Member 1609
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Remko Siemrink (M, 38)
Rotterdam, NL
Immortal since Feb 19, 2008
Uplinks: 0, Generation 3
I am born in '81 and am a designer or professional amateur.
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    Connectedness (or: one connected mess) ; Personal report of the PICNIC conference ’08
    Concerning PICNIC I am interested most in connectedness ... the increasing connectedness of people, disciplines, technologies, places, well ... everything. An immense network exists; consisting out of stuff in both the 'virtual world' (the internet) and the physical world. My graduation project was essentially about this and I am currently continuing this research at Hyperbody, a research chair from the Faculty of Architecture at Delft University of Technology.

    The recent developments that I am investigating have a huge impact on social-life and our physical environment. An essential ingredient here are social networks (both the 'old fashioned' ones and the ones online). PICNIC, for me, is an interesting example of a very promising social network. The themes of the '08 conference seem very much valid for the [ Archtctr2.0] research. I am so excited!

    And the people were connected at PICNIC! I think I’ve never seen so many iPhones and iBooks in one place before (I felt like a crazy scientist with my ThinkPad ;) … And then there were these Mediamatic ik-tags that you could use to increase your connectedness with physical people. So OK, what else have I learned from PICNIC? Well, of course you always get the idea that you are missing out on the most exciting stuff, but now a small run-down of my visits.

    To start with, the Enquring Minds gathering was very nice; some informal presentations of quite formal work. My own contribution was received well, judging by some remarks I received later during the conference.

    Then to the Virtual Worlds special. Here I remember some commercial blabla. Philip Rosedale from Second Life is an interesting figure though and he held a nice charismatic presentation. And then there was the best hack of PICNIC ’08: a nano-microscope made out of a DVD-player’s lens and laser combined with some other cheap materials and free-to-download scanning software (Dr. Hans Ulrich Danzebrink and Dr. En-Te Hu - Nanotechnology in a virtual world). They used the microscope to scan surfaces and make them into 3D virtual worlds that students and scholars could walk through and experience the difference in scale between our world and the nano-world.

    Now some nice web-work … the latest Bløf album features a wonderful online extension. Furthermore I remember that the presentation of Allofme got me; it is the really simple idea to just put things back on a linear timeline. Comforting idea in these non-linear times. All this being well crafted in a post web2.0 web-service. And then there was this Green Challenge nominee called routeRANK; again a wonderfully simple idea: just put the environmental damage and costs of your trips inside a route-planner. At first I was skeptical about the idea, but I have been playing with the beta-version and it is really gives you insight and reveals beautifully how cheap but dirty traveling by car is. For example a trip from Amsterdam to Moscow is 516,94 euro by car, but it exhales a 590 kg of CO2 (I still have to find out how these kilo’s work though). You can limit your environmental damage to 371 kg by traveling by train and plane but it will cost you 1218,25 euro. So being green is not being cheap. routeRANK is good, but it was not the best of the Green Challenge nominees … somehow I forgot about the others though ;) …

    Enough… All in all I think that PICNIC ’08 was a very successful conference. What I missed sometimes though, was a more critical attitude. Virtually all presentations were of the WIRED-kind of neo-liberal (eco) techno-enthusiasm. The group of artists that also received free conference passes managed to put things a little bit back in perspective, which was good. Even the overall eco-theme was nicely transformed by Niko Princen by simply photographing everything green altogether :).

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