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Geeks Emerge From the Lab for a Picnic

What started as a specialized event for IT experts has turned into a celebration of high tech for the whole family.

Published: July 31, 2013 (Issue # 1771)



  • Kids are welcomed to the world of innovation by familiar friends.
    Photo: for SPT

  • Art finds a place at the high-tech table with sculptures made of cast-off parts.
    Photo: for SPT

The city’s biggest open-air celebration of technology, science and art, Geek Picnic, will take place at the Central Park of Culture and Recreation on Yelagin Island this weekend for the third time. Lectures and master classes led by leading Russian and foreign scientists, interactive laboratories and a showcase of the latest scientific developments will all be part of the festivities.

“We didn’t base our plans for the festival on others’ experiences. We just started to do what we were interested in, based on our understanding of what is important, interesting, and still needs to be explained to most people. It turned out that it is the science that determines the changes, the technology that defines them and the art that reflects these ongoing changes,” explained Nikolay Goreliy, one of the organizers of Geek Picnic.

The lecture program is expected to be extremely rich in terms of topics. Among the lecturers on the technology side are cosmonauts Sergey and Alexander Volkov; Nigel Ackland, the first man to benefit from bionic hand technology; and Andrey Terekhov, the CEO of one of Russia’s largest IT companies, Lanit-Terkom. Ukrainian journalist, political pundit and game show champion Anatoly Wasserman, psychologist Victor Petrenko and others will lead the discussions on science. The art program will bring together such great names as historian Lev Lurie, film director Alexander Sokurov, program director of Erarta modern art museum Pavel Markaytis and the voice of the Russian version of the American TV show Big Bang Theory, Kourage Bombey.

The festival will be organized around five thematic zones: Technology, Science, Art, Expo and Picnic.

The technology space will showcase the latest developments that will soon become part of our ordinary lives, among which are anthropomorphic robots, 3D printers and new mobile apps. A programming contest in real time, “Hackathon,” will be of interest to professionals in the field, while amateur technology lovers will certainly be intrigued by the first quadrocopter-building competition in Russia.

Those interested in the role of science in the modern world and issues of its theory and practice in Russia and abroad should head over to the science space. An assortment of traditional and unusual scientific instruments will be on display, including a Tesla Coil Harp, an astronomical observatory with telescopes and solar filters and a biology laboratory with modern microscopes. Under discussion will be the experience of the science museum Labirintum, where visitors can touch the objects on exhibit.

Pop art and installations, and the use of modern technologies in creative projects are the focus of the art zone at Geek Picnic. An exhibition of pixel art and a HelloTube installation about communication in the modern world will be among the works shown, as well as large-scale mechanical installations by Alexander Gretsoy, an artist who attempts to prove that robots can be art. More than 40 creative master classes will be held there during the weekend.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Oct. 22


English teachers can expect to receive a few useful pointers today from Evgeny Kalashnikov, the British Council regional teacher, during the EFL Seminar this afternoon hosted by the British Book Center. The topic of today’s seminar is “Grammar Practice.”


Young Petersburgers will get the chance to jumpstart their careers at “Professional Growth,” a job fair and forum featuring more than 40 major Russian and international companies vying for potential candidates for future positions. The forum not only is a chance to network but also to learn more about the modern business world and to understand what it takes to get the job you want.



Thursday, Oct. 23


AmCham’s Public Relations Committee meeting is scheduled to meet this morning at 9 a.m. in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center.


Sportsmen get their chance to stock up on all kinds of gear at the Hunting and Fishing 2014 exhibition starting today at Lenexpo. Everything from rods and reels to boats, motorcycles and equipment for underwater hunting will be on sale so that any avid outdoorsman can always be prepared.



Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBA’s ongoing “Breakfast with the Director” series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at “Sounds of the Universe,” a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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