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This is the gift of [freespace]

Spending the day at freespace on a Saturday… 11am and I roll upstairs pretty much by myself. I meet a lone wanderer and we chat for a bit about github post-commit hooks, but then he takes off and I set up shop for my main task of the day, to get some time lapse video cameras and ninja block sensors wired up for some social science analysis we are running in the space. This is a task that might take me an hour or two at home – unboxing, initial configuration, and some duct tape here and there. At [freespace], I was setting up from 11-8pm!

IMG_20130615_185236At first I was frustrated – distracted by all these people… people who want to talk! Who wanted to share ideas, ask questions, be inquisitive… . and then I stepped back and realized that this IS [freespace]. Freespace isn’t about efficiency, it’s about emergence. Here I was generating relationships, collaborations, and new ideas… and yet some part of me was doing it kicking and screaming.  We are taught that “progress” and “success” have predefined outcomes, brought about by assembly lines of hipster co-workers listening to pandora and avoiding eye contact, then socializing in prescribed boxes called happy hours.

By contrast, [Freespace] holds space for cultivating wonder and surprise, for efficiency distributed over time, peppered with play and curiosity in ways that by definition we cannot control. It challenges us to be present while also manifesting our dreams. And if I couldn’t hack that, I shouldn’t be there.

Over those many hours, I talked to people about the project and added them to the [freespace/science] facebook group. I painted my nails black while sitting in a chair that sonified my heartbeat. I got distracted by the clothing swap and emerged with 5 new ([free!]) pieces of clothing that I look pretty damn awesome in. I had a conversation about love, and a conversation about the meaning of [free] and new economic systems. And ultimately with some help from people less afraid of heights than me, they climbed high onto ladders and we installed the time lapse cameras that represent the first step taken on one of my own long-time dreams: to study the dynamics of social interactions in build environments.

This is the gift of [freespace].

We sneaked and peeked

Beautiful people – there was some great idea jamming tonight! Tours were held at roughly equal density intervals! We sneaked and peaked, schemed and planned. So many great conversations and new friendships forming.

FUN FACT: If 120 people volunteered for a single 6 hour shift during the 30 days of june, we would be open 24-7 for the entire month straight.

Check out some the ideas people wrote down in old-school analog fashion in the image below. THEN, sign up on facebook for the upcoming opening weekend. And if you have an idea – why not enact it? If you’re hesitating… well, remember Goethe and suck it up! Seize the day!

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back– Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”  (Goethe)


Hot Damn, you guys are goooOOOd!

A great turnout  for the Demissification tonight! Please post pics to the freespace facebook page!

What cleaning party for a freaking FREE space would be complete without an impromptu brainstorm of possibilities and intentions! As the evening wrapped up we went around an introduced ourselves. People threw out some crazy and awesome ideas, as well as practical questions about coordination and collaboration.

Some of the ideas included Hack trash – repurpose and rethink the trash we create. Bike sharing. Free haircuts. Pop up cafes – YOUR pop up cafe! Screenings. Regularly scheduled inspirational documentaries.  A daily participatory exquisite corpse sculpture. Make and teach music, and publish an album at the end of the month. Digital-analog calendar hacks. Beer brewing. Wall drawings.

So many ideas! And more to come – this Thursday will be the “official” (as official as it gets anyway) sneak peak of the space, complete with brainstorming facilitation excellent-ness. Check it out on the events page.

On Saturday many people will be attending the World’s Biggest Potluck in UN plaza downtown, as a way to kick off the month! If we’re lucky we’ll get the leftovers! If anyone has a link to that event please post it in the comments!

What can you do to help now? 

  • The space needs people to help “staff” (what’s a better word?) from 10am to 10pm. If you are down to be a responsible party for set period or periods of time, fill out the form on the main page of the website… and while you’re doing that others will be scrambling in the background to determine a reasonable process for handing your generous offer… so whatever you do, don’t offer to help determine a reasonable process for handing generous offers, since that would just descend us into a viscious spiral of recursion.
  • Greeters! People willing to give tours to new visitors around the space and orient them to the Awesome, for specific shifts of time (of course, impromptu greetings will never be turned away).
  • Events in the first week – the best way to get the word out is to be in action and kick some ass right out of the gate. if those of  us who know about the space now hold events in the first week, so many more people will hear about freespace and contribute to holding their own events as the month goes on. so if you have ideas, don’t wait! start planning for the first week and shout your intentions through the sign up form!
  • there’s certain more, and this is just the list of notes i took – so feel free to add your suggestions.

Some people are working on additional/improved digital coordination tools (read: mailing lists, decentralized event scheduling, etc.). Leave a comment if you have an opinion. Or if you want to post to the blog.

Hope to see you thursday! Share with all the thingspeople!





Freespace: The Before

Check out this whirlwind video of the raw beginnings to our one month experiment! Look at those beautiful wood floors and great light. This is the beginning of something uh-maz-ing! And soon it’s gonna look so much more RAD because we’re getting started sprucing this puppy up! Join us tonight at 6pm to help Demessify (a technical term). RSVP on facebook or just drop by! Lend a hand, scheme, and get inspired. If you wanted to show up with a 6-pack (either kind), well, we wouldn’t stop you…