Over the weekend, Johannes and I attended the retune 13 conference.
It’s always a nice change of pace to both attend an intellectually stimulating event and sleep in your own bed. Even in Berlin one doesn’t get to do that very often.
To my dismay, I’ve only learned of retune shortly after the second iteration of the conference happened last year. Dismay, because there are currently very few conferences that are of any significant interest to me and it turned out that retune is one of those.
Addressing questions at the core of technology, culture and art, retune primarily managed to jolt my brain, stimulate it by confronting me with people of amazing intellect and abilities as well as to give me a coherent framework to address the issues at hand.
On Friday, when the first speaker asked the crowd who was an technologist, who was an artist and who was a designer, I couldn’t raise my hand at any of those questions. With Third Wave, we fit into none of those drawers and I feel very comfortable with accepting that. Our strength is derived from our ability not to be any one of those disciplines, but knowing and understanding them and their implications onto everything that is happening.
That being said, there is a reason why we tend to quote James Bridle so often. His argument, well known to regular readers of this blog, is that we lack a language for a networked, complex world. As for so many, this is also of big frustration to us. Both individually, but especially as a company. Why do people need us? And how is us being interested in the themes discussed at conferences like retune or resonate relevant to what we do for our clients?
There is only a fleeting understanding of what it means to live in a networked world. We all embraced the Californian Ideology without knowing that we did. We are facing the necessity of reverse engineering the consequences of this world that we all helped to create.
One of the outcomes should be a massive, almost unquestioned embrace of the fact that the world is in fact complex. When Germany overwhelmingly elected Angela Merkel to lead the country into the future, what Germany actually voted for is the preservation of a status quo. Not that it is not understandable why people would want that, it’s just not possible anymore. Most people struggle immensely with that despite the fact that they can feel it in the air, in the fabric of things that none of the things can really be as they were anymore. If anything, one should admire Angela Merkel for getting so many people to trust her to preserve them from the complexity of the world. Unfortunately, and this is a spoiler, she won’t be able to.
With that, I want to point you to the things that some of the speakers have been speaking / showing at retune. Enjoy.
The Transparency Grenade: http://julianoliver.com/output/transparency-grenade
No Network: http://julianoliver.com/output/no-network
Critical engineering: http://www.criticalengineering.org/
The Critical Engineer considers Engineering to be the most transformative language of our time, shaping the way we move, communicate and think. It is the work of the Critical Engineer to study and exploit this language, exposing its influence.
Carnivorous Domestic Entertainment Robots: http://www.auger-loizeau.com/index.php?id=13
Sublime Gadgets: http://www.auger-loizeau.com/index.php?id=24
A Choreography of perception, of attention and relation in time and space: http://scores.motionbank.org/dh/#set/sets
As far as I know, all the talks have been recorded. I will make sure to give a shout out as soon as they are available on the retune conference website.