Week 284: New beginnings, Campus Party

Last week was rather eventful. I popped over to Praxis to sign my lease there and I was scheduled to present a workshop at Campus Party on a topic near to my heart about which I have presented often already in one form or another: Civic Hacking.

Sick siphon action inside

On Tuesday I attended the django meetup organized by my good friends from Gidsy. It’s always a pleasure to touch base with the current technological state of the art and best practices in web development, though I am not a web developer pur sang anymore.

Django meetup. Dude gets his balls busted for the tiny font and low contrast.

On Wednesday I dropped by at the Campus Party venue which at the vast Tempelhof area was as impressive as expected and spent the rest of the time preparing my workshop.

Campus Party landing in Berlin. Utter crazy town of makers, gamers and net people.

Finally hit the last bay full of tents at #CPEurope

On Thursday evening I presented the points of view we have on the topic as the last entry on a full Free Software Stage. The idea is that programmers and other makers can use their skills to make things and by doing so create a free world (necessary for free software).

A picture by Gulius Caesar:

On Friday it was back to the Campus Party to see the presentation by the Rails Girls Berlin. On the whole Campus Party was a great event with so much interesting stuff happening (a bit too much at times), but with also a lot of odd kinks in the organization which are neatly summarized over at Silicon Allee.

The Rails Girls Berlin among who @fraulea at #cpeurope

And after that to see a bunch of pro gaming going on at the arena where I saw a bunch of interesting Star Craft II cast by Kaelaris and witnessed my first bit of League of Legends. Witnessing the high level sc2 players up close and seeing their actual APM is rather bizarre.

I have already been watching a bit of sc2 by Husky after which Frank Lantz started writing his Drinking Man’s Guide to Watching Starcraft, which I can recommend to everybody wanting to get into the sport.

Back for the sc2 matches

Siphoning in the afternoon

Week 283: Pigs, other animals, cities and the internet

A delayed picture in picture from me presenting in Helsinki:
Dutch E-culture days Alper Cugun | 2

Some of my writing got some renewed attention. The play Ten Billion was picked up by a Dutch daily and my review got a wholly forgettable comment, which did force me to clarify some points myself. But I’m afraid that most of the abstract thought I’m riffing off these days from Ribbonfarm does not translate well to the continental European context both in terms of culture and complexity.

I also finished my piece about the BMW Guggenheim Lab that took place in Berlin this summer. The event was well done, the program had something for everybody and some of the web components I got to play with were really nice. Though there was still a lack of real engagement and therefore a lack of real change.

ci·ty·jerk (noun, portmanteau of city and circlejerk): high modernist gathering of architects and designers talking about urban experiences from which they are wholly detached

Tents are popular

Lots of work this week on Pig Chase getting the iPad client version to work for initial prototyping.

I visited the Berlin Google offices to attend a lecture by Ben Scott about the potential of the internet. An absurdly self-serving piece of rhetoric that briefly summarized said: Germans are stupid to be wary of the internet and it is in fact holding them back. If they manage to trust the web and open up to its promise, everything will be fine and dandy.

Like what I remember from Dolores (also everybody here speaks Spanish)

Friday I had beers over at Praxis which will be my new offices from September onwards.

I’m also working on a proposal and subsequent script for a privacy based Nordic LARP. It’s going to be interesting and uncompromising and I could use help.

Week 282: back in Berlin, street games at Play Publik

Wood paneled, 1-2 seated, ICE second class makes my TGV experience of a week ago look decidedly shabby

Last Monday was the end of the holiday with a leisurely train ride from Munich to Berlin during which I managed to chew through a lot of e-mails and revise a bunch of maths.

The rest of the week was spent mostly working through e-mails, meetings and social calls. Netzpolitik celebrated their birthday in C-Base with some nice drinks.

And rather quickly Kars Alfrink arrived in Berlin for the Play Publik festival. You’ll notice some similarities between my personal weeknotes and the general Hubbub weeknotes for last week.

Virtueel Platform published the videos of our talks in Helsinki, so there you have me talking about open data:

With our Hubbub strength over at the Berlin studio doubled on Wednesday we finished saba. After that it was straight on working on buta all the while playing games at the festival.

Best panel discussion ever #playpublik

On Friday I had another additional studio guest with Sebastian Deterding. That was also the day that I experienced the beautiful Our Broken Voice at Ostbahnhof.

