Vernacular Curriculum


Le Moulin du Merle 1999

le retour au vide

June 25-22
I got moody. Hot-tempered. Took it out on the family and the guest. God knows what does it to me. Thursday took a plunge (thank you Andrea) and it made me feel better. Friday took another plunge. Medium cool. Some fish actually nibble your foot. Before yesterday I was about to close down nqp for a while, or start a password protected follow-up for intimacy. With Paul Friday morning discussed how to weave the private information in a public document. More compensation: later this day with Andrea I shopped for antiques in Corbigny and brought home this great standing reading lamp with an ironwork corkscrew pole and a wide shade, with branches/herb pattern. They also had cool all-glass vitrines from the 30's, with yellow copper joints.

To further improve my mood, this morning our mayor made a pass at me, jeune homme. The public and the private mix happier in a small community like the ones we joined. Tomorrow is the Feu de St. Jean, some late night local bouffe and booze with a bonfire to celebrate summer solstice. We all go.

June 21
Paris s'éveille
Paris at 5.30am is a natural phenomenon. After a very pleasurable dinner with Andrea and Francine Z. (who I hadn't spoken with de vive voix for a long time), but a very short night, I wake up before 5, next to A. I see a pale sky behind the shutter, the mind starts spinning and I am faced with the bed sharing insomniac's eternal problem: not to share this his or her delight, but to egotistically profit from it and try to sneak out of the way of those who can't resist Morpheus' arms and miss the single most enjoyable experience of early morning. We sleepless escapists become masters of the silent retreat (not an easy thing in an unfamiliar ancient Parisian apartment where squeaks are lurking under every floor part). We know how to pull a door towards us and slightly up in order to open it without the tiniest sound, we slip into our clothes and shoes as if not touching them, we load our paraphernalia (Palmpilot, money, memorecorder) in the blind, from bags which they weren't intended to leave just now. Our reward is the 'unoccupied world' (Paul, June 22). A natural phenomenon. Under its grey roofs Paris grows on you at this early hour.

At 6, from the café Notre Dame (around the corner from my adolescence's left bank Rue du chat qui peche) I see the sun rise from behind the church which goes by the same name. I'm the first guest, there's no croissants yet, but my juices flow rich like their au laits.

June 20
I'm off to Paris to pick up Andrea to come down to the moulin, an iMac-cum-ISDN modem and an ISDN cordless phone.

June 19
A perfectly normal Saturday. Set up the library (more like a book storage, a long stretch of leftover metal racks) in the 'petit salon' with its beige-pinkish velvet wall paper. Bit by bit, one piece of Lego at the time, we move R+r upstairs. We're changing our patterns of use of the rooms. We all move.

June 17
Mind the Links
Below I added to the indexes of nqp a concise Who's Who. I realized that when I nonchalantly speak of Paul or R+r or Gil, this means zilch to new readership, even if they are old (media) (artist) friends, who finally follow online ;-) already facing the steepest of learning curves to get to grips with Early Information Age's tribulations (mind the links!). I wouldn't want to add to their hard time. To the friends introduced: check your profiles and let me know when my interpretation of our relation hit the fan, or your current image of self changed dramatically. Now back to lives lived.

Food Chain Gang
R+r eat a warm lunch at school. If you don't prepare it the night before you're the early cook. Pasta and tomato sauce with fried ham at 6.30am this morning. An average hour later they're down for bread and drinks. But it leaves time to think up and take down today's NQPAOFU heads and general direction.

Another Invasion for La France Profonde
Occupancy of the résidence secondaire grows since May. Shutters open that we saw closed since we arrived, gardens are maintained, houses repainted. This renders a new image to the land, to the markets, at the events, till September/October. New demographics for the neighbourhood. After July 1, when schools close, younger people will join, to stay with their grandparents, camp out, enjoy the campagne.

Nutshells make nifty containers
Sometimes you get it out right toutesuite and tout court. In my email late last night, to Jo, I pretty much described how the basic questions are the same here in Burgundy as they are in Amsterdam: 'Leven we, sterven we, werken we—en waarom en met wie'. In Dutch, which adds to my pointe at times ('do we live, do we die, do we work—and why and with whom')? How I wish it was that simple all along...

