We visited the Hoy Steps again today to view the condition of the street level area inside the gates and assess the clean up task. After 20 years of restricted access, an accumulation of old wheels, wooden pallets and tangle of Buddleia block the steps. There is also a large amount of scaffolding framing the space which can be used again in any reconstruction plan. High tide at midday prevented us seeing more than half a dozen of the twenty steps that lead down to the muddy shoreline at low tide. A ferry once transported people across the creek to Greenwich at this point. The ‘hoy!’ call out to summon a boat was first heard here hundreds of years ago.

Our last Creeknet meet-up started out at Laban Dance cafe’ from where we walked down Creekside and over the Ha’penny Hatch footbridge to the fork in the path on the Norman Road side. Thames Tideway are rapidly completing this controversial diversion, whilst setting out their groundwork for an 18m diameter x 60m deep excavation to a 12m diameter 30km Sewage overflow tunnel from Ealing on route to Becton.

Waste removal from the Greenwich Pumping station site will add 100 trucks a day to the roads already overloaded with heavy construction services. Earlier suggestions to use huge river barges have been kicked into the long grass in favour of the pre-approved and cheaper option.!

Continuing on our way up to Creek Bridge, we stopped off at the far end of Hiltons Wharf, to step out on to the tiny mooring point in time to catch departure of the Prior’s aggregate ship to Gravesend for a refill. Opposite, the race for construction of two huge towers crashes on, sucking up the entire concrete capacity of Euromix!

After a well deserved coffee at Hoy Kitchen and visit to the steps we were picked up by Camden for a fantastic river trip aboard a motorised lifeboat, which first took us out onto the Thames before returning us to the nest of houseboats at 4 Creekside.

Please take that trip sometime, till then check this video! More photos here.

At the furthest reaches of the tidal creek, Friends of Brookmill Park held their quarterly meeting to map out activities for the rest of spring and early summer. Their re planting program in the formal garden adjacent to Stephen Lawrence centre is proceeding well with fresh lavender beds and new roses. Mariner and beekeeper Julian Kingston will talk about local shipbuilding at a fundraiser event in Brookmill pub on June 7th, space is limited to 30 seats so get your ticket soon!

That’s just a few weeks before the Creeknet Symposium on 20th and 21st June. DIY networks of Deptford Creek host partners from the MAZI project in Germany, Switzerland and Greece to attend this ‘cross pollination event’, all are welcome.

The first day begins at Hoy Kitchen on Creek Road with rolling breakfast welcome, exhibition of local images and stories followed by mass low tide walk at Creekside Discovery Centre at 3pm. The second day starts with project presentations and lunch at Stephen Lawrence Centre, followed by a visit to Redstart Arts and picnic in Brookmill Park. Finally take a walkshop to the Creek Mouth, crossing bridges and exploring the Creeknet trail.

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SPC are working with OU and Creeknet friends to establish a network of interactive installations along the tidal creek, that forms a DIY networking trail from Brookmill Park to the Swing Bridge. Using a combination of low power computing and mesh wireless technology, this initiative aims to support existing neighbourhood activity and inform Mazi toolkit development. Follow it along the length of the tidal creek from beacon to beacon, each point presenting locally sourced and augmented information.

Each Mazizone consists of a reconfigured Rasbian operating on a Raspberry Pi that hosts, webserver and database tools that are arranged and refined to suit local conditions. They are connected to existing broadband internet or as standalone ‘offline’ systems. Each offers ‘Creeknet’ wireless access, which responds to your web request by presenting a captive ‘portal’ page loaded with guides for use, selected collaboration tools,  and a view on each neighborhood.

The current MAZI toolkit release is V1.6 with the project sources bug tracking and development notes at Github. We invite all those interested to get in touch, download and install the development images and contribute feedback and follow our progress. The details of how best to configure and deploy a mazizone are being accumulated as we experiment.

Project partners at Univesity of Thessaly in Greece have the job of building and managing the development of the toolkit software, adding and adapting to the evolving requirements. You can preview the default Mazi toolkit, but for better insight into how progress is being made in London please visit one of the Creeknet Mazizones and try out the options. We now also have berryboot versions of the toolkit hosted by Alex Goldcheidt alongide the hundreds of alternative OS for the Raspberry Pi at Berryserver.

Since loosing the boat in a fire in January, Minesweeper Collective are operating in Deckspace and at DIY Space for London. Their Undercurrents gallery at Birdsnest was first to be installed to support the group art exhibitions updated each month.

We have been meeting Creeknet friends regularly at Hoy kitchen on Creek Road where a Mazizone was installed in March. We will return there this coming Monday at noon for a research session with those specifically interested in clean-up of the Hoy Steps.

Artist Karen Barnes mazizone is Eileen Ford named after her pinhole camera truck parked in the yard at N02 Creekside. It has a built in camera and other sensory extensions, fitted inside her human sized portable ‘box camera’ to record and publish pinhole images on the move. It operates in ‘offline’ mode and presents a guestbook, image galleries, and reports on changing conditions.

When we return to Brookmill Park in May the fourth Creeknet Mazizone will be installed at the Park keepers hut by the pond. It will help friends of Brookmill Park co-ordinate public events, present wildlife images and environmental conditions.

Our UK partners at Open University have set up a mazizone installation of their own to demonstrate to their colleagues and experiment with new features whilst in their work space in Milton Keynes.

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SPC have continued to support the development of MayDay Rooms throughout a cathartic ‘rejuvenation’ last year and spring clean of the whole building this month. The recent open meeting in March, marked a determination to attune to the needs of dedicated users attending, and prepare for intensification of use throughout 2017.

One persistent question from the meeting reflected shades of confusion around the key objective for the MayDay Rooms, to make community archives available for review and reactivation. “How do we view and make use the collection?“, a question we have all at some time asked!

MDR has maintained a conviction to hold regular activation sessions, that revisit collected archives with their depositors and researchers, along with groups of interested onlookers and inquisitors. This valuable process is vital to the health and vitality of the organisation and it’s future. The facilitation role in this respect, is a unique and underestimated contribution to the collection as a whole. It’s a process that breathes life into the deeper folds of each story retold, regenerating interest and attention onto the objectives of the original activity, reframing it’s potential.

Operation of activation sessions remains the duty of MDR archivist in response to public requests. However, this need not remain an exclusive duty of the part time staff but could well be adopted by support groups. Questions about the function of MDR could be best answered through an activation experience and cement relationships through shared archive experiences. Such a group need only assemble and assume the role.

A good portion of the huge Statewatch archive has been hosted at MDR since early 2015 and this spring will relocate to one of the MDR resident spaces to be manages more directly. An active friends group, helps raise funds to support it’s continuity. They join the Pan African Archive on the third floor where June Givanni curates a definitive heritage collection of image, audio and film works from the African diaspora.

Longer standing resident groups at MDR have shuffled around into more dedicated spaces. Caiwu, the youngest and most active cleaners and industrial workers union in the building contiue to host their support network and weekend social gatherings.  IWGB, IWW, Strike! magazine and close cousins LuckyRug (risograph user group) will gather across the hall from the MDR office space leaving the first floor clear for popular use as both reading and screening meeting spaces.

Don’t leave it too long before you make you way to MDR for a review of it’s fascinating collections and to book yourself in, for an archival activation experience soon.

MAYDAY ROOMS | 88 Fleet Street  | London EC4Y 1DH | United Kingdom

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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 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 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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