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…