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10 May 2002
one hand's band
The past days were spent on turf in local time. Meanwhile I developed what I imagine an RSI would be like, something pretty hurtful which came up in a couple of hours (do they, I doubt so, a tendon inflammation then?) last night. My right pulse aches, sending pain up to my shoulder, even when I sneeze it hurts into my fingertips. Certain blog and other fancy moves are suddenly impossible, with a right hand limp in my lap. Typing feels sort of ok, but I wonder what the remedy can be, remembering friends in slings... Many things have crossed my mind to post, while doing the do's this week, all having disappeared into some calm and probably to some standard numb area of my brain, never to turn up again. 'Quietude' was one of them, I suddenly remember, and what might change any even uneventful place into a 'center', so what makes us acknowledge 'centerness' and focus our attention and conduct our acts according to this acknowledgement. What exactly is invested in center, for whom to recognize, at a time when place has been replaced by event, and we don't use maps to manoeuvre by, but calendars. Alas, these topics, while still stirring something in me, lighting a glowing in that dim area of my head, now do not invite, at least for the moment, any elaboration. Yesterday's outing took us to two start-of-season vide greniers, in Tallon and Monceau le Comte, where vinyl was collected at a nice price, including my first Serge Gainsbourg album, the French singer of je t'aime moi non plus fame, who once long before us proposed previous owner Mr. Foloppe his bid for the Moulin du Merle.
'nihil nisi bene' not to be taken for an answer
In confusion of all the issues, taking sentiments before principles, in complete political disorientation, or guilt ridden fear, gathered around the angelic white coffin of an agile not angel provocateur whose blood it drank just weeks ago, now to sanctimoniously turn to rhetorics of populist leaning, like 'constitutional state raped' or 'democracy murdered', is today's Dutch political elite and its media, powerlessly trying to be in tune with irrational constituencies in the streets, to save whatever vote for next Wednesday. May they get themselves together around that vote taking it for what it will be, to get back to work and build better basic conditions and live up to the challenges of as multi a cultural society as possible, or be forgotten with the rest of them fortunists opportunists.
fitting the occasions
A contrast between the public, eventful and the private, eventful-or-uneventful (depending which is one's standard of spectacle), comes as no surprise these days. Having contemplated two kinds of globalization in my text for De Witte Raaf, which was partly informed by Dutch political phenomenons that push into focus these months, and in the light of recent events that are in sharp contrast to my schedule allowed prolonged stay at the isolated Moulin, result in a stimuli low tide, in which my attention is rather drawn to micro events.
'Quietude' then, can be expected. The calm on the Beuvron should reflect in my mood. Where this calm originates, why it can be competitive to any unrest, and seem a valuable alternative for constructing one's slow life upon, remains a question. Not to live without ambition, but to find and construct ambition where you want it to live, is an important challenge.
6-7 May 2002
dog eat dog
In a disturbing event, unprecedented for the Netherlands, right wing politician 'maverick' Pim Fortuyn, 54, was liquidated at close range by a gun man Monday evening, in what soon was generally considered a politically inspired attack. If after investigation the immediately after the shooting arrested man will appear to indeed be the assassin, and politically inspired by whatever extremist ideas, possibly shared in some group or organization, Western Europe will have reached a next level in political trouble that it will have a hard time to handle. If on the other hand Fortuyn's assassin will be found to be a lone desperate actor, even when politically driven, but acting on impulse or whatever personal agenda, we'll have the saddest case of digression one can imagine, with nevertheless serious political consequences for the next term of government, 2002-2006, which' elections have in the meantime been decided to take place as scheduled, next May 15.
The LPF's, Pim Fortuyn list's spokesman mister Herben is very dignified and the first to insist on the democratic process to continue, and most importantly, only to vote for their party out of sympathy and agreement with the political ideas of their former leadernot for any other reason, like as a tribute for example.
