As I mentioned in my Iceland post, we will be kicking off our trip with Chad speaking at a conference called Brain Bar Budapest. I wish I could describe how completely bemused and amused we felt upon Chad receiving the invitation. Seriously, for the first couple of weeks, every time we talked about it we just started laughing.
How completely strange and unexpected it was being invited to such a one-of-a-kind thing that just happened to be in a city we’d been thinking nonstop about. Budapest was barely on our radar before we picked it as a temporary home. Then somehow there’s this conference and they want Chad to speak at it? We’ve decided to view it as confirmation that our decision to try this lifestyle was the right one.
The conference seems like an absolutely ideal way to get introduced to Budapest, since we’ll have an opportunity to meet organizers and attendees who could become friends to hang out with during our first 10-day stint there and our second 6-week stay (for those keeping track we’ll be in Budapest May 31-June 8 and July 1-August 16).
Brain Bar describes itself as the biggest European festival about the future. In addition to Chad, speakers include the production designer from the movie Interstellar, an “anarcho-capitalist,” several authors and entrepreneurs, and the European Commissioner of Competition Policy. The headliner is Sophia, the world’s first robot citizen. And the speaker that I’m totally geeking out over is Ted Chiang, who wrote the short story “Story of Your Life,” which the movie Arrival is based on. Oh, and a VP from Google who is giving a talk about tech in service of social good.
Chad was asked to speak because his new film, The Experimental City, is about a city of the future from the past. As I said, the coincidence of being invited to a conference the very summer we plan to spend extensive time in Budapest was completely mind-blowing to us. But it is especially amazing because the conference itself is pretty different from the conferences at which Chad is normally asked to speak (which are generally about urban planning or documentary).
Chad will be presenting jointly with another panelist about future waste management strategies. I know, it is a super-sexy topic. But it is relevant to The Experimental City and we plan to schedule a screening in Budapest sometime that same week. I think the conference will be extraordinarily interesting and I’m really looking forward to it.
You can look forward to a full report on our experience there. And, in addition to all the discussion on the topics of the future of cities and food and storytelling and artificial intelligence, perhaps there will be some conversations about the future of travel and how more people can make it a part of their day-to-day lives. We definitely have some thoughts on that!