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Kars Alfrink speaking at in Hamburg

On February 21 I’ll be speaking at in Hamburg.1 It’s is a little brother of Reboot, a conference in Copenhagen I love for its relaxed atmosphere, eclectic mix of people and slightly countercultural leanings. aims to help designers and technologists become more aware of the many networks they rely on — people, technologies, objects, materials, life — and how they can contribute to them. I’ve been asked to discuss how games in urban spaces can raise awareness of these networks, and how they can perhaps also serve as catalysts for contributing to them. Looking forward to it, hopefully I can build on some of the stuff I was chewing on at the Club of Amsterdam and NOP last year.

  1. Apparently, the name is a German pun on ‘spaceship captain’ / ‘spaceship earth’ and inspired by Buckminster Fuller’s Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth. []
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  1. Marrije
    Posted February 4, 2010 at 21:04 | Permalink

    Ooh, sounds interesting! But the Raumschiff people seem to think you are from Amsterdam :-)

  2. Posted February 5, 2010 at 08:31 | Permalink

    ok, Utrecht, fixed. :) Looking forward to your talk!

  3. Kars
    Posted February 5, 2010 at 08:45 | Permalink

    Amsterdam, Utrecht, what’s the difference, right? Thanks for fixing that, Matthias. And thanks for being so perceptive, Marrije!

  4. Posted February 6, 2010 at 08:34 | Permalink

    Once upon a time a friend and I were cycling through the Netherlands. When we tried to get out of Amsterdam something strange happened. (Yes, this is a very short story about urban play). We could not get out of the city. No way! We passed the same house at least three times before we noticed that we did not make any progress in terms of getting closer to our destination, the border of Amsterdam, and then on to Edam and Gouda. What’s going on here? We paused. Went into a restaurant to think about the situation, ordered a coffee and a hot chocolate. It dawned to us, that our mental map of the city was out of synch with the reality. Amsterdam’s street architecture is not rectangular like Manhattan’s. It just locally seems to be. But when you are cycling and turn 4 times to the left you do not look into the same direction as before. Even though if you turn left – right – left – right, your new direction has only something to do with the direction you were heading before you started moving. The city becomes a labyrinth if the mental map does not match the physical. Well, we finally solved the riddle and made it to Edam, Gouda, Gent, Cap Gris Nez and Paris. I’m sure that Wifi and navigation systems would have helped us – but we had more fun the way we experienced Amsterdam.

  5. Kars
    Posted February 12, 2010 at 09:42 | Permalink

    Ah yes, wayfinding remains a tricky thing. Check out this passage from Kevin Lynch’s Image of the City to put your experience in perspective!