Hackerspaces: The Beginning
We – the Chaos Computer Club Bremen, Germany, that is – own a little place we like to call the Datengarten which roughly translates into datayard or datagarden. Well, on second thought we do not actually own it in the strictest sense, but we have certainly made it our own.
The Datengarten is an allotment with a house in a suburban area of Bremen, surrounded pretty much by other allotments, an out-of-business railroad track and untamed nature. The story of our hackerspace goes something like this: Once upon a time, in a dark, pre-broadband time there was a war which left a good part of the town destroyed and many people without a place to live. Some of these people just went and build houses on land that had previously been allotments. The problem, however, is that this happened without construction permits. Remember this all takes place in the wonderful nation of Germany, where we hail bureaucracy and order. So after a while the city rather wanted to get rid of these disorderly squatters. Policy was to not kick people out of their houses but to wait until they moved somewhere else, leaving the place empty and therefore eligible for demolition by the city. However, in our case the dire financial situation of the town of Bremen plays to our advantage. The city doesn't know when they'll have the time and more importantly the money to tear down the place. This is why the owner and previous inhabitant has given it to us to do as we please until the bulldozers come a-rolling, for the symbolic rent of one whole euro per month (considering that won't even buy you a full liter of gas over here, that's pretty generous).
When we first visited the place it was rather run-down and, well, gross. But soon a group of “volunteers” began to take care of the most pressing issues under the tight regiment of Sven, the Datengarten's daddy smurf. Being a bunch of nerds, it was generally perceived that the most urgent of all these issues was of course to provide internet access for the masses pilgrimaging to the Datengarten. Along the way we installed power and internet access, tidied up both yard and the inside of the house (to a reasonable level) and especially formed a tight bond with the neighbors. Ok, to be frank we were off to a rather uneasy start due to the fact that these neighbors are mainly elderly people (the type that puts up lawn gnomes in their front yards) and we are mostly long haired nerdy creatures who drive their cars to fast past their allotments, light up furniture in our garden (but only that ONE time) and play loud music. We had weekly barbecues in the summer months, painted posters for protest marches, stored retro hardware, had ghost story readings and a celebration after the world didn't end back in October when CERN pressed that button. Mainly we just were our fabulous geeky selves, always having a full stock of Club Mate and Beck's beer in the fridge.
To the day, the Datengarten remains a work in progress. But we really hope the city's financial management doesn't improve anytime soon and the Datengarten will therefore live to see a couple more summers.
Beim obrigen Bild bitte die Lizensierungsrichtlinien beachten.