notes, quotes, provocations and other fair use by jouke kleerebezem

issue 82
conversational drift
informatic license
exquisite enclaves



neither community norkut friends discussing friends' friendliest friends among other people

[8-10 March 2004] (with a little help from my) friends of friends

Some dear friends invited me to join Orkut (orkut?). If I estimate Orkut's definition of a friend well, I can easily distinguish several tens of tens lurking behind those invitations. So I mail Paul and ask him why he uses it. Check. I mean joined it. What it means to him. Check. I saw his body of friends grow from 4 to 29 in less than a week and I'm sure it grew since. Hm. I know he can be, ‘socially challenged’, like myself, in a different way, but, that's why I have to ask him first. He mails me that he'll phone me. His call arrives on my mobile before I read that mail. While I'm in Maastricht, on a better Internet connection than at the Moulin. I call him back. What's Orkut to him? What would it bring me, besides an explosion of friends of friends, out there?

Meanwhile back home I invest in the local community. Working on the St. Germain des Bois website — a website for a community of 103 divided over 3 hamlets, and its friends of friends FoF — the most interesting part is how to design a website for and around a very low Internet penetration. You have to design access around it. For this I use paper and wood as much as HTML and Fetch. I order a banderole over Thurigny's main road, for passers by to notice the URL. I will stick flyers in every mail box, many of which are out of use but it's hard to tell which ones. I know three email addresses on 103 inhabitants. Those are three friends who don't know Orkut. I'm sure however that they'll turn up when this spring I shall organize a presentation with projection and vin d'honneur in the 40 sqm. salle des fêtes of Thurigny, as the site's baptism. We will solicit donations from the rest of you. But feel free to step by. The presentation will be in French. Date and time will be announced here and there.

So here I am scanning the Jan van Eyck and Maastricht again, picking up Elias Canetti's Das Gewissen der Worte at the Tribunal bookstore. I notice Willem Jan Otten will sign his new book Specht en zoon ('Woodpecker and Son') in the shop tomorrow afternoon, when also his play Braambos (‘bramble’) is performed at the ‘Theater aan het Vrijthof’. I decide to go to both events, if only to say hello from old mutual friends Joes and Marjolein, who with their daughter Linde just spent a fine week with us. We know them since 1985 when we rented our first place in Amsterdam from Marjolein, while they were gone on a 14 months travel. Linde was born three days before Rolf, in the summer of 1993. R+r+L are beautiful friends. They simply pick up where they left off months before, share news, new and old games. The parents say hello from Karien, Mieke and Jan-Geert, and Agniet. The first is a summer of '67 old love of mine, who actually got me Marjolein's studio in 1985, when we ran into each other at an opening after long years of no contact. M. and J-G. are Joes' sister and her husband, A. is another dear Amsterdam acquaintance who we met through Marjolein.

Orkut's profile does not support my usual mode of introduction. First of all it does not allow any contextual differentiation. I won't know who I'm talking to. I am reminded of those guys (men, always) who all of a sudden open their mouth on public transport, introduce themselves, tell a miserable story that makes you feel uncomfortable in many ways, and uncomfortable about being uncomfortable, to end by going around for money. They couldn't care less who they are talking to. They are addressing the everyday commuter uncomfortable species. My many me's have to compromise into one MyOrkutMe, which is pretty de facto what life in the uncomfortable age of missing information means. We're addressing the surfing species, on that same connection train every day. MyOrkutMe, another Quasime let loose in the wild, for it to meet QuasiOthers, whose body odours this Q. will never be exposed to.

Braambos is the first play I see since a very long time. I'm struck how much more like poetry than like prose theatre is. The poetic text's embodiment in immediate utterance, personages in acoustic spatial relationship, having their dramatic say, independent of and yet directed at the audience, in that set which is unlike anything IRL, except that it installs familiar elements, as familiar as the sentences the actors exchange, makes for strong presence that leaves nevertheless the original distance which only the work of art can provide.

