There is a slow churn that happens in the background. From Fabricatorz build-up to the Sharism Makerlab in Poland, the goal of Fabricatorz is to be the kings and queens of creativity. We are the CIA of creation. We like to be airlifted to most any place in the world, and accel(erate) on-demand. We are people too. We need to have fun, and make some cool projects in the midst of the grind doing humachine work for clients and ourselves.
As planned, I dropped myself into LONDON to support Fab affiliate Michelle Thorne, who runs global events for Mozilla, and who put on the Mozilla Festival. Fabricatorz works with Mozilla regulary, in China particularly, but I particularly wanted to see how Mozilla Foundation (MoFo) is doing growing the open web. I’m very appreciative to the large turn-out and to see so many great journalists there like our friend Bilal from Al Jazeera, and Brian Behlendorf from MoFo board in attendance.
I spent my time with new friend Andy Ellis who is a pro UX designer and VJ, and with our friend Ian Forrester from BBC, who wrote up a nice post about working on the Future Everything conference looking at he future of clubbing, dj’ing and vj’ing. Naturally, I showed off the Milkymist One and we talked a lot about how we can hack on things together.
I do think though that the format for nearly any hackfest is way too short to actually write code. However, this type of MozFest Hackfest is well suited to doing some creative exercises, but it reminds me that the most important part of events (well life in general), is to make better relationships with people. It is very easy to be a uber-nerd technological determinist or become the dad in the garage working on Open Hardware (the project with a broken gear as a logo) where the motto might be “hacking is jacking,” rather than “Hi, my name is Jon. I would like to be your friend.” The hardest part to events, is to focus on meeting people and just shutting the laptop. For me, I have to always work on listening rather than just always being @rejon. From these realizations I have decided that I will no longer give slide show presentations unless its the only option for very high impact events, and I will not bring my laptop to events because its a blocker to meeting people!
Overall, the MozFest was a great success because I became closer friends with four people in particular: Andy Ellis who is a VJ expert, Renata Avila from CC Guatemala and Global Voices who I have always wanted to get to know better, Agata from CC Poland who helped us put on the Sharism Makerlab in Poland, and the always cool Hyojung Sun who, like me is a digital anarchist, now doing her PhD at Edinburgh, where she is the resident skeptic about copyright. I’m super happy I focused and talked more with these friends and talked shop. More coming soon! I was also lucky enough to stay with my old friend Jeff Kuntz, now a journalist in London living with his cool wife Dorrie. And, I last minute lucked out to go to a science startup meetup powered by the excellent Kaitlin Thaney.
Now, onto the meat of this post. I spend a lot of time in Beijing now. While walking through a local market, I found a shop that sells black markers; I’m talking the graffiti kind! I bought a box of 10 for 10 RMB on the spot, and my life has changed.
I started by marking out unnecessary text, but have progressed to blocking out all text.
A bought some jeans at Muji, so had to take out the tag.
I even took this further to realize how much paper is wasted in publicity, so I’ve decided to take it back, and re-use it, make it personal, and then redistribute. Check out these Milkymist fliers I made.
The real Milkymist please stand up. These are Chinese fliers for massage and special services you get on your doorstep everyday, now converted to a better use.
This is just a straight up marker flier on the back of a Qatar Air placemat. It’s kind of cheating.
On the back of a bi-folded business card from some cafe.
All you need to do to be a post-graffiti artist to do marking, is to buy some markets and take control of the propaganda around you by changing it. Join me in the Marking movement! Its REAL metadata.
Tomorrow in Beijing, come to the monthly Sharism Presents Beijing where I will share my new marking project. And, if you are attending the MozCamp in Kuala Lumpur this weekend, I’ll see you there with my markers, sans-laptop.