Last month Cairo Hackerspace lost their space which was housed in the Townhouse Gallery a local art center. The shuttering of the Townhouse Gallery is just one in a series of recent raids on contemporary art spaces by the Egyptian Censorship Board. No official explanations have been given but it appears that the hackerspace was collateral damage in an attempt to close down art spaces.
Cairo Hackerspace is no stranger to homelessness starting out as a virtual space in 2009. I was lucky to work with the crew back in 2011 and it was then I met co-founder Tarek Ahmed. He has this to say about the recent closing:
The Cairo Hackerspace has survived since 2009 because of many people: our local friends and supporters, as well as the continued encouragement and interest from within and outside. We’ve moved from place to place and had to close and re-open three times since opening seven years ago. In other words, issues, financial and otherwise, have been a constant challenge. Thus the closure of our physical home, where we have been so kindly received, has no long-lasting impact on our work. Our creative drive and ideas belong not to one locale but a larger public that finds ways to solve, to hack, to make. We look forward to working on our ongoing projects with even more resolve under the current circumstances, and appreciate those reaching out to us now. At the end of the day, the spirit of our work belongs to an ambitious global community of hackers and makers.
With that beautiful resolve, the recent closures are sad but are just one bump along the long road to developing creative communities worldwide. All comments and well wishing are warmly received so keep them coming! Tarek has mentioned that the Cairo Hackerspace will soon be launching a fundraising campaign to raise money for renting a new space and buying new tools. When that time comes, they would appreciate any material contributions or simply sharing the campaign to jump back into their continuing projects.