Aula 2006 ─ Movement: Report upon returning from Helsinki

NOTE: All posts at 3QD related to the Aula 2006 ─ Movement event, including this one, will be collected on this page.

Morgan and I returned from Helsinki last night after a wonderfully stimulating meeting with a group of amazingly sharp and innovative thinkers. There is really no quick way to characterize the subject of the meeting because there were presentations and talks on an incredibly diverse array of subjects, ranging from Donatella della Ratta speaking about the effects of new media in the Arab world, to Adam Greenfield speaking about Ubiquitous Computing, to Saul Griffith of MIT and Squid Labs, who as part of a brilliant talk, and among much else, showed us how to fashion a perfectly wearable bra out of a pair of men’s briefs!

Due to logistical and other difficulties, we were unable to blog the event live as we had planned, but luckily there are already a number of good summaries available of what went on (more on that below). After the keynote speeches on Wednesday evening (a summary by Teemu Arina is available here, and one by Bruno Guissani here), we had a full day of quick, rapid-fire, eight-minute presentations at a most beautiful island boathouse all day Thursday: [Mogan and I and others arrive on the island by boat. Photo by Timo Arnall.]


The morning started with a well-known Finnish yoga instructor named Kylli Kukk (who later showed Morgan and me some nice places in Helsinki, and gave us a lovely tour of her studio along with a free yoga lesson and DVD!) leading a short outdoor program of rather invigorating excercise. Those of you who know of my general aversion to exercise may think I have manipulated the following photo, but, really, I haven’t: [Kylli is in the pink top. I, of course, am the idiot wearing a tie. Photo by Timo Arnall.]


Afterwards, there was coffee and refreshments, and then the meeting started in the very beautiful circular boathouse. Notice that the “beach” is a solid sheet of rock descending into the water: [I am carrying on a mini-conference on subcontinental couture with Aditya Dev Sood. Photo by Timo Arnall.]


Marko Ahtisaari performed the introductions, and then the presentations started. Bruno Guissani has done a brilliant job of summarizing all the short talks here. Ross Mayfield has some thoughts here. And Adam Greenfield’s impressions of the meeting can be seen here. The day was punctuated by several breaks and a lovely lunch in the boathouse: [Marko opens the meeting. Photo by Timo Arnall.]


I spoke about 3 Quarks Daily’s conception and development, along with the contrasts between the different approaches to intellectual life, of the blogosphere and more traditional venues of inquiry such as peer-reviewed, edited professional journals: [Photo by Arabella.]


The ideas we were exposed to at this meeting will be making frequent appearances here at 3 Quarks over the next days and weeks. We met so many wonderful people and had so many great conversations and developed so many new friendships that it’s hard to know where to begin thanking everyone for making this such a great experience for us. Still, I’ll try: thanks much to all the participants, but particularly to danah boyd, Cory Doctorow, Dan Gillmore, Bruno Guissani, Adam Greenfield, Jim Griffin, Saul Griffith, Dan Hill, Joi Ito, Nurri Kim, Kylli Kukk, Ross Mayfield, Ulla-Maaria Mutanen, Arwen O’Reilly, Joshua Ramo, Donatella della Ratta, Clay Shirky, Aditya Dev Sood, Lisa Sounio, Gerfried Stocker, Alice Taylor, Matt Webb, and Satoshi Yamawaki.

Special thanks go to Marko Ahtisaari and Jyri Engestrom for arranging such an enjoyable event, and, of course, for inviting us to take part in it. Thanks to Ram Manikkalingam for giving us the benefit of his inimitably witty presence during our last two days in Helsinki. Thanks to Morgan for coming with me and providing some real intellectual substance on behalf of 3QD. And last, and definitely most thanks, to Andreea Chelaru and her band of “happy helpers” (including Darren, Fred, Veera, and Arabella) who not only took care of our every need, but provided charming and vivacious company throughout our stay, to boot. We are completely in love with you, Andreea! And here they are:


P.S. After the meeting ended, we took the boat back to Helsinki and the Klaus K hotel. We then had an option to take a lesson in Finnish tango before heading over to dinner at the Cable Factory, but, of course, Morgan had different ideas: