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Christoph Fahle
January 30, 2012

Member of the Week: Peter Kirn

Peter Kirn is a musician, sound-designer, composer, educator, and writer, specializing in DIY electronic music and interactive visual arts. He is the founder and editor-in-chief of Create Digital Media, GmbH, an online magazine and community for those involved in music technology and audiovisual arts. A member of betahaus since November 2011, Peter has already hosted events and workshops at Open Design City for users of the MeeBlip – an open-source synthesizer he co-designed – and plans to hold more events this year.

Peter Kirn is a musician, sound-designer, composer, educator, and writer, specializing in DIY electronic music and interactive visual arts. He is the founder and editor-in-chief of Create Digital Media, GmbH, an online magazine and community for those involved in music technology and audiovisual arts. A member of betahaus since November 2011, Peter has already hosted events and workshops at Open Design City for users of the MeeBlip – an open-source synthesizer he co-designed – and plans to hold more events this year.

You are the co-creator and developer of the MeeBlip Synthesizer, and have already hosted a workshop here at Open Design City. Do you plan to hold any more MeeBlip workshops or any similar events at betahaus or ODC in the future?

Following my talk at the Create Art and Technology conference in November 2011, I hosted a very informal MeeBlip workshop at Open Design City. So far, these are the only MeeBlip-related events I’ve hosted here. Of course, I have a lot of plans for this year, and that includes more workshops and events at betahaus and ODC.These events are generally attended by a mix of musicians and electronics geeks, but my long-term goal is to introduce a wider range of people to electronic music and synthesizers. The MeeBlip project is still in the early stages, and we have yet to win anyone over who isn’t already interested in this field. We hope to do a better job of making the MeeBlip more available in the future, and accessible to people everywhere.

You run the company Create Digital Media GmbH, which, among other things, publishes the two sites CreateDigitalMusic and CreateDigitalMotion. Could you tell us a little more about that?

I started out with CreateDigitalMusic, which focused on using technology as a window into music. It’s not just a gear site, nor is it a typical music site. CreateDigitalMotion was founded at a point when, very early on, it became apparent to me that a lot of musicians were moving from working with sound to working with visuals, especially with interactive visuals. I think that, as a musician and a live performer, you work a lot with time – an element most visual artists and designers often do not consider in their work. However, we have a new generation of artists and designers, as well as musicians who cross over to these fields, who do think in those terms – taking visual media and adding to it the element of time.

We'll also be rebooting our social efforts with a site we'll call Create Digital Noise; part of what I'm working on here in Berlin is engineering that site and creating something new for people exploring technology for music and motion. If anyone is interested in how social connections work for creative people, I'd love to talk.

There has been a backlash in recent years against the use of inexpensive software to produce music, with many blaming such software for the overall deterioration in the quality and value of music nowadays. Given that you specialise in external hardware, what do you think of this viewpoint?

Both James, the co-designer of the MeeBlip, and I are hardware users: we love the feeling of turning knobs, flipping switches, and so on. But we always try to be as open-minded as possible. Since I first started writing CreateDigitalMusic, I have always tried to cover everything. I try not to be too concerned about how people make music or what they use, whether they make music with an old GameBoy, big racks of analog gear, or an iPad. I think this backlash we’re seeing is mainly against the lack of variety in output, and the idea that people no longer have a choice in what they can do. Everyone has different tastes, different musical backgrounds, and access to different forms of gear. The great thing about music is that electronics, when in the hands of a musician, are no longer seen as disposable. If you give a musician an iPad, and a newer version comes out, they’ll simply get the newer one and have two musical instruments!

What inspired you to move from the US to Berlin, and what attracted you to betahaus in particular?

I recently moved to Berlin from New York to give both myself and Create Digital Media a new place to grow and develop. At the moment, I think there isn't any better place for that than Berlin, and especially betahaus. I’ve always been interested in the intersection of technology and creativity – these sites themselves are examples of this intersection – and I see a lot of that at betahaus. It’s always great to see people from different fields – web people, musicians, people working with technology – come together to work on things. There is a strong sense of technological ingenuity, not only at betahaus and in Berlin, but throughout Germany in general, and I’ve been able to meet a lot of smart and interesting people since coming here.

The new space is six stories spread out across 2800 sqm. We’ll be renovating the building with our members in mind, so here’s what we can promise:

  • 5 Floors of Coworking Areas
  • Event Spaces
  • More Meeting Rooms
  • More Team Rooms
  • More Call Boxes
  • A Rooftop Terrace
  • A Café

We'll be updating The Move landing page with photos as we have them, so watch out for that!

when do you need a notary?

We’ll open the doors of our new space between mid-August and mid-September 2018. We plan to begin moving in July to ensure that the space is functional and comfortable by the time you get there. Bottom line, we’ll do everything we can to make the move as seamless as possible.

The move is our third big announcement of 2018 following the news that we’re be expanding our operations with betahaus | Tirana and managing coworking for Berlin’s new blockchain space, Full Node

The idea behind betahaus was never to be just a coworking space. We wanted to create a platform where people of our generation could thrive personally and professionally. We’ve always thought we could do this on a much bigger scale and we’re thrilled to see it happening. We’re excited about what we’re able to learn from this move, not just for betahaus, but for the future of coworking in Europe.

We’re sure you have a lot of questions about what’s coming next. 

We want to hear from you! Email us at themove@betahaus.com or join us for a closed Town Hall where we’ll answer all of your questions and talk through any concerns. We’ve also started members-only page for FAQs, resources, and important dates about the move (check your inbox!). 

We've got some big changes ahead of us, but one thing's for sure: we're so glad to have you with us for the ride!

We're looking forward to this new challenge, and will keep you updated along the way. Get in touch with any questions you might have about Full Node!

Not a blockchain startup but looking for a coworking space? Be sure to check out the flexible membership options at betahaus!

Finally, You describe your target group as LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability), which is a very niche market. Can you tell us more about what type of people they ARE and what theY value? What's some advice you can share to other startups targeting this market?

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