[3 March 2004] still browsing

Q., J. and me're browsing the material world. There's no end to it. Browse, burn, unwind to un-worry.

four years ago today: so wtf are weblogs? What do I know? I only read 3 or 4 of them on a regular basis. And they do not proud themselves to be weblogs either. QED.
Four years ago how we wondered what a weblog was... we know today:

[29 Februrary 2004] wtf

Only uploads save us from downloads.

Weblogs are the essential counter-dump.

[23 February 2004] Q and A HREF

Reading code, to look at it instead of through it, can be such a pleasure. The simple poetics of HTML already struck me at my first encounter. What's a href, dad? I know what it is, but what else can it be? “I am like... a href... See how that makes sense, I am like a href?” Thomasian Spontaneous Simultude gets you there, always and every time.

— So what is ‘social software’, Quasime? How can it be?

— First of all it's a misnomer, Jekuon-ja. How can software be social, do you think? Like with any evil machine, it's the user who is evil, or social for that matter. Of course, also its inventor obeys a dark side, to design the evil machine, while he can be a good inventor at the same time. He can even mean the machine to contain evil in order to ward it off. Those who are all about social software however will probably be all about social involvement, not control artists. Anyway, software isn't social nor does it make a person social. A hammer doesn't bang, we bang it. If there was no hammer you'd ‘hammer’ with a stone or a piece of tree or a Nikon for that matter. The old 35mm ones, to be sure. None of these tools will make you any good at hammering, though a hammer might make you a better hammerer than a brick. It's been designed for it, and out of it. Yet you still have to learn to become a good hammerer by dedication, concentration, and physical co-ordination. I'm not even talking about onto what to hammer... The same virtues which will make you a better hammerer, technically, can teach you a lot about being social, by the way. And if you own no social software, you use email or word processing or HTML to connect socially. These softwares were not designed to enhance social mechanisms, but they can be and have been and are used successfully for that purpose every day. There's no software fix for sociality.

— How can a hammer be designed ‘out of’ hammering, instead of for the purpose of it?

— All performance tools are developed to improve and refine the purpose they serve. Tools are functional. They learn from their function and vice versa they inform that function. Only if you look at hammering with dedication, concentration and understanding of the physical co-ordination it demands, you will be well informed to design a hammer. Then of course you have to know your materials and processes. Putting together the stone and the piece of tree was the big step forward in hammer design. Another thing that came with the stone and the piece of tree very early on, with the hammering, is the ‘market’. In the case of the hammer you don't have to worry about it so much, there's plenty nailing to be done, yet remember to pay attention to the cost of making your tool. Markets value the costs and benefits of all of your bricolage... for yourself, for the other hammerer, for society at large. Markets even evaluate your social skill!

— I don't want to know about markets, I want to know about social software... so while there's only one direction for a nail to go: right into the material it wants to hold together, there's so many ways to hold together socially. Would social software then maybe innovate social response?

— Good question... and you're right, I got a bit carried away there about markets. We all get, at times, it's a strong mechanism. Anyway, social behaviour, as you say, comes in many flavors. And has many different ‘purposes’. Actually we can not not behave socially. Social behaviour is hard wired in humans, not software that you could change, or rewrite. Social behaviour is not necessarily good behaviour either. So would social software improve social behaviour? All depends on its use. People cannot be programmed, but they can be guided to a high degree. People under the influence of whatever code, even if they seem to act social, might not do this at will or choice. How to value their social behaviour? Good performance, maybe? A well run program?

— Before you mixed up tool and medium, I think. Couldn't a program be a medium instead of a ‘hammer’? Doesn't some software allow us to be social with it, doesn't it invite you to act socially? Isn't being social like an affordance of the social software design? Can't you make a medium work for you differently from a tool?

