Inspiration Unleashed: A Recap of Beyond Tellerrand Berlin 2023

Christian Hohn / Sep 26, 2023

Hey guys, on the 11th and 12th of September, it was finally time again: the beyond tellerrand conference was calling, and we headed our way to Berlin! I look forward to this event every time it comes around, just like a little kid excited for Christmas. Why? Because there is simply no better conference than beyond tellerrand, a conference for creative individuals.

Here, not only do creative minds from all over the world converge, but the warmth and relaxed atmosphere ensure that you feel at home straight away. And then there are the talks - a concentrated load of inspiration and knowledge that literally makes my brain smoke, every single time.

Beyond Tellerrand - Conference Hall with the Beyond Tellerand logo on big screen
Image by Christian Hohn

This year, the beyond tellerrand conference took place on the 11th and 12th of September 2023 in the Festhalle Kreuzberg in Berlin. The weather was bright and sunny, albeit with a touch too much heat - but that's part of the experience, isn't it? And of course, as always, the whole event was soundtracked by Toby aka Baldower, who incorporated samples from the talks into his music during the breaks. A true artist!

Besides many fantastic and interesting talks, here are some of my personal highlights:

The 7 Traits of an Emotionally Fit Leader

by Dr. Emily Anhalt

We kicked off with the talk "The 7 Traits of an Emotionally Fit Leader" by Dr. Emily Anhalt, Co-Founder and Chief Clinical Officer of Coa, and a psychoanalytic psychologist. Her lecture not only contained didactic and content-rich information but was also brought to life with many hands-on examples that encouraged participation. She provided practical, concrete tips for each of the 7 "fitness" skills to train emotional fitness, illustrating how an effective focus on mental and emotional health can be built from within.

Beyond Tellerrand - The 7 Traits of an Emotionally Fit Leader  by Dr. Emily Anhalt
Image by Christian Hohn

I appreciated the practical exercises; for instance, every second person was instructed to make a fist, and the person sitting next to them had to try to open it. Most people in the room made it as difficult as possible for their partner, even though there were no instructions to do so, showcasing the prevalent "me against you" mentality. This exercise could have easily turned into a cooperative endeavor with a simple agreement: "Hey, we are doing this exercise. Do you mind opening your fist?"

Dr. Emily Anhalt's talk offered much more in terms of practical advice and insights. Once it becomes available on YouTube, I highly recommend it to those working under demanding conditions or looking to enhance their mental and emotional fitness out of personal motivation. This talk will undoubtedly be a valuable resource for personal development and growth.

Unboxing the Gifts of Personal Projects 

by Robert Hranitzky

Next up, I'd like to highlight Robert Hranitzky, a creative mind from Munich with a penchant for motion graphics and animation. In his talk "Unboxing the Gifts of Personal Projects," Robert gave us a fascinating insight into his heart's project, "E-11: Standard Issues - A Star Wars Fan Film." This non-commercial fan film, which took over four years to create, is a loving tribute to a galaxy far, far away.

Beyond Tellerrand - Unboxing the Gifts of Personal Projects  by Robert Hranitzky
Image by Christian Hohn

With electrifying passion and contagious enthusiasm, Robert shared his experiences in realising this ambitious project. He recounted unexpected encounters, such as the unforgettable moment when he met Hans-Georg Panczak, the German dubbing voice of Luke Skywalker, who later supported the project. Or the anecdote about how Robert himself stepped into the role of a Stormtrooper and directed the film simultaneously because the original cast did not show up on set.

The talk offered deep insights into the creation of the fan film, from the highs to the lows, the emerging challenges, and the creative solutions. Robert presented the entire production process, from 3D modeling to the final animated version, illustrating it with numerous examples and videos that documented the progress. The amount of craftsmanship that went into such a short film was simply fascinating. This talk provided a gripping insight into the world of a designer who has impressively brought his love for the Star Wars galaxy to life in moving images.

No One Else Can Walk Your Path

by Josh Brewer

The talk "No One Else Can Walk Your Path" by Josh Brewer granted extremely personal insights into his life and work. He reflected on themes such as identity, power, courage, and fear through life stories that illuminated both successes and doubts, showcasing the courage to approach things differently.

Beyond Tellerrand - No One Else Can Walk Your Path by Josh Brewer
Image by Christian Hohn

Josh recalled his last appearance at beyond tellerrand ten years ago. At that time, he had to spontaneously change his lecture because another speaker had covered a similar topic. In a bold move, he decided to improvise his entire presentation on the guitar, singing the entire talk. Although aware this could go wrong, this spontaneous act marked the beginning of a new way of thinking and an exciting decade in which Josh continually ventured boldly into the unknown.

Back then, Josh was a Principal Designer at Twitter, but he chose to leave the company to start an incubator and launch two of his own companies. He even stepped into the role of CEO at a promising startup, eventually selling the company and diving into the world of venture capital and angel investing. All of this unfolded while he was raising a family and grappling with health challenges and chronic stress. Moreover, he shared his therapy journey, where he worked through trauma from his past.