June 16
The Owl, the Cinclus and the Snake: Wildlife Invasion at the Moulin
After having celebrated trout's return (and left aside marching ants and a colorful selection of insects in all sizes (matching from Roemer's fingernail to your average matchbox), which up till now I only knew from—and honestly rather see—behind glass in the zoo), this morning when I opened the bathroom shutters just before 6am, at 30 feet away from the open window (the windows open inwards, the shutters outwards) a small (young?) owl stared me in the face from the opposite pine, for a few seconds, then took off over the island. Later I OBSed a young dipper on a piece of driftwood in the pond, where it let itself be studied even from the shore from where the pic was taken. When we returned home this afternoon around 4pm Gilberthe discovered a 5ft. snake (dark green back, yellowish-green belly) next to the chicken run. I ran for my Mavica while she witnessed it enter the chicks' club, where it hang out for a few minutes before slowly leaving under the grass, probably for the river. It wasn't a viper, could it be a blindworm? This length? This colour?

placeholder, communication, the front half of our visitor, slithering out of the chicks run

placeholder, isolation, a young Cinclus Cinclus spotted in the pond under our kitchen window

I'm For Informatic License (Customization#1)
From the ongoing 'my ... is different than yours' series: my information is different than yours. Try to find a clue to information culture and you will some day stumble over this one. Since I prefer to have my information customized, I am prepared to pay a price in privacy. Not to anyone and not without complete insight in what I release and how it will improve my information. So not the way my data are typically gathered by capital players today... I want you to know about me in order for you to serve me what I need and get you what you need in return. Closed loops. Hey, it sounds like a relationship already! What's your sign again?

I'm For CryptoSustainability (New Market#2)
Just read in the NRC weekendeditie buitenland (foreign weekly of the best Dutch newspaper) that the market for second hand shoes (52M pairs are dumped yearly, on 15M inhabitants in the Netherlands!) forces eg. Bata to close down their Kenya factory and send local cheap labor home. 'Trade not aid' makes our Nikes and Clarks and Van Bommels not go straight to shantytown, but being resold by the welfare organisations we donate them to, and being exported again, commercially. Reminded me of Sony Europe's sustainability manager Scheidt's interest in the possibility of closed loops for Sony products: getting a grip on the second hand market. When Western commodity markets are saturated with technology, but not with models, Sony could basically supply 'design only', on top of existing models. Part of the hardware would behave like software: continuous change, adaptability, continuous changing cases to start with, beyond graphics and looks: functions. Collect them all. The Swatch scenario. Rebuild the walkman to be a mini diskman to be a MP3 player.

Another story tells us of Erik Spiekermann's Metadesign who distribute a global Audi A6 campaign through their Intranet. Global design strategy makes any Audi A6 (and its campaign) like any Big Mac, the same the world over. What's the added value here? Brand Fidelity, BraFi? It wouldn't suffer from a touch of magic: BraFaut. (excuse my French). I bet there's a niche market for a Nicaragua upgrade of the German A6: in China... Like I wouldn't personally mind (meaning: I would pay for it) to have my run down Clarks desert boots returned to me, repaired and after some Kenyan crafts person added an indigenous touch to it. CryptoSustainability is closed loops and added vernacular value? A No Abundancy Deficit Act: NADA.

I'm For CryptoMobility (New Market#1)
A few weeks ago I tried to convince the Erasmus University that mobility is a design problem, not a logistics or technology or (urban) planning problem per se. YMMV (NPI), but my classic mobility recently exploded, when my information mobility froze to a standstill. I was off the grid and on the road. Not having owned a car for over ten years I bought one two days before we left for France. I drove 6,000km in 2.5 months. How's that for mobility. Now imagine these French roads and the joy of steersmanship! All the thrills of speed and anticipation of curves and hills and bridges and cattle and young foxes and deer and an occasional mad driver (France driving produces 8,5k traffic victims a year, which makes it Nº Uno in Europe, no wonder they brought forth a Virilio...). Designing mobility means designing these kind of changes in appetite. CryptoMobility is latent steersmanship, navigation and the thrill of fast information in the mix.

I'm For Correspondence (Old Habit#5)
To Leak or not to Leak. How to maintain the privilege of isolation while benefiting its benign effect in communication? By leaking information. All I do from here is to dose home (to the constituency/readership) data. These notes link my imprisoned self to an imprisoned readership. I'm imprisoned in different habits than you are. Wanna know all about them? Keep logging in as long as free leaking lasts.

interior/exterior correspondence
When we open all windows/doors to the loggia, this is how salon and garden correspond.

interior/exterior communication Ó la Franšaise
placeholder, material world, when all doors open the garden leaks into the salon

June 15
I'm For Permanent Education (Old Habit#4)
Le goût d'apprendre, the 'taste of learning', is what education should be about, not a compulsive accumulation of facts and figures. At the biological goat farm yesterday we hear Philip, the owner, who moved here 22 years ago from the Paris region, having wanted to become a farmer since his earliest childhood memories: a born farmer, who's a born teacher too. His kids (aged 5, 9 and 15) are all home schooled. We hear for the first time that France knows no compulsory school attendance, but compulsory education—which theoretically could take place anywhere and anyhow... I must do some net research after how French home schooling is facilitated and its quality maintained. Philip I will ask again, but he does it the unplugged way: his kids learn (and do some work) at the farm, go horse riding and take music lessons. Hmm. Interesting alternative vv. the very competitive French school system? Not that we're looking for a job, but this is important for R+r's possibilities, next to school, and our anticipation of their education, the French cultural boundaries. Find the right mix.

