serve as the default site for english visitors.
Hackerspace name: Metalab
Hackerspace tagline: The viennese Hackerspace (???)
Hackerspace website: http://metalab.at
Hackerspace contact email (this might be you): core on metalab.at
Tell the story of the beginning of the hackerspace. How did you come up with the idea? How did you choose the name of your hackerspace? What was your original vision?
Something like the lab did not exist in vienna but we missed a place that would be like a publick living room or laboratory. where you could meet and work with friends without having to go to a pub or work. We missed it because we'd seen inspirational examples at CCC and c-base in german.
What are some obstacles that you had to overcome at the beginning of your hackerspace when you were just getting started?
- to get critical mass. most people only believe what they see. So the think everything that does not exist yet is impossible. In an important first meeting when we decided to rent the room we were about 30-40 people. without this mass it would have been risky financially.
- To organize the basics like the real world space you have to rent. The wiki was extremely helpfull allready in this phase beacause we did the scouting via wiki. if someone found an interesting location he would set up a wiki page with the specs and then we would organize meeting with the FIXME vermieter.
- We built up the infrastructure as power outlets, the kitchen, the floor while we were already in the building wich leads to an endless sokoban game. It was unavoidable since we did not have the financial power to do everything at once but if you can fix the basic infrastructure before you move in completely.
- Organisation again: It took a long time till we had infrastructure for such things as membership administrations and FIXME automatische bankeinzug. Usually nobody wants to do this "boring" stuff. Everybudy wants to hack or slack but this organization is important.
Describe your hackerspace. What do visitors to the space notice that is special about the space? What kind of tools and resources do you have at the space?
People will note that its a very creative space. Self bult machines, huge drawings on the walls, whiteboards where people express their thoughts. Many details that refer to the culture we all grew up with. FIXME muss noch mehr werden
How often do you meet? What happens at these meetings?
Our orga team (which is not clearly defined, so everyone can join and take up tasks) currently meets monthly to discuss matters relevant to the whole hackerspace, like current and future renovation projects and equipment purchases.
We have multiple special interest groups, which, of course, meet more regularly.
Describe a disaster that occurred in your hackerspace. (flood, lightning, accident or some such thing)
While renovating the lounge and drilling holes in the floor, we damaged the underfloor heating, resulting in water coming out of the hole. Luckily, this heating system is low-pressure...
(any "better" [= more spectacular] accidents? anyone?)
What are some things that have come out of your hackerspace that you are most proud of?
There's of course the Led Matrix, a 72x48 blue led matrix. We have a twitter-enabled Fridge and a constantly-evolving RepRap. This was also the place where, among others, Soup, a "personal publishing" startup, and GRL Vienna were founded.
Was there anything that you did that was essential to the start of your hackerspace? Do you have any advice for people who might be thinking of starting a hackerspace?
Don't give up if people tell you that it's not possible. Most people only believe in what they can touch. The same people (if they are geeks) will love the place once they can touch it.
Dont make too many rules. Decide thing when you need to - not just in case. Humans are most productive when they do the things they want to do in an environment that encurages these things. Shared geeky interests can be a wonderful thing. which reminds me of that xkcd... A hackerspace can approximate this environment very well if everybody cleans up at least his/her own dishes. (hackerspace inequality #1)
- Get members to tell a story or recount an adventure associated with the beginning of your hackerspac
- Draw a floor diagram.
- Include a manifesto.
- Info: The basics filled in above.
- Text: About 500 words answering the questions above.
- Photos: 5 or more photos of your hackerspace.
- Logo: The logo of your hackerspace (svg)
Thanks! Please send all of this back to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
This project is going to be awesome! We really cannot wait for your reply!
Bre Pettis NYCResistor