SpaceApps 2015 (Tefkros has my notes)

So without the notes I probably have a better chance at getting at what’s important.

The first thing to say is that I’m excited. Despite my distance this year from the challenges, from the teams, from really helping the volunteers out, it was again an awesome thing to be a part of.
One thing I realised is that this year I’ve been taking the community more seriously, expecting more from it, and at the same time being less confident in my ability to meaningfully contribute.
Even so, getting to meet the people I got to meet was the best thing about it–Elena (wooohooo! *wink*), Panayiotis (..

In my notes on the lusty yoga lenovo before the battery died, I did my best to cover some basic facts about the first 5 or so presentations (might remember to add link here when Tefkros sends it to me). But going into all that wouldn’t be especially interesting. It’d be nice for the teams to get some exposure but maybe that doesn’t have to be my task (to katadinamin). The interesting thing, as always, is the politics: the politics of collaboration, the difficulties and thrills of communication and open thinking depending on the social environment, and the politics this new community is driven by (in the innate social sense, but also in terms of its interface / as an interface with other organisations and their own positioning in a domain of party politics or “innovation” discourse).
There were too many highlights, too much material. Perhaps other people, hopefully with greater understanding of the technology will also write something down–who knows, maybe there were more writers in the room: a thrilling idea. Because writing I think is one of the things needed, hence this–I do have hopes of, even though it’s a .com (this will become is a .com too, but only as a bad joke). So yea, I’m excited. And exhausted.

I’d like to talk with Marios more. His instincts on where this could or should go are important. My main one is that there’s holes we need to fix. Maybe beginning with the judges’ front: reformulating part of my email to Roman (the soon-to-be astrophysics student & thoroughly mysterious guy;) a few minutes ago:

Subject: i think
“the judges played it safe. [I think they couldn’t
respond to your work, and should] at least try and find someone who
could do it properly. THAT would have been the real hackathon. That’s
what’s most disappointing about cy spaceapps in that sense.

what do you think?

This is what I mentioned briefly, the hackspace type of thing some of
us have been running. I would have liked to be able to send you
something more advanced (maybe the same link 6 years forward in time):

It was nice to see you soar,

Because, again, this is where the real politics are located: what kind of work this kind of event makes room for, and what it blocks out. But this isn’t the main point I’d like to make. I guess inevitably, maybe tediously, my primary concern is that all of this needs close examination, on the tech level and the community level because these are the same: the structure IS the product. The structure interactions are allowed to take. And I think Marios is one of the few people who sees this.
Not that this year’s volunteer team didn’t do a great work. It was a valiant, selfless, thrillingly vibrant and intelligent effort. I’m sure they’ll keep doing impressive things separately, if not together, and their way of managing this.. politics, deserves great respect.

Someone afterwards asked me if I’m “the sociologist”, how intriguing. It makes me want to indulgently try on a hat, maybe as a ethnographer of a tech cultural awakening, even an auto-ethnographer if only “of people who go to hackathons in Cyprus, in the early 21st century.” But enough of that, otherwise even I will tldr.

This is where I should have began:
Once again, I went to the hackathon with the intention of thinking more about the commons, and maybe even doing something. I wish I had found a way through a challenge, but again, wondering about this beautiful thing: radically interdisciplinary/cross-cultural communication became the compelling priority. I did try to do an hour of code & let me say that neither (suggested to me by a truly surprising 11? year old: who I’d love to keep in touch with) nor codeacademy are likely to be my thing, though I’ll give the latter another try. And I did get to think more about the commons, and talk about them, and did my best to engage on projects that seemed to involve them (ref: clean water, medkit, forests)

Let me quickly find a note to end this with: maybe trying vulnerable honesty: my lens has been hack66: this odd creature I stubbornly give my Wednesdays to. What is the most valuable thing about it? What more can it do? What can I do?

[about the zombie apocalypse]

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