For the past few months I’ve been working with a friend of mine to establish a hacker space in Chicago. When we started, ther was ofthen just the two of us attending, and whoever else we managed to unsuspectingly wrangle into attending.
For those of you unfamiliar with the idea of a hacker space, let me give you my vision of the project. Most of the people involved in this, including myself, are interested in projects that don’t always fall along the traditional lines. We’re interested in science, technology, crafts, and more often than not the intersection between these areas. We want to tinker, to create, to share ideas. To go about this, we’re essentially creating a mad scientist’s clubhouse. We’re collecting power tools, electronics (both broken and functioning), building supplies, and anything else we think is useful. I have an old ham radio I plan on jury-rigging up to something via serial port.
Since Eric, myself, and a few others started drumming up interest, we’ve come along way. We drummed up an excellent name from a friend of mine at Verecundia; Pumping Station: One. We’ve started to visit other similar groups, and look at now defunct groups (Dorkbot Chicago, I’m looking at you), garnishing interest. Things started to take shape, and here we are. Our evangelistic efforts have now placed our pledged initial membership group to over 20 people. This is not far from the target sustainability level necessary to keep the place afloat by membership fees. We’ve registered as a non-profit organization in Illinois and gotten our IRS numbers in order. We’re investigating spaces and soon we’ll have our financials set up, collecting membership dues, and vote on our bylaws. And most importantly, we’re learning & creating. In essence, we’re not far from having a grass-roots, non-profit, self-sustaining art & technology collective in the span of six months.
I invite anyone in the Chicago area, or anyone who may be passing through, to follow the progress of Pumping Station: One. We’ve got a lot planned, and we’re always looking for new members to contribute ideas.