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HIVE MIND: Members of Hive76 are currently working on a tech-based solution to sudden hive collapse, a condition in which bee colonies unexpectedly vanish.
The Hacktory, a DIY workspace, wasn’t enough for Far McKon — despite it offering classes on making everything from electronic jewelry to musical pencils, acting as a venue for 8-bit performers, and holding regular meetings and open hours. In addition to that, McKon (pictured, left) wanted 24-hour access to the building, a more defined membership and, well, the option to be a bit more selfish.
“At the Hacktory, we were doing things for someone else — the classes and workshops were more about getting other people into art and science, which is great,” says McKon, who was one of the Hacktory’s founders. “But I wanted something more focused on the members.” City Paper
And thus, like a good little DIY-er, he fathered his own workspace. Hive76 is now open 24 hours a day, seven days a week for top-level members, boasts a paying membership of about 10 people, and even holds workshops for outsiders — but only once a month, of course.
: What projects are Hive76 members working on?Far McKon:
We’re getting started on some tech solutions to gardening, like plant- and bee-monitoring systems. They can measure the amount of water in soil, or look into why sudden hive collapse — when bees suddenly disappear — may be happening.
Those ideas basically started as one member’s personal project, and then the rest of us got excited about them and jumped on board, too. We also just helped out an artist whose multimedia exhibit is opening at FLUXspace. It uses LED lights and prints. CP:
The bee project seems apt for a group called Hive76. And what does the Python night you’ve been holding involve?FM:
By the end of a Python night, our goal is to release a free piece of software that anyone can download and use. We also try to make the software usable on anything — Macs, PCs and Linux.CP
: How else have you set yourself apart from other DIY spaces?FM:
Our main function is to be open 24/7, and be able to share tools and pool resources. [The Hacktory’s] mission centers on open hours happening only one Saturday a month. Our membership is also more defined — if you pay more, you get increasingly more access to the building and more locker space.
We actually did a project that allows members to determine when they want the space to be open to the public — there’s a button that you can press that says the space is open, and if you don’t want visitors, you just don’t have to push the button.CP:
Have you participated in anything as a group outside of Hive76’s physical space? FM
: We had a workshop where we made weapons for the Cardboard Tube Fighting Tournament, and then competed in that. It’s funny: In the final round, it was two people from Hive76 and five other people we all knew — it’s kind of a small geek world in Philly.
HIVE76 open hours: Every Wed., 7:30 p.m., free, 915 Spring Garden St., Suite 500, hive76.org.