— You know for sure that a camera will grab that light that you are pointing at and expose the film or chip inside it. You point it, it grabs it. Even when your focus is informed by media omnipresence and millions of other photos like your own, still you take that particular shot, at that particular moment. How and when does that moment come up? That's when your photography lesson begins. You take over the tool, while still using it at the same time. Tools should induce their user to take over, to take responsibility for what the tool does, the hard work. So, does a Nikon, the tool, invite you to take a shot or to learn a photography lesson? It might do both, but to take a photo or to be knowledgeable about capturing light reflected from a subject can be contrary effects. The tool sometimes does so much of the observation for you, that you won't learn anything at all. People love to experiment with new functions, of tools they haven't used before. People might even invent new functions that turn some tools into other. Again it's very much the user who innovates, not the tool or the medium. Abuse too, makes for wonderful learning...

— Maybe the camera is not such a good example of a tool that invites creative abuse, beyond point and shoot light capturing. Already the idea that a camera captures light is something not readily available to the phone pointing crowd out there... and these devices transmit whatever they're pointed at, instantly!

— Ha. You mean we don't use cameras anymore to expose some sensitive area to the incoming light. Screen-to-screen transport is a network quality. The phone is a great camera and social tool because it is networked. It might indeed serve the best example of an invention going out of bounds of transmitting sound over distance, surpassing tool functionality, becoming a medium. To be able to send a signal over distance is the original miracle of all things tele. It replaces the idea of travel. You don't have to move anymore where you want to be present. Then to transmit from any to any point, to connect in a network, is the consequent idea, weaving single lines into a fabric that completely frees long and short distance messaging, into node-to-node sprawl. Embed some code into that fabric to help shape traffic density, form and quality and there you go... you fly. You leave the tool idea behind. The network is the medium. Software that runs a network is a tool. Software that runs on a network is a tool. For social behaviour, a network is a medium. A party is a tool. A car is a tool. Clothes can be a tool, food and books can be, but company, your friends, people you meet by chance are your medium. That's why social software should work in the fabric. A fabric that extends beyond the communication networks of everything tele.

— Today's camera makes me a photographer like the rest of us. Technology's just one step removed from coming preloaded with all the world's wonders, and beaches, ice caps, monuments, art works... and with my friends, schools, my holidays, my marriage, my kids... Phones and social software do the same thing, they anticipate my life, they give me an illusion of connection, collectivity, purpose. My life turns to be a function of their features!...

— ...your camera, phone and social software know that you will go out to eat at restaurants, visit museums, witness beach and snow scenes all over the world, and that you will want to take close-ups and copy and paste and send stuff when moving about, your tools and media anticipate what you can and probably will do in your life, with your life, but they don't make you do it, yet. You can refuse that Photo Op, or the Dial Op, the Socio Op...

— Fine, I know your generation was all about refusal mode. Mine is more sort of like about opportunity. No offence meant, but how to fashion opportunity without having to fit the moulds you mention, and without refusal?

— Unlike hammering in a nail, social interaction is an impossible to quantify activity. You don't hang your coat from it. It does not mount any feet under your chair. It doesn't even promise you any pretty pictures. The short answer is, that if you're more about opportunity than about refusal, you will get the social interaction that comes with it. You can't however run your life as an opportunity engine, in my opinion. Opportunity and refusal are two sides of the same coin. If you will have to learn one lesson out of all your social encounters, it is when to refuse the claim. Refusal becomes opportunity. Il faut reculer pour mieux sauter. Be discrete. Without the paradox of the opportunity of refusal I would say that — this would be my long answer then — you'll have to turn those preloaded ops, that come as scenes and settings with every technology, into true opportunities. Refine your information, refine your reputation, your preferences, reshape the industry that needs you to shape it in order to have you as a life long client to its services. Use all your ingenuity, all your creative and social skills to beat it on its own turf, be one step ahead of it, outsmart it, fight it if necessary. Outsmart its designers. Abuse its serviceable control. Today's social opportunities are unprecedented if, if only you stretch the media fabric to wrap it around yourself and your loved ones and the ones you take responsibility for and with, wrap it around you as a cover, as a camouflage and a veil. Your network will appear social and infinite. It will be both light sensitive and send its rays to the eyes of others...

— I have another question for you then...

