Week 247

Another week and another change at the office. One thing that does define the Open Coop is that everything is in a constant state of flux adding jitter so none of us remain stuck in a local optimum. The global optimum we are shooting for in and around our location in North is rather ridiculous but best not shared in public.
Yet another new desk

I flew into Amsterdam on Monday morning (takeoff Schönefeld at 07:20) to a rather broken working day. My locative transgressions leaving at least Peter Robinett confused enough to do something about it. He built me a personal glanceable: Where’s Alper? (write up). That is the best reason to build software: because you need it.

Attended to it by my speaking agent Tessa, I submitted a talk brief to NEXT12 about Love in Time of Gamification. And I registered at Hybrid Plattform in Berlin, looking to see what kind of collaborations come from that.

Waveform (beautiful overpass, no signage)

The rest of Monday and Tuesday were spent preparing a workshop for the Dutch broadcasting corporation the NOS on the topic of data visualization using off the shelf tools. The course was mainly focused on Google’s tools such as Motion Charts, other charts APIs and Fusion Tables but we also managed to touch on some theoretical and ethical questions during the workshop.

Gerrit Hiemstra preparing to tape the weather (sorta amazing to see)

For me it was great to see how far Google’s Fusion Tables offering has come since last I looked at it, becoming a proper tool for big data analysis and visualization for those with the right skills and inclination. Though the data import/export as well as the ties to Google are problematic for corporate customers. It is also very promising how a web savvy group of people as those at the NOS can use the data they have at their disposal to create public facing interactive products. That is the aim and I am very curious what comes out of the NOS during the next year when it comes to data.

After the course I got the obligatory television studio tour and despite having foresworn television some years ago, I could not help but be awed by the studios, the proceedings and the massive disconnect between what happens in physical space in Hilversum and how it is experienced throughout the country. The process of media power at play is an impressive thing to behold.

Amber Case starting off with a literal #50cyborgs lecture

I met with Erik Kroesto talk about the intersection of photography and the internet. And then I went to a lecture in the Facing Forward series by Amber Case and Manuel DeLanda. I had read this piece about Case before and the talk contained not much new and DeLanda who I had got pointed to by Matt Jones very recently took his time to introduce us to genetic algorithms as form finding functions. A laypersons introduction to genetic algorithms for me does not contain anything novel either, but DeLanda delivered it with intelligence and wit, which made it still immensely bearable.

Most surprised I was still at the relative novelty the audience experienced for material that has been old hat in my social sphere for the last couple of years. Tellingly in a room of hundreds there were only a handful of people who had even mentioned the event on Twitter let alone who participated in any kind of discursive backchannel.

Manuel Delanda talking about simulation

I was and still am more interested in DeLanda’s book on simulation. The next day I participated in a workshop in W139 where DeLanda gave me and a bunch of art students an introduction into Realist philosophy as opposed to the other branches.

After work beers in the bus

We ended the week with talking about the communications plan and the merger for Open State (the future foundation into which all of Hack de Overheid and het Nieuwe Stemmen are to be combined).

Hack de Overheid board meeting

This was accompanied with a bunch of festivities among which a Coop party on Thursday, constitutionary drinks on Friday and then off to Utrecht for the Hubbub studio warming. Kars Alfrink has crafted himself an ultra fine place of work and I count myself lucky to be allowed to work there from time to time.

Total chaos playing The Resistance

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