(Urban Workshop and Hacker Studio Surfaces in Ottawa… then goes back underground)
(Guest Article by Janak Alford, M. Arch.)
Have you ever thought that lurking just below the surface might be another way of working, of using technology or living in the city that nobody has thought of yet? If you live in the Glebe or, in fact, anywhere in Ottawa, then you have a brand-new reason to think that. This last week saw the opening of prototypeD, an ‘Urban Workshop / Modifacture Studio’ in a basement studio located at 601 Bank Street, Ottawa, Canada.
prototypeD welcomes hobbyists, professionals, students, entrepreneurs, techies, hackers and artists wanting to explore new avenues of creativity through hacking technology.
For those who feel a little nervous about becoming a ‘hacker’, prototypeD founder Janak Alford, a Master of Architecture grad, explains: “Hacking has had a bit of a rocky past, but has evolved a long way since it started 50 years ago at MIT. Those radical thinkers invented a new way of looking at technology which has indeed been used for a variety of purposes, including less-than-legal ventures, but it is also the thinking that has given rise to much of computer science, the Internet and social networking. Hacking is a mindset, a way of thinking about technology, ability and resources that can radically redefine how we work and live. Hacking finds new potential in every kind of situation or device. We firmly believe this mindset will be at the forefront of a new economic and urban model in the next few years.”
Dominic Coballe from Deckster and Janak Alford from PrototypeD.org on FirestoneClarkReport.org Internet Radio Show: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/firestoneclarkreport/2011/12/21/student-entrepreneurs-speak-about-lessons-learned
Prof Bruce with Dom Coballe, Jennifer Jane Clark & Janak Alford, December 2011.
This mindset has growing influence—the rise of the ‘maker’ movement is witness to that. The Economist believes self-guided manufacturing technology “will change the world.” (http://www.economist.com/node/18114327)
Alford, whose thesis at Carleton University ‘hacked’ the tools of architectural design, sees this workshop as an opportunity to gain access to new tools, resources and to network with creative individuals within the city. With an eye to technology, prototypeD is open on a membership basis to Ottawa’s creative class—people who might have no other way to access such high tech tools as CNC (Computer Numeric Controlled) machines, 3D inkjet printers, laser engravers, high-speed processing computers, or the space to pursue their artistic or creative goals.
Prof Bruce’s Internet DNA ‘Hacked’ by Janak Alford’s Katalogos and eNome.ca
Three businesses: Modifactured (machines and digital installations), Sangria Studio (textile and fashion design) and AMarcynuk Design (architectural aeroponic green design and installation) already operate out of the new urban workshop. The first publication from the workshop, Urban Hacker: Body Art, is available for purchase on Blurb.com (http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/2272791).
prototypeD is welcoming new members now and will hold an official open-house and demonstration in September 2011. Looking for more on this initiative? Please visit: http://prototypeD.org.
Janak Alford, Founder. June 2011.