First emotional reactions of course show to overcompensate and oversimplify some recent political assessments of right wing European populism. Guilty, in the view of some of its supporters, are ruling politics and the media, who have been 'demonizing' populist front men. This view is also held in other countries, e.g. here in France where Front National split off Bruno Megret uses the Dutch assassination to throw in the face the French left their own 'campaign of hatred' against the extreme right, ultimately preparing a climate for political murder. Compared to such opportunist demagogy, again the reaction of LPF is remarkably 'political', concerned as it is with popular outrage and calls for revenge, as were heard with a small group of possibly non-LPF associated amok making, last night in The Hague, capital of Dutch government.
In the course of Tuesday I check the hourly news bulletins on tv. The arrested suspect (in many comments soon called 'perpetrator') appears to be a rather well known 'environmental/animal rights activist', with no criminal record. His home page at work rockets from an average of 8 page views per day to over 55,000 today. In an interview dating two years ago for animalfreedom.org he tells the simple story of his animal rights convictions, as a student becoming a strict vegetarian: "Many animal protectors act from the assumption that 'nature is good', but every dark side of humans can also be found in nature. Protecting animals is civilizing people, as they say." Elsewhere he is nicknamed a 'green Robin Hood', filing and winning numerous cases against rule breaking bio industry. His battle field is court. Something must have snapped, if he is the solitary perpetrator he is now being held for by the media. So far he maintains silence.
Provocateur Fortuyn's presence will be missed in the Dutch political landscape primarily to voice and represent, thus articulate and translate, levelling to a certain degree, into a very personal political practice, the dubious sometimes explosive sentiments in an electorate, concerning security, multi-culturalism, economy and their unhealthy mix in the contemporary social-political aggregate.
5 May 2002
Chirac 82,5%, Le Pen 17,5%. Next are the legislative elections, the 'troisième tour', June 9.
4 May 2002
It's counter-intuitive to rip out green live stuff that took a long time to root and grow. To undress a garden is not like turning a room 90CW or similar acts of decoration.
A couple of weeks ago I thought the hedge to go. Under the studio's balcony it hides the house's proper base. Today we uprooted it with R.'s Jeep Cherokee 4/4 power and replaced some parts (one hedge is many hedges) along the South garden Beuvron border (yet to be planted) on its elevation. The front now looks much cleaner and slightly more 1900. I want to add something particularly good smelling, to enter the studio doors and drug me on summer nights.
3 May 2002
George Duke'm, the funk, 1977, From Me To You, by 'Mister Duke' (pronounce dook), who's keyboard in 1974 I think I discovered on Zappa's Apostrophe ('). His own FMTY album is solid groove if only for the soul tearing ('cry!') background vocals by Maxine Willard Waters, Julia Tillman Waters and Jessica Smith, as on What Do They Really Fear?: 'blinded fools of stupidity, running from the truth in truth they see'. From 1975-1977 over three consecutive albums I Love The Blues (1975), Liberated Fantasies (1975) and From Me To You, you can clearly hear (and see in dress and presentation!) a shift in Mister Duke's musical attention, from the jazz/rock to a funkier pop idiom, also inspiring his collaboration with Stanley Clarke.
note to self: fretless bass
2 May 2002
on the left not visible, the Beuvron; in front a small basin and the fresh water tank
bright blue in the back, in front of the low wall, the motoculteur, an engine to mill the ground ('Rotavator', the Larousse F/E says)
Behind the house, in the small triangle constituted by the Beuvron, the low wall along the former passageway leading down to the water and the incoming fresh water pipe, a herb garden is planned, which I think to combine with rocks, stones. Along the wall now the peonies are budding, a dark purple lilac is in the middle. Nearer again to that wall and pipe is an unidentified piece of wannabe topiary which the past three years we have faithfully kept in the cylindrical shape that we found it in. Even harder than decorating a house, building interior space, is shaping a garden. One encountersas in Michael Pollan's inspiring Second Nature: A Gardener's Educationtwo gardens, the one in one's mind, based upon ever so many pleasurable places one has visited or read about and memorized pictures of, and the resisting piece of ground which one occupies and works, to create garden two, using slow growing material, most of which remains out of site competing for nutrients under ground. As opposed to interior decoration and design, a garden one does not primarily build from solid ready made objects, furniture, gadgets, art, in a well defined box, with only six planes to think about color and texture and light.
