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

Street signs, cycling routes

Uploaded (to my flickr-account) about 30 more photo’s of arrows, letters and other signs painted or sprayed on the road to indicate cycling routes. When I first got the idea to make an inventory of these signs around Kanne, I thought I would end up with 25, well, maybe 40 photos. I have now 64 (haven’t checked for doublures). I did not upload all of them. Moreover, I estimate that I haven’t photographed about 20 yet. My idea to also give an indication of the route itself will probably never be realized. And certainly I will not supplement this series with photos of all the other signs for cycling routes (stickers, forgotten plastic arrows on traffic signs, the various ‘fietsknooppuntenbordjes’ &c.). http://www.flickr.com/photos/ariealt/.

cycling,en,Uncategorized | September 19, 2006 | 13:11 | Comments Off on Street signs, cycling routes |

Transport in Dublin

I have now visited Dublin three times and a larger part of my recollections of Dublin consist of sitting on a bus or sitting in a car going from one end of the city to another. Dublin is not an easy city to get around in. The city centre may be fairly small, and places like the grounds of Trinity College very agreeable, the rest is a nightmare of cars, cars, cars, and the public transport is absolute shit (‘sheit’). Only if you happen to live near a DART station and have to go somewhere near a DART station it’s okay. But the DART goes from Howth to Greystones, along the coast, which is great if one likes to go for a cliff walk (from Bray to Greystones or v.v.) and not so great if one stays in either Lucan or Blanchardstown.

But… the cycling scene seems to grow. Not only are there more cycling lanes, I have the impression I saw more cyclists than a year ago. I always have to look at the bikes in cities that I visit & I’m often (if not always) impressed by the courier-scene. Most of the bikes in Dublin are cheap mountainbikes and city-bikes — often extremely dirty. (One wonders if it’s worth while to clean one’s bike in Ireland where it might rain every day). Last year I think I saw one track bike.

This year I spotted:
— a guy with a small rucksack, in full cycling gear, going downhill a big road, to the north of Dublin, on a track bike. Yes. He rode pretty fast. Impressive. It looked like he came back from a race, and still had a long way to ride.
— a courier track bike with a chainwheel (is that the right word for: ‘tandwiel’) on both sides of the wheel: so one has two gears, pre-derailleur style, when one puts the wheel in the other way around.
— a girl on a custom blue racing bike, sawed-off ‘guidon’, brakes, a full pignon, without shifters or a derailleur — though with the spring & little wheels to keep the chain under pressure. Changing gear would be possible by hand.
— her boyfriend on a beautiful trackbike with sawed-off ‘guidon’.
— and for the rest about five or six couriers going through the traffic on track bikes — which I think is more impressive, conisdering the Dublin traffic, than the New York-couriers.

cycling,en,Uncategorized | September 7, 2006 | 14:07 | Comments Off on Transport in Dublin |

Irish catholicism

A fairly large part of my stay in & around Dublin was taken up by ‘family-related-stuff’ — the family of F. that is. F’s godson (son of her sister) was christened on sunday. I attented 2 masses: saturday evening mass & the christening on sunday. I was amazed, if not shocked by how quick these masses were done over with. Rushed is not even the right word. On saturday there was literally no pause between the blessing at the end and the words “that’s it, see you next time”. The priest hurried off to see the football match. The whole thing took 35 minutes. The only ‘music’ was the sound of coins in the collecting baskets, heard while the prayer for the confession of the sins was said. One positive thing: the reading from the Scriptures were done by women.

I have a protestant background & as a kidI used to go to church with my parents every sunday. We went to a beautiful church (the Grote Kerk in Almelo), where at that time Rev. Otten was preaching. There was always an elaborate liturgy — Otten would say or sing a sentence, the community would answer, then the organ, then the small choir. Very well orchestrated. The same thing for the singing of Psalms & Songs. A few years later the small choir became so good that they would perform things like the Angus Dei as composed by — I think — Buxtehude. So although a protestant church, there would be a very clear sense of tradition and beauty that a lot of people only associate with the Roman Catholic church. The sermon — as far as I remember — was really an interpretation of the Scriptures, often touching upon Jewish traditions (that Otten was particularly interested in). It’s not that I liked going there (I rather did something else on a Sunday morning), but these sunday mornings have certainly had a positive effect on my ideas of the Church and religion.

The christening on sunday took place in a church in Lucan. Renovated a few years back, the organ was taken out. The music during the christening came from a tiny cassetterecorder (and was some sort of Irish new-agey-folk-music). The church owned a beamer to project texts in big white letters on Powerpoint-blue background against the wall. (It was not used during the christening). The priest did not know the name of one of the two kids being christened and basically no-one, including the priest had any clue of the order of the proceedings — the priest flipping back and forth through the leaflet and at one point asking a person to read from the Scriptures, the person being very surprised since the indicated passage was not his to read. (F. — who’s a firm believer — was disappointed about this priest).

