It promises to be the most exciting technological revolution since the early days of the web (1990s), when everything still felt possible (long before the days of cat pictures, angry tweets and social media ninjas). It’s the makerspace, also known as a hackspace, and If I were a betting man (I’m not), I would put money on this new wave of experimentation producing another Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg, perhaps a Generation-Z social entrepreneur putting people before profits.
Across the world, like-minded people are toying with new models, machines and tools in community spaces, resulting in the birth of exciting new solutions to problems. I visited such a space in Kuala Lumpur, located within a shopping mall, not too far from a supermarket and other symbols of the 20th century.
Makespace is promoted as a free co-working space for makers and maker wannabes. While windowless, with malfunctioning air conditioning, it was easy to visualise its potential: it was big (you could imagine that, in the past, this might have been a bar or club buried within a mall), with sufficient capacity to accommodate different interests. On the day of my visit, there were young people rehearsing a play and a few laptops were open, while other groups were busy doing other things (not sure what exactly). There was also free Wi-Fi and soon (I heard) there will be coffee.
"Makespace hosts performances, talks, workshops and the like. There’s a community and co-working space as well as… http://t.co/npIUwxoK8p
— Makespace (@Makespacemy) August 18, 2015
As I see it, makerspaces are the beginnings of a movement that, combined with the internet, can finally deliver us from the tyranny of the 9-5. Also, with so much discord around at the moment, perhaps we’re all better off tinkering in the shed than loudly protesting on the streets (which doesn’t bring about meaningful change, since the 1% is here to stay and they’re very happy with their lot, thank you very much). We might discover smarter and fairer ways of doing things, and enjoy ourselves and each other’s company in the process. It could be a rallying cry of the 2020s: Makespace, not war.