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Call for papers: Re:Publica Berlin


Sandra writes, "What started as a 'class reunion' of bloggers, Internet activists, and researchers has become Europe's largest and most prominent conference on the future of our society and all things digital: re:publica, the Berlin based conference will happen again on 6-8 May 2014."

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Berlin workshop tomorrow on "Unpleasant Design": urban design that bullies its users


Artists Selena Savić and Nikola Korać are continuing their excellent work on Unpleasant Design witha €20 workshop in Berlin on November 12 (tomorrow!). "Unpleasant Design" is Savić and Korać's name for design elements that are intended to be unpleasant for human beings in order to control their behaviour (for example, park benches with rigid handles that make it impossible to lie down).

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Berlin activists create CCTV-smashing street game

Activists in Berlin have created a game called Camover where they move through public spaces in disguise, smashing CCTV cameras, recording the act and uploading it to YouTube for points.

The rules of Camover are simple: mobilise a crew and think of a name that starts with "command", "brigade" or "cell", followed by the moniker of a historical figure (Van der Lubbe, a Dutch bricklayer convicted of setting fire to the Reichstag in 1933, is one name being used). Then destroy as many CCTV cameras as you can. Concealing your identity, while not essential, is recommended. Finally, video your trail of destruction and post it on the game's website – although even keeping track of the homepage can be a challenge in itself, as it is continually being shut down.

East Germany withered under the punishing, spying gaze of the Stasi, whose surveillance was always couched in the language of "public protection" and "crime solving." Today, the CCTVs used by commercial firms are an extension of government surveillance, because their footage can be seized, often in secret, in the name of "fighting terror" and similar rubrics.

Game to destroy CCTV cameras: vandalism or valid protest?

Rotting Soviet-era themepark in the heart of Berlin


Dark Roasted Blend has a beautiful gallery of Spreepark PlanterWald (originally called Kulturpark Planterwald) a Soviet-era abandoned themepark in central Berlin, which is gracefully rotting away. This is a Boing Boing/Cory Doctorow trifecta: abandoned themeparks, Soviet kitsch, and urban exploration. Yes, please!


When it opened in 1969 as Kulturpark Planterwald, it was the "only constant entertainment park in the GDR, and the only such park in either East or West Berlin". However, the Berlin Senate did not seem to have provided for enough parking space... which is quite silly, all things considered. Plus, the forest around the park was deemed to be doomed from the impact of visiting crowds. In any case, the socialist and then private owners were left with a bunch of debt and the place got suspended in limbo... But the story does not end there (read on).

Surreal Abandoned Amusement Park in Berlin [Avi Abrams/Dark Roasted Blend] (via Kadrey)

Public street-bookshelves in Berlin made from hollow logs


"Book Forest" is an outdoor, public bookcase in Berlin, designed to allow BookCrossing users to drop books they're done with so that others can take them in and read them. The "forest" is made from hollowed out logs with protective clear doors.

Within the program ‚Research for Sustainable Forestry’ promoted by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research the cross section project ‘Bi-FONA-Wald’ is carried out by the Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training. It takes place in Berlin/Brandenburg. The Book Forest is part of the overall project ‚Modellregion Berliner Wald und Holz’.

The Book Forest contributes to sustainable vocational education and deals with the value chain forest-wood-book. It was developed and realised by BAUFACHFRAU Berlin e.V. as an interdisciplinary, project orientated cooperation of apprentices of forestry, carpentry, cabinetmaking, media design, printing and bookselling.

Book Forest (via Bookshelf)

City of Berlin owes trillions of euros to small town

The German town of Mittenwalde loaned the city of Berlin 11,200 guilders 540 years ago, when Mittenwalde was a seat of power. Berlin has never repaid the debt. With interest, and adjusted for inflation, the note (which has been authenticated) is worth trillions of euros, and Mittenwalde wants it back.

Town historian Vera Schmidt found the centuries-old debt slip in the archive, where it had been filed in 1963. Though the seal is missing from the document, Schmidt told Reuters that she was certain the slip was still valid.

"In 1893 there was a debate in which the document was examined and the writing was determined to be authentic," Schmidt said.

Schmidt and Mittenwalde's Mayor Uwe Pfeiffer have tried to ask Berlin for their money back. Such requests have been made every 50 years or so since 1820 but always to no avail.

540-year-old debt. Trillions owed. But will German village get repaid?

Macro photos of the inside of musical instruments


On Behance, art director Bjoern Ewers shows off the gorgeous macro-photo ads he produced for the Berlin Philharmonic, which depict the insides of instruments as airy atria (or, as Colossal has it, "vast and spacious, almost as if you could walk around inside them.")

ART DIRECTION: INSTRUMENTS FROM INSIDE (via Colossal)

Pictures from Berlin's anti-ACTA protest


Walt74 sez, "Today about 10.000 people protested the ACTA treaty in Berlin, people in whole Germany went on the streets, 50.000 altogether. Here are my pics from the protests in Berlin."

Did you get pics at your local ACTA march? Post them to the comments!

ACTA-Demo Berlin, 11.2.2012 (Thanks, Walt74!)

Then we take Berlin

Reminder: I'm doing a live reading in Berlin tonight at 2000h (Sankt Oberholz, Rosenthaler Str. 72, Berlin Mitte). Tschüss! Cory

Astounding 3D effects projected onto a building's facade

This LG mobile phone ad "event" projected a startling and well-conceived montage of 3D effects onto a building's facade in Berlin. It's all very spectacular and beautiful -- pretty amazing for an ad (though I can imagine that if a whole city were taken over by this sort of advertising every night, it would be rather tedious). Meanwhile, I seriously covet that projector, which is blasting out enough lumens that I wonder if it incinerates small insects that stray into the path of the beam. I could get into serious mischief with one of those.

LG Optimus Hyper Facade in Berlin - Long Version (Thanks, Dad!)