Week 135

I man­aged to squeeze in a vis­it to the HKU KMT fac­ul­ty’s project mar­ket in Hil­ver­sum on thurs­day last week. It’s an annu­al pre­sen­ta­tion of work done for exter­nal clients by grad­u­ate stu­dents. I coached one of those projects, which was done for the Nokia Research Cen­ter. They did a good job of pre­sent­ing a com­pli­cat­ed con­cept, which revolves around encour­ag­ing office work­ers to com­mute in a green­er man­ner by track­ing their trav­els on a mobile and giv­ing them a real live plant to take care of with the water they earn based on this col­lect­ed data… You should see it. Oth­er favorites of mine were: 

  • Lumen; a series of urban pro­jec­tions in Utrecht which were exe­cut­ed with high polish
  • Home­osta­sis; a beau­ti­ful expres­sive inter­ac­tive art piece cre­at­ed for Cross­ing Bor­der festival
  • Paper Cakes; a cool game designed for Wacom’s Bam­boo Min­is plat­form, which the­mat­i­cal­ly and mechan­i­cal­ly makes excel­lent use of the tar­get input device1

The project mar­ket always coin­cides with an alum­ni recep­tion, which means recon­nect­ing with a lot of old friends too.

Project Tako is in full swing now. I talked to two orga­ni­za­tions on fri­day and will be see­ing six more this week. It’s a priv­i­lege to meet all these peo­ple, who pro­duce some of Utrecht’s finest cul­tur­al fes­ti­vals. Lots of ideas for play­ful addi­tions to their pro­grams have already start­ed to emerge. I’ll need to devel­op them fur­ther in the com­ing weeks. It’s also strik­ing how each and every one of them keeps office in a beau­ti­ful build­ing. Bik­ing through my home town from meet­ing to meet­ing reminds me of how pret­ty it actu­al­ly is.

One can nev­er be too busy, so this mon­day we announced the next This hap­pened – Utrecht. The line-up con­sists of Daan Roosegaarde on Liq­uid Space 6.0, Stel­la Boess & Ste­fan Gross on Love Hate Punch, Bas Teu­nisse & Lex van den Berg on Paper Cakes and Govert de Vries on Swinxs. The events is sched­uled for mon­day 22 feb­ru­ary. As usu­al I’ve been scram­bling to get the web­site ready, send out the emails and make sure the venue is all set. Good thing I have Alexan­der and Ianus to take care of a lot of oth­er stuff.

But for the most part this week, I’m con­tin­u­ing design at Layar. The first reviews of some ini­tial bits have been sched­uled so we’ll see how that goes.

  1. The HKU and Wacom first met at This hap­pened – Utrecht #2. It’s also been nom­i­nat­ed for an IGF stu­dent award, so we could not resist invit­ing this project to the next edi­tion. []

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Kars Alfrink

Kars is a designer, researcher and educator focused on emerging technologies, social progress and the built environment.