I'm For A Material World (Old Habit#3)
To learn is to burn. All creation is destruction. Change is built on ruins. Yet history contains all future changes: we can stand on the shoulders of others to discover new horizons. How many alternative, sometimes isolated, practices and ideas and options Western man has left and lost in the process of his 'civilization' (really, which is only the booming success story of popular culture, mass media markets and levelling commercial democratization)?

History never repeats itself, Gottesdank. Many romanticize about the past, to make it seem a safer place. Those forces that want to drive us and anything back in time however, are devoid of reality. Yet not all that was left behind in 'our' culture, was changed for the better, the more precise, the more sensible, the more effective, the more aesthetic, the more convivial, the more generous, the more clever. Now that we are on the verge of leaving behind the material world for information Utopia, we should closely consider what to burn, what to throw in the face of information media, also what to hide for change. Information by its qualities of abundance, by its low-to-no reproduction cost, by its connectedness and wide filigrain distribution, allows for conservation and re-integration into some lives, of old habits and practices, material opportunities left behind by mainstream culture and markets. No more shelves where past excellence gathers dust. Informationalization is a vital force to wake past alternatives that lived on in the suspension allowed by isolation. 'Old books and buildings' are not destined to be monuments (Debord) of a better (the populace) past, but material sources, that contain the information with which to feed future systems of precision, sensibility, aesthetics, conviviality, generosity, cleverness.

If you burn, you learn, I agree. Burning fuels change, moreover. Can we think of any material object that we want to guard for burning (or which we should now construct, piece together, to materialize from cinders of the past), in order to save it for future benefit? Could the artist be in charge of recovering and curating and building and (re:)inventing an alternative (material) estate for the future of information?

June 14
I'm For Isolation (Old Habit#2)
Contrast. To be able to separate. To be able to stand separation. To allow isolation. Why everything is not connected, is because of our ability, our aesthetic challenge, to disconnect, to pay attention to change and difference rather than to solidarity or integrity, to isolate information from noise. Art knows the best tricks of all to enhance this ability, to make its works stand out, to feed the (illusion of) change.

Yet to distinguish other qualities in the art work than those advertized in the press and on the market, is not given to most critical minds, neither popular ever, in the contrary—almost all interpretation aims to connect rather than disconnect from institutional (for lack of a better word) consensus, affirmative order, daily life.

Markets are satisfied with second, third best products. They do not demand optimalization, or difference. (Mass) market forces are driven by volume, by repetition. Splendid isolation is a precondition for art. Only from its privilege, it can shine a light for one, for two, for more, for all. Who needs an isolated market in a global economy?

June 13-6
I'm For Unworldlyness (Old Habit#1)
I'm for an unworldly art. In a recent correspondence, spun off from the Sites and Situations workshops, Paul wrote (also published on Alamut, on June 3, as 'Vitriol') an 'I'm for an art' memento, referring to, ('pastiching') Claes Oldenburg's 1961 rant ("I'm for art that is put on and taken off, like pants, etc."):
  • I'm for an art that looks forward rather than backward.
  • I'm for an art that mind's its own business and does not try to solve the world's problems, the commissioner's problems or the problems of the commissioner's 'tenants'.
  • I'm for an art that is not the same as food, clothing, shelter or justice. If inequality (in art) leads to diversity--I'm for that inequality.
  • I'm for an art that is different than yours.
  • I'm for an art that leads to individual instability and personal change. I'm for an art that could never be confused with a public or social 'good'.
Meanwhile I realized that my pondering of public art below excludes me to a large extend as a 'public artist' (although I'm not all sure: my plea for micro-public develops from my interest in ultimately one-to-one communication, correspondence). Especially after re:reading Broodthaers (from a conversation with Freddy de Vree: Marcel Broodthaers, Marcel Broodthaers, Manteau Marginaal, isbn 90 223 0716 6, hard to find, but worth the detour), I recognize my roots in unworldlyness, or otherworldlyness.

