Sebastian on Mon, 19 Jan 2009 19:09:49 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> Harv Stanic: ASCII: Amsterdam Subversive Code for Information Interchange.

James Wallbank <james {AT}> wrote:

>...but we remained open to new, innovative methodologies for sustaining
>such projects. One of our questions was "Is it possible for a media lab
>to sustain itself without a physical space?" Some of the organisations
>we worked with wanted to test ways of existing that didn't rely on a
>Our eventual conclusion was "No". What we discovered was that, while >you
>can do some interesting activity with a peripatetic model (such as a
>"media lab bus" or a series of ad-hoc meetings convened in other >spaces)
>it's almost impossible to generate a wide feeling of community without >a
>physical centre. A fixed physical space combined with reliable opening
>and closing times are essential to encourage unplanned walk-ins by
>regular participants and new recruits.
>Why is community so important? Why not have a series of cool events
>delivered by a small core group to different people each time? Our
>experience suggests that a skill-sharing network is only effective when
>it's a community. When you meet people again and again, you learn from
>them as much as they learn from you, so skilling them up with what you
>know is an investment in your support network - while helping a >stranger
>is simply an act of goodwill, without likelihood of reciprocation.
>So my question to ASCII is this: How do you maintain a sense of
>community and keep the network together (and feeling, instinctively,
>together) without a physical space? And how do you recruit new people >to
>your community?

I agree that a community is important, I agree on that you need physical
'space'. But not that it needs to be one stable location with set
opening times.
I share harv's idea on having a community without a space in a sense. I
do think it is important to have physical meetups, but a space for this
could be anywhere and flexible and moving.

On events (small and big) you meet new and old people, and this can
support a community. I think OpenBSD works in a way like this, based on
online media en hack-a-thons.

A space is nice, and sometimes functional. But a space limits the
community aswell. It can often/usually require a steady flow of income
and needs a stable 'institution' to run it. That is people with some
dedicated communities. Also it limits as to where you have your
meet-ups. And 1 place is rarely ideal for everyone.

On the other hand, when having a large amount of small scale events.
Anything from 5 people hack-a-thons to major 3000 people congresses. I
do think you can maintain a community. You still need groups of people
organizing events(not 1 group), but temporary spaces might not be as
hard to arrange as permanent spaces.

recruiting people in your community can be done just as well on events
as in a physical space. I actually think it is more likely someone new
will go to an event where content is obvious and maybe more interesting,
then to a space where something might be going on.

I am not against spaces, I like them. But I don't think a community
needs to be dependent on it. What you need is communication in multiple
ways including meetups.

That's my current view on the situation, I think the concept has merit,
but like a physical space still needs people working on it.

my 2ct,



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