Babak was working in ICT4D before it had a name (2001), never really left it, and has, since, created solutions for NGOs and news organisations on 5 continents.
He brought photomarathons to Africa (2007) and won the Highway Africa new media award (2007). To date, he is the only person to have won the UN World Summit Award three times; in 2012 for Uganda, in 2016 for Brazil, and in 2021 for The Netherlands.
Twice, he made it to the Guinness book of records (1994, 2011).
He has a keen interest in creating mobile solutions for urban discovery that move decision making powers into the hands of the individual. This, along the lines of ideals and ideals of the Situationists.
In 2018, he co-founded the online platform walk · listen · create, which organises the global festival Sound Walk September.
Oct 2012 – Present
Co-creator, technical lead
Building a mobile app that facilitates getting lost in your own city.
Dec 2015 – present
Art director, designer, developer on a range of projects. Amongst these, 100 stories won the Prêmio Jornalístico Vladimir Herzog de Anistia e Direitos Humanos in 2016 and was nominated for the Gabriel García Márquez award in the ‘Innovation’ category in 2017 as well as the Prêmio Petrobras de Jornalismo. TVs da Amazônia was a runner up for the Prêmio Jornalístico Vladimir Herzog in 2016.
The Museum of Yesterday, a Situationist discovery of Rio de Janeiro’s checkered past, won the World Summit Awards 2017, representing Brazil.
Mar 2023 – present
Responsible for maintenance, development, and growth of the Placecloud.io platform.
Nov 2019 – Dec 2022
Lead developer at Placecloud, the home of the place-specific podcast, or, placecast.
Placecasts reveal the cultural significance of the everyday places that surround us, so that we can have a more meaningful relationship with our world.
Placecloud is a winner in the Culture & Tourism category for the World Summit Awards 2021.
Jan 2015 – Dec 2018
Kompl was a mobile app for iOS and Android that shows you what’s around you. But, it’s up to you to find it. Kompl obfuscates information until you get close enough, revealing more information as you get closer. Kompl was described as a “Pokémon Go for the real world” by The Independent and was described as a ‘must-have’ by several tech magazines.
Aug 1999 – Dec 2000
Bi-Cycle creates a software tool for maintenance managers working with large scale industrial processes. Responsibilities were three-fold. In 1999, Bi-Cycle was a very young company; I was the first employee.
- Sales, marketing and support manager for the United Kingdom and Ireland.
- IT-management and support for the Bi-Cycle offices.
- Developing a content driven web-portal for global maintenance professionals.
Procter & Gamble
May 1998 – May 1999
Managerial responsibilities for a EMEA Sales and shipments management reporting system. The system, which tracked sales and shipments of all the company’s consumer goods in Europe, was used all over the EMEA region to predict future trends and define current actions. The software was maintained in the company’s software development center just outside Warsaw, Poland.
For developing this system, it was invaluable to meet requirements from the user base with the possibilities of the software and the software developers, translating ‘real-world’ requirements into technical specifications and communicating technical limitations and possibilities in understandable terminologies.
Notable artistic work
Multifaceted work centred around a video piece, designed to be projected on to three walls of a traveling shipping container. Made during an artist residency in Moskosel, in northern Sweden, facilitated by Northern Sustainable Futures.
Performance piece where the artist was guided through the city of São Luis, in northern Brazil, through the consensus of a group of online participants who voted on each consecutive move. Presented at 4WCOP.
Image placeholder service on any topic, on any size, for any medium. Has served over 1 billion images as of May 2023.
A photography project connecting the past of Freetown, in Sierra Leone, with the present. The resulting work was exhibited in a solo exhibition in Freetown and highlighted in a book by the publisher Gestalten.
Mobile phone based city tour assisted through physical QR-codes, designed for web-enabled mobile devices. Possibly the first QR-code assisted city tour designed for mobile devices.
Joint photo exhibition
Joint photo exhibition following an artist residency at The Bag Factory in Johannesburg.
Soweto Uprisings . com
A mash-up of Google Maps, Flickr, Google Blogsearch, Wikipedia, GeoURL, and more, documenting the Soweto Uprisings of June 1976. Winner of the Highway Africa New Media Award.
A city tour using WAP technology designed for GSM phones. Possibly the first comprehensive mobile phone based city tour.
World Summit Awards
2018 – present
World Summit Awards Jury
Part of an expert college of experts from all regions of the world to evaluate the national nominations that are submitted to the UN World Summit Awards, an international competition which aims to select and promote the world’s best startup companies in digital content and innovative applications.
Sep 2008 – Dec 2012
AIDSPortal technical reference group
A member of the AIDSPortal technical reference group. AIDSPortal is an internet platform which provides tools to support global collaboration and knowledge sharing among new and existing networks of people responding to the AIDS epidemic. The technical reference group’s primary tasks focus on reviewing and developing the technical roadmap for the platform.
Aug 2021 – May 2022
Focused on the governance and international politics of world regions, populism and the erosion of democracy, cyberpolitics, as well as utilising modern technologies in creating digital prototypes, products, and services.
Sep 1991 – Nov 1997
M. Sc. in mathematics
Graduated as a M. Sc. in mathematics at the Technical University of Delft, with majors in knowledge based engineering and mathematical systems theory.
For my thesis, I developed a method of dynamically approximating multidimensional statistical distributions where the approximations get more accurate with an increase in the number of recorded data points, without requiring to store all previous data points. As this produced much smaller data storage requirements, this was considered a ground-breaking approach.
This method was developed for a discrete event simulator, OMNeT++, a software package typically used to simulate the performance of large networked structures. I worked on my thesis in Budapest, Hungary, at the Technical University of Budapest.