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Kars Alfrink speaking at RaumschiffEr.de in Hamburg

On Feb­ru­ary 21 I’ll be speak­ing at RaumschiffEr.de 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. RaumschiffEr.de 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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5 Comments

  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!