Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Time in Frankfurt (or Bank-furt, home of the Frankfurters and the Frankfurter School) in full-on asparagus & strawberry time at the market (Bornheim Mitte). All trees seem to be in full flower. Lilacs scent the streets.Trees are well protected with iron bars from cars here.
Sleeping near the zoo, incorporates the exotic screams of the night into true urban 'wilderness' dreaming.

Delighted that Cafe Kante is finally free of toxic fumes.(Update: No it is not, staff are now standing in the door, puffing it in)
Image:Graffiti, Frankfurt

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Re:publica in Berlin

Attending sporadically events at the re:publica in Berlin. 'Living in web 2.0” is organised by Markus Beckdahl (Open Net-politics), Johnny Hauser (Spreeblick), many unconferencing helpers and sponsors.
A regional web 2.0 is coming of age and offering their services to the mainstream (enterprise). Many of the 'participatory' fora are frontal lectures and podium discussions.

'How to blog in a company without becoming a company blog' Jörg Möllenkamp, an encouraged Sun blogger was a spot-on presentation. Integrity and a clearly defined usage are important in staff blogs. Unlike traditional corporate communication strategies social media can remedy an emerging crisis immediately. Press release blogs, or 'old school' communications are out.

A stark contrast was this un-presentation, 25 min. to get the pc set up on stage. This 'humour'-based cultural presentation allowed the participatory crowd to shout off-the-top-of-the-head captions to shown images. A hit with the audience, raging applause after the 60 min.were over.

The mystery of it is that at the following session in the same space, a migration occurred out of the room progressively. The Belgian Regine Debatty from 'We make money not art' was (as far as I know) the only presenter in English. She had an open and very engaging style of interacting with the people in the room. Love her blog, work and presentation. Only explanation I could come up with that so many left is: a) she links her work to issues in first life, un-sexy? b) intolerance to European multililingualism? (not the local vernacular).There should be an audience/mob appreciation as well as instantaneous comment to presentations.

The German bookmarking service Mr.Wong claimed to have overtaken Intending to cater for a local clientel (only), it now aims to become global. Why not Mr. Cabbage?

Was in some of 'How web 2.0 changes political communication'. The strain to get the mainstream political process and parties to adopt other modes of thinking and communicating. Within the blogsphere Lumma mentioned the gaping absence of substantial chains of discourse as is common in the Anglo-centric social media scene.
Back tomorrow for the last day, happy that such a thing is staged...

Good work on OSS by New thinking
Informative stuff in German: Netzpolitik

Important stuff being 'twittered' during presentations
Update: 130407 more post re-publica thoughts on place-blogging here.

Monday, April 9, 2007

History walk in Berlin, Dorotheen Graveyard

A walk in a graveyard in Berlin, Mitte (the middle of Berlin):
History has its presence there:
The philosophers Fichte, Hegel and Marcuse
The writers Brecht, Mann, Seghers, and actor Weigel
The musicians/composers Dessau, Dohnanyi, Eisler
The German resistance fighters Bonhoeffer and Dohnanyi
The visual artist fighting Nazi Germany with political collages: Heartfield
The industrialist Borsig and the inventor of the ubiquitous free-standing cylindrical advertising columns all over Berlin, Colonne Morris: Litfass
The agriculturist Hartig inventing sustainable forest management in 1790.
And many others

The Dorotheen Graveyard is in Chausseestr.126 next to the Brecht-House/Restaurant (smoky) and opposite the Borsig-house. There is a pleasant, well-kept atmosphere in the place.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

The machine IS us

The global 'megamachine' of a hierarchically organised conglomerate of homo sapiens and their technology constitutes their power over the Earth. Usurping every niche on this planet this hybrid swarm appears omnipotent against 'nature'.
The American historian and sociologist of technology Lewis Mumford provided the terms 'megamachine' and 'technics' amongst others in his investigations into civilisation.
Erich Fromm points out (To Have or to Be?,1976) how the symbiotic reliance on such a social/technical machine leads to actual impotence of the individual. As long as s/he is integrated in it, power is bestowed onto the person, in the degree of hierarchical participation. At the margins of this web, reliant on ones own powers, one seems to be helpless 'like a child'. But don't they adore the hierarchical machinery and their machines: their petrol motors, the ICT strands/rays connecting all, the intelligent agents as interlocutors – the entire noosphere...They provide the self-assurance to be 'great', omnipotent, without it one feels disabled.
After-thought to 'The Machine is Us/ing us'
Image: Sculpture in Berlin, Mitte

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Logging Berlin (Mitte) continued...

Unfortunately more of the same: More trees have to go: Weinberg Park,(stumps in 'protected public green space': 080407, trees go whilest more space is privatised) Tieck str.,Acker Str. (2 stumps in front of new development).

Disappearing trees, grave and ambience...Berlin/Mitte

Once there was a green park with sculptures reminding of violence against the Jewish population in Grosse Hamburger street, Mitte. In 1943 the Gestapo ordered the destruction of the cementery. Moses Mendelsohn rested at the park entry. Now the Mendelsohn grave-stone and most mature trees have disappeared.

Friday, March 30, 2007

The Machine is Us/ing Us - a final ? version...

As mentioned previously, the interactivity between the medium and user is continously developing. The latest update on the machine is here:

Friday, March 16, 2007

Rapid cascading climate change

Talk about rapid collapse of the Arctic ice and an associated cascading climate change are on the agenda. The Northern Hemisphere has had the warmest winter since 1880. Expressed concern is not so much the loss of biodiversity of an icy niche, or agricultural areas – but will the European ski industry survive.

