Just a brief personal note: I’ll be on vacation for a few weeks. The last few months were a blast, and also pretty exhausting, what with the German elections* and atoms&bits Festival (jump to my posts). It was a really interesting few weeks or months, and I learned a lot. But boy, am I looking forward to a bit of downtime. But not before a very brief and very subjective view back.

The election results, frankly, suck. We (Jusos, Panorama3000 and I) put a lot of effort into the campaign and I think we did a good job. But I can understand everyone who’s frustrated with the politics of the last four years, and voters have made it clear that they didn’t want politics to continue the same way for another four years. Both major parties got the worst results in 60 years, the three small parties got record highs: This clearly is a signal of changing times. Where exactly things are going we’ll need to see. I worked with the SPD (the equivalent of the US democrats) in the campaign because I believe that they’re a really important force in our society – and I’m saying that despite my total and utter disagreement with their recent internet politics. So of course I found it somewhat frustrating that the liberal FDP gained so many votes and Germany is going to be governed by a conservative-liberal coalition of CDU and FDP. (And no, I don’t believe it’s good for the economy either.) So now I’m hoping that the SPD will draw the right conclusions and regain both their strength and – in the next elections – also government power.

atoms&bits Festival on the other hand was a total success and I had a great time. We had planned on getting together the communities around coworking, DIY, OpenEverything, participatory politics and art, and it worked out great. We saw a lot of happy faces, inspired (and inspiring) talks, as well as connections being made across these topical boundaries. Also, I had a great time with the Geeks On A Plane, who kindly invited a few of us to join their dinner and in turn joined us at the atoms&bits party at Betahaus.

All that said, some great weeks. But now I’m off for a little while to marry off a friend and go on a little backpacking trip. So if I don’t respond to your calls or emails, you know why. See you in a few weeks!

  • Full disclosure: I was an adviser to the online youth election campaign of SPD/Jusos. That was a paid gig. This post expresses my personal views only.

atoms&bits Festival: Thanks everyone!



So last weekend was the highlight of atoms&bits Festival that we had put together in hardly 10 weeks. While we’re recovering from the weekend and also putting together the documentation (i.e. all the blogposts, photos, videos etc), I’d like to briefly say THANK YOU to everybody involved.

THANKS to the participants, who were super active and fun to have a camp with. THANKS to all the volunteers and helpers, who did a great job and who we can’t thank enough for going out of their way to support the event. THANKS to the sponsors and donors, without whom we couldn’t have realized atoms&bits. And my personal THANKS to the rest of the orga team, you guys rock.

We had planned with slightly more participants, but we all had a great time, and feedback has been excellent. (Now it’s time to catch up on some sleep.)

And while we’re still collecting the photos from all kinds of sources, I’d like to share these two pics which really tell a lot about the do-it-yourself culture of atoms&bits – they show a conference shirt being silkscreened by hand at a little booth by SDW.

printing an atoms&bits shirt Printing an atoms&bits shirt. (Photo by Just/Just.Ekosystem.org, Creative Commons BY NC SA 3.0)

atoms&bits shirt Printing an atoms&bits shirt. (Photo by Just/Just.Ekosystem.org, Creative Commons BY NC SA 3.0)

atoms&bits: some highlights


Atoms&bits has officially kicked off on Friday and will be going strong until Sunday, 27 Sept. Whenever I have a look at the event list, more cool stuff pops up. On the last count (Sunday, 8pm) the list showed 55 events in 32 locations in 11 cities in 3 countries. (And I’m seriously thinking a few events just aren’t listed yet.) This really blows my mind, taking into account how small this all started.

Time to sit down and pick some personal highlights to see what I really don’t want to miss out on. This list is, of course, just personal preference.

  • Reading of Cory Doctorow’s MAKERS (TUE 22 Sept, 8pm at Studio70)
    From the teaser: “What happens when hardware hackers get tangled up with microfinancing venture capitalists in the aftermath of the financial crisis? The answer: a fast-paced witty novel whose ending the public doesn’t even know.” Cory Doctorow, sci-fi author deluxe and co-author of BoingBoing, has been publishing bits and pieces of MAKERS first on Salon.com (in a series called “Themepunks” at the time). It’s a great story, and it gives a bit of a glimpse into where we might be headed, what with MakerBots and RepRaps and the net. Timewise it clashes a bit with the last of our a&b preparation meetings, so I’ll have to see how that works out. But I’ll try my best to see that.
  • Screening of RIP – A Remix Manifesto (THU, 24 Sept, 8pm at Betahaus)
    I love RIP – A Remix Manifesto. Had the chance to meet director Brett Gaylor at a screening in New York, and certainly won’t miss out on that one. It’s a celebration of remix culture and not to be missed, not just because of the great soundtrack featuring plenty of DJ Girl Talk.
  • Pecha Kucha (FRI 25 Sept, doors open at 7:30pm at IMA Design Village)
    At Pecha Kucha (what’s that?) a presenter shows 20 images for 20 seconds apiece, for a total time of 6 minutes, 40 seconds. It’s a great way to get inspired by the projects presented in a fun and quick way.
  • Rebike Workshop (SAT, 26 Sept, 10am-6pm at Betahaus)
    Chances are I won’t be able to really participate here because I’ll be at a&b Camp next door, but the Rebike is an awesome project, and here some will be built: The Rebike (debut at reboot11) is a bike pimped out with a solar energy source and wireless network, i.e. it’s a totally mobile, largely self-sustaining coworking module: transportation, energy and internet all wrapped up in one.
  • AMY – A Streetart Game (weekend 26/27 Sept, starting at Betahaus)
    I don’t really know anything about this beyond the teaser, but it sure sounds like some cool augmented reality project that’s played all over the city. Won’t be able to participate since I’ll spend my weekend around IMA Design Village for a&b Camp, but this is certainly worth checking out. (Make sure to check in advance if you can participate in English, too.)
  • Washing Machine: Reloaded (weekend 26/27 Sept at Betahaus)
    Sounds like fun and certainly is: A challenge to upcycle your washing machine. Tinkerers, geeks and designers are invited to take an old washing machine and build something cool out of it. I probably won’t be able to participate in this beyond the occasional glimpse, but I’m certainly stoked to see the results.
  • atoms&bits Camp (weekend 26/27 Sept at IMA Design Village
    This barcamp-style conference is where I’ll be spending most of the weekend. As one of the organizers, this is kind of my baby, so of course I’m very excited to see how it’ll work out.
  • Wahlsonntag (SUN 27 Sept, 4pm at Betahaus)
    Right after a&b Camp is finished we’ll quickly clean up and head over to join Wahlsonntag, where Tim Pritlove and Philip Bahnse will be hosting a live show all about the election day and the web: what’s being discussed online, what’s the parties take on the net, what’s relevant in terms of net politics? All that and more will be featured in this show. Perfect way to relax in a nice and interesting atmosphere.

Seriously, sleep dep or not, I can’t wait. And I can always sleep after the weekend, right? ;)

Ps. If you’re still planning sessions or events, drop any of us a line, you’ll find our contact data on the a&b website.