There is a place in Berlin, where Moritzplatz used to be.
A hub for makers.
Here there are resources, marketplaces, and infrastructures for people who make things.
At Makerplatz you can find materials, both for sale, and for free (“waste”), you can find Laser Cutters, printers for any material including 3D models, you can find giant cameras, gardens, desks with internet for the Web creators, and physical tools for their offline cousins. Here you will find communities of all types, and builders of communities where the need is not yet met.
Here you can find spaces to make pretty much anything.
Photo Credit: Kay Strasser, Action Credit: Formulor, Letters are my Friends, Jay Cousins, Andy from Invented Here, and Thomas Gnahm
Poster design: 10hoch16
The Makerplatz has been emerging here for the last 2 years, but only recently did we see it. Invited by both Planet Modulor and Betahaus, Open Design City to create aMakerlab event in both spaces the same weekend, we realised that we now inhabited an environment perfect for People who Make things.
The context was set – to unite and highlight these spaces and communities, with a shared event, taking place within 3 festivals – Aufbauhaus Offnung, People in Beta, and the Kartoffelfest. To show that the Makers are here, that we’re doing something good, and that anyone can be a part of it.
Makerplatz – say’s Semi.
It becomes clear, like the Berlin Berg, it is a strong vision of reality.
With this vision we went forth – and planned through parties, 60 + people joined in, in the approaching weeks, many more joined in on the day, organising, instigating, participating. Motivated by the story, their own desires, wishes and freedom to explore and do what they wished within the event context.
So what happened when we celebrated the Makerplatz?
In two days, many Actions took place, some planned, some spontaneous, each autonomous, and driven by the individual organiser with a little support. Emre even came in from Turkey especially for the event.
It started calm and relaxed on Friday, as the Makers gathered at Etsy Labs, Aluc, Josephine Bruse, the Etsy Team, and Pamoyo, provided the means to create our own clothes and style, by hacking old shirts to make dresses, and new outfits, and screen printing them with Josephine’s self made logo.
It was then time to set up the space for the first workshops, Kito and friends kindly helped us put together some tables from old pallets.
The afternoon brought a Nanode Workshop, where Amin showed people how to make their own microprocessor (Nanode is a cheaper Arduino with internet capabilities), using different sensors to create data visualisations.
Meanwhile in the Aufbauhaus Hof. A game of Table Tennis is taking place with numerous different bats
This project from Weltgestalten connected school kids, with a youth project, and local designer makers – including Stefan from Formulor pictured above showing his Lasercutter. Collaboration with Johannes Hafner has also set him on a quest for the perfect table tennis bat, experimenting with old glues, wood layers and processes.
Outside Art Connect Berlin, began engaging the public, distributing and exchanging Free Ideas
Whilst LiteKultur established a tower of love, and engaged people in sharing their love messages with the world.
The mobile roaming live feed infoboard , proved to be a prime example of co-collaboration – built on a betabox from Le Van Bo, hacked by Kay and Manuela, using a poster designed by 10hoch16, and scrap materials from Modulor, populated by content provided by everybody, and drawn on by Ben, with helium balloons from Nadine, showing live reports of the whole event from Brina over a network system enabled by Meinhard. The project started 4 days before the event at the 2nd planning party at PLATOON.
She soon discovers that we had received a spontaneous visit from F*ck for Forest (please note – watch the video below to get some context before clicking the site link. F*ck for Forests is exactly what it says on the tin).
Video of Fuck for Forest.
Sometimes, we had to do some mild rearranging, relocating Kunts-stoffe to the ODC, where they showed people how to recycle plastic Bags, and made new friends, but we made signs to redirect the traffic.
The Maker Line, soon emerged to make directions easier, and started affecting the behavior of the traffic.
Whilst Chris Doering tested his new prototype design process.
Finally in the evening many gathered for “Party like it’s 1.999″ an experiment organised by the memelab to crowdsource wine knowledge on cheap wines for 1.99 EU.
Whilst reflecting gleefully on a day of “Chaos” the Makerplatz was consumed by a Critical Mass action, which I discovered after our community was heavily active in.
Amin kicked off Saturday at 10, with his desire to share a knowledge of Open Source Electronics with a second workshop for an new crowd. Later he is joined by Philip with a soldering workshop showing people how to make a Drawdio – A musical pencil.
