Crosstalks

Brave New Interfaces #01

Info

Date: 
27 Apr 2006

The main message echoing during and after the seminar was the urgent need for more 'crosstalking' between technologists, engineers, social scientists, policymakers and artists to evolve towards secure, reliable and invisible ICT. The seminar was attended by 70 participants from corporate, cultural, policymaking and the academic contexts.

Programme: 

Timing lectures & discussions: 9:00 to 17:30

Reception & networking: 17:30 to 18:30


08:30 – 08:50 Coffee and registration
08:50 – 09:00 Welcome by Prof. Jan Cornelis, Vice-rector Research at Vrije Universiteit Brussel  

Session 1 | Introduction & discussion

09:00 - 09:45 Technology and interface challenges for the 21st century by Hugo De Man, Prof Emeritus KULeuven & co-founder of IMEC  
09:45 - 10:30 Risk, luck, uncertainty and surprise: economic impact of demographical evolution and migrations by Jorgen Mortensen, Centre for European Policy Studies - Independent policy research institute
10:30 – 11:00 Coffee Break

 

Session 2 | Some theoretical approaches & discussion

11:00 – 11:45 Creative communities in a network society by Ezio Manzini, Research Design and Innovation for Sustainability (DIS), Politecnico di Milano
11:45 – 12:30 From a needs driven to a context driven economy by Josephine Green, Strategic Foresight & New Solutions Development, Philips Design  
12:30 – 13:00 Discussion
13:00 - 14:00  Walking Lunch

 

Session 3 | Breakthrough accessibility & discussion 

14:00 - 14:25 Folksonomy & spatial interaction by Felix Petersen, Swiss entrepreneur and founder of plazes.com
14:25 - 14:50 Reading the city through its public spaces by Wim Cuyvers, Architect & advisor-researcher at Jan van Eyck Academy in Maastricht
14:50 - 15:15 Beyond the building - a non-deterministic way to produce architecture by Salvatore Bono & Pieterjan Vermoortel, Architects of Buro2.Networks
15:15 - 15:40 Walking the interface: domestication reconsidered? by Jo Pierson & An Jacobs, Studies on Media, Information & Telecommunication (SMIT), Vrije Universiteit Brussel
15:40 - 16:00 Discussion
16:00 – 16:30 Coffee Break
 

Closing session | Corporate and political power unbound & discussion

16:30 – 17:15 Power to the people: innovation & empowerment by Jan van den Bergh, Director i-Merge, Founder & president of Kauri and MO
17:30 – 18:30 Reception & Networking

Bios / Slides

Hugo De Man


[abstract]
Technology and interface challenges for the 21st century.
After two industrial revolutions, the 20th century ended in the ICT revolution pushed by the relentless exponential growth of microelectronics, and culminated in the era of PC, internet and wireless voice connectivity. In this talk we will pay attention to how, in the coming 20 years, Moore’s law will be pushed to its physical and economical limits. What will then the impact be when we are able to produce 1019 transistors/year or 2.5 billion transistors/year per person on earth? This will certainly lead to enough computation and communication power to create cheap affordable adaptive systems, embedded in every object and in every living being even if there is no direct successor for the ultimate silicon based computing and autonomous networking of collaborative systems. The key challenge will then shift from the art of hardware manufacturing (in the east?) to the mastering of adaptive software intensive services and systems (in the west?), that make sense and are simple to use. They must be driven by the western societal challenges of the 21st century such as managing healthcare and population aging costs, providing wellness and interactive infotainment, improving mobility and optimizing energy and environmental costs.
However this is not the only technology vector for satisfying societal needs. Our welfare model can only survive if we master the convergence of technologies and build truly added value to satisfy the cultural needs of our “advanced” western lifestyle and which will be exportable to emerging economies. Hence attention will be paid to the need for the grand convergence of the ICT vector with microsystems (autonomous transducer networks), nano-technology (atom based material synthesis), biotechnology and cognitive sciences. After 2030 the energy issue will by far dominate the future of the earth’s population and will become the main driver of technologies. We will investigate the technological and political issues related to the energy challenge.
Finally we must reflect on how we will have to slope the walls between these disciplines as no longer technology, but human convergence will be determining our success in this endeavor. This will require radical changes in our educational system from elementary school to universities. Are we all prepared to face the challenges?

