Valerian agent spacio temporel - episode transatlantique

What a long day, subway, walking, flying, subway again and finally Berlin. Long distance flight in autumn puts you in a another time space. You start your journey in the underground by day time, when the subway reaches the surface on his way to the airport the night has come, you can't see much outside because you are too far from the city lights and you are constantly in the position of having to wait or having to run, you are prisoner of your own schedule.

Seated with a window on my right I can barely see the extremity of the wing, too big, too windy, too dark. On board the KLM crew is struggling to make function each individual video screen. Organized as I'm I forgot my book in my checked luggage, so I re-started Bel-Ami on my tablet to kill the time. Eventually the on-board team succeed to reboot the system, but I will only see 15min of something on a bad screen and left to say hello to Morpheus.

When I wake up it's Amsterdam again. Next day. I'm getting closer. Two more hours waiting and a last jump in the sky to Berlin. Smooth landing, I get my luggage and my TXL almost immediately. Good to be home. People are drinking beers in the bus, no one is hiding. Started in New York Upper West Side near 96st - and some cream cheese bagels for the breakfast - with several stops in Wall Street, stopping by the North and South Pools and continuing by a short visit in l'Imprimerie on Spring Street 11 I finish my journey as I started it yesterday, with something to eat, kettwurst it was.


CIC 22 in Boston

For its 22th edition the Color Imaging Conference or CIC for the connsoisseurs took place in Boston. Comparing to last year in Albuquerque (NM) the color LUT did change a bit: yellow and blue for the desert and the sky to red and about 50 shades of autumn for the buildings and trees.

If as the previous editions the crowd of attendees remains similar - la crème de la crème of the color scientists - you can detect a slight dominance according to the conference location or with whom is organized the event. This year the keynote sessions where for both color scientists (CIC) and medical imaging scientists (IADP), then sessions were ran in parallel.

The joint keynotes brought interesting discussions. They were highlighting another practices of imaging system - like microscope - in the medical world. That is not a surprise that the imaging system described can provide very different visual results, from one microscope to the other the data do not appear identical to human observers but the extraction of information should. In one word there is no reference images or colors when the practicians is looking at samples, but they know that each patient is different and can base their diagnostic on their experience. In comparison to the CARS event, the IADP was much less about computer assisted radiography and more about image analysis (at least for what I have seen).

The day before the real opening of the conference is the short course day. Professionals, experts in academia or industry are giving lectures on color science topics. After chairing this session last year in Albuquerque NM I could follow two courses in Boston: one on color display given by Gabriel Marcu from Apple and a second on Color Rendering Index and Lighting given by Wendy Davis from University of Sydney. It is always refreshing to take part into these courses, to re-learn about display technology, display calibration, lighting technology and equally important how our comprehension of color science has evolves over the years and how new technologies force to change our approaches.

One thing I remind in particular is the new range of LEDs available - for some years already - and the changes that go with them. It is possible to design the properties of your lights - its spectral power distribution SPD - at very narrower wavelength bands. What does it mean? It means that you can really shape the gamut of your display or light installation, this in term of triangle shape in the color space of your choice. But being able to define a larger, wider color gamut on a sketch is not or should not be the only goal. We also have to think of the internal color space distribution, after all the light source we are most of the time in contact - the sun - has a very different SPD. The good side of it is the door open for us color scientists to continue exploring these new spaces.

It was good to see how my field of studies during my PhD - multi-spectral color reproduction, multi-colorant printing - has evolved. How multi-ink printing systems that were semi-experimental some years ago are now the basis of further experimentation. Further more it always a pleasure to hear someone telling you "I have read your thesis" when they see your name and your face for the first time.


Boston 13 years later

Second time in Boston, about 13 years after my first and only time in 2001 when I was an exchange student in Montréal. For the first trip a car full of Frenchies and Belgies was going South, leaving Québec behind us for the a long weekend. As far as I remember it was a really good weekend, not legendary but still very ok.

But back to our actual trip. I'm arriving from Berlin via Amsterdam. Luckily the Delta Airlines plane is pretty empty - I have two seats for me alone - and equipped with fairly new personal screen, I can actually see something - ce qui n'est pas toujours du luxe. I can say I was efficient in term of watching videos.

Landing was smooth, so was the custom and retrieving my luggage. In the plane I met a fellow going to attend the same conference as me. The reason I'm travelling to Boston is to attend the Color Imaging Conference (CIC22 to be precised). For once we left the South states of New Mexico, Texas or California, no excursion to the desert this time.

But back to Boston as I'm diverging again. The city isn't too big and the public transport is actually existing. I jumped in the subway and reached shortly after landing my AirBnB apartment in South End, somehow the South. Neat. Especially neat if you have seen the average price for an hotel room this week.