Photo Credit: Pedro Pineda
Combining Electronics with Waste, Metas show up and start to try to build a CNC machine from some old broken printers.
Vahagen brings some entreprerial and spontaneous flair to the event by showing up and erecting a DIY pop up shop selling and making upcycled jewelry.
Cookies and Code, set up a badge maker and start discussions about their conference.
Baptiste Beaujard, created alternative spaces for people to imagine themselves in – a physical approach to our perception of space -which also led to some to some spontaneous lego play.
The streets of course already well infiltrated with the tower of love and free ideas, later to be joined by Le Van Bo’s Kreuzberger Treppe Worksop, PappGestaltencomtemplate Trial and Error’s Trash Collage, and Semiramis’s Mushroom Throwies provoke new musical compositions from buskers.
The throwies then begin to populate the Makerplatz.
But it doesn’t stop there.
Over at the ODC the bike workshops continue, Anna starts offering rides in her trolley bike, Bagpad offer to show people how to make their own pillows from Bags, while Kitoshow’s people how to make their own Pallet Chairs.
Talks on Making take place inside the People in Beta Festival.
At Etsy Lab’s, the screen printing, shirt hacking continues in the afternoon as well, with the addition of some potato printing (taking it old school).
Away from the bustle, Prinzessingarten runs workshops with a different pace, more leasurely.
Potato Preserves, and Birdhouses (Inga’s first workshop, where she shows Flo from Pirate Party (who kindly donated their old signs) how to make his own Birdhouse), a pop up stand from LemonAid
Travis weaves in the sunshine.
I finally find a quite moment for an interview with Daniel
Bringing everything to a close, was certainly a challenge, but maybe a 1/2 of us made the final photo.
Taken by Kay’s daughter – Basti, she displays her father’s eye for a smile.
Finally the GRL Germany finished of the night by laser tagging the side of the buildings of the Makerplatz.
But this is just the beginning, the event was just a process – all these different communities and individuals have met, worked together and collaborated on a shared experience. They have bonded, and already thought bigger than the event itself. When packing up, I spoke to a guy who took part. He said “You’ve made me a maker, I’ve wanted to produce something for myself for a while, but I lacked the confidence, now I have this wood, and I have my idea, I shall make it”.
Everyone has this energy, this potential, yet we are disconnected from it. By these events and these spaces we connect people with their potential, we show them that they are capable of doing awesome things themselves, rather than consuming and accepting what is there. We create the opportunity for them to discover what they are capable of, it might start with some furniture, a scarf, a bike, or a couple of lines of code that say “hello world”, or an event that show’s others how to do these things. But the moment people start making, they engage with a global conversation of action about how the world can be. They no longer need to accept it, they can change it.
As a note for next time, We will need to keep a running tally of gratitude and praise to ensure that everybody gets the dues they deserve. If i missed you out please let me know. Even as I wrote this, the story grew, and it will I hope continue to.
The below is a summary of how this event came about, for those of you interested to do your own, and also some further humble thanks for the many that made this happen.
Makerplatz is based on the Makerlab event concept.
The process is as follows.
1. Find an existing event or events that you can collaborate with (Space and Time).
2. Establish a good story of space and event (Context), that people feel they would like to be a part of.
3. Bring people together who might be interested to make something happen, give them the opportunity to do something cool and autonomous(Opportunity), allow them the identify why they might want to take part (Motivation).
4. Create chances for them to meet and communicate with one another (Build Community).
5. Grant them Autonomy. Enable and Support them.
This event was an experiment, it wasn’t planned in the traditional sense, the opportunity was given, and the community rose to the occasion. The thoughts, reflection and process are all works in Progress.
Big thanks to everybody who made this happen.
Support (infrastructure, space, material contributions):
Planet Modulor // Formulor // Lasern // Platoon // Etsy Labs // Prinzessinengarten // Trial and Error KulturLabor // Betahaus // Open Design City // The Anxious Prop // Mendel Heit Design Lab // Letters Are My Friends // PLATOON // Linkle
Special thanks to Marc Piesbergen from Planet Modulor for the opportunity.
If we left you out, please contact us, it’s nothing personal, it’s just a very big list.