Bruce Sterling at Reboot11 (some belated quotes)


Earlier this summer I went to Reboot11 (and loved it). Sadly, I never really got around to write down all the stuff we talked about there. But here’s a few quotes from the particularly great Bruce Sterling talk.

The quotes are actually not from the talk itself but from David Weinberger’s live blogging summary:

Sterling on geeks and favela chic in the context of different “quadrants of the future”:

The other side of Reboot in power is low-end: Favela chic. You’ve lost everything but you’re wired to the gill and still big on Facebook. Everything you believe as geeks is Favela thinking. This venue is itself a stuffed animal. The unsustainable is the only frontier you are. You’re old in old-new structure, a steam punk appropriation.

What can I say? He’s spot on. I’m writing this from our coworking space Studio70, a lofty, industrial-style Berlin backyard office, where we all sit on table differently arranged every day, working from our laptops, shoving data and information back and forth. We’re sharing desks and meeting room, improvising with every new gadget and feature we build in here, in the room next door a makerbot is being assembled. In other words: it’s a steam punk appropriation.

And on sustainable lifestyle in a geek context:

You’re going to be dead much longer than you’re alive. So you need to do stuff that you can do better than your dead great grandfather. How can you do this, he asks. A geek-friendly approach to consumption. For people of your generation, objects are print-outs. They’re frozen social relationships. Think of objects in terms of hours of time and volumes of space. It’s a good design approach. Because if you’re picking these things up — washing it, storing it, curating it — these possessions are really embodied social relationships: made by peole, designed by people, sold by people, etc. Relationships that happen to have material form. You might argue that you ought to buy cheap things or organic. That’s not the way forward. Economizing is not social. If you economize, you’re starving someone else. You need to reassess the objects in your space and time.

Also, here’s the whole talk, and so worth watching:

Reboot 11


It has taken me awhile to digest all the input from Reboot 11, but I wanted to share at least a few brief thoughts and impressions. (I’ll try to follow up with some more substance, but won’t promise anything.) So here’s a more or less random list of some things that struck me as particularly noteworthy.

There was a RepRap printing 3D stuff, which always feels to me like watching the future. (Note: One piece on one of the two RepRaps broke during transport and the guys managed to print a replacement. How awesome is that?) There were mini lounge chairs. There were great talks. We had great dinner at BioMio and a fun afterparty, too. There was even a wifi bike. (Did I mention spectacular weather?)

David Weinberger, who I always love to see talk, spoke about the web being a morally charged tool, and about optimism:

Bruce Sterling talked about the challenges of the next decade, not acting like we (as a generation) were dead, why we shouldn’t try to beat our dead great-grand dads, and why it’s so important to get a decent bed & chair & other stuff we spend much time with. Sounds weird? Rather inspiring, really, because he nailed quite a lot of things. That’s something you get a lot at Reboot: Inspiration from unexpected places and areas of thought. Here’s Bruce Sterling in a post-talk interview:

To sum it up: It was a great bunch of people there and I think we all took home a lot of new brain food, and met a few new friends. Thanks to all of you, and particularly of course the orga team and Thomas for putting it all together.