... in berlin

Non-commercial definition

16 Sep 2006 | 96 words | berlin conference creative commons

Since i can remember Creative Commons has struggled with coming up with a clear-cut definition of what non commercial use means in the framework of the Creative Commons Licenses. the current attempt to clarify this issue has resulted in a set of non-commercial guidelines, which aim to introduce more clarity. i have the suspicion that the current version is way to complex for most people to understand, which is supported by evidence here at WOS4 in berlin:

Contrary to what this picture from the conference venue lavatories suggests, a voluntary tip-yar does not constitute commercial use.

Go see this show...

07 Mar 2006 | 508 words | berlin dance dorky park theatre

… if you are in berlin on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday (8,9 & 10 March). Back to the Present is the first work of Constanza that i have seen (in the original version that played in the summer of 2003 in and abandoned, turn of the century warehouse in Berlin). This version was followed by a slightly adapted stage version that played at Schaubühne and was shown in among other places in Avignon, Bangalore, Madras and New Delhi and Tokyo. Now it is back in Berlin after more than a year and i am really looking forward to see it again. I just browsed the dorky park website to find a picture (but as it is all in flash that is more or less useless…) and came across a pdf document that claims to be a synopsis of the piece, which is somehow hard to believe, but it does contain a number associative gems that somehow capture the spirit of the show (text by Kevin Slavin):

Spirit. Meantime, we got robots on Mars. Just browsing. Just looking. We call one Spirit, and the other Opportunity. I’m not making this up: Spirit and Opportunity. Spirit is a disaster. It’s sending back signals, and the signals are garbage. If it’s communicating with something, it’s not with us. And another thing: it’s staying up all night. Spirit was supposed to sleep every night, to recharge the batteries, otherwise it will run out of power and die on Mars. Sleeping robots. What we don’t have, we make. What we have already, we make again. That it fails is no surprise. That ten million miles from home, a robot stays up all night, it’s no surprise.

Many years ago, Chicago was young, and pissing in the water it drank from. A fullgrown city dumping its garbage in the river it was built on, drinking from the river it was brushing teeth with. The water went foul, there were epidemics, people died. Come 1900, Chicago wakes up, builds a wall. Blocks off the lake upstream, turns that river around. Let’s be clear on this: they reversed a river.They turned a river around, so they could drink from upstream, so they could drink from the lake and piss in the river, now heading down- stream to the rest of America. If you understand this, you understand America’s twentieth century. If you understand this, you understand what it’s like to crash, lying in the street with liquid shit running down your legs, you understand what it’s like to betaken to the hospital, hooked up to machines. Someone had to think of that, reversing the river to send Chicago’s shit and garbage down Mississippi, someone dreamed that up. Someone else dreamed the crash and the streets to crash on. Somewhere, someone else dreamed of the ambulance. BACK TO THE PRESENT.

And then of course there is the slogan on the BttP sticker from 2003:

Memory is fragile, garbage lasts for ever.

Best statement about life i have come across so far. Seriously! So go see this show!

Avian influenza

06 Mar 2006 | 41 words | berlin streetart public transport pandemic

I am sick, given all the pooh-ha in the media i one would like to assume that it is the bird flu, especially with pale ducks appearing on the u-bahn in Berlin over the weekend. i am feeling doomed….

Pale Duck

Upcoming dorkypark performances in Berlin

02 Mar 2006 | 82 words | berlin dance theatre dorky park

Tonight, tomorrow and on sunday Constanza’s most recent piece ‘Sure let’s talk about it will be’ playing at the HAU1 theatre in Berlin. Next weekend there will be a three-day re-run of ‘Back to the Present’ in the Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz. Finally on the first weekend of april ‘Big in Bombay‘ will be shown at the same place. (Sorry for not linking to individual pieces but the dorkypark website is based on flash and won’t allow direct links to individual sections)

My new 9/11 lamp

19 Feb 2006 | 294 words | new york united states terrorism lamp berlin china

Bought a new lamp today after having spotted it yesterday night on the way back from the theatre. it is a cheap (ok, actually they charged me €20 for it, so it is not cheap) plastic lamp that emits a cold, ugly blue neon light and makes a cracking sound once in a while. tres plastic baroque! and while it was not really misplaced in the cheap late night grocery/liqour store window i got it from, i actually have no clue where to keep it in the apartment.

The lamp contains two rotating films inside its clear plastic encasing. the inner one depicts the pre 9/11 skyline of the southern tip of Manhattan, NYC complete with the statue of liberty and the twin towers. The faster moving outer film has images of hot-air balloons, sailboats, helicopters, para-gliders and a passenger jet on a transparent background. when lit, this creates the impression of the crafts on the outer film moving in front of the skyline in the back.

As the two films move with different speeds the relative position between the individual crafts and buildings changes all the time. every two minutes or so the lamp displays an eerie little re-enactment of 9/11 as the passenger jet seems to crash into the top section of the south tower of the world trade tower:

More pictures in this flickr set.

update: a Google search for the supplier reveals that it is produced by Zhejiang Ninghai Shengfa Electrical Appliance Co. Ltd. As they have the lamp listed in their new products section one can more or less assume that the lamp was designed post 9-11 and that the macabre connotation was somehow lost on its makers, who chose to market it by the name of ‘Seabed Lamp’

Don't cry for me Adolf Hitler

18 Feb 2006 | 402 words | berlin theatre war culture

Up until now i have been pretty sure that things around me are going down. I mean since i am 15 or so, thing’s around me close down: it may be no secret that i was totally in favor of my school closing down, but for the rest it is usually bad: municipal swimming pools close, train lines disappear, bank branch offices get replaced by card-eating machines and cultural institutions get forced to shut down by budget cuts (and then i am not even talking about good ole’ fordist factories here).

