Anarchist spaces and hackerspaces

(July 9, 2014)

After visiting Black Coffee, I strolled down the street to visit the long-standing “Left Bank Books”. Thanks to a peculiar form of rent control, it was an oasis of bookish calm surrounded by the high-rent tourist destination of the Pike Street Market.

Of course, parts of the market weren’t bad.

Like this sign:

Or this chalk-graffiti pig:

Seattle has its own AT-AT style cranes too:

But eventually I had to travel back east to hang out at a(nother) feminist makerspace – the Seattle Attic.

I took to it from the start. Mercedes Lackey is awesome!

A look into the space:

Room 1:

Room 2:

The people here were, with a few exceptions, friendly and forthcoming. They were the sort people I hung out with in late middle school / early high school – earnest. Into knitting and books. Confident in an offbeat way. I felt at home

After the Seattle Attic (which the great Sumana tipped me off to), I headed to another space in Seattle – more of a hackerspace than a makerspace.

This was a quite different space. More men, of course. Seems like everyone there had a connection to Microsoft. A guy was showing off a project he was working on for over a year – a way to use the Kinect API to mix and remix sound instantaneously through hand signals. He called it Holofunk Danceparty. It was awesome.

Two different models: Mercedes Lackey vs Holofunk. Both felt comfortable, in their own way. But neither represents me or my aspirations any more. I still haven’t found a space or community that I’m truly at ease with. Onwards to more searching!


The life and death of a feminist hackerspace

This is kind of a bittersweet story.

I checked out makerspaces/hackerspaces in Portland, and I found Flux. It was really cool – a nice space downtown, explicitly feminist, and complete with a zines library (even a comic by Susie Cagle!) Through the people I met at Flux, I ended up on the adventure that lead me to Right To Dream Too.

A few days after I first stopped by, however, I visited again to grim news. The new leadership of the hackerspace (who just joined up 3 weeks prior) just realized that they had a big operating deficit – and rent was due in just a few days.

There was not much to be done – they needed $800 just to keep the space, and more besides every month to get a good budget balance.

As far as I can tell, the original crew that set up the space had bailed earlier – they had wanted it to be a more “radical” space and didn’t want to deal with the hassle of recruiting outsiders to keep it financially viable. (Of course, I could be totally wrong on that. Just one story I heard).

After casting a sad look around the space, we went for pizza. I just checked their website a few minutes ago – looks like the end really did come for Flux:

What a shame.