Probably for the reason that a garden generally is without such well circumscribed boundaries, mostly I prefer to stay very close to the ground, on all fours, focusing on cleaning and shaping small parts, then again levelling a larger part, micro to macro and back again. For the herb triangle the macro view itself is limited to approximately 300 square feet, but once you start pulling its roots you might end up way outside its bounds. Then when you cross the water you are invited to even more so change its image, and fit it in with its larger environment. All this even before planting.
tell two gardens
The idea of two stati and the travel between the two is basic to any conscious constructive, creative act. Progress goes in either direction, towards the realized object as much as towards its idealization, informing both ways around. It is true to Valéry's poïétique, action not object, probably not even 'process', who needs this recent invention, but the media we apply, not the narratives we live by.
cinclus cinclus (dipper) observation up stream
the water is very low, compared to a year ago
30 April 2002
While the Dutch celebrate their favorite pastime à chiner, like last year, many square miles of junk containing the accidental 1-2-3 System component or other valuable item at a friendly price, in today's (Queen Mother Juliana's birthday) traditional nation wide free/flea market garage sale, we gods in France browse the house for odd jobs and maintain our estate in total spring fashion, cleaning, shining, digging, uprooting, sowing, watering, with the help of Gil's sister and brother-in-law. I occasionally hide behind Macadelic to improve my typing skills.
27-28 April 2002
(1-2-3 System arm-chair, Verner Panton, 1973 for Fritz Hansen)
Return home with the four blue-ish Verner Panton 1973 1-2-3 System arm-chairs, that I bought in the Hague Saturday morning. I turn the salon 90°CW and add the chairs. New furniture has to earn its place in the environment it is placed in. The new environment has to adapt to newcomers. A simple aesthetic problem of composition, adding and removing certain objects, play and function. It's the story of migration in a nutshell.
see the migratory pattern?
the populist within
I am increasingly irritated and upset by the self proclaimed intellectual ilk around me that is offering the world its mea culpa in matters of social political problems and how these relate to being up front about primarily 'immigration'. All the time you can hear them say how glad they are that the populist themes are released from veto, while 'of course' they do not subscribe to them fully or would vote for one of its candidates, certainly not Le Pen were they in France, but 'some truths be told' and here come the criminality and economic data that relate immigration to aforementioned problems, however general and uninformed they are. Their remarks go to prove that media released data and political style of the times do pump up the volume of discontent dramatically. No one seems to bother to try to distinguish real problems of integration and separation, no one dares to think ahead and look in the face what is waiting, all mean today that over the past decades some collective 'we' has been too permissive, too hospitable, too blind for what a small country like NL has been doing to itself.
The only reply I have, with no figures at hand to counter the other figures and no trust whatsoever in arguing the big shifts in social political events by calculation to start with, is that first, those who complain today have voted into power those who are now accused of having neglected issues of economic and cultural 'security' over the past decades, second, that indeed it is just too cheap easy to not reflect now on what exactly it is that we are or should be discussingdemographics, economics and cultural identity in a multi-cultural societylast of course that this is where we are heading and there's no way for even the slightest isolationist idea to be realistic or offer solutions. World mobility has only just started and unless circumstances improve in those places where people flee from for whatever reason, to join us and share our assets of freedom of expression, economic prosperity, health, while we will typically only go there to have a cheap good time for a couple of holiday weeks a year, leaving some petty cash for a lot of local goods, we are in no position to exclude their children's children from our turf.