Gamification (sic!) discussion with @karsalfrink @ericzimmerman @dingstweets

@karsalfrink talking about pigs

The rest of the weekend was spent working on buta and playing games at Play Publik with nary a moment’s rest in between. It was nice to be finally able to play Starry Heavens by Eric Zimmerman. I and a lot of people had a lot of fun with Hit Me.

Kevin Slavin in Berlin!

The final day there was a presentation by Kevin Slavin and we closed off the event with a massive game of Charge of the Rubber Ball Brigade. There are many awesome pictures online over at Facebook (which is a shame).

Het BMW Guggenheim Lab in Berlijn

Geconfronteerd met het feit dat de meeste dertigers die in de stad wonen geen auto meer willen hebben en veel twintigers niet eens meer hun rijbewijs halen, zetten automakers zichzelf opnieuw in de markt. Ze zijn niet meer verkopers van een statussymbool, maar aanbieders van vervoersoplossingen in een toekomstvisie waarin de auto een plek heeft naast de fiets, het openbaar vervoer en alle andere dingen die steden leuk maken. Audi komt in Londen binnenkort met haar Audicity en BMW toert in samenwerking met het Guggenheim langs de wereld met haar lab. Eerst New York, nu Berlijn en straks in Mumbai. (Daimler is MIA.)

Discussing city politics

In een anderhalve maand lang durend programma haalt BMW ongeveer elke spreker uit het TED/nieuwe media/architectuur-circuit naar de locatie. Er worden presentaties gegeven, gesprekken geïnitiëerd en workshops gedaan. Dit alles in een keet op een leeg stuk grond met wat schermen, krijtborden en post-its. De standaard-ingrediënten van co-creatie. Het woord ‘lab’ zelf is een excuus voor grote bedrijven om iets onafs te kunnen presenteren. ‘Het is geen zooitje, het is een lab.’

Aanvankelijk wilde de organisatie het Lab op de Spree-oever in Kreuzberg neer zetten. Dat bleek —zoals zoveel in Berlijn— omstreden. Lokale autonomen waren bang dat het lab de gentrificatie verder zou versnellen en dreigden met geweld. In overleg met de stad week BMW toen uit naar het toeristische Pfefferbergcomplex in Prenzlauerberg, een deel van de stad dat niet verder gentrificeren kan.

BMW die stedenbouwkunde predikt is een beetje als McDonald’s die de Olympische Spelen sponsort. Het kan maar het heeft iets potsierlijks. Berlijn kan een gesprek over zichzelf op dit moment goed gebruiken. Het goedkope paradijs waar ze bekend om stond is grotendeels weg, huurhuizen worden in rap tempo geliberaliseerd, panden verkocht aan speculanten die hun geld niet meer op de beurs kwijt kunnen en de lege plekken die over zijn opgevuld met bouw- en supermarkten. Het stadsbestuur is te druk met zichzelf en talrijke schandalen om een coherente visie over de stad te vormen dus moeten anderen het maar doen.

BMW weet dat helaas niet te leveren. De professionele forumbezoekers op het lab hebben andere belangen dan de Turkse dames op Kotti die protesteren voor sociale huren. De belangen van alle betrokkenen zijn te groot om de gesprekken relevant te maken. Het resultaat ziet er gelikt uit maar de angel is er bij voorbaat al uit. Jammer, want in deze stad waar mensen elkaar aan het verdringen zijn zou wat meer Jane Jacobs geen kwaad kunnen.

Gentse Feesten: a fantastic city festival

I spent two days in Ghent a Belgian city that is lovely in its own right, but really shines for a long week every summer when it has its own festival: the Gentse Feesten. I’d been there once before some ten years ago and had a lot of fun there. So Tourism Flanders gave me the chance to revisit.

Long time since I was here. #fiaf12

Gentse Feesten is probably my favorite city festival / large scale celebration around. It manages to string together a wildly varied program in a nice city in a convivial atmosphere. It is nice to see how a festival can offer something for many ages and tastes and be an all round positive experience.

Search & Destroy #fiaf12

This visit was marred a bit by the rainfall plaguing most of Northern Europe this summer which put something of a damper on visitor numbers, but even in the pouring rain, many stages drew crowds and the after hours celebrations on the Vlasmarkt were as special as promised.

Latino Music Experience