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
Although I'm no longer working for Citilab, I'm still involved in the Urban OS project which has grown out of UrbanLabs . I've previousy written about Urban Labs here
The main aims of the Urban OS project are to:
Conceive, develop, test, implement and distribute components of a new operating system for the city, which improves the processes of communication, participation and consumption under open, efficient and sustainable parameters. It will be necessary to design and/or reutilise different type of interactions and of networks between technologies and people in the urban space, like mechanisms of visualization, distribution and improvement of each one of the components of the system. UrbanLabs OS can be composed of different autonomous projects that follow these aims, which at the same time realize the potential of the OS
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!