First of all, please introduce yourself – who is behind syn₂cat and what do you do for a living?
While syn₂cat began as a two men project in August 2008, it has by now developed into a fully fledged non-profit organisation, featuring 4 administrative members and 4 additional officers. The initial founders, Steve and David are a freelance IT consultant and a political science student respectively.
Of the additional people that soon stocked up the syn₂cat office, macfreak109 is a school teacher in information science, xx5y is a microelectronics engineer, Bartek a post-grad physics student, Gunstick a sysadmin and Michel is a student in secondary school. We only now got reinforced by an 8th crew member.
So how did you come up with the idea to found a hackerspace?
The idea of a hackerspace was born out of desperation 😉
David felt that, should he ever have to return to Luxembourg after university, there’d have to be a hackerspace. Visiting the Metalab in Vienna, though only for a short hour and without much going on, was a key moment in filing that decision.
Though the idea of building a hackerspace was initially scheduled for after David’s graduation, we spontaneously decided to do it “right there and now”. Since then, the project has been steadily growing like an open source project, with its “developers” learning by doing how to run such a show.
What are your future plans for the hackerspace?
Bootstrapping the space is still the near future and once we accomplished that, attracting more people and launching projects will be our focus. One group will focus on youth projects to get more young people into thinking outside the box and begin seeing solutions instead of problems.
Another future task is to constantly shift the responsibility of the actual space to other, maybe younger, people. Although we talked about an “administrative” board, we are far from paper tigers and want to keep the complexity as flat as possible.
Why do you think is the movement spreading so fast right now?
It gained a lot of momentum by the Hackers on a Plane project and the incredible amount of hackerspaces growing in the US. The sudden US movement had its spark from some German hackerspace visits so I guess it was the Germans again 😉
Interestingly enough this amalgamate of people starting open spaces backlashed to Europe again to give rise to a new iteration of hacker- or open spaces. The movement is nothing new but currently it sees fit in the hacker culture which sees an imminent uprise. To get to the point: People saw peers doing cool things in cool spaces and thought – “us too!” – and started doing it too.
Another factor might be the rise of social networks which allow ideas to spread quickly, especially amongst technically minded people. Hackerspaces take the connections made online and map them into the physical world.
Are there any fixed dates for events at syn₂cat?
The next big things will be our OpenWeekend where we show the space to the general public and keep it open for 36h straight. Further, we are also planning regular Python classes and electronics (soldering) sessions, with another focus on attracting other peer-groups such as user groups , the Chaos Computer Club, miniature railway hackers etc…
And the last question, where can we find some pictures?
There are photos on our website – but be ready to be rocked by the upcoming “after syn₂cat” pictures!