All creatures welcome
The Chaos Computer Club hosts the Chaos Communication Congress every year between christmas and new years. They do this since 35 years and the event is growing bigger year after year. This time 17'000 People visited the congress. They started in Berlin, moved to Hamburg after that and this year the congress took place in Leipzig for the second time.
When entering the huge congress centre in Leipzig, I was wondering what kind of event was expecting me. It didn't take long until some things were made clear; The first thing the visitors of 35C3 encoutered in the entrence hall was a big flag of the Antifa. I exchanged my ticket for a wristband and entered the congress.
One important thing I took notice of was that there was no real security check. There were volunteers at the entrence checking the tickets, but there are no intimidating bodybuilders and nobody checks your bags.
Actually this is a very important principle of the congress. They call volunteering "Engeln", German for "Angel", just as a verb. 90% of the work needed to organize the event is done by volunteers. And there is a lot of work. Anything from checking tickets to translating talks in realtime or handling the software for the live streams of every single talk held at the congress. Even the medical teams and the firefighters are volunteers. This is impressive.
If you are familiar with congresses in the technology sector, you are used to halls filled with booths where companies promote themselves, give demos about their products and hand out freebies. The CCC is different. Company Logos are forbidden and nobody is allowed to sell anything at the congress.
The event is huge. It took three days until I was in every hall and at every stage where the talks were held. The two biggest halls are home the "assemblies". Local groups of the Chaos Computer Club, groups from the maker scene, artists, performance groups, activists, non-profits such as humanitarian aid organisations. The audience is very diverse. I was impressed how many women visited the congress and even more suprising: There were a lot of chlidren as well. The actually have a area dedicated to childern. They built a huge playground for them.
The talks held at the congress are very diverse. Those are the tracks the talks are being categorized in:
- Art & Culture
- Ethics, Society & Politics
- Hardware & Making
Some of them are about technology, hacking and security. But most of them are about topics related to technology such as net neutrality, privacy and so on. And some are not technical at all. Some are about how small grassroot humanitarian aid organisations operate, how a german theatre uses technology or how Frontex is organized and operates.
I visited a workshop about blender, an open source 3D Sowftware. It was great to even learn a new skill at the congress that I want to apply on some future projects. WebGL is great :)
All talks were recorded. You can watch them on the CCC media platform. Here are my favourite talks I saw at the congress:
- All Creatures Welcome
- The Ghost in the Machine
- Schweiz: Netzpolitik zwischen Bodensee und Matterhorn
- Computer, die über Asyl (mit)entscheiden
- Track me, if you … oh.
- Frontex: Der europäische Grenzgeheimdienst
- Internet of Dongs
- The Layman's Guide to Zero-Day Engineering
- Modchips of the State
- Freude ist nur ein Mangel an Information