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.