control follows ownership

Le Moulin du Merle 1999

August 19-20
Squirrel Foraging
Every summer my brain melts. I hope it wasn't too obvious. Luckily this summer we had a special distraction prepared for ourselves and the readership, and my mushy brain. Moulin Move is a good show. Alas for me, La Brain doesn't cope all the time. Some days I think to leave her alone. Then I hope to prepare her for the Coming Season.

Sciurus vulgaris
not our Sciurus vulgaris:

May she forage like the red squirrel, who I've noticed since yesterday morning. Now she is crisscrossing the garden and up and down the trees' in all directions and a pickin' and a diggin', to get the best bits. I wish my brain was more like this early Sciurus vulgaris.
Squirrel Gnaw
from: The Virtual Field Guide (the first of the 843 alltheweb hits on "Sciurus vulgaris") (beats general purpose AltaVista by 500+ ...whether that's a good sign or not...). Remember 'underhyping the Internet'?
I do recall looking into animal gnaw and faeces with Paul for the Temporary Autonomous Zoos we built. Later I used the raw data of elephant shit, gathered from the Artis Zoo's pit (opposite of where we used to live in Amsterdam NL), in a piece for Mark Kremer's Wat af is, is niet gemaakt ('what's finished hasn't been made') exhibition (I hear Mark's back in A. from Helsinki years).

August 17-18
What's that spell?
Paul's working on a new curriculum for post-MediaGN 'Centre For Emergent Media' MFA intelligence... Which skills and competences would we envision for the new professionals to go with the new worlds that are under construction, with the full complicity of remastered old professionals?

Give Me An F!
What's the F in MFA standing for? We Forgot. It Faded. Shall we take it out then? No thank you. Rather try to redefine it. We know about your Ms and As. Now let's hear it for an F. F for excellence and exhaustion and exquisite enclaves and everything exclusively E that preceeds everything F for former. Because the extraordinary F is our only hope for anything other than a capital approach to information culture and knowledge sharing. It's our only hope against popular politics propaganda and Faux prophecy (designers! count the arrows of disorientation!). It's a distinctive quality from a tradition of change—if ever there was one: Fine Arts.

Fine With Me
MFA. Master of Fine Arts. Fine. Fine like in 'disinterested'; MDA, fine with me. For an artist to be a fine artist (s)he should operate from a distinct, distanced and disinterested position. Whatever holds this position for him or her can be negotiated and has been integral part of artistic production since dada or thereabout. Idem goes for whoever to be available to or to engage with from this position (that's my idea of politics, kids). It is not 'autonomy', like a granted privilege, it is not safe grounds—it is fine competence, an introduction to the world, a wild talent and a wild card, a tag, a signature, it's original artistic license, it is where tricksters belong and how they operate in style. F for period.

August 16
A propostal
Heading for the Euro, snail mail first. Here's the new French <20grs. letter 3FF (0,46E) prepayment stamp. BTW, who's got the HTML for a decent Euro sign? Pagespinner 2.1 doesn't buy me what I need: '&euro;' renders '€'... (in Netscape 4.08). Gremlins!
your euro or mine?
Your Euro Or Mine?
Hey, Banner Up!
While searching (I know...) for any information on the new stamp that's on my mail, I came across this interesting collection: Le Musée gratuit de l'e-publicité (could crash Netscape, at least it did my 4.08).

August 15
Past, Present, Future
I was right to go to Corbigny this morning... At a considerable price I acquired two more post cards of the 19C Villa du Moulin. 'Twas all Luxe, Calme et Volupté back then.
Villa du Moulin N.1
caption: St-GERMAIN-des-BOIS — Villa du Moulin (N.1)

Villa du Moulin facade
caption: SAINT-GERMAIN-DES-BOIS (Nièvre). Le Moulin du Merle. — ND Phot.
And more. Last time I acquired The Sonny Side of Cher, today it was 1967 Tom Jones' Live at the Talk of the Town... Also 5 issues of Les Annales des Pays Nivernais (1976-1985), on the Middle Ages, Nièvre vineyards, the Clamecy canton, grottoes and subterranean rivers (including StGdB's 'Wolves Room') and on Ian Hamilton Finlay's Vigilantes role model Saint-Just, born around the corner from here, in Decize 1767, August 25.