Broodthaers on poetry-against-habit:
- Ik denk dat ze roet komt gooien in de codes waarmee verklaringen worden opgesteld. In de mate dat ze onverklaarbaar blijft, komt zij de gewoontes verstoren van een wereld waarin men altijd alles op orde tracht te stellen.
  (poetry comes to queer the pitch for the codes in which declarations are drafted. As much as it remains incomprehensible, it disturbs the habits of a world in which one always tries to get things straight)

Broodthaers on avant-gardes-as-small-worlds:
- Hoe kleiner die wereld, hoe duidelijker het zicht dat je krijgt op de evenementen, hoe duidelijker je je kunt uitspreken met die avant-garde als megafoon, zo je wilt. Op paradoxale wijze fungeert zo'n bekrompen wereld dus op heel efficiënte manier.
  (the smaller that world is, the clearer it allows a view on the events, the more explicit it affords you to make your point using the avant-garde as a megaphone, if you like. Paradoxically such a restraint world is very efficient)

These are old habits depending on which form they take for their re:actualization. Broodthaers' body of work is one man's possibility. There's many examples. I further adhere to Paul's suggestion of art as a drug and agree its history is yet to be written. The artist at least, is addicted to making, to poiesis and its progress, at the cost of burning material. I don't know about the recipient, but I suppose the addiction to aesthetic pleasure or intellectual play is as real as is poiesis. Addiction to information is in our genes.

I'm for an unworldly art
placeholder, oil on linen on cardboard (from A.Gouillet, Paris), signed V.Renay(?), framed, acquired at the Couy vide grenier at FF80. File under: local addiction.

What else was new. The French magazine June 'Lire' read into (NPI) online bookstores ('Le Web va-t-il tuer la librairie?'—when did the rest of us have this discussion? Calculate the lag ) and writer's sites. Francophiles may want to order with or, but Belgium based Proxis is not bound to a standard book price, like French or Dutch retail. For all on Rabelais' textual intricacy, 'click here', to quote the web's basic understatement of information access value. Or here, for Flaubert; here, for Jarry; here, for Borges; here, for Mallarmé. See? Lire anyone?

For local full color information access, Nobody Beats the Postman. His Almanach du Facteur we find to be a great source. It's a calendar with add-ons. Postal information, prices and services on the inside cover. The chronicles of the 20thC with every month ('15 juin 1991. Boris Eltsine est élu président de la Fédération de Russie') ('26 juin 1963. Le président américain, John F. Kennedy, est à Berlin, où il déclare face à la foule "Ich bin ein Berliner"). Then there's the school holidays scheme, a map of the European Community, next to a list of the Niàvre's communities (from Achun, 174 inhabitants, to Vitry-Laché, 137 inhabitants; totalling 312 communities, 233,278 inhabitants on 688,814 hectares. The four of us occupy 1.7ha, but we can dream of and in the other 10—there's an average of 2.95ha per inhabitant in the Nièvre) with the market and Foire days, and a map of the region and its préfecture Nevers, and some bigger centers, like Cosne Cours-sur-Loire and our own Clamecy.

The next map of La France Administrative also includes Guadeloupe, Martinique, Guyane and Reunion (Depts. 971, 972, 973, 974). Then there's the sun and moon rise and set times, the lunar phases with meteorological predictions. Imagine this calender being your sole source of information on the outside world, eg. at the age of, say 8, in St.Germain-des-Bois (it could happen to Rolf in 2 more years. When we decide to shut down the other sources). Then, imagine some contemporary artist choosing the Almanach du Facteur as a vehicle for his/her conceptual turd. Yeah... information distribution, alternative channel, weaving life and art on a democratic level. Local community culture. Etc. Don't get me going.

Monday thru Wednesday (7-9 June) I met with John and Kristi and Pascale Bastide in Lectoure and Fleurance. This is a big country. It took me a 250km car ride to Tours for the railway station and almost four additional hours in the TGV to get me to nearby Agen, where J+K picked us up. The two cities and 24 other Lomagne region bastides (a bastide is a historical stronghold and city plan) are organized in the project. At the Fleurance town hall we were invited to submit a proposal for a pilot project.

When I returned home after 60 hours I found the Jasmine flowering with heavy perfumes (remember Des Esseintes in J.-K. Huysmans' A Rebours, chapter 10, on perfume pathology) and massive trout return! We had only spotted sporadic fish until now, these days the mill's pond is abundant with trout in all sizes and another, small kind that reportedly goes down well as friture. I leave them be and enjoy the continuous emergence of backs and tail turbulence.

Jasmine perfume saturates the garden at dusk
placeholder, Jasmine perfume saturates the garden at dusk

Also at home we had family visit (Gilberthe's parents aged 85 and 89, and her ex-brother-in-law Piet and his best friend Diederick) for more Big Works: haying and scraping old paint and building a chicken run. Last Sunday 13 June we bought two young brownish chicks in Cosne. R+r named them Kokkie and Kekkie.

