Review Jona Andersen

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Interview by Vicky de Visser
HDSA2015 participant Jona Anderson studied political science and history at the University of Amsterdam. He is a developer at a startup called Nouncy, and is currently founding his own initiative: Mesoica.
He joined the Hackers & Designers Summer Academy 2015 because he is interested in the fields of digital art, and design thinking. He is interested in developing a better understanding of the economical, cultural and social implications of software development.

After the Hackers & Designers Summer Academy I asked him about his impressions.

Workshops
The 10 day summer academy was very informative and interesting. At the same time I experienced it as very demanding and intense. Next time I would prefer less workshops and more time to work on improving ideas, and include more extensive feedback and discussions sessions together with all participants. It would also be good to insert a one-day break during the summer academy so the participants can relax and maybe do another non Hackers & Designers related activity together. On the other hand I appreciate the strict and fast deadlines made sure the different working groups actually 'made' something. The groups had to come up with a quick solutions and ideas. I really enjoyed the workshop by Daniël van der Velden (Error Messages). It had a theoretical and analytical approach to design and coding. The coding level of some workshops was quite easy for the hackers but James gave an example on how to take it further. He always did more than what was expected. He took the given code as a starting point and implemented new ideas. This motivated me to do the same.

Participants
The intention of Hackers & Designers to arrange an opportunity for different disciplines to meet worked well. Maybe it would be good to pre-arrange the working groups a bit more so that the different disciplines can really work with each other. Next time it would be good to invite more hackers.

By speaking to other participants I learned a lot about how research for digital media works, and how designers think about coding. Their approach to a given problem is different then a typical hackers' approach. Hackers tend to find the fastest solution, designers try to look at all the options and concepts that surround the given problem.

I enjoyed that Anja, Selby and James (organizers) also participated in the workshops. This evoked a friendly and informal atmosphere.

Excursions
We did an excursion to Waag and Lava Lab. I already had been there but I it was nice to see the other participants were really enjoy the trip. After the guided to I would have liked to do something with the available material at Waag.

Impact
The Hackers & Designers Summer Academy helped to change my attitude towards my work. I'm inspired to 'play' more with technology and implement this in my creative process.

Suggestions for next year
I would propose to do a workshop about web to print. An interesting person to invite could be Rune Madsen. He does research into printing code.