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The Adventure Equation - Issue #3


The Adventure Equation

August 2 · Issue #3 · View online
Notions from around the planet by Max Krüger and Simon Höher.

What's new?
Strange times. From a weird referendum to a weird coup to a weird nomination and an overall sad mess of nationalist and bigot discharge all over, the past weeks have been rather disheartening. While we (and some of our friends) feel like we all should be coming up with better answers how we can make sure the world takes a turn for the better, others certainly make a good argument on why even though we might feel differently, everything is not as crazy as it seems. We’re still not decided on which side to choose, so maybe we can do both: focusing more on the lovely things that actually never left - while coming up with new ideas to make sure the world isn’t moving into the wrong direction just too far? What do you think?
To that end, Max spent most of the past weeks in the Brazilian Amazon, mostly without internet or phone connection at the International Development Design Summit Amazon. The summit took place in small rural community outside of Belém and was organised in collaboration with an association of organic farmers. Max was a design facilitator, helping a team through a two-week process to find out what to do with all the fruit the associates have access too (pulp and cupulate, a of chocolate from a different fruit were the preliminary answers) and has a billion stories to share, but we’ll keep it short here.
Simon spent his days in Cologne, Berlin and (lovely!) Vienna between work and visiting old friends - and curating a track on ‚Openness, Democratization, Digitalization‘ for the upcoming Innovative Citizen conference in Dortmund (Sep 15-18), which will also tap into the questions of what we as citizens and people can do to have our part in shaping our (local) environment for the better. Among others, it will offer a lot of hands-on workshops featuring our friends from London’s public lab, an open science intervention by the great folks of IMAGINARY - and also, the two of us will hold a workshop there on urban narratives and we would love too see you there, so you should come and join us.
A few days ago I finally came around to watch the third part of Yann Arthus-Betrand’s Human trilogy. It’s been around quite a while by now and you probably heard of it yourself - still, I believe it’s one of the most intimate and intriguing movies I’ve seen. To me it perfectly captures everything that is beautiful and everything that is abysmal about all of us - and it manages somehow to display all of this without getting too cheesy or patronizing about it. An interesting thing happened since I watched the first part about a year ago: This time around my life is quite different and I was surprised to learn how my perspective on the movie changed as well. I like how it became much more sympathetic in a way, noting new aspects, drawing different conclusions. I wonder what I’ll see if I re-watch it another year from now.
Watching this, it actually linked up perfectly to some of the music I’ve been diving into lately, like Sarathy Korwar’s „music of migration“ - or the brilliant recordings by Alan Lomax who in his own way documented an unprecedented history of music from the early 40s will into the 90s. His daughter Anna eventually continued his quest and about four years ago together with The Association for Cultural Equity has made some 17,000 of his songs available to anyone, anywhere in the world. A treasure trove of beautiful originals from all over the globe who without Alan would be long forgotten. <3
- Simon
I have recently explored the videos of Vincent Moon, which Simon has mentioned here before. I found his bandcamp site and fell down a rabbit hole (I am actually still down there). My most beautiful find so far is this one, or Dona Onete who I had the chance to see sing last week, but I have barely scratched the surface of all the beautiful music Vincent has collected there. Unrelated but also from Brazil are these great photos from Erick Dau called They Come In Grey on police presence in Rio. I would like to share some of my own pictures from around here, but a lot of them are still on rolls, as are a lot of images from Pakistan.
At IDDS I learned a ton, about the rainforest, the lives of the community members, about fruits and chocolate. I also learned a lot of new things about design and had a lot of fun facilitating. The summit incorporated permaculture and collaborative ecological design, so a I learned a lot about that too, and I actually cant wait to dive deeper into it. The permaculture design process looks at systems and systemic issues, and am curious to find out how that can be applied to technology development in very different contexts, e.g. cities. I also learned about a beautiful book called A Pattern Language that tries to formulate a guide to planning community livability. It consists of different “patterns” observed all over the world that supposedly contribute to quality of live. I cant wait to get the book and check out some of the tools the authors offer online.
I’m currently reading Richard Sennet’s book Together, and I think we should all have some more dialogical conversations with each other.
- Max
Stuff we like
Our friends over at the Open Knowledge Foundation just launched their Prototype Fund, and now you can apply to build cool civic tech prototypes (given you’re paying taxes in Germany). Here’s an interesting take by Joi Ito on Rewarding Disobedience and Ethan shared some thoughts on how we should (and should not) design socio-technical systems. We kinda love these photographs of witch doctors and spiritual healers in Bolivia and we also love Werner Herzog talking about Internet Etiquette and being all-out amazing about it. Finally, Orit Halpern does wonderful work with beautiful data and calculative utopias (that we don’t all get but are intrigued by). Phew, this was a heavy rundown on heavy stuff, so for now and for a lighter end on this very serious issue, we recommend you listen to the ‚little food songs’ gorillas make up when eating.
As always, feel free to let us know what your thoughts are on all this. We’re still experimenting! And we think, this was a long issue - too long? Just right? Do you want more? We also thought about adding more colors (photos, that is), yes? Talk to us, we like you.
Max & Simon

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