June 5
All The World Turned To A Page Again
Local dial up access is back. Through Wanadoo, so now you can call me a Wanadien(sic) (...don't forget I'm a Piloteer too). The happy tone is the same all over, as are the happy services, sports, travel, weather. I only asked for local access in the middleofnowhere. France Telecom promises a month for free, and had mine start May 25, when their confirmation letter only arrived June 4... They stole 11 days off of that month. All I save is 95FF BTW, the state monopoly's so generous (heard about the service they will set up at post-offices nation wide: iMacs powered access at 50FF per hour, they call it the 'Cyberposte', and you have to buy a special card).

Who needs ADSL? I do. (My kingdom for ADSL? Never.) My first test trail at 7-8K/sec blazed me past old friends, old services, my own landscape.'s my start-up page now. I added NRC and Volkskrant to my News folder. Checked Telepolis, Wired news, Edge, Firstmonday, Camworld, Scripting. You know the feeling that nothing changed at home after you have been away for a while? Happy holidays.

June 4
The Infinite Revolution Salon, TIRS (Fr. tir is shot)
Decoy Paragraph's Head. Placeholder, Competence Infarct.

If you can't sight it, situate it
One of the generally adopted assumptions at the Sites and Situations workshop was that an artist can 'choose' his/her public—in fact does so by means of her/his work. A work of art forming its proper public? For the attendees it did, even when they understood the public as some body not to work for, but with (we wouldn't be so pleased with a work of anthropology which formed its own indigenous people—which of course underlies most postmodern critique, that any curiosity/attention terrorizes its object, changes it, bends it into shape, in order to 'understand' it and present it to the ones that stayed behind). It would nevertheless come in handy, this automatic fulfilment of what seems to me to be the conditio sine qua non of any art that dares call itself 'public' art... Yet it seems to be true only in some very loose idea of what a public would be (a public consisting of eg. people that attend the unveiling of the work, people that like the work, people that understand the work, people that remember the work, people that might buy the work, etc.). Such a vague notion does not extend to what I had in mind when I posed the question whether an artist can/should determine which public (s)he wants to address: what this would eventually mean for the 'public space' which is chosen/developed for the interaction? I hoped for (radical) examples of precision targeting, rather than for easy manifestations of the labelling habit.

I would have been pleased if someone had come up with an example of proper direct 'targeting' of a work of art. Even after the fact, in case an artist 'finds' a public (eg. it came with a commission, or a special exhibition/installation) at some site, in this or that situation, I would be interested to know how precisely the work addressed that public, how much that public would feel acknowledged, in which identity, etc. What size that public would be (it seems that no artist is interested in a small public—a minor set back for surgical focusing). And the end of customization for the arts?

What we actually see happen, is an artist determining an invisible (no sight of it), unidentifiable mass, called the 'public', by situating it (in its more often than not 'underprivileged' conditions), on the basis of assumptions rather than observations. To make things worse, the artist assumes this public-of-choice in a situation that was imposed upon it, rather than it being an expression of this public's cultural identity, its economic or political interests, and so on. Others (Rick van der Ploeg, Sony, Social Welfare, SBS6—any player in the public arena) went before the artist and did some heavy situating for themselves. In our family we call this stigmatization. And we know how good it feels to heal the wounds afterwards. The artists at the workshop who recognized the danger of projecting preconceived ideas on a public, chose either to do the observation first (set up an artists residency-cum-shop in the Afrikaanderwijk), or recast their art work as 'work (as in labour) of art', in the disguise of a football match (yet wearing Art/Action red and blue logofied t-shirts). Both strategies to me postpone (cancel) the decisive moment of public art, and circumvent its forte: forming the public, by the artist, and addressing it, by the artist, as an integral part of the 'public' work. Shouldn't we understand public art as art that (in-)forms a public? I know it is understood that way in information media: a public (preferably referred to as a 'community') as the product of art, true public art ('in a private time' -Vito Acconci), just like land art forms land and textile art forms textile. Public as material and expression.

Why am I so interested in this particular issue of public art and design? Because, as I said before, a 'public' is conditional to public art. If 'public' only refers to the kind of space the art uses for its manifestation, it is (and we are) thrown back in time, to when there was a (at least political) need for public space. We do not find such generalizing and levelling space anymore, maybe we don't need it anymore, because we lost all sense of public. If public space deserves to come around again, in a contemporary form, we need a public first: to people it, to enchant it with shared interests, to use it. If we want people in our public, we will have to program space for it to form, not only to provide some cheap square meters, or steal them back from the spectacle.

By now everybody got his own Fußball, as dada stipulated. Some players even got their own field, and on some of these fields even artists are allowed to play. All of the projects of the nine groups at Sites and Situations created social space! Even when its object/commodity value seemed high, it was more than just another turd parachuted at some empty lot. But no projects explained what their social space was going to be used for, what other action it invited for, except for marvelling at its objet d'art added value. The only residents' representative present, a lady from the Feyenoord neighbourhood, begged for an object to focus on... Interests seemed to diverge. The public artist wants a public to play with, the public wants an object to play around. The artist doesn't want to provide the object, because it might be too empty, too unconnected to a public it is at the same time assumed to form. The artist just wants to empty out some space, for rather unspecified 'social' interaction to take place, some reality performance, camera-ready. We were running around in circles at S+S.

