Weeknote 19/35

As mentioned in the previous note, I spent the better part of the week in Malmö, visiting The Conference.

Back in the old location (after two editions in the Opera, which I both missed), it felt pretty much as I remembered it. The quirky style, the attention to detail, the friendliness – all the elements that made me fall in love on my first visits were still there. But the novelty factor was gone. It felt familiar instead of surprising.

The quality of the programme was very solid, but unfortunately there were no talks this year that opened my eyes, triggered some deeper thoughts or motivated me to do something differently (maybe that’s asking a bit too much, but it happened in the past, so my expectations were very high).

I don’t think the curation was weaker than the years before. And I hope it’s not a sign of a general indifference on my part. Maybe it takes completely different topics to blow my mind after more than 20 years within the field of design and technology. Or perhaps it needs a much deeper exploration which would go beyond the scope of a conference like this.

All this might sound a bit negative to you. But that would be a wrong impression. The Conference is still an awesome event. I had a lot of fun and I don’t regret visiting. I’m just trying to explore why I’m not as enthusiastic as I was before…

So here's a link to my favourite talk¹ from this year, the closing keynote from Dr. James Beacham², the Wes Anderson of science.

  1. Ok, this topic is of course mind-boggling for common folk like me. But particle physics are so far from what I can relate to, that I don’t know what to do with it. Then again there was one aspect he mentioned which felt familiar: that we all might be the same. Not just as in similar to each other, but the very same. Science catching up with ancient ideas. As Alan Watts once wrote: "Theoretically, many scientists know that the individual is not a skin-encapsulated ego but an organism–environment field. The organism itself is the point at which the field is focused, so that each individual is a unique expression of the behavior of the whole field, which is ultimately the universe itself. But to know this theoretically is not to feel it to be so.”
  1. Beacham is also the genius who invited Deerhoof to play at CERN. I still keep my fingers crossed that we’ll see an episode 2.