For some time now we at Cataspanglish have been discussing the usefulness (or otherwise) of event formats. Whereas more & more things online are getting geolocated & locally contextualised, so-called knowledge sharing events continue to operate in a void, as if there were some kind of universal truths which operate everywhere. A typical example of this is the references to FixMyStreet made by many speakers over the last year without (usually) exploring the local conditions, history and culture of the UK or (in this case) Spain/Catalonia and why the public are more likely to participate in this sort of project in one place than another.
Another issue is the amount of time & effort which finding & negotiating the use of a suitable venue and infrastructure, such as wifi and power supply, requires. Again, to us this is beginning to seem redundant when public spaces are increasingly connected. Back when I was a dirty squatter, the lack of physical space/housing & constant moving meant serious organisational problems for the squatting movement, as nearly all the time was spent in just getting a roof over your head. While the housing crisis remains, what has changed is the ability to organise things in public spaces – as has been demonstrated in a rather overkill way by the Breakout events, but exists in an everyday, workaday way in coworking in cafes etc. Also lessons have been learned (by us at least) from the concentration on the building as a space of Citilab instead of Citilab as a collection of concepts & ideas.
Yeah, yeah – but what does it all mean?
It means that through participating in the walkshop and all of the above, we are going to start doing events in public spaces using available infrastructure. Will we do more "Camps"? Well, we've got one up our sleeves, but we want to explore this new idea, so the the next cataspanglish "event" is going to be somewhere in downtown Barcelona and it's going to be a kind of mashup inspired by the walkshop, subtlemob and Hannah Nicklin's "The Smell of Rain Remind Me of You". The theme? The City of course…Watch this space
Damn! this is going to be like getting those X-Ray Spex (no – not talking about the seminal punk band, although they rock too) from old comic books. Adam Greenfield & Nurri Kim are going to be exposing the city, explaining all of those mysterious boxes clamped on to "street furniture", where they are from, what they mean and where they are going. What are those cameras, sensors, and other connected, networked objects doing and why? How are they going to change the city and you & me, politics and relationships and behaviour and culture. What is going to happen to society and space, public & private?
If you have any interest in cities, technology & society, urban design, the future of public space and relationships you simply DON'T want to miss this – Adam & Nurri have conceived a new format – the Walkshop in which we're going to get down & dirty and see this stuff in situ, not on a bunch of slides, and distinctly run the risk of pissing off security guards.
Check out the video above, shot during the #walkshop in Wellington, and read this blog post to see how CJ Wells rediscovered his barrio:
"Over the course of an hour, Adam pointed out curiosities previously unnoticed. This was my ‘hood. Yet, I had not seen rooftops bristling with aerials, streets covered by security cameras, and buildings shielding black boxes. It was mind blowing…"
The #walkshop is going to be unique event in which a great thinker & communicator riffs on the fabric of the city itself – Bring it on!
Around a year ago I went to Citilab-Cornellà for the first time to participate in UrbanLabs 08 – you can see my first impressions here. A year later I'm working at Citilab and taking part in the preparations for the event, which we will also be going to as cataspanglish. So here are some of the reasons cataspanglish will be attending:
UrbanLabs is a hands-on get down & dirty event which aims to have a real impact and not just be a talking shop although there are some…
Great keynote speakers – Adam Greenfield, Juan Freire, Ben Ceverny & Dave Harte. These are not your boring "circuit" speakers, but people with a real passion for what they're doing & thinking, people who get involved in things such as…
The Ideas Bank which Platoniq are coordinating – real ideas & projects will be presented and the participants of UrbanLabs will be voting on the "best" one to give some financial aid to from the (low) fee from the event because …
the motto for Urbanlabs (a contribution of one of its founders, Enric Senabre) is (read this post by Ramon Sangüesa): "Technocitizenship" (geeks with civic conscience and citizens with digital abilities) and "Socioinnovation" (let technocitizens invent their collective future) – so come &
Part 2 of the conversation with Adam Greenfield – click the photo for the groovy version. This conversation was recorded the day after Barack Obama won the US Presidential election. Thanks to AG for being so generous with his time and for Medialab-Prado for letting us use their office.
(click photo for full groovy version of the podcast)
A couple of weeks ago I went to Madrid to meet Adam Greenfield and record a conversation with him for the PodCamp Barcelona Podcast. This is the first part of the conversation – I'll post the second part shortly. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Adam for his time and being so approachable. If you ever get the chance to see Adam speak, take it – he is very interesting, stimulating, unassuming and an all-round charming man. Read his book Everyware to see how someone can write about complex ideas in beautiful, understandable language. And check out his blog Speedbird for more of the same great thoughtful and thought-provoking writing.
The Handheld Learning conference took place in London this week and although we weren’t able to go, I discovered via their Twitter tweets that it was possible to follow a lot of the presentations through a “live” blog hosted at Cover It Live. As it was a blog format, “readers” could ask questions and add comments. It was the next best thing to being there.
The UrbanLabs page is being continuously updated with media from the event and links for future collaboration – keep up to date here