In an ideal world of public commitment to public art, and artist's competence for public art, I would expect to see a thousand co-authoring publics bloom. I would see abundant information flow two-ways. Such diversity in all directions is not very sought after. Not in public art as the emancipatory genre. Not in the labelling habit. Here, hollowed out public space echoes the last resonance of lost public causes: liberté, egalité, fraternité...

June 3
For all the French special characters I downloaded (again) an HTML list. So besides the — which I always use (but seldom see others do) for the indispensable '—', I now have the ° to boast rising °Cs, or °Fs. And finally the È's È, the É's É and Ê's Ê... There's however hardly any cause for temperature optimism at the moment, rather I'm in saving alert mode, due to restless clouds, ruffle of leaves and the ticks of Big drops on my loggia.

Bloody #$%& µ¶š›œ™ Gremlins!?
Special Characters for special curses! Shoot! At the very finishing (and saving, haha) of last paragraph's last sentence my computers shut down for half a minute. Gawdawfull EDF! Can't they get anything stable here? Not even with my tax money? I quickly opened the electrical gate in order to be able to get out, to pick up R+r from school by car. Don't want to be late there, due to an unforeseen and very unwelcome half hour by bike, with my luck being forced to return in an authentic thunderstorm, soaking my two exhausted heroes of the French educational system. Hell no.

Of Gardens
Folie de jeunesse: les femmes. Folie de maturité: les maisons. Folie de l'âge: les jardins. Balancing between the latter two, I'm typical in my mid-life crisis, when measured along this Japanese proverbial saying, found in Baridon. Otherwise re:viewing five past projects this morning (as a preparation for next week's trip south), proved consoling... Customized Communities (1994), Tribal Media (1995), Silicon Rally (1996), (1997) and Enclav'Exquise (1998) all are still as fresh as when they were conceived. Enclav'Exquise definitely deserves a second becoming, after the AVEcom mismanagement (despite curator Jorinde Seydel's relentless efforts for improvement, the festival which hired her wasn't up to its ambition). The trouble with such a project is that rather I would like to sell the concept, design and support its building, than to maintain and continue feeding it myself. Of course I would contribute to it, but like I only accidentaly exhibited in De Zaak's space, I wouldn't press for major presence in my own online Enclave. Of course it is different when online and on site mutually thrive on each other, as with the moulin, within one paragraph's span I find myself back mid-life, mid-carreer, mid-house/-garden, mid-nowhere (yet).

A garden for the moulin would ideally be situated at its backside, on the north east (but since the stretch of the land not in its shadow). It could actually split the property in a private area (the current front and main building), taking away some of the attention, and guiding it to another, eventually public part. Approaching here from the north, the garden would serve as a gate to the property. There's even several access points to be conceived of, one at the far north point of the prairie, one right next to the backside of the barn, promoting it to be its front. I have to get to the drawing board. Who would I hire as a land surveyor? I need a very precise 3D map to start with.

placeholder, the house is dark red, the barn orange, the dark green area is the vegetable garden.

June 2
Laisser Leisure
Wednesdays the boys are off school duty. We hung around the house until 3pm, when only we got dressed and went shopping for food. We built around their Duplo train set, took a bath for almost two hours, grilled croques monsieurs (Gilberthe's still in A.) and slowly got ready to go out. We shopped at Auchan (the supermarket with its typical admirable book selection, where Alain Finkielkraut's latest L'ingratitude is piled up amidst the usual gossipy and compu mags, like oysters amidst sprat in the fresh fish dept.), where I bought Michel Baridon's Les Jardins, Paysagistes-Jardiniers-Poètes which won this year's Prix Essai France Télévision. It's a Travel Survival Kit kind of paperback, 1260 pages, on three great garden traditions: in Islamic, Far-Eastern and Western civilisations.

On our way back to the moulin we dérived and passed by Tannay, where Rolf found a deceased swallow which he insisted to bury. We took it home and paid respect.

Later, just when I served my excellent Bolognese pasta as a tv-dinner, watching the Tom and Jerry Festival which we taped on Cartoon Network last New Year's day, the power got cut off. I checked all the fuses but they seemed all right. After having put some candles and matches on the table for later use, I phoned the EDF to hear that it was a panne générale, because of the thunderstorm we had heard pass by in the far. Then, 3 quarters of an hour later, the lights (and my computers, and the VCR, and the fridge, switched on, and off again... I unplugged the computers and we ate the icecream from the freezer. Another half hour later when I had just lit the fire for comfort, we got re-connected. Half an hour later we were cut off for a few minutes again, just when I was reading Le Petit Prince to R+r... So what are the lessons learned here? That I should run my hardware off the mill, instead of off the nuclear power from EDF? That perfect days always mean surprises in the end? When I took Rolf and Roemer out of bed for a pee (the 11pm routine), R. squirted all over me, letting go a bit too soon.

