International technology & security conference. Four days of technology, ideological debates and hands-on tinkering.
On August 13-16, 2009 the 20th anniversary edition of the four-yearly Dutch outdoor technology-conference will take place near Vierhouten, NL.
What is HAR?
Since 1989 the international community that builds the internet has been getting together on a series of conferences to discuss the state of contemporary technology, the future of it and the sociological and political consequences of their work. The participants vary from students and people with personal interests to researchers, scientists and entrepreneurs who are widely recognized as the best in their field.
The atmosphere is friendly and relaxed, the average level of knowledge is high and outside of the official lectures the site is buzzing with energy, ideas and projects. The New York Times likened the 1997 edition to a “Woodstock for Hackers”. We do our best to keep that atmosphere.
When these conferences first happened twenty years ago, the internet was like the Wild West, a new frontier to explore. That has changed, virtually every household in the Western world has access to the internet and, just as happened in the Wild West, new questions have risen. Questions of governance, sustainability, integration with existing power structures, shortage of IP space and energy, censorship, security, etc. The notion of hacking, to use a system in a creative way that was not thought of when it was invented, has also shown to be applicable to fields outside of ICT technology.
Where is HAR?
The location (+52° 19′ 50.02″, +5° 49′ 27.98″) is near Vierhouten, a small settlement in the beautiful Veluwe area renowned for its culinary industry. The former socialist youth-camp de Paasheuvel provides some good old-fashioned Dutch gezelligheid. A variety of camping areas will cater to our broad range of camping and non-camping audience: varying from secluded spots in the foliage to larger fields for those of you who want to cluster together to form a village.
There is a train-station nearby, in Nunspeet. From there it is a 10-minute drive to the festival terrain. Some form of transport from the station to the terrain will be arranged, but the truly adventurous among you may choose to take a hike: it is definetely within walking distance and the surroundings will not disappoint.
Who is HAR?
You, me and some hundreds (if not thousands) of other like-minded folks. In true spirit, there will be no visitors but only volunteers. In order to keep costs low, expect to lend a hand here and there. You might be operating the A/V-equipment in one of the lecture tents, sweep the floor in the bar tent, check in visitors at the entrance or pour drinks at the bar. A great way to discover new talents, or develop those hidden ones you never suspected you had!
Of course, there is a somewhat smaller group of madmen and women that will lay (and have been laying) the groundwork for another great edition in the year leading up to the event. This event could easily be dubbed ‘the next generation’. Because, yes, the original crew that has been working hard on these conferences have earned a relaxing holiday by organising the four preceeding events. A new generation is eager to take over, and continue their legacy. Not to say that the old farts are not interested, au contraire my friends. There is a healthy mix of new blood and experienced hands currently working on the necesarry preparations.
In fact, this is reflected nicely in the foundation that was set up to handle all the paperwork and other legal requirements: the Hxx foundation. Its board is a 50/50 mix of old and new: Aldert Hazenberg and Mischa Peters have been involved to a great extent in all past events, Koen Martens made his organising debut 3 years ago on WTH and Mathijs Schmittmann is our new kid on the block.
Of course, HAR will not happen without huge sums of money. We have tried to keep ticket prices low, even in these times of financial crisis, and are therefore glad to have found a number of sponsors and donors.
As this is being written, the last work is undertaken on the ticket-webshop, which we hope to have online early december. At the same time, the program committee is preparing the call for papers and otherwise developing a solid lecture program that’ll make your mouth water (even if you have visited every single conference between WTH and now and seen em all).
Of course, planning has started on an in-promptu power infrastructure and intranet, with uplink to the interwebs. And naturally, there will be various foods and beverages.