Marking bloom

As we concluded the third Creeknet meet-up at Stephen Lawrence Centre this week, it was great to welcome this group of residents from the boating community of Deptford Creek.

The large converted coal barge, Luna, moors alongside a nest of boats in the mud at No2 Creekside and this is where will next meet-up again in March. It’s home to ten young people who share the residence and have expressed enthusiasm to shape their own futures here by improving communications between boat owners and public awareness of river living. Concerns over continuity of mooring for the many boats here is uppermost in everyones mind as development plans emerge that throw assumption about tenure into questions.

When we last spoke to Julian Kingston, he mentioned how difficulties in communications between the new LLP owning the yard, the DLR and boat owners was provoking anxiety. Land access here for moored boats depends on continued good will and understanding from all parties. Shoreside utilities, access to clean water and sanitation, power and telecoms are vital.

The bees too depend on stable environment and the apiary on shore here has 3 busy hives to service. Deptford honey is excellent as it is made with nectar collected from wild flowers of the creek as well as from domestic garden varieties and tree blossom. Interested in beekeeping? then visit Park Beekeeping for expert advise and top quality equipment.

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Post unitary

Ongoing MAZI research into DIY networks and complimentary solutions has turned up many great options. Our current favorite is Sandstorm.io a a collaboration suite of open source software which continues to develop and swell with features.

Three new servers in centres of activity, have been introduced where the rising need for safe, secure and stable alternatives to corporate cloud is called for by subscribers and collaborators.

DHC | MDR | friends

Friends at Brookmill Park and Deptford Creek currently share access to their Sandstorm tools installed onto an Atom powered mini PC which is well suited to the task. Demands on the server is still very modest at this point but with new friends gaining skills and interest this will change. They have started making use of the Etherpad (whiteboard), Davros (file store) and Weekan board (list manager) tools. Both groups are still practicing with their respective wordpress based websites at commercial webhosts though these too could be hosted within Sandstorm.

At Deptford Housing Coop the members share FTTC broadband access over a structured wired network and wireless access system SPC installed in 2003 and continues to maintain. Over a hundred people a day rely on continuity of access for their web, mail and media needs. More recent requests for shared resources and services have mostly been met with addition of an other sandstorm server here very recently.

Mayday Rooms in Fleet Street hosts an array of archive activation, cultural collaboration and social intervention processes which grows in scope and it’s requirement of network resources, secure messaging, project management and collective development tools. Many of the weekly processes of booking rooms, engaging archives and holding together of the administration tasks depends on email, web and face to face arrangements being accessible and track-able. Some of these tasks may well be better suited to alternatives, some of which are well supported in Sandstorm so we are giving it a go!

You can’t rush at any of these solutions in the hope that all difficulties and obstructions to communication fade to transparency on contact. Working locally and acknowledging limited abilities, preserving a strong sense of respect and appreciation for privacy concerns, demands attention and requires dedication of effort on us all.

Mazi is well on track to present combinations of network and collective development tools in 2018, a pick and mix of hardware, software and scenario conditioning, though we are not there yet! Adoption of ultra low power ARM based pc’s like Raspberry Pi for a multitude of tasks is on a rocket. On the flipside, a mountain of small format, legacy laptop and powerful low cost / free desktop i386 hardware is in great abundance, a glut even, these are perfect hosts for Sandstorm.

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Layered stakes

The very recent death of friend and collaborator Armin Medosch has us all shocked. A stomach cancer diagnosis in December 2016 was all too late to avert such rapid and devastating effects.

We last met at a memorable post Hybrid Cities dinner in Athens, September 2015,  where he had talked on ‘Cities of the Sun’ and recalled early wireless network adventures in Hackney, celebrating the network commons process so many of us continue to work on. Perhaps there is a recording of the keynote he presented there..? I just found this interesting talk on the rise of Network Commons, one more of so many on a wide range of subjects!

Tributes from friends and colleagues around Europe are stacking up in Nettime.org each pinpointing personal reflections on his great character, warmth and passion for the social in digital, a critical eye on culture, network politics, his commitment and courage. Obituaries in Rizhome, Wired and Telepolis now also detailing a life’s work and lasting impact. Now also a book! wow so perhaps this account will continue to be amended for a while!

Memories flying thick and fast, thinking back over many years of his intensity and enthusiasm. We first met in autumn of 1995 when he arrived at Obsolete offices in Clink Street, fresh from a bruising experience aboard ms.Stubnitz. His passion then, fixed on non-linear video archives, but we were already too distracted by WWW to take it on. It wasn’t long before he was in regular contact, at Backspace, activating Cybersalon, co-ordinating Artservers Unlimited , always making Waves!

His constructive involvement in so many activities, with such critical sensibility, influenced and inspired us all. During so much of this period we were all effected by the ‘rush’, spinning ahead of the times. We ranted about DIY networking ideas that fused as Consume, morphed with Berlon into a mesh awakening that grew internationally.

Armin wrote for Mute, Telepolis, Acoustic Space and formulated the MA in Digital Theory at Ravensbourne College. He launched into work on The Next layer blog whilst compiling of his New Tendencies Phd at Goldsmiths and delivered talks at many public events across Europe. With the publishing of most recent book New Tendencies, he was again traveling to promote ideas and expand minds with flair and passion. Now as ever he has rushed on to cross the gap ahead of us all, to who knows where!

See you on the other side mate. Thanks for everything.