Oh I am like...
Another song

(David Thomas and the Wooden Birds, Monster Walks The Winter Lake, 1986)

[22 February 2004] life work

Rejuvenation disclaimer.

One might even call it a life work, if one can call trivialities produced in a fragile medium by a middle-aged man with bad habits a “life work”.

Ah... Ref!, that Ray's most modest a man. Hotsy Totsy Club begotten Bellona Times went pseudopodium (of the dot org kind) a couple of days ago. Cheers old man! Tell it like it is. You can tell from the permalink address that you haven't stepped out of the old club entirely...

Among other arguments for the view that this is really a process of growth, Kassowitz points out that the rate of protrusion of such a pseudopodium, rapid as it appears under a high power, is really not much more rapid than the growth of a stem of asparagus, a mushroom or a bamboo.

It's all about growth again. Just when this morning on Moulin round I wondered how much of a life work one's bad habits can become. To be in one's time with one's time, taking one's own time to paint that one picture which pushes itself to the foreground of experience at one's own place... ne pas hésiter. If the pattern falls apart you break. If the channel checking hampers, you get nausea. If the lines don't connect you feel locked in. If your daily dose isn't met, your mood swings. Life's work is a survival strategy.

film formats actual size
actual size ratio film formats; stop motion mechanical time; from Art in movement, new directions in animation by John Halas and Roger Manvell, Studio Vista 1970, page 187

[21 February 2004] growth

Next: conversation piece.

There are several ways to measure "fast", such as height growth, horizontal spread, reproduction rate, dry weight gain, and life cycle. Bamboo is often considered the fastest growing plant, height wise. It has been reported that it may grow up to 3 to 4 feet in height in one day. During peak growth, corn can gain about 50 grams of dry matter per square meter per day, which is the maximum reported.

Wisconsin fast plants complete their seed-to-seed life cycle in about five weeks under a fluorescent light bank in a classroom. The world's smallest flowering plant, the aquatic Wolffia microscopica, can form a new plant by budding every 30 hours under ideal conditions.

Many weeds are very rapid growers. The aquatic weeds, water hyacinth and giant salvinia, spread extremely rapidly. The vine kudzu is also a very rapid grower.

dr bronner peppermint castille soap
Dr. E. H. Bronner (1908-1997) used his line of soap products as a canvas to spread the word. Clean rubbing pervasive personal publishing.

[20 February 2004] dromaining

Publication hick-ups wake me up. I move the three main domains from N*S to I register with them too. Then I have to get some accounts up at the JvE server. My head has been in the clouds since the beginning of this year. Both to positive as much as to negative effect. As Virilio likes to remind us: the invention of the airplane doubles as the invention of the plane crash. Some of you haven't heard of me since. My December karma turn-around has not reached its full generosity potential yet. It expands first where it was longest wanted.

In my ongoing scratching/scarring the surface quest I turned to light sensitive material. Stop motion. My copy of Lenny Lipton's Independent Film Making I lost long ago to a young guy who lived in a caravan opposite our Entrepotdok loft in Amsterdam. He was Rolf Henderson's assistant at the time — even his name comes back, Douwe, a real nice guy but he never returned the book. I'll will google 'Douwe film' later to see if he got succesful at it. Anyway at Forgotten Pages they have a $ 3.50 volume out of the 44 copies which turn up at abebooks:

eclair 16mm

Lipton, Lenny
Independent Film Making
San Francisco: Straight Arrow, 1973. Softcover 6"x9", very good with minor wear to edges, slight soiling to covers, small creases to corners of covers. Overall a nice clean tight copy.

Probably we have a nice clean tight copy in the library at JvE, where also the Eclair 16mm camera is gathering dust since Susan has left. But Annet our librarian gets back to me that there's no copy at JvE, but a photocopy at the University library, and a 1984 re-edition in Delft or Amsterdam. Which do I prefer? Well I prefer to order my own second hand copy and BTW should order another for JvE, around 3 pop a piece who wants to loan?

