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c-base - 8p.m. on a Monday evening - the room is packed (and pretty cloudy as well): Time for Dorkbot, a short series of talks on "People doing strange things with electricity" hosted by Frank Rieger.
First talk up on stage was Gismo on Raumfahrtagentur - a Berlin maker-space located in Wedding. Originating from the presenter's interest in electrical bikes a group of ten people interested in hardware hacking got together. Projects include but are not limited to 3D printing, 3D scanning, textile hacking, a collaborative podcast. Essentially the idea is to provide room and infrastructure to be used collaboratively by a group of members. From an organisational point of view the group is incorporated as a GmbH - however none of the projects is mainly targeted to commercialization: It's main target group are hobbyists, researchers and open hardware/software people. If interested: Each Monday evening there is a "Sunday of the Kosmonauts" where externals are invited to come visit.
Second talk was on the project Drinkenlights (Klackerlaken) - a way for children to learn the basics of electronics without any soldering (hardware available for three Euros max). Experiences made with giving the ingredients for creating these toys to children of varying ages were interesting: From kids of about five years playing around up to ten/eleven year olds that when in school seemingly had to re-learn being creative without being given much direction or instruction on the task at hand.
In the third talk Martin Kaltenbrunner introduced his Tworse Key - a nice symbiosis of old technology (a morse key) and new media (Twitter). Essentially built on top of an Arduino Ethernet board it made it possible to turn morse messages into Tweets. Martin also gave a brief overview of related art projects and briefly touched upon the changes that open source and open hardware bring to art: There are projects that open all design and source code to the public to benefit from a wider distribution channel (without having to actually produce anything), working on designs in a collaborative way and get improvements back to the original project. All of these form a stark contrast to the existing idea of having one single author whose contribution is to build a physical object that is then presented in exhibitions - providing both, new possibilities and new challenges to artists.
In the last presentation Milosch introduced his new project ETIB whose goal it is to bring hardware hacking geeks together with textile geeks to work on integrating circuits into clothes.
If you are interested in hacking spaces in general and what is happening in that direction in Berlin, mark this Friday in your calendar: c-base will be hosting a Hackerspace meetup - so if you want to know how hackerspaces work or want to create one yourself, this event might be interesting to you.