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Yard armed

YT first met with Spacestudios some 15 years ago at a time when Gini Simpson was arranging a media lab for the Bridget Riley studios, Hackney Wick. We climbed up to the roof on at least one occasion, plotting how we could establish a wireless bridge to the Triangle Studios on Mare Street to link the artist communities together and stimulate interaction.

We all got swept up in a storm of enthusiasm for DIY infrastructure projects, open source software, file-sharing and peer 2 peer experiments but perhaps inevitably some of these grander plans have escaped us!

This week we will be visiting a small yard in an all but forgotten corner of Islington north London to install wireless access points that will share a broadband service between the 12 artist studios. It’s very easy to imagine horses and carriages clattering over the cobbles, the shuffling of hay bales and the banter of stable life. Today it is used by a quiet group of fine artists, ceramicists and sculptors. All continue to brave the chill of the Victorian work-spaces and period drama of the unique setting. I hope they find the value of  latter-day networking  outweighs the interruption of such tranquility.

Many of the buildings in the huge Spacestudio network across east London, now boast excellent internet access but rarely share local resources. It doesn’t follow that they identify with each others work online or express an awareness of the untapped potential for collaboration these network services still hold. 

SPC continues to test and press for greater experimentation and adoption of locally hosted network services. Our current favorite is the Sandstorm collaborative suite which offers a huge range of secure communication tools and will run locally on a low power PC. It’s very easy to install and operate and will run ok on legacy hardware so give it a go!

The MAZI toolkit will also offer a unique combination of options to support the ‘collective awareness platforms for sustainability’ motives. The latest custom version for the Raspberry Pi offers a selection of network, collaboration sensor and democracy tools.

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SLC meet-ups

During February, we are hosting Creeknet meet-ups at Stephen Lawrence Centre where friends of Brookmill Park and Deptford Creek will gather to share stories and publish reports.

As part of the MAZI pilot we are all working together to install interactive beacons along the creek where significant points of interest and DIY network activity coincide.

We have booked three weekly meetings in this riverside lecture room, starting Monday 13th Feb so please join us there between 12 and 4pm. Please register so we know how may to expect at lunch!

Our emphasis is to support the many local groups along the creek as they promote their respective activities and publish to their networks. In preparation, we have been resetting some of their legacy, corrupted and entangled WordPress installations, so a clean start is possible!

Friends of Brookmill Park are now ready to bring their designs into effect to feature the nature and diversity of the park, planting plan and to begin animal species monitoring.

Terry Edwards is a local musician and model gardener who leads the Crossfields Estate community garden project Wonky Prong and has begun posting and planting again in time for spring. He may well join Karen Barnes on Wednesday’s open mic event at the Birdsnest.

She has been very busy scanning some of the many pinhole camera prints she has made in situ around Deptford as well as on occasional trips to Westminster. They feature at thearmed909 alongside accounts of living and working in the area.  The Undercurrents gallery in the back room of the Birdsnest has been showing Minesweeper art and photographs of the boat that survived the devastating fire in January. Karen recently added a Piratebox to collect up some memorabilia and share donated audio recordings and artwork. Next time you pop in for a pint, try logging on to check the collection.

Friends of Deptford Creek, started by those living on house boats in the creek also have a refreshed website to voice their current concerns not least in light of redevelopment plans effecting their mooring and land access at 2 Creekside. John Cierach is also the owner of 3 Creekside where we recently reviewed the plans for development to feature stacked shipping containers and reworked mooring strategy that won’t include all the current boats!

A Kumu map of working relationships between interested parties along Deptford Creek is emerging form the mud of our interaction. Further interventions and activity will continue to extend these impressions, your comments and contributions are most welcome.

What are the shitboats you may well ask

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Hoy Meet-ups

This coming Monday 23rd January we will again meet up with Creeknet friends to continue some great conversations and push on with DIY network research. Our host for the last few Mazi Mondays has been the Hoy Kitchen on Creek Road at the Deptford and Greenwich border by Creek Bridge. We have been starting with teas/lunch at noon and drifting on in discussion till 4pm.

Claire is the proprietor of Hoy and grew up in the Hoy Inn as it was previously known. Her family moved into the area from Belfast in the 70’s at a time when SE8 was comparatively naked, few street lights, road signs and empty buildings in a very industrial maritime landscape. The pub was a notorious social hub and she has many stories about these earlier times to tell!  Her great familiarity with local history, society and current wave of transformation is proving most entertaining and illuminating.

When Quayside redevelopment took off in the streets all around them  during the 90’s her family faced fresh and unexpected challenges. Land which had always been linked to the Hoy was assumed part of the property development package. It triggered a fight to hold on to access and the infamous Hoy Steps. Successful but lengthy resistance has meant that the steps have been retained but a road wraps around the building to the new build properties adjacent.

Perhaps as a consequence, Claire has good contacts with local business including Millenium Quay who have responsibility for the recently installed swing bridge. She has also suggested making historical steps accessible for the first time since the dispute!

The illustrious privateer Sir Francis Drake may well have been knighted by Queen Elisabeth by the Hoy Steps, his ship ‘The Golden Hind’ certainly ended it’s days in the creek, scrapped to shore up the sea wall of the creek. Today the replica boat is a popular tourist destination in Clink Street by London Bridge very close to our very own Backspace which prevailed till turn of the last century!

Please join us in February when we will meet-up at Stephen Lawrence Centre for a further three weeks of more practical workshops At these events we will work with low-cost technologies to host and promote a range of DIY neighbourhood publishing tools, discover more about the options for OWN mesh access meet its resident groups and friends from that area of the river by Brookmill Park.

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