Files 1988-1992 (1998)
June 2 1988, I took down the following note:

88 06 02
Gisteren een onrustige dag gehad. Het begon allemaal zo mooi. De vermoeienissen van de KunstRai nog niet helemaal weggeslapen ben ik om een uur of tien naar de Hortus Botanicus gewandeld, heb op de Plantage Middenlaan de twee luchtpostomslagen aan Gilberthe gepost en vervolgens enige uurtjes in tuinen en kassen van de Hortus doorgebracht. Je kunt er tegenwoordig koffie en andere heerlijkheden krijgen. Ik heb me tot twee cappucino beperkt en er een heerlijke tijd besteed. Enigszins verdwaasd tussen de duizenden variëteiten doorgesjokt, in een soort waas waaruit slechts een opvallende muntgeur of een wel heel ongegeneerde bloei mij kon wekken. Het is merkwaardig om de natuur te bekijken, onwennig, natuur ben je gewend te ervaren, en af en toe slechts in detail nader te bekijken. We zoeken vaak in de natuur, naar bloemen, paddestoelen, beestjes, bijzondere details, van die typische natuurverschijnselen, waar we de natuur zo om waarderen. Zeldzaamheden, in de natuur zoeken we naar die bijna uitgestorven -- of toch in ieder geval in ons stadsmilieu niet meer voorkomende -- soort, species. De parallel met de kunst dringt zich nu -- niet gisteren temidden van alle ongegeneerde variëteit -- ineens duidelijk op: het zoeken naar de bijzondere gedachte, het bijzondere plan, een opdracht -- in het geval van de natuur, van de schepper -- in het geval van de kunst, van de mens. In de natuur is al die variëteit zo mogelijk nog functielozer dan in de zogenaamd functieloze kunst. De kunst bestaat echter bij de gratie van functioneren alleen (uitwerken: de afhankelijkheid van de kunst tegenover de onafhankelijkheid van de natuur). Dat is juist het aardige onmenselijke of typisch menselijke of bovenmenselijke aspect aan de kunst. De kunst is een functie van onze natuur, de menselijke natuur, een functie die ons tot on- en bovenmenselijke daden aanzet, opdat wij excelleren over de natuur. Op een randje van het English/Deutsche MuseumMagazine heb ik tijdens mijn korte verblijf in de Hortus aantekeningen gemaakt die hier zullen volgen. Nu moet ik eerst wat eten en dan naar de belastingen, dat was het onheil dat gisteren -- na die aanvankelijk heerlijke start -- over mij werd uitgestort. Vandaag om 7:45 uur weer een typhus pil geslikt, waardoor ik het eerste uur slechts vocht mag innemen. Zometeen gaat de wekker en kan ik wat eten, alvorens me bij de heren Tafleur en Kapper (de Ontvangers) te melden.

Within a few weeks I was going to Indonesia for the first time, to join Gilberthe. I took notes actively from 1988-1992, with some accidental revivals until 1998. I called these notes Files, after Valéry's Cahiers, which also were named after the medium. They were never meant to be published, however the Files 1992 are, in a lightbox. My last 'Files' note dates February 1, 1998:

Decoy Reality
fantoom pijn
interupted processes: half ink jet, half black board, bill board size

50 days later I started publishing nqp.

Escape into the World
'Public Art and Design' offer plenty escape into institutional-conceptual legitimation for those artists who suffer sincere lack of wild talent. Domestication is what results. Blank looks. Public space is the new museum.

June 1
Today Is The First Day Of The Rest Of Your Life
Paul celebrates June 1 in joyful anticipation of summer vacation on Alamut. With 30°C in the shade summer has kicked in here. Like him I remember vividly the promise of summer holidays when I was a kid. ...At the very moment of writing a butterfly flies into the bureau and lands on the bamboesque wallpaper right in front of me... pity my MVC is still in the safe. On my first long summer holiday with a friend (instead of with the family), in 1971, I hitch-hiked with Reinhard Muskens to Denmark, Sweden, Norway. On the way up we met an American who was running in this Volvo that he bought in Sweden. He had picked up an American girl in the south of France, who's sister in Gothenburg they were going to see... We followed a happy trail with them, all the way up to midsummernight suns in Trondheim, and back again to Copenhagen. On the back of his jacket it said in an embroidered tag: Today Is The First Day Of The Rest Of Your Life. I remember we fixed a small hole in the gastank with a piece of chewing gum. And we visited Tivoli, where I was only to return 25 years later with davidkremers and Paul. Enough said, this will do for cyclic time.