[bio] Hugo De Man was professor in electrical engineering at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium from 1976 to 2005. Since October 2005 he is professor Emeritus of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. In 1975, he was visiting associate professor at U.C.Berkeley teaching device physics and IC design. His early research was devoted to the development of mixed-signal, switched capacitor and DSP simulation tools as well as new topologies for high-speed CMOS circuits. He is cofounder of IMEC (Interuniversity Micro-electronics Center), where he was Vice-President from 1984-1995, in charge of design methods for DSP and telecom oriented chip architectures. Since then he is a Senior Research Fellow of IMEC, working on design methods for low power post-PC systems in nano-scale technologies. In 1999 he received the Technical Achievement Award of the IEEE Signal Processing Society, The Phil Kaufman Award of the EDA Consortium and the Golden Jubilee Medal of the IEEE Circuits and Systems Society . In 2004 he received the lifetime achievement awards respectively of the "European Design and Automation Association (EDAA)" as well as the "European Electronics Industry". Hugo De Man is a Fellow of IEEE and a member of the Royal Academy of Sciences in Belgium.

Jorgen Mortensen


[abstract]
Risk, luck, uncertainty and surprise: economic impact of demographical evolution and migrations

Understanding past developments of human societies requires formulating views on the size, growth and movements of populations and, not least, the main causes and features of demographic changes: fertility, mortality and migrations. And when formulating long-term strategy for public revenue and expenditure and the forward planning of infrastructure and public services or for investment and market analysis for private corporations, demographic projections constitute a key platform on the basis of which to construct credible scenarios.
But since demography is a discipline trying to understand the distant past and scrutinizing the centuries to come it is subject to large margins of uncertainties and un-anticipated events. Speculating about the economic impacts of demographic developments is therefore, unavoidably, an exercise in managing risks and facing up to the unexpected.
The present paper presents the main features of currently available demographic projections and proposes some thoughts as to “what may go wrong” and what may be the economic and social consequences of a large wedge between projections and outcome. It also speculates over ways in which economic and social policy mechanisms may be designed so as to render them more resistant to shocks and unforeseen changes in trends.

[bio]
Jørgen Mortensen is Associate Senior Research Fellow at the Brussels-based Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS). He graduated in economics and statistics from the University in Copenhagen in 1963. After a brief period as administrator at the Central Statistical Office he took up a post as junior economist at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris. From 1973 to 1988 he was a senior economist (Head of Division) in the Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs of the European Commission. Since 1989 he has been free-lance researcher, mainly associated with CEPS. Jørgen Mortensen has written or edited numerous research reports and books on issues as the financing of retirement provision, portability of pension rights, the role of intellectual capital in the economy, intangibles in business accounting and, more recently, on various aspects of demographic ageing and its consequences for retirement and health care provision. Since year 2000 his main responsibility has been the management of the European Network of Economic Policy Institutes (ENEPRI), initiated by CEPS in 1999 with financing from the EC’s Fifth Framework Programme for research (FP) and now including more than twenty European institutes in the field of applied socio-economic research. In this context, he is also responsible for the formulation and coordination of several FP5 and FP6 research projects implemented by consortiums formed within, but normally also with partners from outside, the ENEPRI framework.

Ezio Manzini


[abstract] Creative communities in a network society. What they are, what they mean and how to enhance them.

