Week 139

The pre­vi­ous week seam­less­ly flowed into this one when on sat­ur­day I sat down to final­ize the deck of slides for Raum Schiff Erde. On sun­day morn­ing, I grabbed a train and five hours lat­er I was in Stell­w­erk, the conference’s love­ly venue. Kind, clever peo­ple, a nice relaxed and friend­ly atmos­phere, inter­est­ing talks, all in all a good event. There is more about what I talked about on the Hub­bub blog. It wrapped up with some music and then we were off to din­ner. Turned in late and got up ear­ly the next morn­ing for anoth­er train. I don’t think I’ve ever stayed this short in a hotel, didn’t even man­age to squeeze in break­fast.

On the train ride, I man­aged to review all of the grad­u­a­tion project pro­pos­als of my stu­dents. These were first drafts, next week they’ll need to sub­mit a final ver­sion after one more round of reviews. Some have love­ly, curi­ous top­ics. (A satir­i­cal news­game, any­one?) I’ll share some of them with you some­time soon.

I had a few hours to take a breather when I got back to Utrecht and then it was off to the HKU Acad­e­my The­atre to pre­pare for This hap­pened – Utrecht #5. This was the first edi­tion of the new year, and also the first in a new venue, which made it kind of scary. But every­thing turned out great. (Read a few reports to get a sense of the evening, if you’re inter­est­ed.) We had pos­si­bly the best series of talks so far (although, of course, they’ve all been great) and a great crowd. I’m already look­ing for­ward to #6.

As if two of these chal­lenges weren’t enough, on wednes­day it was D-day for project Tako (which is part of a big­ger plan that is local­ly known sim­ply as PLAY). I pre­sent­ed the results of my research to a room full of cul­tur­al event orga­niz­ers, games devel­op­ers and assort­ed lumi­nar­ies of the Utrecht city scene. I man­aged to wrap up the siz­able stack of sketch­es only hours before in a final adren­a­line-fueled design sprint. The respons­es were encour­ag­ing, so it seems we can start explor­ing the next stage. But before this I’ll need to anno­tate the deck of slides, include all the feed­back and then we might have some­thing we can pub­lish.

In between and after, it’s been more work at Layar. I’ve been dig­ging into the specs for sev­er­al pro­to­types — lots of sketch­ing there, too — forc­ing myself to con­sid­er mul­ti­ple paths. Some of the out­put has been hand­ed over to engi­neers. I can’t wait to see the results of their devel­op­ment efforts.

Even though all of this is more fun than is legal, I can’t wait for a work free week­end, too.

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Kars Alfrink

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