atoms&bits festival

I’m really excited about the atoms&bits festival. I’ve volunteered to help with it, having got the taste for Barcamp/Unconference organising with Barcamp Sheffield 2.1 and Unsheffield.

atoms&bits is an un-event, where barcamp and unconference principles are extrapolated across Berlin and beyond. It’s scope continually expanding – as any one can run their own micro event as part of the festival. It is a banner for action, under which individuals, collectives and groups from all backgrounds can gather to create something far larger and more exciting than the sum of it’s parts.

Covering the themes and behaviors that are emerging on the margins (and increasingly in the mainstream) of our culture. atoms&bits explores the new zietgiests of sharing, collaboration, and solving problems collectively or individually. A celebration of  the rediscovery of community, participation and activity. In contrast to the culture of apathy, individualism and dependence that is still prevalent within our society.

For my part, I am posing a challenge: is it possible to take every part of a washing machine, and upcycle it? Reinterpreting, redefining, and recontextualising it’s various bits to create tangible, valuable, and functional products that don’t just sell on their recycled credentials. We are calling on designers, makers, craftsmen, hackers, electronics enthusiasts, jewelers, and anyone interested to come together to meet this challenge. Details to follow on the blog, or dm me for info.

The translation that I helped out with can be found below. Excuse the duplication of information, I think this will be broken down for different sections of the site. http://www.atomsandbits.net for the German info. The translation below still needs some work, but is hopefully getting clearer about the nature of the event.

What is atoms&bits Festival?

atoms&bits (a&b) are the smallest elements in our modern society. This is what the atoms&bits Festival is all about: how we change society bit by bit, atom by atom – organized through the Internet with real world results. a&b is a meet up for visionaries, tinkerers, activists, geeks, and artists – in short, everyone that celebrates a new culture of collective endeavor.

The five themes that everything revolves around are:

(1) new forms of work (Coworking)

(2) a fresh desire to tinker and make (DIY)

(3) a new culture of openness (OpenEverything)

(4) politics

(5) arts & culture (Art of Production of Art)

as well as internet culture, the catalyst for changing attitudes and behaviours.

a&b Festival is a decentralized event that stretches over 10 days (September 18-27th).

Individual events are taking place in different locations from Berlin to Brooklyn, from Munich to Montreal. The festival will reach beyond the physical boundaries of the event, allowing participation throughout the world. Globally more than a thousand participants are expected. In order to foster sustainable networks and collaboration, we’re creating connections to other events that complement the idea of the a&b Festival: all2gethernow (Topic: music; Location: Berlin), Breakout (Topic: coworking; Location: global); OpenEverything (Topic: open source principles; Location: global); Transmediale (Topic: art & digital culture; Location: Berlin).

a&b Camp is one of the central points of the a&b Festival. On the weekend of the German federal elections (September 26-27th) around 400 participants will meet at a&b Camp to discuss, plan projects, and to network. Borrowing from the Barcamp format, all participants will actively engage in the event; the presentations (“sessions”) are interactive and created by the participants themselves.

In the open “Barcamp” area, participants will organize completely free sessions. Central themes of the a&b Festival will be addressed and discussed in several designated and curated rooms: Coworking, DIY, and OpenEverything. Spatial proximity and thematic ties will ensure intensive crossover among these topics.

The highlight of the worldwide festival and the kick-off for atoms&bits affiliated projects will be the atoms&bits weekend on September 25-27th. In Berlin the a&b Camp on Moritzplatz with several additional events happening nearby. The program includes exhibitions, live screenings, the a&b party, tinkering workshops, live coverage of the elections online, as well as an election party and more.

The atoms&bits festival

Atoms and bits – the smallest elements in our modern society.

From these tiny elements our daily lives are composed, we can use these to build new ways to improve our lives.

This realization is the first step towards change and also the basis of a new movement.

What do self-printed T-shirts, open source principles, workspaces for freelancers and online political activism have in common? They are all part of a new culture of the maker – people finding and creating their own solutions. Often unnoticed by the mainstream, yet sometimes directly under the noses of the public, people are developing new forms of working and living. Whether the people behind the phenomenon are urban laptop workers or full-time in an office, they both agree they are no longer satisfied with the status quo. They’d rather their environment should meet their own needs, and they slowly create the societal change they wish to see. They organize themselves frequently online, but the results of their activities are real and offline.

The  atoms&bits festival brings these people together, shows trends and exciting developments, an offers a view into the world of these new makers. In an unconventional and informal framework, people meet who would not otherwise encounter one another, although they have a lot to discuss. Here everyone can contribute and learn. Together they will plan, make, organize, and think.