Next week I'll meet with Pascale Bastide and John and Kristi near Lectoure in the Gers, some 550km south of here. Pascale arranged for a meeting with a Bernard Lapeyrade, new technology responsable at the Fleurance Mairie. I'm curious to see how they weave the Marché du Terroir, Internet, Expos...

Anticipating changes of focus in my activities I somewhat re:styled and re:organized nqp. More emphasis on the Moulin's development force me to devide my attention and relocate information accordingly. will have increasingly specific content, which is also listed at nqp, for your convenience. I've started to conceive of a operating plan for the estate. As a part of this I will be listing relevant bits in the site's Genius Loci, Radius Loci and Exploitation areas. Also I will upgrade the imagery with more recent pictures.

Spread Thin
'One site spreads thin', when you want to sort of devide it up, following your attention's impulse.

May 31
Who wants yesterday's weather?
We're back at the moulin after a confusing week. But everything breathed a more sane life when we arrived last night. The green pushed hard in our absence. If you want to know what drives the process of growth, you need to know yesterday's weather. For infinite learning you have to look in all directions, not only where the signs of consensus point: so much the Rotterdam workshops taught, as does my green. Here change is continuous. I took the high road back from R+r's school, to see the new colours of the fields, new volumes of green and red and yellow that shape the ponds and hills along the way. In our garden the smell of roses is almost as penetrating as was the smell of rose hips blossom, yesterday, along the tollway from Arras to Reims, where R+r and myself (Gilberthe stayed behind to arrange the Amsterdam appartment) sped along all windows down. Summer announces itself with bright skies, high temperatures and a lower water level than I've seen here before.

In nqpXII (now playing, June 2) I will look back at the past week in more detail. The rest of this day will be for acclimatization, cleaning up and playing around. Finding back, in a place I've only lived for two months now—a place I've hardly begun to get to know—cherished objects and books and furniture, all the familiar attributes of my life, some of which have been with me for all of its length, some of which I only rediscovered when moving here, some of which I never leave alone, is quite an amazing discovery. This support structure, this exoskeleton moved here with us, to a new place to operate from, a new ecology, where new stories will be built within it and thrive around it.

R+r didn't want to go back to school today. I promised to pick them up at noon and spend the day with them. We'll re:acclimatize together.

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19990601: wheels drive wheels drive curriculums


best bits from correspondencies, attendencies and collected hard copy

NOTE: generally corrections are made within 24 hours after first publishing: to be sure read twice, print-out at 75%

copyright 1998-1999
since 31 March 1999 published through
Le Moulin du Merle
58210 St.Germain-des-Bois, France

SINCE 1998




19990601 minor modifications


Rolf and Roemer, kid brothers and our sons Rolf (big R, the elder) and Roemer (little r, the younger). Since being in the middleofnowhere France they are a great team.
( Rolf Indah Jot Kleerebezem (RIJK, Dutch for 'rich' and a common first name) in full, born 17 July 1993: the brooder.
( Roemer Indah Pieter Kleerebezem (RIPK, like in Rip Kirby) in full, born 29 December 1995: the trickster.
( Gilberthe Akkermans, my partner in life since 1978, mother of R+r and co-proprietor of the Moulin du Merle; leather bag and fashion accessory designer.
me myself
Jouke Kleerebezem, owner of, and author of NQPAOFU since 22 March 1998; father of R+r and co-proprietor of the Moulin du Merle; artist/curator.
Paul Perry, long time friend and artist. Canadian with Anglo-Indian roots. Thriving expatriare in the Netherlands since 1982. Current stronghold: Alamut. Current foothold: gardening.
John Thackara, design and new media manager/author, director of the Netherlands Design Institute, whom I've worked with on Doors of Perception since 1994. A good friend and regular visitor to the Moulin.
Kristi van Riet is a close friend from (long left) Mediamatic origins, sharing its, and other, ups and downs; she's a new media consultant based in Amsterdam—with a current fat French accent.
Joke Robaard, fine photography and installation artist and family friend since a long time, she is the adventurous type who visited our French hangout from Amsterdam, by train.
Pascal Bastide
Pascale is a film and tv maker from Paris who shifted to interactive media since 6 years and whom I met through the Doors of Perception conference series.
Piet Driest
Piet is in the Akkermans (my wife's) family since I'm in, and way before. He recently escaped his wife but not the club. Flaubert's Madame de Bovary is his bible.
Diederick Janssen
Diederick Janssen is a friend of the Akkermans family and shares Piet Driest's love for Flaubert and De Bovary.