Observing society as a whole and in all its contradictoriness, we can see that alongside numerous worrying tendencies, signals are also emerging that indicate different and far more promising developments. Signals, still weak, but all the same stating clearly that another way of being and doing is possible (see examples in: http://www.sustainable-everyday.net/EMUDE/ ). Considered as a whole, these promising cases tell us that, already today, it is possible to do things differently and consider one’s own work, one’s own time and one’s own system of social relationships in a different light. They show that there are groups of people, the creative communities, who are able to act outside the dominant thought and behaviour pattern and organise themselves, and cooperate with others, to achieve concrete, positive results.
Looking to these creative communities it is possible to observe that they are such because, in their own context, they have invented different ways of behaving and thinking. Looking at them more closely we realise that they emerge in very specific conditions and, above all, they are the result of the enterprise of very special people. People who have been able to think and act by breaking out of the cage of dominant thought and behaviour. Although this almost heroic aspect is the most fascinating side of these phenomena, it is also an objective limit to their diffusion (and often also of their lasting power): exceptional people are not so common and, above all, they are not eternal.

To help these ways of doing things last and spread we must therefore start with these experiences, and the organisational model they have invented and brought to life, and propose products and services specifically conceived to increase their accessibility. In other words we have to imagine and enact enabling solutions, i.e. systems that provide cognitive, technical and organisational instruments so as to enable individuals and/or communities to achieve a result, using their skills and abilities to the best advantage and, at the same time, to regenerate the quality of living contexts, in which they happen to live.

[bio] Ezio Manzini - designer, engineer, architect, educator and author - is one of the most important thinkers in design today. Manzini's works are based on strategic design and design for sustainability, with a focus on scenario building and solution development. He acknowledges the influential role design can play in changing our ways of thinking and living. Manzini challenges designers to re-orient creativity towards sustainable solutions.

Ezio Manzini is currently professor of Industrial Design at the Milan Polytechnic and Chair Professor of Design under the Distinguished Scholars Scheme at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He has held the position of Director of Design at the Domus Academy in Milan and has been involved in several international commissions, expert panels and working groups including the Scientific Panel of the National Environmental Agency (1998 – 2000) and the Expert Group on Competitive and Sustainable Production (2000). He is a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Industrial Ecology (USA), the Journal for Sustainable Product Design (UK), and the Eternally Yours Foundation (The Netherlands). As well as a number of books, he has written for many international magazines and has been responsible for several research papers for public bodies and private companies. Professor Manzini recently established the Chinese Network for Design for Sustainability. Other recent research activities include:

Strategies towards the sustainable household, within the Environment and Climate Programme of DG XI of the European Community (1998 – 2000). The role of Industrial Design in product innovation: the Italian Design System, from local resources to global markets, for the Italian Ministry of University and of Scientific and Technological Research (1999 - 2000). Strategic design and Design for sustainability in China, programme of research promoted by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (2000-2001). HiCS, Highly Customerised Solutions, within the Growth Programme of the European Community (2001, 2004)

(source: Change Design (formerly EcoDesign Foundation), a project of the Society for Responsible Design, Sydney, Australia | www.edf.edu.au )


Josephine Green


[abstract]
If the industrial era was characterized by consumption so the knowledge era will be characterized by context. New values and behaviours, new technologies and new economics are changing the relationships between society and technology, people and technology, and environments and technology. No longer shall we “consume” technology but rather we shall "co-exist" with it, experimenting and defining a new convergence. As people and technology co-exist, then the context, the activity and the experience become important. It then becomes less about “what do I want” (need) and more about “what can I do” (experience) in this specific context at this specific time. The challenges for Design lies in its ability to imagine, explore, make and co-create these new relationships.

[bio] Josephine studied History and Politics at Warwick University in England. She has worked both in International Marketing and Sales and in Futures and Socio-Cultural Research for companies and organizations. Since 1997 she is Senior Director of Trends and Strategy at Philips Design, Royal Philips Electronics. Her main role is to promote new thinking, new ideas and new knowledge, particularly in the field of Foresight and Society, Cultures and People Research, and its application to strategic thinking, innovation and growth. She is responsible for the Strategic Futures? Programme which helps customers think about and implement a human focussed approach to innovation and new value creation. She has consistently worked with customers to introduce new thinking and sustainable development into their culture and processes. Josephine has given many international presentations, lectures at a number of universities’ masters and executive courses and is Visiting Professor at The Glasgow School of Art and Design. She has lived in England, Italy and Holland.

