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Technology Heroes

Walking into DenHac is like stepping into a science fiction novel, a realm where hours (and beers) disappear. Sometimes you walk in with broken equipment and out with fixed. Sometimes it’s the other way around. It’s alternately very loud with activity and very silent with concentration. Surfaces littered with machinery and equipment, computers and gadgets, a sewing machine, tubes of all diameters, and random kitchen utensils, stickers, and styrofoam skulls (turns out they weren’t just for Halloween). Laptops and wires tangle on the main work table, far more computers than people. The hacker space operates according to an unspoken formula of organized chaos, indelicate and constantly fluctuating. It’s member driven, and that can mean anything at any time. There’s a lot of spontaneous experimentation for experimentation’s sake. I think they recently destroyed a microwave.

There’s a tangible violence to it. They named their spray-painted van Grendel. Things are taken apart more often than they’re put back together. Copper intestines and gutted green motherboards and all-bent-outta-shape metal frames. It’s violence without malice, of course, violence in the name of science and technology. The DenHac dudes destroy microwaves for Truth.

The DenHac dudes.

The DenHac dudes.

Matt, interviewing next to Grendel the van.

Matt interviews for MadRim Productions next to Grendel the van.

MadRim Productions has found an office in the pleasant ruckus of the hacker space. We’ve conducted interviews there, sat down to crunch research, and joked around with the members. There’s Bill, who always seems to be covered in toner grease, Matt, who lent me a sci-fi novel that soared way over my head, JD, also known as Dark Jesus, and Robb and YT, our original contacts with the space.

Perplexed by technology.

Perplexed by technology.

YT, who is actually in charge of hacker space operations.

YT is actually in charge of hacker space operations.

We usually crash there for several hours at a time, and members flit in and out. There’s never a dull moment. Madison and I almost lost a couple months worth of footage, but Robb managed to recover it. Recently┬áI brought my kaput computer in, and JD tore it apart to replace the fan. Now it works fine again. Madison, however, installed Linux on her brand new computer and something happened and now she can’t get WiFi. Very little is irredeemable, irretrievable, irreversible; this recent hiccup is probably another opportunity to learn the hard way, our favorite.

Learning is serious business.

Learning is serious business.

MadRim Productions thanks DenHac for allowing us to use their space. It’s fantastic how we’ve come to know the members. JD, for example, met up with us on Halloween, where my roommate Tara serenaded him, “Daaaark Jesus, Dark Jesus!” We look forward to more afternoons at the hacker space in the coming winter months. These guys have a lot to teach us, and they’re just so dang friendly, we love spending time there.

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