By Alex W
On Victoria Day Monday, I joined a handful of folks from the Hamilton hackerspace Think|haus in Mount Nemo to have a look at one of the leading location candidates for SoOnCamp 2012.
SoOnCamp will be an outdoor hacker meetup, modeled on the popular European hacker camps like the quadrennial Chaos Communication Camp held in Germany. The idea of hacking and camping is a curious juxtaposition, not only due to the classic stereotype of hackers living in unlit basements, but for more practical concerns as well. Our makerly society is largely dependant on the infrastructure of our cities, especially electricity and internet access – two utilities that are scarcely found in nature.
SoOnCamp, then, will be less like camping and more like Everest Base Camp. A temporary city, complete with utilities, infrastructure, and 1500 artists, makers, and hackers, plopped down in the middle of the Canadian wilderness.
The similarities between the European hacker camps and the famous Burning Man, as a vehicle for counter-culture community development and self-expression, are hard to ignore. But the hacker-centric events also bring a strong influence from information technology and small-scale manufacturing. At mini Maker Faire Toronto, I noted how strange it was that 3D printers have become so popular and widespread in the hacker community that they outnumbered traditional printers (in fact, I didn’t see any paper printers at the event). Even stranger it will be, then, to see these production capabilities in the middle of nowhere, Canada, churning out ABS knick-knacks in SoOnCamp’s prototyping building.
SoOnCamp takes place July 5 through 9, 2012. Tickets, when they go on sale, are expected to cost $200 for the 5 day event. If you’re interested in helping make SoOnCamp a reality, check out the SoOnCamp wiki.