Felix Petersen

[bio] Felix Petersen, born and raised in Berlin, has been busy with remote data transmissions since the late eighties and has been building things on the Internet since 1997.
Felix Petersen is co-founder and member of the board of plazes.com, a bottom-up approach to spatial interaction and location oriented service platform, sometimes also dubbed “Mobile Social Software”. Plazes has been written and talked about up and down the blogosphere and its supporters and developer community include some of the brightest minds in cyberspace. Plazes was featured several times in publications like Wired, Red Herring and others as well as Editor´s pick for “Best of new Web” over at Businessweek.
Previously Felix has been busy founding Kinderfield, a radical new collective somewhere between insanity, art and media darling working for clients like Sony and MTV.
Later he joined the ranks of R.Ø.S.A., a Swiss-based Internet experience agency and Etoy spin-off, as Managing Director for the Berlin office.
As Head of Experience Design and Creative Director for big agencies he´s helped BP, Siemens, Coca-Cola, Daimler-Chrysler and the likes to waste spent their budgets on all things internet. He does not like to talk about it.
He currently lives with his lovely wife in Berlin and enjoys things like food, cooking, media hacking and robotics.
Felix is Captain of the Berlin Metroblogging team and very embarrassed by his light posting there as well as on his personal blog actioncontents.com.
If for some reason you feel like finding out more, go to: beta.plazes.com/whereis/felixpetersen

Wim Cuyvers


[abstract] Reading the city through its public space. (Public) Space as the man-man interface.

Definition of Public space:

-Public space is the opposite of privat(is)e(d) space.
-Public space is non-economical space.
-Public space is non-controlled space.
-Public space is the space where those who are in need go, where they meet.
-Public space is the space of need.
-Public space is the space of transgression.
-Public space is indicated by dirt.

Wim Cuyvers walks through different cities (Sarajevo, Belgrade, Tirana, Manhattan, Paris, Den Haag...), while looking for the public space (as defined before), trusting the own personal need as a research-tool, not stopped and distracted by scientific research methods. Inventories of these public spaces brought together in planschemes unfold and unmask the city, show how each city excludes, or tries to exclude the need, and thus the essential, yes existential space.
Those who are in need read the city exactly in the same way. It doesn't seem to matter what kind of need they may have, the age they are, or the culture they belong to. It seems they all read and understand the space in exactly the same way. That means that, at a certain level there is a non-verbal, non-linguistic communication between these people, they communicate through public space, public space is their interface.

[bio] Wim Cuyvers (°1958) graduated as an architect at the Hoger Architectuurinstituut Gent (B) in 1982. His work, often remarkable because of the wayward interpretation and projective transposition of its prior conditions, has been frequently published (a.o. in A+, Archis, De Architect, S/AM, Flanders Architectural Yearbook) and exhibited (monographic exhibition deSingel Antwerp, 1995; numerous Group Exhibitions a.o: “Nouvelle architecture en Flandres”, Bordeaux, 1996; “De rijkdom van de eenvoud”, Brussels, 1996; “Homeward, Contemporary Architecture in Flanders” Antwerp, Bordeaux, Rome, Venice, Plymouth, 2000, Archilab, Orleans 2005). He obtained honourable mentions in different design competitions and won the 'Cultuurprijs Architectuur van de Vlaamse Gemeenschap – 2005). Since his graduation he has been active as an author of critical essays on architecture and on broader cultural questions. Together with photographer Mark De Blieck he is the author of an untitled book treating about the rear of public space (Yves Gevaert publisher, Brussels, 2002)www.b-site.be. Cuyvers has taught in Sint Lucas Gent (B), Design Academy Eindhoven (NL), Academie voor Bouwkunst Tilburg (NL), Ecole d’Architecture Paris Malaquais (F) and is currently advisor-researcher at the Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht.