Believe me, it is much harder to relate to the past than to relate to the future. Everybody is hyping futures these days. Et Si Omnes Ego Non. My Patron Saint of the Month would be Andy Warhol—for his collection of trivia.

August 14
Tempus Fugit
You're history before you can say 'friggatriskaidekaphobe'... Here's quite an awesome photo postcard of the Moulin du Merle, pre villa time!
Pre-1895? Moulin du Merle
caption: SAINT-GERMAIN-DES-BOIS, près Clamecy. — Le Moulin du Merle.
It s post mark reads what looks like (18)95, the photo could of course date earlier. As far as we knew, the villa had been built 1849-1853 however, which now seems unlikely... more like 30-40 years later. An entire building (stable?) was lost in the process... You see the north-west corner of the old house, with a clear view of the wheel, which' 8 iron half circles are still leaning against a tree on the island. I compared the stones in which the wheel rests to the picture, and they are all still there... and the slope is the same... This is great material to show to the former owner and my favourite mayor. Henk Trumpie, who visited us with very old friend Jan Wyle, found the postcard this morning at the Corbigny vide grenier. I had stayed home with R+r, to relax from a constant stream of visitors to the villa. But I'll go to the Corbigny market tomorrow early, alone, to check it out and pay another visit to the postcard vendor, bringing the two cards I now own.

G. brought home several rolls of beautiful gloomy wallpaper, antique papier peint which deserves the name—très 19C. Maybe I can carefully do a small niche of the godkamertje with it.

August 13
Honey Happens
A very dark guy was at the gate this morning, who announced he had come to sweep our chimneys, like he had been doing for the past 20 years for the previous owner, Madame Follope. Because we will be using extra fireplaces he opened some long out-of-use pipes. The dining room fireplace surprised him with several kilograms of honey and honeycomb, sticking together his sweeps and brushes. All night black honey kept dripping in the fire, spreading a sweet smell of caramel. I can't miss the link with my reading every night of House at Pooh's corner to R+r. Honey Happens, Tralala, Tralala, Um Tiddle Dum. Dim, Dem, Dumb.

August 12
It's the Time of the Season: DIM/DEM
It's the holidays, stupid! I wonder. I haven't exactly located what usually (un)disciplines my actions. A calendar of artistic urge, economic need, curricular pressure, opening hours, metabolism, social life, material life, net beat, or sexual appetite... a pattern of all of the above, with no apparent hierarchy? For sure less and less my life and work is ruled by measured time. Since I moved from the Amsterdam backwaters to state-of-the-art France Profonde my time is different than yours. Forget about 'living with the seasons': we all dress accordingly. Naturally, since I'm here I'm much more aware of the beauty of each one of them (I even found out that there's more than 4 of them!), but that's an entirely different story: of the quality of information, not its pace.

DIM=Date Intensive Material/DEM=Date Extensive Material, and how to live/search it: (aborted).

Eros Beats Chronos Big Time, Anytime
There's consensus calendar time and schedules (Chronos); agenda and eros (Eros). The first are information, the latter material. I want my private time.

(August 4-11: DEM) rough August 14 evening brush up
my agenda differ from yours
NQPAOFU's architecture from the start did not follow periodical calendar time. It's frequency is irregular and issues are bundled according to (ever increasing) size, not weekly or monthly, like most periodical material on the web surprisingly still is. I never lived according to any consensus calendar. Measuring time (even by the .beat) is a bloody shame in an age (here I do it again) of ubiquity, abundancy and real time(!) continuity. We should measure our actions according to increasing interest and information gain, not by any formalized (productive/consumptive) progress of them. It's artificial, it's not my agenda (actually what would interest me is my readership to supply me with suggestions for online (and hard copy) information, relevant to this observation. I might have the time to search the net for material, but I'd rather go do something stupid and edit your material later).

