re:publica Highlights

  • The intoxicating visualizations in Peter Kruse‘s presentation. Semantic and conceptual networks that moved and interwove like flashy galaxies of thought and culture, accompanied by Kruse’s hallucinatory up-tempo Beat Science prose;
  • My post-talk interview with that I proudly mastered – much better than the presentation itself – without too many Ähs and Errs (please acknowledge a faint trace of irony in my opening praise for the current state of political journalism in Germany);
  • The outrageously funny penis episode at the end of the first afternoon, when Melissa Gira Grant finished her talk on Internet and Sex by inviting the audience to a chat roulette experiment, to be displayed at the Friedrichstadtpalast main auditorium’s big screens. Within seconds she connected to a first masturbating male primate and after only a few short interludes to a second one, dully working his semi-erect member in close-up. He panicly retreated when she turned her notebook computer with its camera around and he suddenly noticed that he had done his thing in front of not just a seemingly patient and attractive blonde but also a cheering audience of more than 500;
  • The surprisingly moving, elegant talk by German cyberpundit Sascha Lobo, “How To Survive A Shitstorm”, dealing with the hateful and violent response that he frequently encounters on the Internet and even in real life, mostly due to his extrovert appearance and demeanor;
  • Some significant moment during late hours after sessions of Day Two, when a breathless Kathrin Passig stopped her bike at a Torstraße junction to give us directions to the next venue full of re:publicans, interrupted by a caller on her mobile whom she immediately greeted with his Twitter handle, “Hello mspro!”
  • The peculiar pastimes of my former journalist colleague Stefan Krempl, whom I hadn’t seen for many years. Stefan used to work for SPIEGEL’s Netzwelt department, among others, during the 90s, and subsequently taught cyberculture at the Viadrina University in Frankfurt/Oder. Now part of his occupation (besides still working regularly as heise’s Berlin cyber-chronicler) are night shifts as a very successful party and celebrity blogger and photographer;
  • The endearing ceremony at the end of Day Three, when some remaining 200 people cheerfully chanted Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody in a collective Karaoke extravaganza while waiting for a Skype video conference between re:publica’s Johnny Häusler and Twitter’s Biz Stone (which never came about).

Thanks to all the organizers and fellow participants for making the event everything you would expect from a proper re:publica, and so much more!

(There are a few pics on Whatever.)

PS: Did I mention the growing frustration on Jeff Jarvis’ face when he tried to make sense of the unexpected subtleties in german humour during the twitter reading?

PPS: Originally I had written that Stefan’s ‘career path’ had brought him to the ‘main occupation’ of being a celebrity blogger. He has kindly pointed me to the fact that this is not quite true. I’m sorry for the distortion of reality and have corrected my mistake.