Coming to (not so Roadside) Picnic

Yay! I have received a press-accreditation to this year’s edition of Picnic, an international festival of new media, art and design in Amsterdam! I will be there on Sep 22 and 23, and will write for Demotix (but of course will post a lot of images & stories here too). There will be a lot of old friends/peers/ex-colleagues there, and I am sure plenty of new people to meet and talk too.

NB: The title of the posting is a reference to a famous sci-fi novel by the Russian brothers-writers Strugatsky, called Пикник на обочине (or Roadside Picnic). Written in 1972, this short novel made a huge impact on the sci-fi industry in general, and brought an international fame to the authors (as well as additional problems for them in their own country, then the USSR). The story was further immortalized by Andrey Tarkovsky in his 1979 movie Stalker, and later served as a background for the same-name video game S.T.A.L.K.E.R (and all its sequels, prequels etc.) To my knowledge, there is another full-blown movie in production, but very little is known about its release date.

I always wondered if the founders of Picnic were aware of the novel when creating the name for their new festival; I am sure that by now somebody mentioned that novel to them, and made a parallel between a surreal and full of (not always safe) surprises zone of the Picnic-as-in-novel, and Picnic-as-a-festival. I could try to figure out it, in case I will manage to talk them next week. Stay tuned!

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