Throughout his remarkable journey, Josh garnered crucial insights into living an authentic and present life. He shared wisdom on addressing questions about one's identity, power, and fear, encouraging us all to find the courage to forge our own paths. Josh's story stands as an inspiring testament to overcoming challenges and leading a fulfilling life by bravely moving forward, even when the path is unpredictable and demanding.

Beyond Tellerrand - No One Else Can Walk Your Path by Josh Brewer
Image by Christian Hohn

To cap off his talk, Josh premiered a glimpse of his musical output after ten years, presenting a profound lyrical piece accompanied by electronic music, a work that encapsulated his thoughts and stood as a remarkable piece on its own.

The Psychology of Web Performance

by Tammy Everts

Tammy Everts' captivating talk, titled "The Psychology of Web Performance," allowed me to delve deep into the intricacies of human psychology in the context of web performance. Tammy, showcasing clear expertise in this field, elucidated how our brain consumes extra glucose while processing a progressively building image, and how this fundamentally affects user satisfaction.

Beyond Tellerrand - The Psychology of Web Performance by Tammy Everts
Image by Christian Hohn

A revelation for me was learning that our brains naturally gravitate towards a "big easy button" solution, and that slow loading times not only pose a mental burden but also emotionally distress users. This insight underscored the importance of a fast and efficient website.

Tammy referenced a notable study by Tea Leaf and Harris Interactive on "Phone Rage," which explored people's reactions to slow mobile websites. It's somewhat amusing that 23% of respondents swear at their phone when faced with a slow website, while 4% even resort to throwing their phone! This data accentuates the critical role web performance plays in user satisfaction.

Beyond Tellerrand - The Psychology of Web Performance by Tammy Everts
Image by Christian Hohn

The talk also highlighted the phenomenon of "rage clicks," where users repeatedly click their mice out of frustration, a direct indicator of dissatisfaction that can even be measured. She illustrated this vividly with a personal story where her husband unknowingly damaged the touchscreen out of frustration with a slow-responding car radio.

Tammy also brought attention to the common mistakes people make when measuring web performance, including the lack of continuous monitoring and overlooking real user experiences. She emphasised the necessity to focus on the right metrics, moving beyond outdated measurements like load time.
As an Experience Design Lead, I found the talk immensely valuable, especially the insights into the psychological principles behind web design. It underscored the need to integrate these principles into our strategies to create compelling and performant websites for our clients.

The Moment As A Lost Art

by Niels Kiené alias Salventius

In the enthralling talk by Niels Kiené, better known as Salventius, titled "The Moment As A Lost Art," I was introduced to the unique world of this Dutch artist who specialises in minimalist and unadorned portraits.

Salventius' technique involves drawing faces with a single, long, continuous line. Once the pen, marker, or brush touches the surface, anything can happen. The most vital rule is never to break the line. This approach has two immediate effects that have become characteristic elements of his art.

Beyond Tellerrand -The Moment As A Lost Art by Niels Kiené alias Salventius
Image by Christian Hohn

Firstly, the moment of creation necessitates speed, transforming the act into a kind of performance, evident in the many videos Niels Kiené shares with his Instagram followers. Secondly, this technique anticipates mistakes, considering them a crucial element. An error can unveil unexpected paths and alter the original drawing idea, surprising both the viewer and the artist.

Salventius' success also stems from his refusal to set boundaries for himself. Initially working only on paper and canvas, he has expanded to include light painting, photography, sculpture, digital and virtual reality art, and even sand drawings in his repertoire. Any surface can become the perfect canvas for creation, and since Salventius requires no preparatory study, every moment is the right one.

He refers to his unique technique as "momentalism," where he foregoes guides, sketches, and sometimes even paper and pencil, allowing him to create artworks with minimal materials. Salventius emphasises the importance of conscious resource management and sustainability in a world still prone to improper resource and material usage. His art, embodying minimalism and momentary artistry, offers a sustainable alternative to our impulsive and materialistic choices.

Beyond Tellerrand -The Moment As A Lost Art by Niels Kiené alias Salventius
Image by Christian Hohn

Overall, Salventius' talk at the beyond tellerrand conference was an inspiring journey into the world of momentary art and conscious resource usage, fostering deep appreciation for the creative process and encouraging thoughtful reflection. As a conference attendee, I was profoundly impressed by his unique approach and contribution to the art world.

Conclusion

These were just a few of the thought-provoking talks we witnessed. I recommend visiting the beyond tellerrand website for comprehensive information on future and past events, or get in touch with us if you’d like to learn more about our time there.

Lastly, I wish to express my deepest gratitude to Marc Thiele, whose tireless efforts and passion continually make this fantastic conference possible. A big thank you also goes to his wonderful team and all the speakers who generously shared their insights, experiences, and expertise with us. Many thanks and see you again in May in Dusseldorf!