Otelos are an international network of open technology labs that bring creative people together in rural areas and forge a culture of innovation with them. Unlike many makerspaces and Fab Labs, Otelos make it a priority to welcome ordinary people of all ages and a variety of social spheres, not just hackers and other tech-savvy individuals.
Otelos are places where people can delve into all sorts of arts and crafts, electronics, 3D printing projects and alternative educational approaches. They are places where people play and dance together, produce free media, design new forms of work, and pursue countless other passions.
ō tel ō, adjective: Welcoming; being part of a diverse, open community; invited to join in actively; keen to experiment; free, touched, inspired and alive; having found one’s place.
# Legal Status & Location
# When did they start?
The first Otelos began in 2010 in cooperation with the municipalities of Vöcklabruck and Gmunden, Austria. The municipalities provided the physical spaces and budgets for at least three years (a commitment that many municipalities have since extended to an unlimited period of time). This funding gave the Otelos sufficient independence. cf Finance Commons Provisioning.
The idea for Otelos began in 2009 as Martin Hollinetz, then Director of Regional Management in the Upper Austrian districts of Vöcklabruck and Gmunden, contemplated with dismay the regional development strategies of the EU, the Austrian federal government, and the Austrian states.
He saw the existing strategies as rigidly centralized processes dominated by establishment “experts” and hostile to the idea of civic participation. There were neither infrastructures nor organizational models to support a culture of creativity and innovation. Martin and colleagues wanted to develop a culture in which openess, sharing and cooperation could drive new forms of participatory regional development.
In 2017 the first Otelo, Hebewerk html opened in Eberswalde/Germany.
# How do they work?
Otelos are local associations governed by their members. In 2012, when two new Otelos were started, organizers decided to create a network of local Otelos. Each bases its activities on an Otelo Charter, which outlines the fundamental perspective of Otelos and their cultural ethic of innovation. The associations meet twice a year as a network and participate in activities involving various Otelos, such as festivals.
In each community, organizers tried to identify at least five people willing to host and network with other people. This model of volunteer organizing has proved quite successful. This group keeps an eye on new trends and initiates experimental projects. Soon Otelos began hosting "Denk-Bar" sessions -- a bar or pub for open meetings not dominated by experts imparting knowledge, but by interested amateurs who share a passion for a topic of common interest. (DenkBar being a play on words: “denkbar” means “imaginable” in German.) Otelos also developed a “node model,” which enables groups to use space in the Otelos long-term, free of charge, and without any pressure to achieve results. The only requirement is that the groups share their knowledge and experiences and provide opportunities for others to participate. The nodes let a creative economy project evolve and do in-depth experiments with public funding support. The resulting projects have been quite diverse.
Otelos have attracted electronics do-it-yourselfers who build Tesla coils for making music, light painters, and people developing energy-saving projects for their cities, innovative educational models, and new types of consumer-producer partnerships for sourcing food.
Transported image. source
All of the ideas and projects developed in the Otelos are made available under a Creative Commons license or through workshops or various forms of documentation.
# How are they financed?
Many municipalities in Austria and Germany finance the Otelos. ?INFO MISSING
# Which Core Dimensions of Commoning are enacted?
By bringing together diverse types of ordinary people who wish to collaborate and learn from each other, Otelos Cultivate Shared Purpose & Values. They encourage people to Contribute Freely by sharing their talents, imagination and helpfulness, and they Strengthen the Nested-I by assuming the perspective of the interested amateur, and not the professional expert.
By drawing upon bottom-up creativity, Otelos projects seek to Trust Situated Knowing. Through various gatherings and festivals, Otelos Ritualize Togetherness and so deepen their commitment to the values outlined in the Otelo Charter.
# Peer Governance in the Commons
The Peer Governance of Otelos is fairly straight-forward because the resources involved are relatively modest as is the the potential for commercial gain. Nonetheless, there is ample room for participation, helping to Assure Commoners' Consent in Decisionmaking. And by requiring the use of Creative Commons licenses and the sharing of knowledge and project documentation, there is a serious desire to Relationalize Property and Share Knowledge Often & Widely. Because of its accessible, local scale, Otelos are well-designed to Respect Human Dimensions.
# How does Provisioning through commons occur?
As a core commitment, Otelos Make & Use Together. Their discoveries, innovations and knowledge are all shared and shareable. As venues for amateur creativity, they Honor Care & Decommodified Work -- and results subject to Pool & Share principles. The Otelo world is deeply committed to Use Convivial Tools that can be modified and adapted by the users themselves to suit their needs. As a network, the Otelo world seeks to Rely on Distributed Structures, with each local Otelo functioning autonomously but culturally oriented to its peers in the region and beyond. In this, Otelos resemble the open design and manufacturing world, which is deliberately attempting to Produce Cosmo-Locally. As a segmented network always alert to breaking trends, Otelos are also quite able to Creatively Adapt & Renew.
- Beat the Bounds of Capitalocentrism - [Protect & Extend Value Sovereignty] - Emulate & Then Federate - Strengthen Commons Public Circuits # State Functions for Commoning - Use or Establish Discrimination-Free Infrastructures - Provide Mediation & Support if Needed
# Realms of Commoning
Most of the material in this profile is drawn from a short essay by Hannelore Hollinetz and Martin Hollinetz, "Otelo -- Open Technology Labs in Austria" html
# See also