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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