Date: October 31, 2015
Client: Kinderstiftung Lesen Bildet
Date: September 28-29, 2015
Our mission was to visualize stories told by development workers who had recently returned to Germany from abroad. While most of these stories originated in places like rural Kenya or Colombia, they inevitably dealt with the changes in perspective experienced by the development workers when they returned home, and their struggles to reconcile their views with those who had stayed behind.
I found some of those stories deeply moving, some where funny, and some were quite sad – but in all cases I was impressed by the narrators’ dedication to make the world a better place. I hope, we also made a small contribution to that goal by our graphic recordings.
You may be familiar with the design sprint, or the book sprint, or the software development sprint, but have you heard of the illustration sprint? I wouldn’t be surprised if you hadn’t, because I just made it up.
The reason for this neologism is that I was recently contacted by the author of a book about startups in Germany, and he wanted a lot of illustrations done quickly. His idea was to sit down for a day and create as many illustrations for the book as possible.
I immediately liked the idea, but realized that the sprint required careful planning. For one thing, the style of the illustrations had to be determined beforehand. Fortunately, my collaborator really liked my sketchnotes about a talk by Mercedes Bunz.
After we had established a date, we sat down together at my kitchen table, and started drawing. Surprisingly, only a few images went into the bin, while 36 drawings were considered good enough to be reproduced in the book. Considering that we worked for eight hours straight, that is an average of 13 minutes per drawing!
Recently, I was asked to harvest some ideas for the future of a cultural centre in Berlin, Acud. While planning the event with the organizers, we came up with the idea of setting up a ‘visionary kiosk’ (Visionenkiosk). It consisted of four wooden panels connected by hinges, which roughly resembles the shape of the building in which Acud is situated. I immediately liked the idea very much.
A few weeks later, the kiosk was set up in Acud’s courtyard, and despite intermittent rain, a few dozen people came to talk to me, and I painted their ideas on the kiosk’s walls. It was especially popular with the kids who requested things like “a lion”, “an elephant” and “a ninja with flaming swords. Here’s a shot taken by one of the organizers, which shows me surrounded by a bunch of children:
Last month I had the pleasure to attend the inaugural meeting of vizthink Berlin, a spin-off of the Hamburg-based group of visual thinkers, graphic recorders and graphic facilitators. The meetup was organized by social entrepreneur Wiebke Koch, and moderated by Zackes Brustik and graphic artist Naho Iguchi. Naho also provided a brief overview of the history of graphic recording, which I captured in the image below …
Last week, I went to a round-table discussion on “The internet and human rights” at the German Foreign Office. Among the attendees were representatives of Reporters without Borders, Human Rights Watch, Tactical Tech, and the Open Knowledge Foundation. The discussion was not easy to follow, and I made a few mistakes (e.g. Tropico instead of the German surveillance technology provider Trovicor), but I still think I managed to capture the spirit of the discussion. Go, and see for yourself on Flickr:
A few years ago, I heard this great word: tentaclism, which describes the increasing tendency towards multi-tasking and dabbling in all kinds of professions, doing one thing, as it were, with one of your multiple arms. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a term which captures what I do so well. That’s what was at the back of my mind when I made this sketch of myself as part of a conversation with Berlin-based startup Somewhere.