The goals are as diverse as the participants – often ambitious, sometimes visionary – and always have something in common. It’s about collaboration, discussion and doing-it-yourself, positive change instead of passivity, atoms and bits – the smallest elements of our modern society, and how we can change our lives for the better.

The atoms&bits festival is a snapshot of actual social trends, a festival for people who are ready to shape and influence their environment and society – actively and positively.

The atoms&bits festival is:

·    A place for productive debate with conventional and new forms of working, thinking, and action.
·    A platform to discuss new trends and developments and to find new approaches to problem solving.
·    A catalyst for innovative projects, cooperations, and initiatives.

In order to retain the ideas and projects that emerge from the festival, we will continue to accompany and support these activities after the event.


The idea behind the Atoms and Bits Festival


The Atoms and Bits Festival is a great example of the new “culture of doing”. In July 2009, a series of independently planned of events began to cluster around a larger event concept, very quickly the idea evolved into a festival. Both the festival and the process of it’s creation are open and distributed, all contributions are of equal value. Everyone can play a part to help themselves and help shape the character and outcome of the atom Bits & Festival.

The planning and creation process of the festival can be found on Flickr, Twitter, blog posts of the creators and other online media, and can be tracked in real time through the #atomsandbits tag.


The key themes of Atoms and Bits



An exploration of the emerging Maker movement, whereby people are rediscovering old skills and inventing new ones, to create products that they can’t buy or can’t afford. Creating for the pleasure of the craft and the joy of making. The DIY track will encourage participants to experience the joys of making first hand, and to share and learn new skills. Philip is this OK? do you want me to add more?



Open everything is a global conversation about art, science and the spirit of “openess”. It brings together those people who are embracing and practicing this new philosophy in the fields of software, education, media, philanthropy, community, workplaces and the society we live in (everything). It’s about thinking, doing and being open. At atoms&bits we’ll explore how open principles can be applied in creative and technical fields. Join our session track to connect with like minded people discussing and developing projects in Berlin and beyond.



-> DEF?

# Art of Production of Art

The track Art of Production of Art will explore and present  open, new and more participatory forms of arts and culture. It will bring together artists and creative people working both physically, virtually and philosophically. Culture professionals will exchange ideas, talk about their process of creation, self exploration and the relationships between art and commerce. The track offers the opportunity to bring creatives from all disciplines together for collaboration, and a united network to emerge around a shared sense of community, political and social identity.


The 5 elements of the atoms&bits festival

————————————————– —————


The main focal point of the atoms&bits festival will be run according to the general principles of Barcamps:

“open, participatory workshop-events, whose content is provided by participants..”

Source: Wikipedia

Every attendee of the festival is encouraged to contribute to the event, through active participation. Attendees aren’t invited just to participate in presentations, discussions, workshops and other “sessions”, but also to host and run their own sessions inspired by the themes of the festival and the key tracks. After suggesting sessions a show of hands is taken, and the days line up will be created

We are presently looking to arrange accomodation for those stopping over at the festival.

In addition to the core Barcamp/Unconference principles, atoms&bits thematic tracks (“Do It Yourself (DIY) / Bausteln, co-working / New forms of work, Open Everything / Creative Commons) will be supplemented by sessions presented or moderated by experts in these areas. The tracks will form the theoretical background to the workshops and activities that will take place over the 10 days up to and including the main event.

For organizational reasons the number of participants for the 2-day “camp” – atoms&bits 2009 is limited to 350 people. A reservation is therefore required. Satellite events are open to all.


The core tracks, explore what we believe are the central theme’s of the emerging zietgiest, these are designed to spark ideas and encourage conversations. We encourage participants to present their ideas and projects within the context of the core tracks in order to compliment the wider discussion. However we are open to separate sessions designed to spark debate.


As part of the festival, we will offer participants the opportunity to make and create tangible products, and artwork. Through various workshops and activities, they will have the chance to share and learn skills and collaborate to build, invent and produce new innovations, new solutions to old problems, or give new life to old objects.


As well as the sessions we will provide space for emerging conversations, discussions and projects to flourish, giving participants the opportunity to exchange, develop and implement new ideas, and form new bonds and relationships.


After the days discussions and excitement, a diverse program of evening events will help you unwind – Pecha Kucha, festival party, elections to the German Bundestag for public viewing on Sunday evening, an exhibition and many other, smaller activities that give the participants opportunity to relax and get to know each other.

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