Dortmund is German for boring?

Posted by jswt | Posted in General, Germany - Dortmund, Germany - Hamburg | Posted on 28-08-2010

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Landed back in Europe last week, this time for a long stretch… 7 weeks, which is the longest I’ve been out yet.

My travel coordinator hooked me up right with points on the flight over, and I got to fly first class on Luftansa through Frankfurt, which means using their seperate first class terminal. Was a highly civilized way to travel, and was topped off nicely with the private car which drops you off right at your plane. Nice way to start a trip, and makes sure I won’t be firing my guy anytime soon 😉

Got into Hamburg on Saturday night, and had some time to kill Sunday before trasferring on Sunday… I was transferring with A. who had an acquaintance in Hamburg who wanted to take us on a sightseeing tour. Ended up being a fantastic – he was a shy and quiet, cute little old watchmaker who lit up when I started talking to him about watches (thanks for the knowledgebits Cam!), and we both have our pilot’s licenses and he had lots of stories to tell (especially about the difficulty in flying in Germany). He was fantastic, and took us on a boat cruise around the lake in the centre of town, and then to a very old church belltower where we could see the entire city, and then into this hidden little bit of (really!) old town for some coffees. Not expecting anything more from my Sunday than to be sitting in a train station, never really expected to see Hamburg, and although I was battling jetlag in a serious way, it was a wonderful treat.

Then we trained to Dortmund…

And it’s really boring, and it was a great chance to get a lot of work done, and it gave me a chance to kick my jetlag, and there’d not be anything much to say about it if it weren’t for the International Symposium of Electronic Art that’s in town.

The ISEA is a super chinscratchy conference that’s focused on extending the realm of data into meatspace. I didn’t get a chance to catch any of the speakers, but I did make sure to check out the exhibits on Saturday, and I’m really glad I did: my brain was blown and it lit some fires of data driven creativity under my ass.

Though there were many installations, here’s a few of my favorites:

http://www.isea2010ruhr.org/programme/exhibitions/trust/seiko-mikami

I can’t even begin to explain how eerie and unsettling this installation is… lierally hundreds of eyes fixed upon you. A fantastic spin on CCTV and being watched by the machine. This was just simply and stunningly presented.

http://www.isea2010ruhr.org/programme/exhibitions/isea2010-ruhr-exhibition/bartholl

Building a multipixel display from one light source and some paper – silhouettes are translated into shadow blocks and turn everyone walking behind into lode-runner’esque renditions. Nature’s been flipped around — something organic is now assumed to be digital.

http://www.isea2010ruhr.org/programme/exhibitions/isea2010-ruhr-exhibition/bambozzi

Spatial awareness routines via one overhead camera… moving in different directions would trigger playback of video clips on the wall you were moving towards. The force at which you moved towards it would determine the “force” of the clip played back (all of which were various technologies being destroyed… ie: level 1 force was a cellphone being dropped… more forceful movement showed monitors being smashed…)

So yeah — that was worthwile…
But seems to be about all Dortmund has to offer.

Anticipating next week in Berlin to be more exciting…

Sunrise…

Posted by jswt | Posted in General | Posted on 28-08-2010

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Sometimes morning comes too early.
Luckily, there’s 5am pitch-and-putt…

(Thanks for a good night out Alistair, and congrats to you and Aron)

At home with the white trash party…

Posted by jswt | Posted in Canada - Vancouer, General | Posted on 28-08-2010

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Back home in Vancouver for a few weeks, my favorite group of pyro nutters, Disaster Area, threw down bigtime once more with the 5th annual White Trash party. Mudrasslin, car crashes, giddyup foam party, big hair beauty parlor, and as always my highlight: dj’ing cuntry westurn and hair metal from behind a cage.

Big yeehaws for a party dun right, cuzins…

London.

Posted by jswt | Posted in General, UK - England - London | Posted on 28-08-2010

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Only gonna communicate it in note form, cuz it’s a month later now and i forgot these notes were sitting in my draft and… really, London is London and it doesn’t really fit into text: it’s like a bigger and better and politer new york.

Sunday: Got into the city and grabbed a few pints and caught up with my good friend Heather’s sister Niki who’s been living in London for a few months and looking delightfully cultured.

Monday: Bus tour around town w/ Chris’ work crew

Layed low and got some work caught up through Weds.

Thurs: G, a friend from home who’s working on a cruiseship was docked nearby, so he popped down breakfast and a quick roam-about… we literally gave him the “london in 45 minutes” tour – heh. Later, I really enjoyed the Exposed exhibit at the Tate Modern

Fri: Chris day off so we had a stereotypical english day where we toured the state rooms @ buckingham palace, shopped at harrods and churchs shoes, and had a good pub dinner before heading out to a seedy pub night

Sat: A super ultra massively fantastic day w/ James and Connor… Field Day festival (!!! James Holden !!!) and then XXL (!lazors!)

Sun: Chris’ sister Liz popped into town on her way through to Berlin and since it was the last show of leg we went to the big windup party. Chris had been working all day and crashed out early, so Liz and I went out with the always fab D and ended up smoking shisha in some turkish lounge until well into the night.

Then, London + Europe: Exited through the gift shop.

Unmerry men.

Posted by jswt | Posted in General, UK - England - Nottingham | Posted on 02-08-2010

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Nottingham.
It’s a pretty place, but as the stabbing and gun capital of the UK, it’s the dodgiest low rung of the gene pool we’ve stopped in yet. There seems to be a heavy focus on prison tattoos as haute couture.

Vancouverites: Imagine Whalley trapped in a perpetual drunken aftermath of a stag and hen party.

Yes, Robin Hood was from there, as they’re constantly and repeatedly pointing out. We toured Nottingham castle (the tunnel tour that takes you underneath is worthwhile). There was a good asian restaurant in the hotel… uhm… I’m really struggling to find something else nice to say.

Put it this way – it’s the first time on the tour we’ve gone to see a movie.

I did take a night to pop down to London to see my cousin Rachel on Tuesday night – would have seen her the week after if she wasn’t heading off to scandinavia for a wedding… had a nice sunny layabout in the afternoon then met up with her and her b/f for dinner. It was a fantastic evening catching up, checking out her neighborhood, and having a lovely time as I always do with her. Stayed at her place and then had a nice breakfast before heading back to Nottingham.

The real highlight of the week was when my buddy Ben came to visit and spent a couple days with us… we saw the show, and did the touristy things, and caught up after not seeing him for almost a year. He’s super sweet and one of the nicest guys I know, and as he was going thru a rough patch, we were more than happy to provide distraction and good shoulders. There was a crew party that was some good fun, and we all found a really nice hole in the wall lounge the first night, and then the second night he and I found a wonderfully dodgy shithole of a bar and closed it down and had a great time laughing at/with the locals. Ben’s awesome, and I really look forward to the next time our paths cross.

But yeah…
I’ve got nothing else nice to say about Nottingham.