Well. I guess all this only showns how deep Catholicism is ingrained in Irish society.

en,Uncategorized | September 7, 2006 | 14:04 | Comments Off on Irish catholicism |

Travelling from Blanchardstown (Dublin) to Kanne

— walk: Blanchardstown ‘Waterville’ – Blanchardstown Village, busstop
— bus: Blanchardstown Village – Dublin Airport
— plane: Dublin Airport – Schiphol
— train: Schiphol – Amsterdam Lelylaan
— tram: Amsterdam Lelylaan – Jan-Pieter Heijestraat
[food in Amsterdam, picking up the mail &c.]
— bike: Wilheminastraat – Amsterdam Centraal
— train: Amsterdam Centraal – Maastricht
— walk: Maastricht train station – Jan van Eyck Academy
— bike: Jan van Eyck Academy – Kanne

Not counting waiting times (long, as I arrived far too early at the airport), walks at the airports and stations, & walks so short they’re not worth mentioning.

No delays whatsover. Gorgeous weather.

I read two papers (Guardian of saturday & tuesday), half a Henry James story, checked 51 e-mails, wrote 4 and waited till I arrived. It took the whole day, from 10 in the morning till midnight.

en,Uncategorized | September 7, 2006 | 13:56 | Comments Off on Travelling from Blanchardstown (Dublin) to Kanne |

ISOC-awards & off-line

Back to Amsterdam for a meeting of the jury of the ISOC Awards: http://www.isoc.nl/awards/. I’m a jury-member for the ‘Internet & the arts’-award. Nominees are:

Jan Robert Leegte: http://works.leegte.org
Joes Koppers: http://usemedia.com
Wilfried Houjebek: http://socialfiction.org/palimpsest
Peter Luining: http://ctrlaltdel.org
Niels Schrader: http://www.nielsschrader.de
Danielle Roberts: http://www.numuseum.nl

On friday I’ll fly to Dublin for a short visit. I’ll be offline for a few days then.

en,free publicity,Uncategorized | August 31, 2006 | 14:10 | Comments Off on ISOC-awards & off-line |

Acting out technology

I’ll be here the next two days: http://www.actingouttechnology.be.

en,free publicity,Uncategorized | August 13, 2006 | 17:59 | Comments Off on Acting out technology |

Street signs for cycling

The area around Kanne — where I live this year — is cycling country. Every day groups of cyclist pass by my apartment. Almost every week there’s a ‘toertocht’ (organized cycling tour) in the area, starting from Oupeye, Bilzen, Tongeren, Vlijtingen etc. In Belgium these rides are — apparently — marked out by spraying signs on the road. Especially at the few places where one can cross the Maas (Meuse) and the Albertkanaal, the road is full of these signs, some old, some new. Riding around the area one comes across the signs everywhere and often I follow the signs for some kilometers.

I’d like to make a full catalogue of all the different signs. I’m a worthless photographer, luckily this is a fairly easy subject. I’m uploading the pictures at my hardly used Flickr-account: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ariealt/.

cycling,en,Uncategorized | August 10, 2006 | 14:59 | Comments Off on Street signs for cycling |

Professional cycling & dope

Of course I’m following all the current stories about doping & cycling. The entanglement of sport and — hmm — “experimental” medicine is fascinating. It is a big ugly mess too. What has changed in respect to former times (let’s say pre-’80’s) is that no-one questions anymore that ‘doping’ does make you go faster, makes you stronger. It’s taken as a scientific fact (and in most cases, it is a proven fact, I think). But if the pro-peleton is also a — half illegal — laboratory for experimental medicine, did medicine ever learn anything from cycling?

(yes, that EPO does work &c.)

Some knowledge, that is later used for ‘good’ purposes? This would be scarier than a peleton of stupid junkies taking dope to perform better — because it would mean that sports is really a laboratory, and the sportsmen guinea pigs for the ‘human good’.

cycling,en,Uncategorized | August 3, 2006 | 13:06 | Comments Off on Professional cycling & dope |

OMG, Jeffrey Deitch discovers The Boredoms

As I mentioned Braxton playing with a noise-punk band, yesterday, I guess I’m allowed to mention today that The New Yorker features an article on Yamataka Eye and The Boredoms, from which I learn that Jeffrey Deitch has discovered them too, and will host a Boredoms installation in his gallery next year: http://www.newyorker.com/critics/music/articles/060807crmu_music.

(Yes, I’m wasting my time, browsing & blogging).

(Good friends of mine have followed The Boredoms since 1987. I saw them twice in the early nineties. An audience of what, twenty? thirty? forty? made them play three encores. We had beer with them backstage. “Those were the days”.)

Ha, in twenty years time Jeffrey Deitch will host an Oorbeek-installation!

en,music,Uncategorized | August 2, 2006 | 11:20 | comments (1) |
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License. | Arie Altena