26 April 2002
Last night I attended a first gallery vernissage since many many years. I felt genuine happiness and reassured to discover that artists continue to do balancing acts in ephemeral materials, paint circles on the walls, build tiny wax igloos and tell silly stories about lame dogs in putty comic strips laying out the captions in letter macaroni, at the nadjaVilenne gallery in Liège Belgium 2002, an intriguing old house in a crummy old neighbourhood with a couple of whitewashed stripped spaces, good light. Honestly what would the world be without this kind of attention? I'm just not receptive of it every day, but there's so much I am not receptive of every day. Yesterday I was. To celebrate, at Euro1 each I bought copies both of the gallery's newsletter 'cependant...' (archaic for 'meanwhile'... it rang a bell) and the Marseille based Le Poste Nomade of the Musée du Point de Vue, a newspaper format paper offering a couple of hundred views "next door through my window": a veritable tour de France of people's bedroom views. Who needs it? Who would want to live without it?
notes to self: Lessig -> Dino; 'grey design': écologie grise, grey litterature; jump ship; informatiseringsopruiming; ever after
24 April 2002
Maastricht as usual. There's a hole in my memory the size of my blazing drive up here, at least from Reims I can't seem to remember any of the turns I took. So thank god I made it here safe once again. Gil tells me on the phone ducklings were reduced to 3. Should we keep them locked until they have grown a bit? They do love to peddle.
22 April 2002
Mowed the grass. Fixed the holes in the chicken run floor with left-over concrete. Opened Bruce's envelope. Opened Cabinet's envelope. Mowed along with the Honda scythe. Watered the vegetable garden in the early morning. Drove one duck and 5 ducklings into their run around 9:30pm last night when only they came out of the water. Watched political commentary on the European populist vote. Played one song real loud. Checked our NL and F accounts' credit and didn't do any administration. Played that song again less loud. Found the lost check book. Shopped for local Tannay wine to bring to Maastricht tonight. Wait for C+S to contact me on their French connections. Swung in that hammock for half an hour. Changed the book's title again, back to 'Informatiseringsopruiming'. Planned to plant my flowers before leave. Love Picabia. Love this format.
22 April 2002
We persist in using a language, words, allow thoughts to run our mind, very long after our original urge to choose that language and words has evaporated. Language is sloppy, 'code we live by', routine symbol check.
politique du pire
A banging hangover and instant manifestations last night in major centers. Also in France a taste for the populist and deeply isolationist sentiment was expressed yesterday, when for the presidential elections' second round in two weeks the right and extreme right candidates Jacques Chirac (19,71%) and Jean-Marie Le Pen (16,95%) were chosen. Socialist and current prime minister Lionel Jospin dragged behind at 16,12% and announced to leave the political arena after May 5. No doubt Chirac will again be voted president, but a lot will have to improve in political awareness before the elections for parliament next September, for this country not to bury itself in moral and economic nostalgia.
the St. Germain des Bois vote count (in fellow council man Piso's handwriting),
which more or less follows the national trend in its 34/36 Right/Left division
if we want to divide along those lines, as the French still do,
but which in the current situation seems irrelevant, with no informed vote
but protest voiced throughout the spectrum of a record amount of
16 first round candidates posted on our Mairie.
BTW: yesterday's Moulin du Merle 1930-ish image was left for me Sunday morning at the voting office,
by Mme. Reynes from Cervenon, who found the glass slide in a tiny metal frame when she was cleaning out her attic.
21 April 2002
(placeholders) Moulin du Merle 1930's? - 2002
Typography, to map differently, partly does so when it takes advantage of the medium's positionability, read: can I put/view this thing with that text on it sideways or upside down or at any angle? In front of a fixed screen we are limited to the angles we can twist our heads. While in the great typographical experiments positioning has always informed lay-out and design, hence the interpretation of its content, for current screen based media it makes little sense to work off-level or try to influence the direction of reading by positioning. What is gained for typographical form is e.g. animation, scrolling and clickability. Typography has more become like a typophony (what do you mean, no hits at google?!, soon one, to this document) or something... I will once have to look seriously into the idea of typography and electronic text, because indeed I doubt if it makes any sense at all to speak of typography or even hypertypography anymore. Positioning text has become a different art form from when it was setting type (in lead, or even light), or handwriting. Re: 1987-1988, Text als Figur; Visuelle Poesie von der Antike bis zur Moderne. Related: typographical image versus typographical text.