Body language. All media use has a specific ratio for the relationship between player/content/frequency of signal. This comes rather precise and is individual. In a personal correspondence as much as in personal publication — whether defined author/readers are involved in a back and forth correspondence, or when the readership is an abstract ‘other’ who is being addressed by the author — all parties have this particular signal dependence, relying on a SOSI signal-out-signal-in dynamic. If the pattern is disturbed, we soon begin to feel sick. Idiososick.

Social contact is, in turn, liable to generate speech between participants who have nothing to say. The ability to produce such speech is, potentially, a social asset.

on kawara pieces

On Kawara played on channel checking presence. Phatic communion. NQP60. Convince me that I'm here. I repeat that I am. Alibi.

Where were you on May 9-10, 1971?

exhibition plan sketch
[19 February 2004] nested curriculum

Time flies when you're having fun. My media diet has swung over to consumption mode. I surf, search, read and collect. No time to feed it back to this outlet. Most will be forwarded to the enclavexquise installation this summer. Some of the keywords to date are: nested, woven, drift, raw material, solid, distributed, map, label, address, distort, grow, stick together. It will be installed from July 9 - October 23. It will have a touch and a resonance to it, smell, you can walk around and stumble over it. You will have to move from one space to another. Amazing! A first focussing event will take place September 23. Details will follow. In July and August we will have weekly lunch scale get-togethers.

How'd you get a name like Crazy Little Thing
Probably the name that drove you crazy all along

(Cpt. Beefheart, ‘Crazy little thing’, on Clear Spot)

I see all the spaces where I've exhibited individually over the years 1978-2004 as nested: the first, ‘Schilderkunstig Genootschap Pictura’ in Groningen (‘Utopie, niets beweegt. Utopie. Niet beweegt’, or Utopia, nothing moves), as the inner body, the last for the moment being the pavilion Nr. 5 in Almere. How then to incorporate the 1993-2003 void? This dark body of Internet connections which was never brought home. Implode or explode the view? It brought suspended materialization. What a great time we had out there, but how good it is to be back in nested reality. And I will take some NQP there too. Smell included.

[15 February 2004] repas d'hiver

The St. Germain des Bois winter buffet is at the Relais Fleuri in Tannay, at noon.

depaviljoens enclave
[9 February 2004] enclavexquise

In Almere I step by the Paviljoens to take another good look at the enclave's rooms, light, detail. Macha proposes me to take the No. 5 pavilion, currently the entrance and library/reading room, but functions often shift here. The 5th pavillion has an entresol, a central staircase.The deck between this and one of the other pavilions is an interesting platform. Basically it is a two floor container in glass and aluminium. It's the right side building on the photo. You see about one third of it.

[7-8 February 2004] F->NL

Back in NL I stay with Joke. Today is her opening at Paul Andriessen gallery. Sunday when Joke has left for Bristol a relaxed afternoon was spent with John and Kristi, who later OCRs me long quotes of Elias Canetti (‘Conscience of Words’, Das Gewissen der Worte) on the difference between a jotting, a calendar/notebook and a diary. I will get back to his notions as soon as my copy of GW has arrived. I know it has, at the Tribune bookstore in Maastricht. Go there on your next visit to M. They have a great discount collection in the cellar. A quote from the Dutch edition ‘Geweten in woorden’, courtesy K.'s nightly OCR:

