Sublime Design: Metrix Create:Space

Create something awesome with digital DIY — a hackerspace right on the cusp of innovation and creativity.

Minimalist techno plays at a low level, punctuated intermittently by mechanical moans. Machines bellow their responses to a man in an unbuttoned white lab coat and gauge earrings. Richard, an electrical engineer-in-training at Seattle Community College, fixates intently on the laser cutter before him, basking in its technological pulchritude. Bievenidos a Metrix Create:Space, home to the exploding phenomenon of digital DIY.

Metrix is one of Seattle’s several hackerspaces. While the word “hacker” conjures the media’s romanticization of Anonymous and Guy Fawkes, hacking connotes multiple passions. Metrix hackers specialize in taking everyday electronics or computer equipment and customizing or manipulating its primary function. Of course, not everyone in Metrix associates with the hacker movement. Many patrons create practical everyday items with the equipment and materials available in the hackerspace, dipping into the bevy of specialized tools available for their use. Hacker or not, Metrix encourages people to release themselves from their interdependence with mass-produced commodities and begin to fabricate for themselves.

As people work on their individual or group projects, coffee spills out of a tap, filling ($1) cup after cup. Some opt for the French press, but the underlying message is clear: coffee is the Gatorade of technothletes. While the collective brews steam the room into a film of roast, figures mill back and forth, referring to CAD schematics on their laptops and peering through intensely magnified microscopes. Solder smoke is visible as the iron is put to work, and oscilloscopes flash sine waves. A vending machine sits in the corner, offering Chai tea for $1 and 4×4 driver shields for $50. Opposite of the vending machine, a bookshelf sags under the weight of informative guides and tomes about quantum theory, biology, hardware hacking and the oeuvre of Orson Scott Card.

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Hackerspaces such as Metrix are proliferating with astounding rapidity. With the expanding subculture comes a physical community, worshipping and evangelizing in the name of hacking, art and DIY creativity. Their converts, such as Richard, never look back, operating at the forefront of our accelerated culture.

To see where accelerated technoculture will take us, examine no further than Metrix, a hackerspace right on the cusp of innovation and creativity.

Metrix Create:Space | 623A Broadway East, Seattle | Noon-Midnight | (206) 357-9406

And the nerds shall inherit the earth . . .