Related: poems that GO; Encyclopaedia of Typography and Electronic Communication
19 April 2002
Half a man. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 senses working overtime. Down the funnel tunnel vision. Had to skip numer too, no Parisian strut. Sorry C 'n S! Unlikely tomorrow. Full decolonization ahead for the Raaf. No sand sifting either need'r. re: XTC. Sonic booms. Stop.
18 April 2002
Re: the Moulin foothold three years later. Apart from hard to measure general mood improvements, some not to ignore sounds resonate from the surrounding landscape of education and social learning, in the Easter report.
Roemer est un très bon élève. La lecture est quasiment acquise en totalité. L'écriture, le soin et la présentation sont également très bons. Les mathématiques sont compris rapidement.
Le comportement en classe est très bien. Il faudrait qu'il ose une peu plus s'exprimer à l'oral.
Il témoigne de l'interêt pour toutes les matières et est agréable! Que du positif!
Aude is r's very young primary school teacher. After Madame Valet's sad death teachers are following up each other. We hope to have a permanent new teacher there from next September, for Roemer to be in class with one more year, before he joins Monsieur Gentil in Courcelles.
Swadeshi is that spirit in us which restricts us to the use and service of our immediate surroundings to the exclusion of the more remote. (...) In the domain of politics, I should make use of the indigenous institutions and serve them by curing them of their proved defects. In that of economics, I should use only things that are produced by my immediate neighbours and serve those industries by making them efficient and complete where they might be found wanting.
(capsule on Mahatma Gandhi, On Economics and Bread Labour)
Our immediate surroundings in a networked environment can help us decolonize now.
17 April 2002
Jean-Luc Ponty's Aurora, 1975, with that tweeter splitting Daryl Stuermer wah-wah drenched guitar intervention into J-L's melodic violin lines, on side two, first piece: 'Passenger of the Dark'.
'the world as market and medium'
A somewhat boring sounding title (de wereld als markt en medium) (maybe this calls for a looong subtitle? Something 'poetics and politics'... re: Academia) for the De Raaf text which I'm finishing. The piece itself will be good, as are its captions 'wereldwaar', 'wereldwinkel', 'wereldwaan', 'werelddelen', etc. Taking globalization from usual suspects Richard Rodriguez to Pim Fortuyn, via Debord or Stephenson. Looking into forms of micro-colonizing as in the taking over of screen estate by popular software, the seamless co-existence and mutual enhancement of parallel material and informational realities, the resulting emptying of the geography, via its topography into an infography (remembering Virilio's écologie grise, and like interests. Rather fragmented still, but drawing together slowly.
A Richard Rodriguez interview quote from Reason Magazine, courtesy Alamut:
- In 'Days of Obligation' you suggest that Mexicans in America have become the optimistic side of the United States, and that it is actually blond California that is getting pessimistic.
- That's part of the great irony. We've always assumed that America somehow belonged on this land. Well, maybe you can put America in a suitcase and take it to Hong Kong. And maybe our Scandinavian ancestors of the 19th century would recognize as America, or as an American city, what they would now see in Tijuana rather than San Diego.
- What do you mean by the America that you could take to Hong Kong?
- The notion of self-reliance, of re-creation. More and more I'm sensing that that kind of optimism belongs now to immigrants in this countrycertainly to Mexicans that I meetand less and less so to the native born.
For colonizers like GB or NL or F, over the last century the more ambitious former colonized have returned 'home' to what was always presented to them as the mother country and have quickly started improving it, shaping it after the image which was once exported by it, as that great innovation, to the turf where these migrants originally stem... India, Indonesia, Algeria, mixing in their strongest memories.
My next best title: 'wereldcircus', the World Circus (or End of the World Circus?)
16 April 2002
back on the mill
Home with a 6 hour drive, so gate in midi pile, I do a quick round of my turf and bookmarks. Collect email, some by speakers to thank me, like Renee, who writes: "Hopefully you are now recouping in the Moulin and busying your head and hands with gardening and blissful family matters." So I will.
