The Mobile City @PICNIC 2009 + discount code for our readers

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Like last year, The Mobile City will attend the 3-day PICNIC event which takes place 23-25 September 2009 in Amsterdam. The venue again is the beautiful Culture Park Westergasfabriek. What is PICNIC? In their own words:

PICNIC is three inspiring days of ideas, fun and sensory stimulation in media, technology, entertainment, art and science. PICNIC is a unique festival and an inspiring conference complimented by a set of networking events and hands-on technology experiences for top creatives and innovation professionals in business, technology, new media, entertainment, science and the arts. PICNIC educates and connects people, industries, sectors and disciplines, and stimulates creativity, innovation, inspiration and business.

The discount code for our readers is MobileCity0915. This is valid for 15% off all 3-day and 1-day conference tickets. You can buy tickets here.┬áThis year’s PICNIC will pause at the economic crisis and ask how creativity can make a change. The three days each have their own overarching theme. Below we highlight some of the topics and speakers that are interesting to The Mobile City’s themes.

Day 1 is called “Turning Points”, and specifically focusses on money and media. Christian Nold presents his new project – a “parasitical monetary system” – called the Bijlmer Euro. The Bijlmer is an area in Amsterdam south-east built in the 1960s and 70s. The area was originally meant for middle class families looking for spacious and green living away from the congested city center. Demographic change and large-scale migration by people mostly from non-European countries rapidly changed the face of this new part of Amsterdam. The Bijlmer acquired a very bad reputation and has less lovingly been called Holland’s only ghetto. In recent years however a lot changed. Many of the high-rise flats have been demolished for low rise housing which attracted a new ‘black middle class’. The many nationalities living here maintain various cross continental money systems. In this context, Nold developed a prototype system for an alternative local currency that supports local development and work in conjunction with the euro. He glues RFID tags from public transport cards to Euro notes tot track and map their movements. As far as we understand it right now, this project explores issues like trust and identity through money circulation. (See this post for some more info). Another interesting program on day 1 is the “Augmented City Lab” which focusses on near-future scenarios for mobile location-aware services.

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Day 2 is themed “Exploding Media”, with a particular focus on (mobile) games and play. Matt Adams from pervasive media collective Blast Theory, known for ubiquitous games like Can You See Me Now?, will talk in a session about urban games. Consultant Tomi Ahonen will talk about mobile media as the “seventh mass medium“. There will be session about “Mobile Engagement” with amongst others Katrin Verclas from MobileActive.org. While her two co-speakers in this session appear to focus more on commercial (brand) activation, we hope Katrin brings in an emphasis on social engagement. Also interesting seems the talk by Michael Tchao from Nike’s techlab, responsible for digital/physical crossovers like the Nike+iPod integration, which can be seen as an early prototype ‘internet of things’.

Day 3 “Rebuild!” could be the most interesting day for The Mobile City, since there is a particular emphasis on media and the city. One of locative media’s key figures Drew Hemment will speak in the session “Citizens Engagement”. The session “The City as an Interaction Platform” has various interesting speakers. Ben Cerveny recently launched a new platform for policy and design research concerning urban computational systems called VURB. VURB is thematically very close to The Mobile City. Also in this session is Adam Greenfield, who we interviewed last year at PICNIC. Another good session on day 3 is the “Ecomap Lab“. Usman Haque will be there to talk about the distributed sensing platform Pachube.com.

Concluding, PICNIC 2009 has a great lineup of speakers and sessions. The Mobile City will share their experiences of PICNIC 2009 with you on this blog.

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The Mobile City website is maintained by Martijn de Waal and Michiel de Lange.