Sep 29 2008
Kit and I missed the panels that happened before ours, but thanks to the wonders of sexy technology, we can go listen to them as posted mp3s at Arse Elektronika’s website. The conference was aural ecstasy: voices from all over the globe filling the air with delicious ideas and discourse, echoing in a space that appears as a blend of an industrial warehouse and a theater.
I took a few scattered notes on the two panels that came after ours. The first was a two-person presentation and talk about transparency, oversharing, and how you decide how much to share of yourself on the internet (and the consequences of those choices). I felt the speakers, Susan Mernit and Viviane, raised a couple of interesting questions that I will enjoy thinking over and discussing with other more local minds.
The second panel was an informal two-person discussion about sex in science fiction from the 50s through the 80s, between author Richard Kadrey and AE host Johannes Grenzfurthner. I found the talk interesting, but more immediately noticed that it is hard not to adore Johannes; he’s the perfect person to lead the conference, full of vibrant energy and thought-provoking ideas and questions, funny and personable. Not to mention the hot accent–add German to the list of languages I enjoy hearing spoken (on the level of “here, read from this menu, I’ll just listen moistly over here”).
We came back to the hotel to rest a bit and eat, intending on attending the AE readings going on nearby starting at 9pm. We chatted a bit about notes I’d taken on our presentation–parts we’d glossed over or skipped, physical notes about fidgeting, gestures, and the like, what to improve next time–then dozed off for “just a few minutes”…
Yeah, missed the readings. We were tired monkeys. It was a good rest and obviously needed, but I was pretty disappointed to miss the evening’s event. Our hotel room is strange; the hotel itself is historic and very nice, but our room was discounted, I assume because its room window is permanently boarded up (probably due to the humming machinery outside it) as well as plywood covering the broken bathroom window. And no towel rack or thermostat. Thankfully, the bathroom plywood was loose enough that we didn’t have too many problems with air circulation. Still, weird that they would rent it out at half-off rather than repair it and charge higher rates. The doors carry sound but the walls themselves are some of the thickest of any hotel in which I’ve stayed. The wood replacing the windows means that very little light gets into the room–waking up Saturday morning was fairly disorienting.
And that’s as good a lead-in to the next Day as any, so I’ll end the post here for now. Must check out of this historic hotel and go back to our little glorified motel near the airport for our final day’s stay in San Francisco.