Salvatore Bono


[abstract]
Beyond the building.

The administration of the booming city Guangzhou has decided to develop a new administrative centre to the north of the downtown area, near the historical landscape of the Bayiun Mountains. The new congress centre must function as the motor of this new urban process..... How to make a ‘building’ able to act as mediator to resolve the existing contradictions within a creative unity? How to improve a democratic and open concept which weaves nature and town, the citizens and the institutions into a new specific identity? The unique experience of this project reinforces the recent activities of Buro2’s research team.

The (r) evolutions of the present-day create a surrounding of fast mutable and interdependent relationships. Understanding this system in the space, the interaction is more important than the object, and the form is a ‘chance-tempo determinate value’. The traditional notion of a ‘building’ as an isolated object cannot be enough to define the architectural challenge today. The necessity of a new approach where the architect should assume an un-conservative role leads us to think about a non-deterministic way to produce architecture, looking at new typologies and open complexities as i.e.’ hybrid frames’ and ‘no-buildings’.

[bio] Salvatore Bono was born in Sicily and spent his formative years between Roma and Paris. He studied Architecture at La Sapienza University in Roma, Italy. He is specialized in engineering and construction design. From 1975 to 1985 he has worked in Italy as a freelance architect and engineer in creative structural and construction design. During this time he also taught construction design at the Building Technology Institute of the Architecture School of La Sapienza University as assistant of Professor Antonio Michetti.
After a brief, but intensive experience in social projects for underdeveloped areas in the south of Italy, he worked as Director of the Design and Research department of the ‘Fratelli Dioguardi’ construction company. In this function he developed advanced design activities for large scale projects in Italy, France, Czechoslovakia and Germany, often collaborating with famous Italian architects as Renzo Piano, Aldo Rossi, Pierluigi Spadolini.
In 1995 he decided to move with his family to Belgium, his wife’s home country.
From 1995 to 2002 he was partner of ‘Groep Planning’, a major architectural office in Flanders. In this period he re-oriented his professional profile towards sustainable architectural design. He was co-designer of several projects in Belgium, all characterised by high complexity, such as the Postchek building in Brussels for the Flemish Parliament, the Maison Suisse in Brussels for the DVV, the Pier in Blankenberge, the Veemarkt and the Doornijkse tunnel in Kortrijk. He has participated in several international competitions such as the Royal Ontarium Museum in Toronto in collaboration with architect Andrea Bruno, the N.A.T.O. Head Quarters in Brussels with Hopkins architects, and the sustainable development project for the Wetlands Region in Shanghai (China) .
Since 2002 he is Innovation Manager of Buro2, a dynamic west-Flanders based architectural office. He leads a team of young architects engaging in experimental projects. The winning concept of the Bayiun International Congress Centre in Guangzhou south China is now under construction and will be open on December 2006.
Since January 2006 he is C.O.O. of ‘Buro2.Networks’, a new branch office of Buro2, which develops cross-disciplinary platforms for the production of innovative architecture.

Jo Pierson & An Jacobs


[abstract] Walking the interface: domestication reconsidered?

‘He that will not apply new remedies must expect new evils,
for time is the greatest innovator’ (F. Bacon, 1595)

In technology and interface design users are all too often identified as ‘end users’. As if the innovation process is finished once it is reaches the consumer/user. However in our view innovations are revealed through new social practices of users (SMS, P-2-P,…). The user in this sense becomes the ‘interface’ between society and technology, being the origin of innovations. To better understand this development we need to integrate insights from both domains: social science research on media technology and human-computer interface research. At the same time innovation studies need to focus more on the domestication of technology, i.e. the way technology is ‘tamed’ and appropriated by users in everyday life.

