Lift06 — Why It Is Important

What’s Lift06?

Lift06 (Life Ideas Futures Together) is a conference in Geneva organized by Laurent Haug in collaboration with Nicolas Nova, Steven Ritchey and John Staehli. It brought together a nice diversity of participants ranging from Microsoft geeks to NGO like Amnesty International, to open society pundits like Cory Doctorow, creators, dudes and doodlers like Ulla-Maaria Mutanen, Jyri Engeström, Matt Jones, Régine Debatty, Timo Arnall, Aram Armstrong, Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino, Jean-Baptise Labrune, Fabien Girardin, bloggers Robert Scoble, Bruno Giussani, Régine Debatty, designers Victor Szilagyi, Haiyan Zhang, etc., etc. The mix was sufficently diverse and collegial and casual that it felt remarkably productive. The full list of attendees is available here.

It was a very transparent organization process. The conference came to be through a public wiki and blog and all manner of insights and ideas for the structure were shared in a reasonable fashion. Best yet is that all the talks are available for your eyeballs and earballs.

I had the good fortune to participate in Lift06 as Nicolas Nova invited me to co-facilitate a workshop on Blogjects or “objects that blog.” (Some notes are here. The back story on this harkens back to a short blog post I scribed while digesting some Bruce Sterling, and preparing some remarks to launch a discussion on Shaping Things for the Southern California Digital Culture Discussion Group.

The wonderful thing about Lift06 was that it was like what I would want O’Reilly Etech to be — creative, out of the box innovators, tinkerers, makers, funders, idea, but with diversity of goals and objectives (and, of course, about 6 times cheaper.) I think Etech is great — I’ll continue to go, and present when its right and relevant — but what Lift06 was able to do was open the audience up. It wasn’t just about the Tribe of Alpha Geeks and friends-of-Tim getting together to share with each other what they already know about each other or to pitch their latest VC bait. Lift06 was opportunity to hear, discuss and participate. It was a chance to be a part of the emergence of new ways to create, maintain and knit together networks of social relations and move social formations in a way that will hopefully create new habitable worlds. Enough tech geek to keep me happy and excited and eager for Lift07, and enough conversations around reinvigorating existing and creating new social practices to make me feel like I was a part of something that was circulating culture in a promising vector.

One of the upsides alongside of the downsides of the way the network sustains and circulates cultural production is this time and labor saving device — other people’s blogs. Rather than reporting all that people talked about, I can focus on short insights into what was important to me. There was a phalanx of bloggers in attendance, so full coverage should be available through an easy google or technorati search. Or bloglines or whatever.

Bruce Sterling’s Talk
Why was this important to me?
A fun, magisterial re-articulation of why “things” matter. Sort of resonant, in hindsight, with Thomas Madsen-Mygdal wonderfully titled talk (see below). Sterling’s been an important intellectual influence over the last several months, and it was great to hear him and chat with him. Glad that Nicolas was able to get him to attend.
Bruno Giussani’s summary
Nicolas Nova’s notes

Jeffrey Huang‘s Talk
Why was this imporant to me?
Fleshing out the relationship between architectural objects and interactions of those objects with social beings. It was nice to finally meet Jeffrey and chat about his take on architectural objects, Blogjects and other such things. Jeffrey also used an increasingly noticed presentation technique (actually, I don’t know how new it is, but..) of compelling interaction with the audience by presenting a few points, examples, etc. and then soliticing their input through a blank slide and a simple question. It moved the presentation into a more interactive mode, which in the context of things such as Lift06, is important. The audience are peers and colleagues. They have ideas and a conversation makes much better sense, at a certain time.

Régine Debatty‘s Talk – Art: Making it or faking it
Oof. Despite her modesty as a knowledge producer (I think she too quickly mistakes herself as just a reporter and aggregator of exciting things), this talk was fantastic and I’m hoping she can give it (or part of it) for the IMD later this winter. The relationships amongst art, provocation, social-politics, and aesthetics. Very articulate and insightful. Another great presentation in the Lift06 canon.
Bruno Giussani’s summary

Thomas Madsen-Mygdal talk — Understanding Contexts: a unified theory of why it feels like it’s all happening. (100% Scientific)
Why was this important to me? Never met this bloke, and was skeptical when he asked us all to shut our laptops (disclaimer: mine wasn’t open, although I almost knee-jerked to open it, but came to my senses and thought this would pointless and, worse, obnoxious as I was sitting in the front row, square with Thomas’ podium. Also wondered if he would close his..) Thomas is the founder and producer of reboot, an event which I have not been to, but which sounds Lift-like and by accounts was the inspiration for Lift.
Bruno Giussani’s summary

Stefana Broadbent
Why was this important to me?
SMS Grooming concept and this great quote: “SMS is to tell you I miss you, Email is to organise our dinner, Voice is to say I’m late, and IM is to continue our conversation� thx nic

Dinner talk at Ulla-Maaria Mutanen’s birthday dinner
Why was this important to me? Had a chance to talk with Jeffrey Huang about the relationship between things, interfaces between things and social beings, and new kinds of interaction spaces. Jeffrey seems interested in participating a follow-on workshop. Matt Jones’ flummoxed look when I explained that I had no idea who Gerry Anderson was, even after professing a strong affinity to Space 1999. Introduction to Thomas Madsen-Mygdal and learned more about Reboot and explained the Blogject project and the cultural-politics that motivate it.

More insight on Lift06, so long as other’s are blogging: LIFT06 (I’ve come to the realization that I’m better at just the analysis/synthesis, whilst there are a cadre of excellent bloggers much better than I at doing the reportage, so sorry for any incompleteness!)

Why do I blog this? To try and give a sense as to why Lift06 will be an important forum for making and creating more habitable worlds. It’s the relationship between open-society and open-source and what these can yield for the creation, maintenance, sharing and circulation of culture and the knitting together of diverse networks of earthly inhabitants.

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