Hi there! Some bits about me, my interests, and activities:
I've grown up with growing technology expanding my world – from personal computers to the World Wide Web. I expect, and demand this trend to continue. I avidly observe technological progress, and how it changes life and society. After school, I got interested in topics such as cyborgism, transhumanism, space colonization, life extension, and singularitarianism. From 2004 to 2009, I blogged on these in my futur:plom blog. Since 2009, texts of mine on more present-day techno-social phenomena and politics appeared in various outlets – such as carta.info and some books. At the same time, I started to do talks on such topics, and seminars for the DGB Bildungswerk.
One issue I've worked on a lot is "post-privacy": the dissolution of privacy in the digital age, ethical and political evaluation of that change, and methods to deal with it, fight it, or even use it for good. I'm doubtful towards most promises of privacy activism. I consider protection of privacy a battle lost, a rearguard action at best. Much talk on privacy's moral value seems questionable to me: As a bourgeois institution, privacy has an ambivalent history, and received much legitimate political criticism. I see promise in broad sharing of data on everything, more communication, more transparency, more openness. Since 2008, I've expounded such positions in various articles, on the radio, in talks – and a whole book. In my PlomWiki, I experiment with making public large parts of my own life – such as my personal finances, possessions, and daily routines.
Lately, I got bored with some lack of futurist wish-fulfillment: How slowly we're getting rid of basic pains when, techno-logically, we could – such as, globally, hunger and material poverty. That we suppress technology to explore and expand our minds – consider psychedelics. That we still coerce people to labors that could now be done by machines. That we create new scarcities instead of abolishing them – as in the field of "intellectual property". It seems to me the hurdles lie not in science or technology, but in social and economic structures that restrict their potentials. That shifts my interest towards political utopianism. I've started to read on alternative economies and proposals for future ones. Most of all, I try to understand Karl Marx' critique of political economy.
Certain kinds of cultural expression thrive on the internet – like internet slang, imageboards, video mash-ups, hashtags, "nerd" culture, "memes". Such phenomena interest me since the 1990s. In the late '00s, I started observing them in my cine:plom blog (original focus: cinema and television). For the anthology of the Arse Elektronika 2009, I wrote an analysis (and comparison with 4chan) of the imageboard GUROchan. Since 2009, I occasionally hold talks on the topic of internet memes. On that same topic, I took part in a podcast with Jens Ohlig and Tim Pritlove, and wrote a book with Nils Dagsson Moskopp.
I like movies – especially old and experimental ones. From 2004 to 2007, I attended Film Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin (no degree). Until 2009, I tried my hand as a film critic for some online magazines – mostly on fudder.de. (I've sort of given up on that career path for now.) At the same time, I blogged on cinema and television on my sites cine:plom and cine:tv:plom. From 2006 to 2008, I organized regular film nights at the TiK: One series enabled amateur short film makers to showcase their works. Another featured silent short films from the Cinema of Attractions era (1895-1907) – with sound effects and music by the theatre's ensemble, and historical introductions by me. At times, I've done minor film experiments of my own.
I'm no professional programmer. But I always wanted to understand my computer's inner workings, the languages to manipulate them, and their histories and intricacies. Various amateurish attempts at software emerged from this interest. In my youth, I dabbled in Python in private, and Turbo Pascal in school (I've now mostly forgotten what I learned back then). Later, as a web publisher, I started to hack the PHP of the content management systems I used. Out of this grew PlomWiki: my own wiki-style PHP CMS. It's highly modular, its feature set grew with several plugins I wrote for it. In 2012, Fiona Krakenbürger, Nils Dagsson Moskopp and I set up a co-learning group to teach ourselves (in that order) Assembly Language, C, and Python – a process blogged about by Fiona on her Fiona lernt programmieren website.
In 2013, I became interested in "roguelikes": descendants of the 1980 Unix game Rogue. In most roguelikes, player characters explore dungeons, fight monsters, collect and use items. Gameplay is usually turn-based. The world is shown in a top-down view – often drawn with ASCII symbols. Worlds are generated "procedurally" – randomly anew on each game run. Old savefiles cannot be re-loaded, player character death is permanent - so one must play with care and strategy. Such features intrigued me. So I started coding my own roguelike project: PlomRogue. It's moving ahead but slowly – my code (mostly C) is rather low-level. But I learn a lot, and document my learnings in the PlomRogue Development Blog.
In 2013, I decided to improve (or rather: set up) my Latin and Ancient Greek skills. I didn't get very far. I started with compiling declension tables, pronunciation rules and the like. But that quickly got confusing, most of all for Ancient Greek with its many dialects and stages of development. I then had a questionable idea on how to make these complexities more accessible to me: unravelling them from scratch by studying both languages' common ancestry – down to the Proto-Indo-European language. I got Sihler's Comparative Grammar of Greek and Latin and tried to put it into a form I could understand. But the subject matter was overwhelming. I therefore now work myself through an introduction to it first: Fortson's Indo-European Language and Culture. I hope to later systematize my learnings from that into a useful Indo-European studies wiki or the like.
Please note: This is strictly for appointed visits and sending me mail. I do not answer to door bell ringing when I do not expect visitors.
10249 Berlin, Germany
Please note: I prefer communication by e-mail or jabber. I only answer the phone directly on calls that I expect. Other calls are put through to my mailbox. I listen to my mailbox regularly, but I rarely answer calls to it right away.
+49 30 31987477
Bank: Berliner Sparkasse
Account holder: Christian Heller
Here is a right-resolution picture of me (2912×4368 pixels, 6.37 megabytes). It was taken by Fiona Krakenbürger in March 2011. It may be distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence. Feel free to use the picture for whatever purpose under the terms explained behind that link.