I moved

23Feb13

I moved, and I would like to invite you to follow me at www.georgneu.com.

After more than 100 posts on wordpress.com, I decided to move to my own wordpress installation. Nothing fancy, mostly the same content, a bit more regular writing on transparency and social innovation such as crowdfunding hopefully, and a little bit more flexibility in adding new features, and design. Already got some nice posts on Crowdfunding in Latin America, and Data Journalism.

So please update your RSS reader, see you there, and let me know what you think!

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I must say, this year I got a bit lost on what I funded and backed on Kickstarter. Solar power, urban transport maps for Dhaka, relationship movies, magnetic comic strips. Quite a random selection of fun, intriguing, intellectual and useful projects.

In this post, I wanted to look a bit more in depth into what I have supported on the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter. Both to get an overview for myself, and to reflect on what this new form of funding means to me, and might bring for the future. I haven’t backed big amounts, or a huge number of projects. I guess, I am kind of an average backer, with US$ 199 among 5 projects. An average of US$ 40 dollars per project. But it has triggered a couple of thoughts around:

What does crowdfunding mean for international development? How driving local economic development might be supported by crowdfunding platforms? And what it means for specific products and industries?
Here’s a list of projects backed.

Continue reading ‘my year on kickstarter: crowdfunding development, products and movies’


Do you know the feeling?

I have struggled myself out of bed, denying myself the pleasure of another snooze, out into the cold, to be bitten by mosquitos, only to be waiting for that famous moose to appear. I imagined its majestic appearance, slowly trotting into the focus of my lens. But nothing. One hour wait next to the misty morning lake, and not a sight of the animal. All those road signs promising moose crossing the street, nothing.

Continue reading ‘The animal I didn’t see’


Trapped.

24Sep12

Eingesperrt. Draußen versperrt.
Gitter vor den Augen, in den Augen.
zwischen Glas und Netz, nach oben, nach unten.

Ein anderes Fenster.
Das gleiche Ritual.

Gefahr? Gelb-schwarz.
Groß, größere als andere ihrer Art.
Gigantisch.

Inspektion aus der Nähe,
ein Stachel?

keine Kommunikation.
kein Weg-weisen.

Dann die Nacht. kalt. starr.

Und der nächste Morgen,
keine Veränderung.

Hin und her. Ein Tanz.
Langsam. In den Tod?

Die Stadt, in der Ferne.

Der Wind.

Der Weg in die Freiheit so klar.
Von außen.

Beobachterposition, in der Wärme.

Hoffnungslos.

Die nächste Nacht naht.

Doch plötzlich, unverhofft, unerwartet –
fliegend, dem Licht entgegen,
noch zwei, drei Mal im Kreis,

schließlich, die Tür,
auf und davon,
in ein besseres Leben?


The sky has been as grey as I have never ever seen it in Washington. It’s raining. And raining. All the rain that hasn’t fallen in the last two months. It’s getting dark again soon. But I can’t see further than a couple of blocks anyways. The wind blows around the corners of the building. A steady beat pounding from the loudspeakers. My lightened window one of thousands, of millions. The world outside isolated.

1. Cities are full of stories. I am a story. I am here now. Welcome to Washington D.C.. I am part of this city, this crowd, breaking through the rain, cycling its streets, going places, work, cinemas, restaurants, parks. At the same time, I am alone in this city, any city, any place. What would be this city without me? It wouldn’t cease to exist. It would only not exist for me.

Every person a story, a light behind a window. When they are lucky. I have never seen as many homeless people as in Washington. Some hiding behind constructions, some just lying on the next doorstep, wrapped in pieces of cloth, blankets, newspapers and cardboard, wherever a roof provides them shelter. Lighting up a cigarette, if they can afford it. Once, I was standing in front of a bar, waiting. A guy comes along and starts talking to me. I know that he will ask for money, his clothes are worn down, hair uncombed, he has this look. But I let him. Hastily, he gives his line, it’s a joke: “How’d you get a homeless person on the roof? You tell ‘em the drinks are on the house!” I have to grin. It is funny. He knows, it is funny. I give him a buck. He goes on and tells his line to the next passer by. That is his story. All day long.

In the rain, all cities are grey. Streets are lonely, suddenly, life washed away by the water, not recognizable.

Continue reading ‘A City of Windows’


Earthrise

21Jun12

Ahead of the Rio+20 summit, I have been working on a new tool that looks at investment in green energy in Latin America and the Caribbean, the Climatescope. Had me crazy, but it is now live and it kicks! Definitely worth playing around with.

But what I came across, and what had me breathless for a while, was this 1968 photograph of the earth. Imagine this, you are an astronaut, you step out of your Apollo 8 in the morning, to get some fresh air (or a smoke, or so) and then you see this, the earth rising from the dark, magically appearing in front of your eyes. A beauty. Our princess. So peaceful.

That is the moment you take out your, er, iPhone and snap the shot pictured below, best watched in HD – click on it – and make sure you instagram it, tagging it #earthrise #space #RioPlus20 #SaveTheEarth.

Photo credit: NASA


Nice to honor Ludwig Mies van der Rohe‘s birthday today with a Google doodle. Remembering Mies van der Rohe also fits with reminding forced emigration by German, especially artists, avantgardists, musicians, and of course the Jews who managed to do so, before World War II, an issue that I have been reflecting about lately through my course on Create Nonfiction focussing on immigration.

Interestingly though, Google highlighted the National Gallery in Berlin, his last building opened in 1968 and probably not his most practical when it comes to its function as a modern art museum: All exhibitions are in fact below the ground, bunker-like. Probably a case of function follows form. Here, the word Google had to fit into the building! His Chicago skyscrapers, the Barcelona pavillon, are all works that have been much more influential, interior and landscape shaping.

I like the building though. Transparent, simple. Remember, it was built next to the Berlin wall, effectively shutting off a society.