ASCII (squat)

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For the issue with Unicode URLs called "ASCII squatting", see IDNA

The Amsterdam Subversive Center for Information Interchange (ASCII) was a squatted communication laboratory in the Dutch city of Amsterdam. The first incarnation was formed in 1999[1] and based at the Herengracht. The lab then moved to the following locations: Jodenbreestraat, Kinkerstraat, Kostverlorenkade, Wibautstraat and Javastraat (52°21′49″N 4°56′3″E / 52.36361°N 4.93417°E / 52.36361; 4.93417).

Initial ASCII location on the ground floor of a squatted house on Heerengracht. Photo taken around 1999

ASCII became legalised when it moved into Jodenbreestraat 24 in January 2000, alongside the radical bookshop Fort van Sjakoo, but started squatting again when faced with a 900% rent increase.[2]

The original aim was to provide a free internet work space for activists and squatters and to promote Open Source operating systems such as Linux and free software programs such as OpenOffice.org and Mozilla. Members of the collective scavenged and rebuilt computers from trash.[3] In 2005, ASCII was involved with a plan to set up free community wireless internet access across Amsterdam.[4] In 2006 Javastraat was evicted [5] and the group declared a shift towards being a hacklab rather than having a physical space.

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