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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, Jan. 28



Feel like becoming a publishing mogul? Stop by the Freedom anti-cafe at 7 Ulitsa Kazanskaya today at 8 p.m. where Simferopol, Crimea-based founder and chief editor of the Holst online magazine will talk about creating an internet magaine, including what stories to cover, how find an audience and build a team, where to find inspiration and how to stand out from the crowd. Admission is the normal price of the anti-café — 2 rubles per minute, which includes tea and snacks.



Learn everything you always wanted to know about wine, and perhaps a bit more, at the Le Nez du Vin seminar for wine lovers. Held at the WineJet Sommelier School, 100 Bolshoy Prospekt Petrograd Side, at 7:30 p.m., the event will cover wine production, the basics of wine tasting, the concept of terroir and the various countries where wine is produced. Tickets are 750 rubles and include a wine tasting. Register by calling +7 921 744 6264.



Thursday, Jan. 29



Attend a master class on how to deal with complicated business negotiations today at the International Banking Institute, 6 Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa. Running from 3 to 6 p.m., Vadim Sokolov, an assistant professor at the St. Petersburg State University of Economics, will introduce aspects of managing the negotiation process and increasing its effectiveness. Attendance is free with pre-registration by telephone on 909 3056 or online at www.ibispb.ru



Celebrate what would be writer Anton Chekhov's 155th birthday at the Bokvoed bookshop at 46 Nevsky Prospekt. Starting at 5 p.m., the legendary author will be feted with readings of his stories and short performances based on his plays by various St. Petersburg actors. Chekhov's books will also be offered at a 15% discount during the event.



Friday, Jan. 30



The Lermontov Central Library, 19 Liteyny Prospekt, will screen 'Almost Famous’ in English with Russian subtitles at 6:30 p.m. Cameron Crowe's Academy Award-winning comedy from 2000 stars Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, and Patrick Fugit, and tells the story of a budding music journalist at Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s. Admission is free.



Meet renowned Russian poet, journalist and writer Dmitry Bykov, famous for his biographies of Boris Pasternak, Bulat Okudzhava and Maxim Gorky, and winner of 2006 National Bestseller Award. Bykov will read old and new poems as well as answer questions about his works at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Main Hall, at 7 p.m. Tickets start at 1,000 rubles and are available at city ticket offices and the from the Philharmonic website www.philharmonia.spb.ru.



A retrospective of the films of Roman Polanski starts today at Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt, with a screening of ‘Repulsion’ at 7 p.m. and ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ at 9:15 p.m. The series runs through Feb. 4 and will include Polanski's eminently creepy ‘The Tenant,’ the cult comedy ‘The Fearless Vampire Killers’ and ‘Cul-de-sac’ among others. Tickets are 150-200 rubles and the complete schedule is available at www.vk.com/artpokaz/



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