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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 citys 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 didnt 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 Russias 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

Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at todays Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nations premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the citys elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolans latest film Mommy at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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