Did you experience This happened

Monday October 4 it was This happened time again. For the seventh time I traveled to Utrecht to see four inspirational speakers with all a different background and story. A brief report on my experiences this night.

impressions of this happened
(thumbnails of pictures uploaded by Kars)

The night kicked off with Richard Boeser, designer of the game in development called Ibb and Obb. He worked the last five year on an idea for a game which you need to play with two and is based on a simple idea of inversed gravity. The way you need to work together and the friendly characters makes it a promising game. It was nice to see that Richard really tried to challenge traditional game principles, which give the game a different feeling to me.
I hope it will make it to the iPad too.

This happened did some experimenting by inviting an urban planner to talk on an exhibition in Venice. Ronald Rietveld did some very interesting projects, which I read earlier about, and took us now on the journey to create a story in the Venice Dutch pavilion, called Vacant NL. Different layers where interesting in his work: the translation from a transistor to a landscape, the use of the fact of the emptiness of the pavilion, the beautiful negative forms as waste of the process. And above all the choice to create the landscape of buildings as ceilling, which provide another form of inversed gravity.
His story really wants you to have the Dutch Atlas of Vacancy, where all the 4236 buildings he chose can be found.

After the break Anne Nigten of The Patching Zone shared the proces of creating a game in the hood Go for IT, where leds in the pavement stimulates playing games together. She concluded among other things that research is not the way to approach inhabitants of a neighbourhood where social workers have become part of daily life. Just talking is a better first step. An interesting project where her passion turned out more in the Q&A as in the talk.

Save the best for last is something that happens more often with This happened, the programme is always well building up. Also this time I think the last speaker – Edwin van der Heide – has the most intruiging story. It was very nice to see how he added layer after layer in the description of his Radioscape project. From a simple idea to create another sound experience with distance to the strange devices that became important part of the experience of the people playing Radioscape. Although he didn’t seem to have thought through the form and impact of the devices in this experience.

And that is something what was a theme in all the four processes in a way. The real value was created by doing, by starting the experiment and tuning the outcomes. Richard did it on purpose to create a new gaming experience, and Anne used it to engage the people in the project to become co-creaters. Ronald only came up with the idea of the ceiling experience building his original idea in the venue. Creating real value by letting the experiment into the designing process, Edwin did a great coda in that and concluded another interesting and always different This happened, probably especially interesting because of the experiment elements in its format itself…

So don’t forget to attend the next edition, very soon already, the 22nd of November.

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I am a design director at Structural. I curate and organize ThingsCon Netherlands and I am chairman of the Cities of Things Foundation. Before I was innovation and strategy director at tech and innovation agency INFO, visiting researcher and lab director at the Delft University of Technology coordinating Cities of Things Delft Design Lab.

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