Editor’s Note: Daniël is an administrator at the Unfiction forums and was part of the team that created the Project MU Archive Book. He was on the scene at PICNIC ’07 as a representative of the ARG community and was kind enough to submit a report on his experiences, which we will release in parts over the course of the next few days. We thank Daniel for his support of ARGNet and his wonderful report and pictures.
For the second year in a row, I was able to attend PICNIC, the Crossmediaweek Foundation’s conference on media, internet, technology and creativity in Amsterdam. Once again, I went courtesy of ARGNet, and like last year, it was a blast! The past few days really flew by… I’ve been to my share of conferences, and the thing with PICNIC is, the moment you walk onto the Westergasfabriek site, where the conference is held, the atmosphere just grabs you.
The site is a rather peculiar place, or at the very least not the typical conference environment. The area consists of about fifteen small and large brick buildings, originally part of a natural gas processing plant, but now built to suit anything from dance parties to exhibitions and conferences. The first thing you notice when walking around is the high production value of the whole event — every area and room features a patch of grass, paths laid out with wood chips, plants and flowers everywhere, wooden picnic tables and of course the obligatory red and white checkered tablecloths.
There is also the PICNIC Club, the main lounging area where demos are being held, at which several sponsors have set up their booths, including artists showcasing their creations and a lot of other interactive stuff. Then there’s the Extraction Hall, the main conference hall, where the stage is actually a garden, complete with flower beds and 50-foot high banners hanging down from the ceiling, lighted in such a way it looks like see ants and other bugs are crawling around, to give you the real outdoorsy feeling. Very impressive.
For those of you not quite familiar with PICNIC, this is the second time the Dutch Crossmediaweek Foundation has organized a massive conference on cross-media and everything related to it. A lot of very interesting people attend, including many pioneers in media, technology, the Internet, and also (pervasive) gaming. This year, in addition to the three-day conference, there were many affiliated events planned as well. Take for example PICNIC JR, an attempt to get younger people interested in media and creativity, or the PICNIC Academy, a mini-conference intended for students. There was also the first Dutch edition of Come Out And Play festival, which turned the city of Amsterdam into a giant interactive playground. For more details about PICNIC and all these partner events, head over to the PICNIC website (http://www.picnicnetwork.org/).