Een werk dat jaren achtereen van dag tot dag wordt voortgezet, komt je onvermijdelijk af en toe log, uitzichtloos of achterhaald voor. Je haat het, je voelt je erdoor omsingeld, het beneemt je de adem. Alles in de wereld lijkt je plotseling belangrijker dan dat werk, en in de beperking zie je jezelf als een broddelaar. Hoe kan iets nu goed zijn dat zoveel bewust buitensluit. Ieder vreemd geluid klinkt als uit een verboden paradijs, terwijl ieder woord dat je aanhecht op de plaats waar je al sinds lang bent voortgegaan, in zijn gewillige aanpassing, in zijn serviliteit, de kleur heeft van een geoorloofde en banale hel. Het onverdraaglijke van het opgelegde werk kan hiervoor zeer gevaarlijk worden. Een mens, en dat is zijn grootste geluk, is veelvoudig, ja duizendvoudig, en hij kan maar een bepaalde tijd zo leven alsof hij dat niet was. Op zulke ogenblikken waarin hij zichzelf ziet als een slaaf van het door hem beoogde doel, helpt hem maar één ding: hij moet toegeven aan de veelvoudigheid van zijn capaciteiten en blindelings opschrijven wat hem door het hoofd gaat. Het moet zo opduiken alsof het nergens vandaan kwam en nergens heen leidde, het zal meestal kort zijn, snel, als een bliksemschicht, niet getoetst, stuntelig, van ijdelheid verstoken en zonder enig doel. Dezelfde schrijver, die anders het heft stevig in handen houdt, wordt voor een korte tijdsspanne de gewillige speelbal van zijn invallen.

[3 February 2004] containers

Genius loci and Radius loci. The body in an aggregate (< agora), and how the aggregate knows of this presence. To work on my installation in the Wanderer Project (Museum de Paviljoens Almere, next July-October) I have to be in the material world, link to the material world, look at the material world, search the material world. My list of searches grows fat with object and material and mechanics queries.

                                         Small Parts search is what it is.
                                         Pigments are interesting especially charcoal black.
                                         Open Dynamics Engine.
                                         Observatory close to closed-eye vision.

NQP as a means to contain and connect disparate curricular events and life's distractions... distractions... distractions (repeat).

The wanderer wanders the narrative, back and forth between footholds, denominations leaving the one to find the other. Collapse articulations.

Traces, scratched film strips.

[2 Febrier 2004] calm calm calm cupid stupid there's no premiere

Repeat after me: bukshag, tranendal, turkenbak, broekhoest, proefverlof, stageplek, familiedrama, winterstop, tafelrede, hoerensloep, vergiftigingsverschijnselen, zoenoffer, jongensdroom, woordkraam.

Enough is enough. I knew spring was here. Last week I observed a first kingfisher and a couple goldfinches. Here's your premieres. This afternoon temperature goes up to 15°C when we round the premises to see what's pushing and moving.

In the not so early morning another day bright and sunny comes along. I've had it with darkness and take my coffee outside on the veranda. Then I realize how the light will come streaming into God's own attic and I take the video camera up for another window shot.

(note to self: research Pier and Ocean). Even when descriptive, art can be evocative of something outside its institutionalized manifestation and the formal presence of its spectator. Often obviously sought outside the ‘museum’, outside the ‘academy’, outside ‘commerce’, outside ‘theory’, it can just as well find itself inside any of these realms, even across multiple of them, while at the same time (taking you) elsewhere, in an informed and aesthetic (re-)contextualization of its prime residence (the art object in the museum space; the media message in its tabloid; the video on tv; &tc).

[1 Fevruary 2004] serious

Why can't I be serious? Awe. What's the matter with me? Maybe a drawing will cheer me up. Even better: a new NQPissue. Hurrying towards ##100. In about a year, if I continue at this pace. 2003 = 16#s.

Jeez, I gotta score! Fuck, I'm so impatient... F3.

[31 January 2004] 24 hour winter to spring to fall

Today local warming provides for a windy sunny atmosphere. How we love to be fooled into believing that spring has arrived. But we're bored. We're bored in the bar, we're bored in the library, we're bored and brain dead. Later it starts raining. I pick up Rolf from his tennis lessons. In the back of the car on the ride home R+r read nearly all the books they got at the public library. Comics. I liked Felix the Cat at the Leclerc parking lot. Ah!... I wasn't bored on the Leclerc parking lot today. At home I post Simone's F-E translations to The Jayhawks repeat, loudly repeat “She's Not Alone Anymore”... the drums and guitar intro is particularly upbeat. In the spring time the birds begin singin'...

1971 JK drawing on inside cahier cover

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 1998-2004 jouke kleerebezem Notes Quotes Provocations and Other Fair Use