Thanks to the conference organisation I'm able to attend the event another time. In a smaller city all attendees are usually staying in the same hotel. This time not. Meaning I will have to wait tomorrow to meet the color scientist fellows, except one coming from France with whom I'm sharing the flat. According to plan and his plane he should arrive soon.


Meet the spotters in Amsterdam

I'm a spotter for the Berlin Spotted By Locals city guide. The idea behind this series of guide is simple and brilliant: to ask locals to share their spots, the place they like, part of their daily experience in the city where they are currently living. It is different than Yelp, Tripadvisor, Foursquare - I'm also writing for to some of them irregularly - or many other platforms where you can find information of about every items on a map. Only spottedbylocals is better.

Less than two years ago as I joined the Berlin team, its spotters were talking to me about this first spotters weekend in 2012, describing how epic the weekend was. It was the first and I was secretly hopping that the weekend planners will continue on a yearly basis. But they didn't. Actually hosting around 100 people, people that don't know each other, people that you only know shortly from they writing or skype interviews can be risky. But they did it again at the end of October.

Long story short, it was a great weekend. People and weather were accordingly friendly. All writers from Berlin did join the trip, so I knew some of the people. It was a great feeling to meet all the spotters from so many cities, a strange but confortable impression to know each other for a long time even so we were meeting for the first time and it was not because we are all part of the same company 

Bart and Sanne - founders and bosses behind spottedbylocals - did manage to select a very interesting crowd, talking about family will be to easy, more a community. During this weekend I tried to get a typical profile of what is a spotter. What does it mean to be a local in such a globalised world? We are all very connected, probably half of our brain is permanently linked to the internet, our multiple avatars almost never sleep and only our physical body sometimes need some rest. But still we - I think - love to meet people, engage in conversation, share life experiences that make us less an icon on the internet and more a human being - the Community fan will love that. If by travelling somewhere, by visiting a place, drinking a coffee you had the feeling to be part of the place then we won.


Wolverine in Brandenburg

13:30 lundi, journée ensoleillée, temps idéal pour aller filmer des images en plein air dans le fin fond du Brandenburg. Rendez-vous sur le quai du Regio à Alexander Platz, un cameraman ou un Malte, une réa ou une Dora l'exploratrice et un accompagnateur ou photographe animalier de plateau. L'heure du rdv a été avancée, le changement d'horaire du weekend y est un peu pour quelque-chose. La mission est simple, ramener quelques images d'animal sauvage dans la forêt.

Train à l'heure, 24min de trajet et nous sommes dans la pampa forestière pas loin de Erkner. Notre contact vient nous chercher, sorte de Robinson trappeur vivant entre son camion, sa caravane et sa trentaine de chien husky. Pénétrer dans son van est déjà une expérience sensorielle intéressante. La réa est devant, le petit personnel en équilibre derrière entre cages et câbles, on s'accroche où l'on peut.

14.44 le van s'arrête, tout le monde descend. Quelques enfants en visite au chenil nous accueillent avec des questions, ils savent que des gens de la ville viennent filmer et ils veulent savoir sur quelle chaîne de TV seront montrées nos images. Dora leur explique que ces images sont en fait destinées à un film, on vient de perdre un spectateur, qui va au cinéma quand on a une tv, un smartphone ou un ordi?

Le casting commence, deux auxiliaires de Robinson nous ouvrent les portes, les chiens aboient et exhibent chacun leur dentition parfaite en contraste totale avec celle des êtres humains ici présents, je n'avais encore jamais vu de piercing de dent d'aussi proche. Les chiens ont l'air bien meilleur santé que les humains.

Nous quittons le chenil pour la forêt à la recherche d'un spot. Une demi-heure plus tard le tournage commence. Toute la difficulté étant de maintenir le cousin de Beethoven en place, de dissimuler sa laisse dans son dos et son maître derrière un arbre.

Sur le retour nous marchons entre la forêt et quelques maisons, parfois des chiens aboient à notre passage. Robinson ne dit que "tsss" tout doucement à son husky qui comprend, regarde vers le chien aboyant et reste calme, Robinson sourit.

17:07 sur le quai dans la forêt. Le Regio arrive. 24min plus tard nous sommes de retour en ville. Toujours impressionnant de vivre ces changements d'atmosphère en si peu de temps. De passer du futur - Berlin ville modèle pour toute station spacio temporelle qui se respecte - à l'age de pierre - la forêt avec Robinson et ses chiens - en quelques kilomètres seulement. Pas le même changement que Prenzlauerberg versus Marzahn en terme d'urbanité, mais la même impression de distorsion distance versus temps, si proche si loin.