All posts by Mark

reporting a pandemic

This evening at the National Theatre, London, Demos and TED collaborated to help grant the TEDPrize wish of photographer James Nachtwey.

He wanted to brake a story globally, the story of extremely drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB).

Projected upon the National Theatre were these photographs:

It was cold out there on the southbank, and the photographs are powerful. There is a project now, to see if a story can be broken and communicated across the globe via both traditional and new media. It will be interesting to see if in this image saturated online world a story can still be told by the carefully constructed work of a photojournalist.

Some videos

Yes, it is taking far too long. I will try and get more videos encoded and online.

In the meantime I do have a couple up there.

We have videos for Christian Nold and Vincenzo Di Maria currently available at vimeo.

I have also posted the video of Bryony Worthington speaking about Sandbag at the Internet Archive.

There was no rhyme nor reason why these videos were posted first, apart from the fact that Bryony has recently ‘officially’ launched which is also the first site to form a part of the Guardian Environment Network. Excitingly geeKyoto was a catalyst for Bryony getting a lot of the support that has gotten her to this launch and we are all very excited for her and the project.

I will get all the videos posted up to the Internet Archive eventually, please feel free to link and to distribute them as widely as you can.

Also, get ready for geeKyoto 2009 ‘Possible Futures’. More details soon.

storycubes and notebooks

at geekyoto, Proboscis, one of our supporters distributed their StoryCubes and diffusion e-Notebooks to everyone. Some of them were completed and we collected them up and Giles took them back to scan in.

He has now published them to the web.

So here are 24 of the geeKyoto StoryCubes.

Here are some of the notebooks.

Please take some time to have a look and comment on them and let us know what you thought of the idea of using them at the conference.

(Next time, we will make sure we give you more information on what they are about before we begin).

What Just Happened?

Saturday 17th May 2008, Conway Hall, London UK.

The day was overcast but the hall was bright with ideas.

I just wanted to say thank you to so many people, so to start:

To all our speakers, each of which put on an amazing show with little more guidance than ‘fix the broken world’.

To Eric who set up the video so that we should have a recording of all the talks (and taking a load of photos that we will post up soon).

To the staff of Conway Hall for keeping such an amazing venue going, for having everything set up in the morning when we got there and being helpful throughout the day.

To Russell Davies who put on interesting2007 last year and then shared the how with us. I can’t wait till this years interesting.

To everyone on my linkedin list who got spammed with the question ‘If I arranged a conference would you come?’ and a link to my original blog post. That so many said yes meant that I had to do something.

To Ben and in fact Ben (Saunders this time), whom I both emailed with ‘sorry to bother you but I think I have a daft idea, do you think its worth persuing?’ and both getting back to me within minutes with a positive and a ‘lets do this’. That Ben has been as excited and passionate about doing this as I have has meant that there was a conference for you all to attend.


Thank you to all of you for attending and then blogging and flickr-ing the day.



opentech 2008 – the other good conference of the year

Opentech is a cool, grassroots eventand there is going to be a lot of cross over with geeKyoto, Interesting and this. They have just launched their call for participation.

Call for Participation – OpenTech 2008

Saturday 5 July 2008, London, UK

Presented by UKUUG in association with mySociety + Open Rights Group

*What is OpenTech 2008?*
A low-cost, one-day grassroots conference with a wide range of
sessions covering digital technology, society and
the environment

*What do we need?*
Proposals from people who want to give a
presentation, run a panel, organise a workshop, or
run a demo of something new and interesting

Publicity – please blog this announcement, write a
newspaper article, forward to mailing lists, and
tell your friends!

*What topics do we hope to cover?*
– Mashups, open data and security
– Future of media distribution
– Low-carbon and low-impact living
– New adventures in hardware hacking
– Politics 2.0
– Long term thinking on big problems and massive opportunities

– If you’ve got an interesting proposal that doesn’t fit into any of
the categories above, please send it in anyway!

*How do I submit a proposal?”
Please use the form on
The deadline for submissions is midnight on Sunday 30 March 2008

*Can I buy or reserve a ticket to the event?*
Register at
and we’ll email you nearer the time with more information

*Any other questions?*

If you have any other questions, or want to make us
an offer we can’t refuse, please visit for more
information and contact details of the event

OpenTech 2008 organisers (Ben Lamb, Etienne Pollard, Sam Smith)

17th May 2008, Conway Hall, London – GeeKyoto’08

The date is set, the venue booked (and a deposit, deposited). Something is going to happen.
Those of you who attended Russell Davies Interesting last year should be on familiar territory here, but for those who do not know:

We have booked Conway Hall, in Central London for a Saturday. The 17th May 2008 to be precise. The doors will open 10am and we will finish around 4.30pm (we have to be out of the hall by 5.00pm). After that, well we will be in a pub later to continue the discussion.