The increase in temperature seems to be wholeheartedly welcome here: Each urban park is packed with sun-seekers rolling on the ground (Liegewiese). Smoking parents wheel their asthmatic kids out more. Leisure-time driving is more fun, Berlin-style parking too. The most common flower seems to be an array of orchids on window sills and in shopping windows. Flown in from distant tropical lands where it is claimed that they are threatened or endangered.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Programmers to generate rapid news

Journalists in the business of gathering, editing and disseminating news are being supplemented/ replaced by “news programmers” . As dead-tree editions go, web 2.0 programmers are needed to be the editorial staff.
Via Radar
Graffiti: Berlin Mitte

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The bottom-up participatory motorised community

The global motorised community is desperately searching for technological fixes to be able to continue (driving) as before. In Berlin and other cities they are having themselves on by stuffing the rainforest into the tank, employing mobile GIS/GPS to navigate the clogged arteries, mobiles sensing buidling sites. Web 2.0 will help to fight for 'cheap fuel'. Streetscapes gets auctioned to drivers looking to put their motorised tin on public land. The bottom-up 'massive public objection' of the motorised community in London against 'pay-as-you-drive' regulation sends a clear signal of 'the people's' will regarding climate change and urban life. The right to speed is fiercely defended.

More and bigger cars means that emissions, causing death and sickness in the cities, have actually risen. ”Despite improvements in vehicle technology, more and bigger cars mean that emissions from road transport actually rose by 26% between 1990 and 2004.”

Every cm of the city gets penetrated 24/7 by desperate automobiles drivers. Hinderances, like curbs, greenery, playgrounds etc get conquered by large 4x4. Pedestrians are chased by them on the pavement. Most courtyards (Höfe) have their green lung eliminated and turned into chimneys. The German fetish for “ the German's dearest child” makes non-motorised living creatures “..the largest single obstacle to free traffic movement."

The bottom-up participants in mobility seem to have no interest in 'stopping the planet from burning'. The 'love affair' with private and unsustainable mobility will come to a grinding halt. The Lumpenleisure will be in for a long emergence. Peak oil will bring about different living arrangements. Relearning to do everything very differently.
Graffiti, Berlin, Mitte
Cartoons summing it all up

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Smoke-free restaurants/cafes in Berlin

Some cafes and restaurants in Berlin where on can breathe not so toxic air: (updates will continue)

- Swingdiele, Charlottenburg - 30s/40s ambience, events (0307)
- Cafe Menge,Mitte, August Str./ Cnr. Grosse Hamburger Str, down to Earth cup and not so sweet cake. (0407)

- Lulla, Spandau, Havelstr. 21 - Italian in the Altstadt (06)
-MITTEeins, Johannisstr. 20, Mitte 'Energie & Vitality'

-La Focacceria, Fehrbelliner Str/Cnr Zionskirche
Schönhauser Alle 10-11, Prenzelberg - Bio stuff (07)

Partial rights to breathe:
-PAPPA E CICCIA, Mitte, Schwedter Str. 18 - no smoking before 6pm, Italian (0407)

see also:
The international scene - one day even Germany might make it.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Australian Desert Dreaming exhibition

Off to the Australian Traumzeit/Dreaming exhibition. Once past the smoked out foyer there they were, caught in a glass and steel box, three levels of wonderful Central and Western Desert Art. Their iconography links the producers to the topography of the Earth and Lifeforces. The screened film showed the bearers of the oldest continuing living culture on Earth re-enacting the flow of space/time. Rupture is brought about through colonialisation and dislocation.Through this the nexus of land/country and human order is exchanged for an interchangable life 'like ants' in Paris, Berlin, N.Y. etc. converting all to stuff and stuff to cash in a space/time-machinery of seemingly 'unlimited resources'. Mentally taking off, first into a global hyperreal fantasy-land and later conquering New Found planets, just to do the same thing over and over again.
More images of Papunyatula production
Berlin Exhibition here

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Participatory tree-mapping tool for urban landscapes

Logging Berlin seems to coincide with developmental needs rather than moths or dead-wood-dangers in this urban environment.

In some cities bottom-up organisations look after their urban landcape by planting and caring for trees. Residents get involved in improving their immediate habitat, enhancing the value of their homes and doing something about climate change. Friends of the Urban Forest in San Francisco have now launched an open-source tree-mapping tool (MapGuide)for all to participate in. Through various electronic fieldguides the neighbourhood can access the database of public trees through “an interface a la Google Maps - color illustrations over aerial photography that's easily recognizable and packed with information. “ The economic or environmental benefits of maintaining green streetscapes can be directly translated though Stratum (for Street Tree Resource Analysis Tool for Urban Forest Managers) . Each tree can get a monetary value attached to it. The software can be linked to Google Earth and Wikipedia.

And here in Berlin? There are enough geeks innovating, often the First Life is not deemed to be a field worth doing things with. Maybe one day when toddlers in Mitte are being taught not the car brands but get to name a tree or a bird in their habitat, - then...

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Logging Berlin

A look at Berlin from above shows the perpetual buildingsite made of cement and stuff. Green spaces are rare (or are converted). The few urban trees are chopped and no one seems to notice. These are some views of Wilmersdorf (Well-being arcades!),Mitte (logged parks) and Friedrichstraße.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

From the book to web 2.0 - a video revue

The early 'how to' of the Gutenberg Galaxy was apparently communicated in this way. A few years on in the electronic age, the video "Web 2.0 ... The Machine is Us/ing Us" is eagerly gobbled up by the 2.0 machinery. Mutations arise and conversations develop.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Concerns of urban dwellers

Urban (Finnish) dwellers are putting (singing) their concerns. Do watch and compose your own.

Sunday, January 21, 2007