Empty row of red seats, in the background the Beyond Tellerrand Logo on a mirror above the bar

For the ninth year I attended this great small conference about Web, Design and going beyond. Here are some notes and thoughts. Maybe I polish it later, but I want to get this out of my head.

These moments stuck with me - which does not mean that any talk that is not mentioned here didn't. This conference's iteration was very very very good, there was not one talk that wasn't great. All killers, no fillers. This here is just a first .brain { overflow: visible;}:

Charlie Owen. I have a secret professional crush on Charlie (ok now it is not so secret anymore I guess), but after her opening words I am in this for over twenty years now, and I am angry I was like, 'I feel you!' and yes I subscribe to every word of her talk. Those who know me and my constant 'sitting on the couch and yelling at the internet' (as Joschi recently put it) about the ever increasing divide of what could be done with this amazing enabling by constraining web technologies and what happens instead, well, you know her talk would be right up my a11y. Plus: Charlie took notes about the other conf-talks on her site.

Dorobot. If the conference was a competition (which luckily hopefully it isn't) for me this talk was the winner. Not only because the work presented is witty and charming, but because standing in front of 500 people, speaking for the first time in public in a foreign language AND having high-profile speakers sitting and listening - I would so shit my pants - well this takes a lot of courage. And despite of all that it was a very well thought-through and executed talk that entertained, inspired, and delighted.

David Carson. Come on. I am old. I am a graphic designer at heart and there was no way around Carson's work when I got interested in magazine design, typography and layout - so this was a bit of fanboi time. I laughed out loud about the magazine cover with J Mascis and the ancecdote how he ended upside down there. The Big Lebowski-esque laid back way of presentation aside - the key point for me was: You can't expect clients to 'allow' crazy work if you don't dare to show it. If you do, it won't work 99 out of 100 tines, but maybe the one time is still worth the risc. And the best meta moment of the conference for me was the realisation that here's the guy who literally broke all rules about readable text and typography, telling a room full of web people, who are over excited about css grid having landed in the browsers, how to not use grids. That toe nail picture, though. I am not sure if I will remember anything else of this talk in a few years. :-)) But, entertaining as it was, I found it a little disrespectful to the following speakers and to the organizers that Mr Carson extended his speaking slot by quite a bit. "Fuck rules", ok, but still… :-)

Shirley Wu. D3, vue.js, data visualisation, live coding - all very impressive and a lot of wow moments in that presentation. I am amazed what is possible and how beautiful bleak data can be illustrated. But what really stuck with me; what kind of sick society deports their homeless people? I need to read up on this (and if similar proceedings are going on here as well - I know that Frankfurt did something like that as well 'only' to 'clean' the inner city and bussing the junkies and homeless ones to the outskirts). Those graphics Shirley showed wowed me for their beauty, but shocked me for their content.

Andrew in Scotland. One of the hardest working people of the whole event. When Marc announced that the LIVE CAPTIONING that happenend instantly was not some algorithm voodoo, but a real person in Scotland, listening to the mic's audio signal and typing out the words, I was like "are you kidding me?! No way!" This from then on amazed me throughout the two days, especially when Shirley started to live-code and speaking about what she does while coding - all that JS lingo and programming mumble, and he kept up with that. Burner. As I later learned, Andrew is part of a team of specialists for live-captioning tech/dev/design events.

David Delgado. Nasa. Jet. Propulsion. Laboratory. For my inner 12 year old, this is the coolest place on earth to be, and imagine you are getting paid to make beautiful and playful stuff for the people who are reaching for the stars - can there be a cooler job? Wonderful talk, but overshadowed by a constant 'you lucky bastard you' feeling I cannot deny ;)))
Plus, I want this 'Earth' bumper sticker he had on his laptop and that appeared later in the talk. :)

Makuyuni. Visit the website. Donate. A little help here helps a lot elsewhere. This is more important than all the web tech stuff.

Tobi Lessnow. WE ARE, WE ARE, THE ELECTRONIC COMMUNITY… 🎶 carrying this earworm around since Monday now. Thank you Tobi once again for the great In-Between-Talk tunes and mixes. You rock. You are the BtConf-Kraftwerk, providing endless energy thru sonic transmission. (And happy dancing.)

Bjorn Odendahl. Seems everybody took it for granted, but seeing that old Commodore looping an 8-bit animation throughout the two days of talks modestly on stage … yes, constraints sometimes are beautiful <345

That's it for the first brain dump, more to follow surely.

Slide above stage showing a hand lettered 'thanks'  with Marc in the foreground

And, again: Thank you Marc for doing this. Little did I know nine years ago how many friendships I would find through this event and how much I become reliant of this space where I feel part of a tribe, of not being alone in this constant struggle between (creative) longing and (economic) necessities and resisting the call of the centre of the comfort zone.

Update 17.5.19

Bianca has written a summary of the conference and talks. In English and in German!

Francesco has written a summary of the conference talks and the in-between sessions.

Florian has two lovely sets of pictures from conference day one and day two. The complete set is on flickr, as well.

Andreas has once again covered the conference with his camera.

Stefan is working on a documentary about Marc and the Conference - just in time for the tenth aniversary next year. Here's the trailer.

After a day of cool-down and thinking, Tantek's closing talk kept rattling behind my forehead, so I wrote some thoughts about it in a separate post.