Tickets will go on sale soon, we will release them in a couple of waves. A site with more detailed information will be up soon, here at

Oh yes, thats the final agreed upon name, ‘geeKyoto’, Green tech and ideas is a theme but just part of a wider remit.

The day itself, everybody in the main hall, there will be presentations of up to 20 minutes, with a number of shorter 3 minutes ones as well. There will be a lunch break, and an afternoon quick tea break. More details of the structure will be here soon. Also we will start to let you know who we have speaking as well.


Ben Hammersley has been at DLD (an invite only conference). He has started to share the link goodness on his blog. There is some great stuff in here only a couple of which I have heard of before (YouAreNotHere was done by students from the NYU ITC course, some of them were at ETel last year to demonstrate some of their projects including Botanicalls).

One that is very interesting is 19.20.21, not sure what the background is, but the flash site has some nice visualisations of global data. It will be interesting to find out more about them.

We were talking about tectonic warefare

Last night (wednesday 23rd Jan, 2008) I was at UCL’s Darwin Theater to attend a lecture by Geoff Manaugh, the author of BLDGBLOG.

He was speaking as a part of the Bartlett International Lecture series and a very interesting talk it was, though much of the content was of course from his blog. I have taken some quick notes (mostly keywords and the odd phrase) and they are presented here. Also check out Matt’s notes. As always, spelling is probably very bad. sorry.
BLDGBLOG – Darwin Theatre, UCL.

23rd January 2008.

How it started:

Living in Philidelphia, taking a free morning course on Archigram and reading a lot of JG Ballard.

Depressed & Claustrophobic.

Started to write about what he was interested in, what he wanted. -> Changed his life.

Uses blogger as it is free, like sunlight. So does not feel that there is a responsibility to write there, he writes because he wants to.

Climate Map 2071

London will have the climate of coastal Portugal

Building appropriate for the climate, but Canary Wharf is built for the climate of 2009, not 2071.

Climate Change Malancholy – (photographer, Australian, written about in Wired) – uses the term SolNostalgia

The earth is becoming unearthly.

Through climate change the earth is becoming an eco-adventure. A new alien planet.

Hashima- Battleship Islan, Japan. An old mining colony now deserted but you can visit it and wander through the ruins.

Bannerman Island, in the Hudson River, built by an arms dealer. Story/Myth that old gun barrels were used in the building of the place, idea of turning weapons into architecture.

Mansall Towers (??) – Whitstable – end of world war II. Recently an artist got a grant to live on the towers and write poetry.

Private Luxury Off Shore Oil Rig Market (approx $100 million for an oil rig, recent appartment sold in NYC for $70 odd million, Richard Rogers is building $85million appartments in London. Why is no one buying their own oil rig to live in).

Artificial reefs – collaboration between Jordanian and Isrealie scientists.

The reef is branded, OBS. The structures are similar to asronomical equipment, sunk to form reefs.

These reefs are designed to attract people as well as coral etc. So that people would visit the artificial reef rather than the natural one, so as to allow it to recover. A disney reef, simulation.

The future of colonialism is in reef science.

Assembling California – Book – John McPhee

Standing on california you are standing on lost islands. Arnie is the govenor of lost archipeligos.

A view to a Kill. James Bond film. – Terrestrial weaponisation. Baudrillard or Villio must have been involved in the plot :)

(see: Battle Beneath The Earth – film (Thanks Matt!)).

The US military are the next Archigram.

Geological pre-history to the war on terror. creation on cave complexes.

‘Instancing Gates’ – Wolrd of Warcraft

Nick Catford – Photographer, Subteranian Britannica

Trap doors – across soverign space tunnels across the mexico/us border.

Non invasive archeology – Ground Penetrating Radar.

Duncan cambell (??) (1985? New Statesman)

Opened a man hole cover on a traffic island in Bethnal Green and then cycled, underground across london to whitehall and back. This manhole cover is now paved over.

Urban exploration – Michael Cook & Silagen – Photographers.

Mars Rover – the landscape photographers of the future.

Comarative Planteology – Kim Stanley Robinson

Naming the planet – Columbia Hills Complex, named after dead astronauts. NASA is implementing Ballards fiction.

Mars Analogue Sites (they are scattered across the earth, there is a book in travelling and documenting these sites. (( WOW! now that is a project that I want to do )) ).

Final Image: The New Zelander – returns to find a ruined london. The centre cannot hold, only those on the outskirts, the edges / fringes still exist.

‘People want to see change’

‘Architecture as a political project’

‘Architect as anthropologist’

‘Architect as researcher’

Rubble – Book – Jeff Byles