Consolidating at home

Finally back from Seville – it’s been one of those trips that involves two and a half days of travel for three days on the ground, and I’m feeling it.

I have lots to say about the HCI2020 conference and its venue both, but I’m going to try to put those thoughts into some kind of coherent order. Give me a few days? In the meantime, here’s pictures. (UPDATE: Jun Rekimoto’s are infinitely better than mine.)

I really want to thank Abi, Richard, Yvonne and Tom for having invited me. I can’t overstate what a pleasure and a privilege it was for me to be invited to help shape your discipline’s agenda. My especial thanks, also, to the affable Sergi Jordà, whose company made the first of my delays so much more bearable. I quite like his reacTable musical instrument, which was apparently enjoying its live debut in London just as we sat on the tarmac in Seville. Sergi, hopefully I’ll have a chance to return the hospitality sometime soon.

And the same is true in spades for Fabien Girardin, whose efforts single-handedly converted what would have been a comfortless overnight at the airport into a hugely enjoyable few hours in one of my very favorite cities.

In the course of strolling the Ramblas from the Plaça Catalunya all the way down to the port, I gratefully shawarma’d myself (being thus reintroduced to the world of honest food), and we stopped off for a 2AM nightcap with Rudy De Waele, whose recondite taste for late-stage Miles Davis I share. The names of Paul Bowles and Throbbing Gristle were also invoked, as were those of nomad goddesses Yasmine Abbas and Kelly Goto. I crashed for a few hours at Fabien’s and left the city before sunrise, feeling like Lemmy Caution.

The less said about the disruptions that follow, the better. It wasn’t all bad – the primary silver lining being that I got to go home by way of Lufthansa business class, which is always a pleasure – but it was a long stretch of time to be stuck in the space between.

I’ve been following my friends’ various travel horror stories on Twitter, too – apparently getting out of Austin after SXSW was little short of nightmarish – and my sense is that the global air transport network is shivering at the edge of breakdown. It’s too tightly coupled for its own good, shot through with really sensitive dependencies, so that a failure anywhere in the system cascades through the whole network. I’m not sure what can be done about it, honestly, aside from cutting back on travel.

So it’s good to be home. I’m fighting off a flu, I’ve got bills to pay and lectures to prepare, but spring is on the horizon and I think the new issue of Monocle is waiting for me down in the mailroom. Catch you in a bit.

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