So when a new theater opens around the corner from your house that is actually quite an unbelievable development. But that is what just happened around the corner from our house. A group of actors, directors and other theater people have turned an unused backyard hall on pappel allee into the ballhaus ost (beware: beautiful but stupid flash site!!) .

On top of the fact that it probably takes a lot of guts to start a theater without subsidy and all the other positive signals being given by this bold act as they have been discussed in the feulleiton of almost every German newspaper in the last two weeks it is also a nice thing to suddenly have a theater around the corner: it means you can just go out of the door to see if there are tickets left for the night’s performance if you are sitting at home being bored or depressed or both. And that is exactly what i did tonight and i ended up seeing the premiere of ‘Don’t cry for me Adolf Hitler’ (by Uwe Moritz Eichler):

I would have never expected that i would actually enjoy a performance that for a good deal consist of songs performed in german but in the end i did: the piece is situated in a end of second world war german army field hospital (think mas*h) which is run by double playing nurses trying to protect their drug addict, signal relaying, love-sick patients from an imbecile army inspector and Adolf Hitler himself while musing about love and happiness. Sounds extremely cheesy but actually it is quite insightful an entertaining (big props to the sparse contributions by the trumpet player (Steffen Schult)).

If you are in Berlin and you understand German you can see further performances on 24, 25 feb and 5,8,10,17,22 and 23 march at Ballhaus Ost, Pappelallee 15.

How to get fired from a callcenter

12 Feb 2006 | 121 words | labor india movies film berlin

Yesterday i saw john & jane, a film about call center workers in new bombay by Ashim Ahluwalia, which is running as part of the berlin film festival. The film is an impressive, beautifully shot (but sometimes slow) portrait of six persons working in a call center (‘4th dimension’) which provides a range of services to callers from the US.

Of the six call agents only one, Glen, is unhappy with his job. in fact he seems to hate it. Glen was present for the Q&A session after the screening and i made a crappy phone recording of him explaining how he got finally got fired from the call-center ‘because he was stoned’ (click here for the 1.1mb mp3 file).


Pairing requests

06 Feb 2006 | 220 words | railways mobile computing berlin amsterdam

Seems like everybody and her mother have bluetooth enabled phones nowadays. In the last few weeks i have had repeated pairing requests from unidentified mobile phones while working on my laptop in the Train. For the uninitiated, a pairing request is a precondition for establishing a connection between two bluetooth devices: The contacted party has to agree to ‘pair’ her device with the requesting device in order to transmit files, interchange data or use it as an input or output device.

Apart from this technical aspect the fact that a window titled ‘pairing request’ pops-up out of nothing on your computer screen also has a romantic connotation to it (though nothing is more annoying than not to find out who send you that request. This can distract you for the rest of a journey). Now all feelings of romance are immediately lost as soon as you see that the pairing request is coming from someone called ‘nokia6820’ or ‘K750i’ or even worse ‘RAZR’ or ‘ROKR’. how lame is that?

If you insist to harass others on the train with your mobile phone it is your first obligation to invest a little bit of time and imagination and give your phone a proper sleazy name. As an example i have renamed my phone from ‘K750i’ to ‘Luigi'.

Pairing request from luigi

Scum (?)

05 Feb 2006 | 117 words | germany netherlands berlin soccer advertisement

It seems that the Dutch are not the only ones to prepare themselves for the Soccer World Cup. In Berlin advertisements of the German red cross have started to appear on billboards in various s-bahn stations. The advertisements show a young red-cross paramedic (with a 70es haircut, a reference to ’74?) that bandages the knee of a fully dressed out Dutch football supporter:

We help everybody

The caption on the picture reads, ‘in action for everybody’, which at least to me sounds like ‘ we really help everybody, even those who are scum’… guess the Dutch won’t really appreciate this. And what ever happened to the red-cross? i always thought they where for peace, love and harmony.

More on helipads in São Paulo

I blogged about the helipads in São Paulo back in october of last year. Seems like i am not the only person fascinated by the phenomenon of intra-city civilian helicopter traffic: The transmediale06 media arts festival in Berlin features a short video by french artist Richard Nicolas about the helipads of São Paulo:

The sky of Sao Paulo is always swarming with helicopters: 350 daily departures and landings – or one flight every four minutes. The city ranks first in helicopter air traffic and its air fleet – with 500 counted passenger planes – internationally ranks third after Tokyo and New York. The Brazilian bureau for civil air traffic confirms 220 helipads. The video-performance shows a bird’s eye view from the hustle of São Paulo and its huge choice of helipads.

The video is absolutely beautiful. if you are in berlin go check it out! It can be seen in the transmediale Lounge on the big projection screen (there are two other videos on that are projected alternating on the same screen, so you might have to wait for a while for it to appear). It even features a birds eye view of my favorite helipad.

meanwhile... is the personal weblog of Paul Keller. I am currently policy director at Open Future and President of the COMMUNIA Association for the Public Domain. This weblog is largely inactive but contains an archive of posts (mixing both work and personal) going back to 2005.

I also maintain a collection of cards from African mediums (which is the reason for the domain name), a collection of photos on flickr and a website collecting my professional writings and appearances.

Other things that i have made online: