105,5 / 4.30

Een fijn zaterdagmiddagtochtje. Opnieuw een stel weggetjes en klims gereden die ik eerder had gemist. Eindelijk, dankzij meenemen van de kaart, de weg tussen Wandre/Xhavee en La Motte gevonden: daar staat een verkeersbord ‘doodlopende weg’ namelijk. Wie dat negeert vindt, na linksafslaan (rechtdoor wordt erg onverhard), een mooi, afgesloten, bosweggetje. Verder maar ‘wat aan’ gereden. Uiteindelijk van het fort van Battice tot aan Hombourg over het sintelpad van de ‘Ligne 38’ (een opgeheven spoorweg) gereden — toch redelijk goed te doen met de racefiets en het is wel een ervaring om zo’n lang stuk helemaal in een soort groene corridor te rijden. Schitterend weer, 23 graden, zuidenwind, zonnig. Kanne – Lanaye – Maas – sluis Vise – kanaal (oostzijde) – Hermalle – Sarolay – Cheratte – Housse – Wandre – La Motte – Queu du Bois – Retinne – Melen – Bolland – Charneux (extra klim) – La Minerie – Thimister – Stockis – Battice – Ligne 38 – Aubel – Hombourg – Teuven – Slenaken – Schilberg – St. Martensvoeren – Gravensvoeren – Moelingen – Lixhe – Maas – Lanaye – Kanne

cycling,nl | September 30, 2006 | 22:17 | comments (0) |

73 / 3.05

Nog altijd schitterend weer. 23 graden, ‘bit overcast’ maar ook zon. En wat zijn er nog veel ‘circulation locale’-wegen waar ik toch nog niet ben geweest — vooral in de omgeving van Charneux en Battice. Kanne – Eben – Halembaye – Haccourt – Hermalle ss Argenteau – Wixhou – Richelle – Dalhem – St. Andre – Rue Fontaine – 2x klim richting weg naar Battice – Bouxhou – Battice – Thimister – La Minerie – Rossenfosse – Val Dieu – Afnay – Warsage – Gravensvoeren – Moelingen – Lixhe – Lanaye – Kanne

cycling,nl | September 30, 2006 | 0:30 | comments (0) |

Bye bye Jeroen

This comes as a real shock. Last week the young Dutch poet/blogger/thinker — I don’t know what I should call him — Jeroen Mettes ‘stepped out of this life, voluntarily’: http://n30.nl/2006/09/blog-post.html. I missed that it had happened, not having visited his blog, or one of the other Dutch blogs on poetry for a week and a half. I never met Jeroen Mettes, never e-mailed him, never left comments on his blog — yet I always read what he wrote with more than great interest. I knew him by his written words only. He was an ‘original voice’, a voice, that made me long for the future of literature, a future that his words, his poetics, I imagined, might shape.

en,Uncategorized,writing | September 29, 2006 | 22:39 | comments (1) |

What I’m missing out on… ending with a rant (sorry)

Especially since the Upgrade night I have the feeling that I am really missing out on something.

First by skipping all of the crossmedia festival that’s now on at the Westergasfabriek in Amsterdam — okay, the programme is quite ‘American’, commercial, focussed on “the creative industries’, but amongst so much one could pick out the good bits & I’m sure I would’ve met many people I know.

Secondly be skipping the Re:visie exhibition & performances at the Centraal Museum in Utrecht — with a.o. Telcosystems and Bas van Koolwijk + Staalplaat Systems on saturday 30th. The exhibition is still on till the 8th, so who knows…

Thirdly, the Amsterdam Underground Festival: — but I might be there on sunday, and see Federico — who’s also doing some stuff there: http://www.amsterdamunderground.nl/und/.

But I really have to write, write, write, in my studio at the Jan van Eyck.,


Wrt “the creative industries”: there’s some sort of an ugly hype around that word. The creative industries as saviours of the economy, the city etc. (There was this influential book about how creative industries and artists are necessary for the blooming of inner cities, The Creative Class? I mostly immedialtely forget about that sort of stuff, but even I got the queries in my mailbox from researchers stating that I belonged to the creative class and that therefore they’d like to ask me some questions. It was proper academic research yet I hit ‘delete’.)

I prefer not to look at the ‘marketing’ side, the self-advertisement, the lobbying, the self-promotion, the politics that are going on in order to get to the big European funding, or get in the big investors. I honestly also do not see what would be so different now. Of course we have design, we have innovation, we have technological research, we have the arts, we have entertainment-development. But we have always had that. The difference might rather be that where innovative research took a time span of thirty years, fifty years, they’d now take a time span of ten years…to look ahead. (That at least is what I heard an old aerospace engineer state at the ASCA-conference last june). I am not interested in business models. I am interested in use.

Btw: the arts do not belong to the ‘creative industries’ — although they are closely related, might operate in the same field, use the same sources and even work in the same labs. What the arts aim at is the reverse of what the creative industries would like to produce. The creative industries might think that they are close to the ‘spirit of innovation’ of the arts, but good art does not aim at usable, clearly defined results.

That said I must stress that I do not believe there is some sort of pure art. Neither is there a clear-cut boundary between the arts & the creative industries. There should be no clear-cut boundary, not even in theory. There is cross-pollination (sp?), collaboration, adaption, sabotage ;-) — and the products of the creative industry migth be very aesthetically pleasing, as art can be. The difference is in the way of applying, in the application. Theoretically the difference is an ‘ideal’ one, one that does not exist in reality. (Cf. Dewey).

Maybe I shouldn’t say too much about these issues. It’s a bit the same with the web2.0-stuff. I am not interested in the hype, not interested in deconstructing the hype. (The investors that hope/hoped to make money by selling their social network-thingie — bought from a small group of software developers — to either Google of Yahoo. The investors of Yahoo and Google, only there to make money. It’s about huge virtual money-transfers, about trust in the future ‘inscripted’ in stocks &c. And that still is a world I am not able to get. Which is to say that I understand how it functions, yet my frame of mind finds it — (in the way it is currently ‘organized’) — so utterly perverse, so ‘full of shit’, so far from what I would see as going toward a good society, that I (emotionally) can only wish it to collapse as soon as possible).

(Note: I’m not so much against single ‘citizens’ investing money in a project or industry, or a person honestly investing money in Google because he likes it, and hopes that it will develop further because it’s a good change of the world. But the big investors are in it for money and run when they’ve collected their “share”. It’s the same sort of ‘not getting it’ as that I honestly, emotionally do not understand how somebody can ever earn enough money to own a superexpensive car (though rationally I get it).)

So I leave that aside and look at the bright side, the open source side ;-)

Anyway, to stop ranting: what I am interested in is in how and why people use the tools and functionalities that have become available to them, how and why they adapt and change them, how they flock to them and how and why they abandon them.

en,free publicity,Uncategorized | September 29, 2006 | 15:00 | comments (0) |

Amsterdam Upgrade & interactive arts now…

Wednesday-night four (ex)-students/artists presented their works at Amsterdam’s Upgrade: Dragana Antic, Jonas Vorwerk, Ralf Baecker and Daan Brinkmann. Very good work from all four of them. Very good. Yet, both Kristina Andersen and me were missing something… grittyness maybe?

(Kristina, Aadjan van der Helm and me were the panel. Felt a bit strange with Matthew Fuller, Florian Cramer, Eric Kluitenberg, Josephine Bosma, Richard de Boer, Tanya Gorucheva, Anne Nigten, Michael Murtaugh, and who am I forgetting? in the public. And I felt I wasn’t very sharp).

Apparently we’ve come at a point were ‘we’ (well, art students & artists working in the interactive field) know very well how to make installations that are working smooth, are reactive, are intuitively pulling you into the world (or game), and are ‘nice’ to interact with. We know how to do it, what works and what doesn’t. It is as if we have figured out the ‘aesthetics of interaction’. That leads to the question, ‘why?’ (why this work?), what does it do? and why is that important, what’s it “saying” or doing to me — what does that experience mean, what does it “say”, or critize, “complexify” or clarify, waht does it change, what does it ‘estrange’ (Dragana Antic was very much inspired by the Russian Formalists’ idea of ostranenie).

Is there a “way out” of just “nice interaction” for these sort of works? (Or could that also be enough — I guess that depend on what one expects of art…). I had the feeling that however great the works presented were, they seemed to be lacking a strong answer to those questions. There is definitely something of an answer in Dragana Antic work (maybe more in her theory than in the installation itself — though I should be careful with that, I did not spend that many minutes inside it). Ralf Baecker seems to work in another direction — landscapes carved out by a milling machine on the basis of search queries typed into a German search engine (and the project that he is working on now — he told me about it afterwards — makes me very curious).

I do not have an answer ready. (Though, if I had a hardcore theory about what good art is, and what bad art, based on — for instance — an Adorno-inspired avant-garde programme, I could come up with some readymade answers… But that’s not my style). I’ll be thinking about it…

Dragana Antic: http://pzwart2.wdka.hro.nl/~dantic/D/F/main.html
Jonas Vorwerk: http://www.beatnologic.com/site/homepage.php
Ralf Baecker: http://www.no-surprises.de/
Daan Brinkmann: http://www.daanbrinkman.nl/ (offline now?)

en,research | September 29, 2006 | 14:53 | comments (0) |


More reading matter (on the train): the most recent issue of the Flemish arts magazine De Witte Raaf. This issue focusses on typography. De Witte Raaf has quite a close connection to the Jan van Eyck, with director Koen Brams as on of the editors & frequent contributors to the magazine. Some (not all) of the JVE-approach to artistic research is reflected in the theoretical approach & editorial focus of De Witte Raaf. This issue also has a long interview with Jan van Eyck’s advising researcher Filip Tacq. But my ‘favorite’ in this issue is Dirk van Hulle’s article on typography and full stops in Joyce’s Ulysses and FW.

De Witte Raaf online here: http://www.dewitteraaf.be/web/flash/default.asp.

Dirk van Hulle’s article: http://dewitteraaf.stylelabs.com/web/flash/content.asp?enz..

Which reminds me that if you would ask me which is the single most influential bookpage for my ‘taste’ of literature & design, it would be page 260 of FW. Or no, it would be the page in the Spectrum Encyclopedie, with the lemma on Joyce, that reprinted page 260 of FW.

(Btw, this is a Dutch encyclopedia from the nineteen-seventies that was organized in longer lemmata — in length between half a page, up to over 20 pages — with lots of cross-referencing: both links at the end of a lemma, indicating related articles, and ‘underlined links’ in the running text. My parents bought this encyclopedia when it was being published, which meant we would get a new ‘tome’ when it would come out. I have spent many many hours reading and browsing this encyclopedia. And I sometimes wonder if my ‘early’ interest in hypertext has been influenced by it.

The wikipedia entry is a bit on the short side: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grote_Spectrum_Encyclopedie. Here’s what ‘bison’ says: http://cf.hum.uva.nl/nhl/bizon/grote_spectrum.htm.)

Which also reminds me that I haven’t yet referenced Jouke Kleerebezem’s most recent article “Onderzoek worden” (“Becoming Reseach”) — in Dutch –: http://dewitteraaf.stylelabs.com/web/flash/showfile.asp?enz..

Reading through The Public and its Problems II

“The transition from family and dynastic governement supported by the loyalties of tradition to popular was the outcome primarily of technological discoveries and inventions working a change in the customs by which men had been bound together.” p. 144

“Regarded as an idea, democracy is not an alternative to other principles of associated life. It is the idea of community life itself.” p. 148

“It is an ideal in the only intellegible sense of an ideal: namely the tendency and movement of some thing which exists carried to its final limit, viewed as completed, perfected. Since things do not attain such fulfillment but are in actuality distracted and interfered with, democracy in this sense is not a fact and never will be. But neither in this sense is there or has there ever been anything which is a community in its full measure, a community unalloyed by alien elements.” p. 148

“Associated or joint activity is a condition of the creation of a community. But association itself is physical and organic, while communal life is moral, that is emotionally, intellectually, consciously sustained.” p. 151

“Associated activity needs no explanation; things are made that way. But no amount of aggregated collective action of itself constitutes a community.” p. 151

“Interactions, transactions, occur de facto and the results of interdepence follow. But participation in activities and sharing in results are additive concerns. They demand communication as a prerequisite.” p. 152

[How to arrive at a Great Community?]
“… the perfecting of the means and ways of communication of meanings so that genuinely shared interest in the consequences of interdependent activities may inform desire and effort and thereby direct action.” p. 155

“[K]nowledge is a function of association and communication; it depends upon tradition, upon tools and methods socially transmitted, developed and sanctioned.” p. 158

“There can be no public without full publicity in respect to all consequences which concern it. Whatever obstructs and restricts publicity, limits and distorts public opinion and checks and distorts thinking on social affairs.” p. 167

“Science is converted into knowledge in its honorable and emphatic sense only in application. Otherwise it is truncated, blind, distorted.” p. 174

“Record and communication are indispensable to knowledge. Knowledge cooped up in private consciousness is a myth, and knowledge of social phenomena is peculiarly dependent upon dissemination, for only by distribution can such knowledge be either obtained or tested. A fact of community life which is not spread abroad so as to be a common possession is a contradiction in terms.” p. 176-177

“Public opinion , even if it happens to be correct, is intermittent when it is not the product of methods of investigation and reporting constantly at work. It appears only in crises. Hence its “rightness” concerns only an immediate emergency.” p. 178

“But its meaning [of the news] depends upon relation to what it imports, to what its social consequences are”. p.180

“The function of art has always been to break through the crust of conventionalized and routine consciousness. Common things, a flower, a gleam of moonlight, the song of a bird, not things rare and remote, are means with which the deeper levels of life are touched so that they spring up as desire and thought. This process is art.” p. 184

“We have but toouched lightly and in passing upon the conditions which must be fulfilled if the Great Society is to become a Great Community; a society in which the ever-expanding and intricately ramifying consequences of associated activities shall be known in the full sense of that word, so that an organized, articulate Public comes into being.” p. 184

“The highest and most diffficult kind of inquiry and a subtle, delicate, vivid and responsive art of communication must take possession of the physical machinery of transmission and circulation and breathe life into it. When the machine age has thus perfected its machinery it will be a means life and not its despotic master.” p. 184

“Democracy will come into its own, for democracy is a name for a life of free and enriching communion.” p. 184

“But while associated behavior is, as we have already noted, a universal law, the fact of association does not of itself make a society. This demands (…) perception of the consequences of a joint activity and of the distinctive share of each element in producing it.” p. 188

“Individuals find themselves cramped and depressed by absorption of their potentialities in some mode of association which has been institutionalized and become dominant. They may think they are clamoring for a purely personal liberty, but what they are doing is to bring into being a greater liberty to share in other associations, so that more of their individual potentialities will be released and their personal experience enriched.” p. 193-194

“Vision is a spectator; hearing is a participator. Publication is partial and the public which results is partially informed and formed until the meanings it purveys pass from mouth to mouth.” p. 219

en,quotations,research,ubiscribe | September 26, 2006 | 17:37 | comments (0) |

Upgrade, the graduates…

Tomorrow — wednesday 27th — I’ll be on a panel at Upgrade Amsterdam, the Graduates, discussing the work of recently graduated young artists. De Melkweg, entrance = free, 20.30h.

“Each summer many promising young artists and designers bid their art academies farewell, and graduate. The third Upgrade! Amsterdam, scheduled September 27th, offers a stage to these new young “hotties” to pitch their work to a larger audience, under the scrutinising gaze of a panel of experts and art academy tutors. Most of the installations will be on display during the program.”

See: http://www.melkweg.nl/artikelpagina.jsp?enzvoorts.

en,free publicity | September 26, 2006 | 16:57 | comments (0) |

Mark Z. Danielewski

The new Ballard is out. The new Powers coming up. The new Pynchon announced for 21st November. I missed that Mark Z. Danielewski had a new book published: Only Revolutions, A Novel. Described as “A pastiche of Joyce and Beckett, with heapings of Derrida’s Glas and Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying of Lot 49 thrown in for good measure”. Hmmm, with such a description I expect the book to be either very very good, or shallow and forgettable but funny.

en,free publicity,reading matter | September 25, 2006 | 12:55 | comments (0) |

Free, free culture & information (or almost free, that is)

The radio woke me up — as it does almost every morning. And I woke up to an interview of professor Ronald Soetaert about ‘literacy and the culture of reading’, on account of the publication of De cultuur van het lezen, a report and essay published by the Taalunie (language institute). Free for download here: http://taalunieversum.org/taalunie/publicaties/. I wonder if it’ll go beyond ‘leesbevordering’ (sorry, no idea how to say that in English…).

The wonderful http://destination-out.com/ posts three pieces of saxophonist and composer Sam Rivers, and writes: “but it’s somewhat amazing to us that Rivers is not better known, if not more celebrated.”

Tonight at OT301, 21.30 another DNK-concert, with Justin Bennet solo, and Juan de la Parra — solo, and a performance of his prize-winning composition Tellura. See: http://www.dnk-amsterdam.com/. Ok, that’s I think 3 euro’s entrance.

en,free publicity | September 25, 2006 | 12:13 | comments (0) |
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