The main focus of this month for me was inspiration and I gathered a lot of it – through conversations with different experts in the digital field and through events – so mainly in good old analog formats. March began with the Munich Creative Business Week (MCBW), which was without a doubt the highlight of the month. When I was living in Munich a couple of years ago, I always heard of MCBW and participated in one or two events, but this year I tried to take advantage of as many events as I could and it was well worth it.
So on a crisp but sunny Saturday morning I stood at the ferry harbor at Chiemsee and met a group of curious, bright, adventurous minds who – like myself – had signed up for a workshop called “new spaces for art” without really knowing what would happen that day. We took a ferry to Herrenchiemsee and walked to the palace, where the workshop took place in the “unfinished rooms”. The agency Blackspace hosted the workshop on how art could be displayed / taught / incorporated in the city / experienced in new and maybe unexpected ways. Six hosts moderated the different discussions and as a participant I was able to participate in two topics – “space of content” (what contents of art need which spaces) and “real spaces” hosted by the Urbanauten, that discover neglected and forgotten spaces in Munich in order to create art there and transform them into cultural spaces.
Besides the fantastic discussions I loved the way how the entire workshop was set up. While we were discussing, at each table a notetaker captured what was said and it was printed at the same time on sales slip-like printers. At the end of the day, the table was completely covered in these paper strips – partly meeting minutes, partly art installation. I was completely amazed by the event, mainly because of the diversity of the participants – artists, architects, city planners, lawyers, writers, innovators, etc. – and the high-quality discussions. So #mcbw already started with an absolute highlight.
Further events I participated in were the “Designit Open Inspiration” on Artificial Intelligence – “Why you matter in the AI future” , where strategy director Bill Cole gave an excellent introduction on the topic, and the frog design panel discussion on fostering a creative culture. The selection of participants was excellent, since it covered the perspective from a family-owned company (Oetker Group) to a larger corporation (BMW), and also included Jan-Eric Baars’ academic take on the topic.
And then on the last weekend I went on the road again to visit the Büttenpapierfabrik Gmund at the Tegernsee for a day of talks and workshops and of course to visit the famous paper factory. I was a bit astonished how analog they still operate. Their main paper machine is over 100 years old, most operations are done on paper, and during his speech their CEO did not mention the terms “industry 4.0”, “automation”, or “digitization” even once. It got me thinking about whether this is completely outdated, or whether in this case digitization indeed would not add any further value or improve things significantly.
So I am starting April with a lot of inspiring input from other industries. Here’s some more (mostly analog) inspiration from this month:
- For people in Munich: The art exhibition “Du bist Faust” at the Kunsthalle is one of the best exhibitions I have ever seen. It was the first time that I actually asked at the counter afterwards who was responsible for the design of the exhibition rooms. It was absolutely stunning.
- Lately, I have been drawing and sketching more and trying to get better at it. Following the #urbansketching hashtag on instagram and youtube is pretty motivating. Sitting and observing things in detail is also great for mindfulness.
- This SXSW interview with Ray Kurzweil.
- Amber Case’s piece on “calming technology and humanizing the algorithms” on Medium.
- And finally, our new prints in the hallway: