“ALLES HOFFEN !?” The festival of German Open Workshops in Dresden

The Festival of the Offene Werkstatten organized by  der Verbund Offener Werkstatten a German federation of open workshops for Craft, Art, Repair, Recycling and other activities. The festival was hosted by Rosenwerk in Dresden from 2 to 8 November 2015.

The first day we arrived in the early morning when the guys from Rosenwerk were just finishing to set up the new common kitchen/area caffe’ at the entrance of their new beautiful space. We remember the day they entered that space, when it was completely empty. Now, after just some months it’s incredible to see all the improvements. They have new rooms and a young and creative community.

For us, being there has bee a great opportunity to exchange and learn, to meet again interesting people coming from different cities from all over Germany amongst them the growing community of Hebewerk in Eberswalde, the new Fab Lab Cheminitz, guys from Nurnberg and from Berlin, coming from the beautiful Prinzessinnengarten project.

The formula we have choosen to interact with this community has been to organize a week long workshop on the EleKtronic Window. Everyday, all day long. Just do it, together!

The “electronic window” is a direct way to establish connections between people who work in different cities.

Just imagine a window trough the wall. You just go to the coffee-break area, or to the café, and you can see other people from another space, talk to them, exchange ideas, give and get suggestions on what you’re doing.

In every space which is part of the Multifactory Network there is a window.

Each e-window is open all day long from one space to another one.

If there are two persons close to the two windows, they can talk and interact.

E-windows are based on low-cost and Open Source technologies (Raspberry Pie, a flat monitor, a webcam, Linux and a few other electronics) and are intended to be just e-windows: they don’t have keyboard, mouse, browser, and other programs installed.

If people want to meet in front of the window, they act exactly as if they would plan to meet someone at the bar:

A – meet people by chance: you go, take a coffee, and start talking to someone you don’t know, or someone you know and is taking a coffee at the same time

B – you send a message to someone and just say “see you in 5 minutes at the e-window”

People can meet and start business relationships as well. In what differs compared to a skype call? To make a skype call, you have to ALREADY know who you are calling, you need their contact, and so on. With the electronic window, you can easily interact with people you never met before (but maybe who you think could be interesting, because you’ve seen their video-tutorial-presentation, the secondo level of the Multifactory Network).

At the VOW festival, thanks to the collaboration of the webdevelopers Michael from Rosenwer and Jonathan from Chaos Computer Club Darmstadt  we could go on with the Opes Source. We understood it was not possible to use an existing video chat system and we tried to build we tried to approach the problem from another angle and use a simple video streaming solution, maybe with RTSP protocol.  In this hackpad you can find all we have done until now.

NEXT STEPS: The open source computer developing part requires much more investigation and work we expected, maybe we have the solution in front of our nose but we don’t see it. That’s why we decided to go on with the physical network of people belonging to similar working places, that is the real need, and not be afraid of imperfection. Technology will follow. We left one of the two Raspberry Pi’s at Rosenwerk, we opened a github, we started to go to visit the spaces willing to be part of the network and we explained the project and asked to the community fi they would like to be part of it. It is not difficult to find open workshops that want to be part of this project, so in 2016 our goal is to establish at least 4 elektronic windows in a beta version in 4 different places. How?  Just using old pc with skype installed letting the monitor visibile and hidding all the rest (mouse, computer, keyboard..).

If you arrived to read this article until here, it means you understood the idea hidden into the elektronik window, so it’s time to explain you why we believe it’s important to establish the elektronic window into a network of shared working spaces? But what this network is about? Read the project here or have a look to the multifactory website.

If you also think it is important to let makers, freelancers, craftman belonging to different local communities exchange knowledge, experiences and projects in a global scale. If you also think we reached the point we can experiment a completely new system to produce goods and services, with a non capitalistic vision, if you would like to open an “elektronic window” into your workshop, join us!

We will be glad to make this silent revolution, TOGETHER.

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