Tonight the van Sitters parents, who stayed in our house when we were in NL, to prepare for their daughter Honorine's wedding, last Saturday, invited us to dinner, with Honorine and Derk-Jan and H.'s friend Karin. I can't keep my eyes off of R+r at the end of the table.
(...) why (...) the (deep, hidden) assumption that design must find moral goodness, (or even further, must in-its-very-essence be morally good)?
(...) A discipline, a discourse, a body of knowledge and experience, will eventually shipwreck. It has to. (It is always-already shipwrecked.) The image of collective catastrophe exposes an ocean of possibilities. Why then should experience re-organize around a slender assumption of morality?
To Paul, who posted the above quote on Alamut, I like to say: every situation always-already is (a) moral (situation). Good is what one prefers to happen, bad is one's worst fear, YMMV to every one, since the church and the party headquarters have long been closed, on an institutional level at any rate. The fact that design, as a service industry, struggling between invisibility and beaconing, invites to host and present moral discourse is what makes it stand out from other disciplines that we love and protect. While art and moral discourse is explicit images in the world's museums, politics or religion and moral discourse take you straight to Srebrenica or Jenin Camp, or any place where men are separated from women and children. In my idea neither a 'lingua franca' nor the next 'liberal art' (as Jan Abrams and Malcolm McCullough respectively side-stepped), design is just moral ground in the 'land of a thousand morals' that you and I love so much to navigate.
15 April 2002
I find myself
Out of bed at 6am. I write a couple of lines, sort papers, empty bags, fill them again, prepare a nqpaofu53 label and .html. Before 8 I'm at the Tribunal for breakfast. Read the Volkskrant over eggs and bacon. On my way into the Academie I run into Rich Gold, waiting outside for a taxi to take him to Thermen 2000, the Valkenburg spa. I go up to my apartment. After three days on stage I want to hide myself. I write some on the piece for De Witte Raaf and later go get the car to drive to the Heerlen IKEA, to find me some clear plastic 'flaj' boxes which we can use as micro greenhouses. While eating my unexpectedly good Caesar salad in their restaurant (I know this all sounds awfully like, um, jetlag) I realize that I am writing about two kinds of 'globalization' for the Raaf. The first is world consumption, the second world production. The first being 'one world, one card' monoculture, consensus, the second being documented lives, infinite diversification in all directions, accessible at any location. I change the title into 'wereldwinkel' when I enter the highway on the way back to Maastricht from where I will leave tomorrow early. Later I change that title again, into 'werelddragers'.
recovered recast bit
I found this in my recast notes this morning: "We should accept, no, enjoy, to live in a world where there actually is infinitely more art than money, and has always been. On the basis of a handful of functions, which can be very well expressed in simple 3-5 letter words (eat, dwell, fight, talk, pray, libidoOK, that one is six), functions which are all situated, but completely site independent, because they are all over the place and all throughout time, we build infinite libraries of art to fit our ritual (another important six letter word) appreciation and eventful expression of those few limited functions. It's an amazing feat of human ingenuity to prioritize form over function so much. Form doesn't follow function, but the other way around."
Form of course doesn't impose function. It merely invites it. It is happy to encounter it. Form desires to 'function', to act and to be acted upon, to find its accomplishment, not for any other specific purpose, but indeed as Rilke meant in his 'we are the bees of the invisible', to become invisible, form to disappear into action, into communication, into memory, into that true world of unstable forms that never settle.
While this can't be said of some of the better design from previous times, today's gadgets guise in forms true to our desire for them to disappear, to dissolve, to be beautiful and comfortable and shared and temporary first and foremost. Forms are but fancy after all.
What if for creative production and innovation we left the idea of a right (read 'sure protection') for an idea of creative liability (read 'sure contamination'): artists to bank their half-products in a pool, for all who contribute to benefit from and build upon. 'Open source' meets the artists' collaborative. In some sense, this happens in interrelated, cross-linking and cross-reviewing publications, like weblogs, but its effect is often times hard to trace, which means hard to improve upon as well.
nqpaofu.com 2002 jouke kleerebezem Notes Quotes Provocations and Other Fair Use