Everyday life takes people to different places, different life spheres. The mobility of new ICT devices changes social practices within these different life spheres. The variation in practices with an interface will be larger than in the past. What can we expect regarding changes in our time and space patterns? Does reconsidering the theoretical concept of domestication help us to understand these changes? We will illustrate our views on these and related questions by using insights from past and ongoing research projects.


[bio] Dr. Jo Pierson is Senior Researcher at SMIT (Studies on Media, Information and Telecommunication) - one of the founding members of IBBT (Interdisciplinary institute for BroadBand Technology) - and holds a PhD in social science (communication studies). In the past he has worked as researcher-advisor for the Dutch knowledge institute TNO in Delft. He now lectures bachelor and master courses on socio-economic issues of the information society at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in the department of Communication Studies. Jo Pierson also holds a part-time research position focussed on applying social science research in the design and use of ICT.

His core expertise is situated in the field of innovation strategic research on the meaning and use of fixed and mobile media technologies at home, at work and in public settings. In this domain he is managing a range of projects. In addition he is doing research on involving users in technological development processes via ethnographic study in test and experimentation platforms. He also publishes on the adoption and domestication of ICT by small business (SMEs and micro-enterprises). Other research areas include e-inclusion issues and information society policy at European and national level.

Dr. An Jacobs holds a PhD in Sociology. She is a Senior Researcher at SMIT (Studies on Media, Information and Telecommunication) - IBBT (Interdisciplinary institute for BroadBand Technology). Previously she worked at the Department of Sociology (University of Gent), where she did research on the visions of graduated sociologists on their profession and the application of their knowledge in the process of developing new consumer products. She lectures on the sociology of technology at the Design Department of the Hogeschool Antwerpen.

The field of integrating social research within all phases of the development process of innovative products is her core interest. Therefore An Jacobs develops research approaches and instruments for improving user research, combining both quantitative and qualitative techniques. At the moment she is involved in research projects in the field of e-government and e-health.


Jan van den Bergh


[abstract] Power to the people: innovation & empowerment

Consumers & citizens believe less and less the stories institutions, governments and brands are telling them. They tend to believe more and more what other consumers have experienced. The stronger the network that links consumers to each other, the more powerful they become. As a group. But also on an individual level. Growth of market share is directly related to positive or negative feelings in the market.
When consumers who recommend or don't recommend a brand become the most powerful source of persuasion (more powerful than the old media?), brands should invest a lot of time and money in these public opinion leaders.
No brand can save its soul or market share by disguising its flaws into a so called "creative" campaign that in the end only influences perceptions that don't live up the reality. You can't fool anymore. The web was the first digital tool embraced by these powerful consumers. Mobile and ITPV will be the next to breed even more interactions among consumers. Interactions that breed in their turn an even stronger network. Whether this emerging power is real and strong or fake and weak and therefore tolerated and stimulated by the institutions remains a question that can only be answered in 5 or 10 years .... looking back.

[bio] Jan Van den Bergh (°1952) was one of the guys that always succeeded in his exams, passed carefree Septembers, hopping from KUB to KULeuven to the Central Exam Commission, to eventually end his academic career as a passionate Germanist.

After a “red” career as a fulltime but freelance revolutionary on the dole (1972-1977), he found a real job in 1978 as junior copywriter in an advertising company where French rather than Dutch was the official language. It took him 4 months to discover the existence of similar companies where the creative process was effected in Dutch, so he moved to a small-sized company “LVH” which was renowned for its large-scaled and green minded ambitions. In 13 faithful years, he became a member of the board of Directors (1982), Creative Director (1984) and General Manager (1988-1991).

In those days, the entrepreneur in him grew stronger and ambitious blood (creating, changing, money making, better DIY) started running through his veins. With the support of 2 former LVH –colleagues and a 4th BBDO-member, he founded Quattro, the company today known as Saatchi & Saatchi Belgium. When in 1994 the Internet started to flourish, Jan Van den Bergh was the first to sing its praises and Quattro became the pioneer company in internet advertising business. In 1999, that first, tender love becomes wild and passionate with the establishment of a new company, i-Merge (www.i-merge.net), determining itself as The Very First Interactive Brand Breeding Agency. i-Merge expands rapidly and since earlier this year, i-merge is also setting foot ashore in Ireland and in China, where Jan Van den Bergh is currently working.

In his spare time, Jan Van den Bergh is a prospective article writer. Before his departure to China, he engaged in various political initiatives on bridging the gap between North and South. He was co-founder and chairman of Kauri and MO* (www.mo.be).

Report

The aim of CROSSTALKS is creating an interactive and particular kind of "public space" where open and constructive dialogues take place between people from the most diverse backgrounds. CROSSTALKS wants to establish a solid base for this kind of meetings and started in 2003, slowly but steadily building up a network of people who are prepared to meet a few times a year for an entire day and expand their minds.
CROSSTALKS wants to enable and stimulate long term thinking on core issues with a strong economic and social impact: the role and added value of medicine in future health care, early warnings and public safety and secure, reliable and inivisible interfaces. Since April 27th meant the kick off of the last mentioned theme, the seminar was split up in 4 sessions: some theoretical approaches to set the scene and establish some common grounding (1st and 2nd session), a breakthrough session with concrete examples of innovative thinking (3rd) and a closing session zooming in on innovation and empowerment (4th).

The need for real interdisciplinary crosstalking increases with an eye on long-term thinking and developing strategies for our future on the level of energy, interfacing, communication, mobility and mental and physical health. That's the common ground. From there on different cases and themes are adressed, and this time the individual, social and economic challenges of the next generation interfaces.

What do we take home from this kick off meeting? First of all the risks and consequences of the 'flattening' of the world through globalisation as stated by Hugo De Man. As vice-rector research Jan Cornelis already suggested, Hugo De Man also confirmed the need for a new kind of engineers, the "Renaissance" engineers as he calls them. The co-founder of iMEC also stressed the importance of a platform like CROSSTALKS where mind-expanding thinking and crossing discipline borders is the rule, not an option.
From Ezio Manzini we'll remember his notions of decentralisation, of a multi-local society and a new kind of collaborative communities. But I do agree with Josephine Green about the personal and individual responsibility we all have, and women in particular to start participating and engaging ourselves the conceptualisation, design and development of all kinds of future interfaces. Emptiness as an interface is a great concept that I would like to work on within CROSSTALKS, together with silence and boredom as innovative interfaces. Maybe the Vrije Universiteit could introduce a course in doubt to start with... The lesson is that more time is needed for experiments, for exploring things without tags for deliverables and deadlines attachted to it. What is as urgent as that is what Josephine Green called "re-defining the quality of life" and this afternoon some elements came up that were pretty useful in that sense: Felix Petersen's emergent pathways, Wim Cuyvers' unique approach of reading the city from a particular kind of perspective and crossing borders that will enable us to re-think public spaces and the use of urban environments in the non-intended way. Conceiving beyond the building and the context driven and system approach were often mentioned and was also the main message by PieterJan Vermoortel who stood in for Salvatore Bono who was withheld in Shangai. "Walking the ICT" was a great concept brought by Jo Pierson and An Jacobs. Together with the opportunities coming from daily creativity.
One of the issues that Jan Van den Bergh raised and that needs more crosstalking too, is the personal gateway idea and the possibility to block incoming 'anythings' if we don't want them.

With special thanks to Jan Cornelis, Maja D'Hondt, Jan Bouwen and Joannes Vandermeulen. And our partners for this event : Alcatel, IBBT, Namahn and the Brussels Capital Region. We are indebted for the immens flexibility and efficiency of the people of Latour de Freins that assisted us and especially Réne Thys whom we could count on any time during the preparations, the setting up and the event itself.
(by Marleen Wynants, Operational Director of CROSSTALKS)