Talked to Paul on the phone. Should look into Finite and Infinite Games (bet he's got an Amazon link to the title ;-)

August 11
WYSIWYG (appears to be an ironic heading)
ALT=Images to follow: I didn't get those bloody eclipse JPEGS to upload with Fetch 3.03 nor with Vicomsofts's FTP Client 3.0. They were corrupted probably during saving jpegs as jpegs in Photoshop, or something. What do I do wrong? Please tell me or I'll have to find out TAE. August 14 all of a sudden the very same files made it to my server... Alors. Don't they they seem outdated already... who wants yesterday's eclipses?

my first eclipsemy first eclipsemy first eclipse
My First Eclipse 94% Build Up, one clear day, on the borders of the Yonne, France. Note R+r's smart 35mm b/w negative goggles.
August 4
Taking into consideration the eminent, omnipresent and continuous threat of its immediate painful ending, the way we live life shows (mildly put), an awkward anticipation of both the vital and the lethal forces which shape it. 'Get a life' is a most profound expression of existential alertness, since it can not be repeated ad infinitum.

Early this morning in the garden I read José Ortega y Gasset's The Dehumanization of Art (which he was intellectually hopefully anticipating in the 'new styles': cubism, surrealism). This essay is from 1925. Some observations. His first.

- The new style only asks to be linked to the triumph of sports and games. It is of the same kind and origin with them.
(...) Instead of deriding other persons or things -- without a victim no comedy -- the new art ridicules art itself. (...) Thanks to this suicidal gesture art continues to be art, its self-negation miraculously bringing about its preservation and triumph.
(...) man is attracted to paintings if he finds on them figures of men and women whom it would be interesting to meet. A landscape is pronounced 'pretty' if the country it represents deserves for its loveliness or its grandeur to be visited on a trip.

(illustration; sorry about this link, I hate the project and these populist artistes, it is obvious)
(...) Instead of delighting in the artistic object people delight in their own emotions.
(...) Far from going more or less clumsily toward reality, the artist is seen going against it. He is brazenly set on deforming reality, shattering its human aspect, dehumanizing it.
(...) For the modern artist, aesthetic pleasure derives from a triumph over human matter.

Now for some of my own observations regarding the essay.

Self-negation after all did not safe art from humanization. We have long lost the heroic revolutionary artist who fights consensus reality and mass humanity. His heroism was sacrificed on the same altar at which post-olympic sport and games heroes have been corrected: mass media.

With the rise of mass media, 'lived reality' as its core product, a sentimental commodity, overruled the whole of culture. Instead of a further dehumanization of art, towards radical artifice, we witnessed our culture decisively and systematically and fatally humanize all efforts scientifically, culturally and emotionally over the past 75 years. Reality only lives on in 'men and women whom it would be interesting to meet'. The torture museum became the single stage for their life and death, their war and peace.

On the other hand, but completely made part of the spectacle's force de frappe, commodification and medialization of the 'royal road of art' ('stylization' through a dehumanization of lived reality) merged lived and 'observed' reality, in new hybrid forms which surpass anything Ortega y Gasset could have ever dreamt of, and ultimately made art serious competition for sports and games, in the shopping mall and theme park and other downtown/playground efforts of contemporary design, sites of speculation. What is lost here?

The main position lost for art (or any other human activity) is that of anti-popularity. The loss of this singular (elitist, one would probably say before, in a class society) aesthetic position can not be deplored too much. With it our culture and society lost its last critical position left, actually gave up altogether to invest in a symbolic order which has a necessary distance from lived reality. There's no escape from our confinement in the lived/authored reality hybrid, which spectacular industry forged in mass media.

Mass Elitism
Ortega y Gasset was an 'elitist', as the previous owner of my 1972 Princeton University Press pb copy of his text rightfully annotated, in dark red pen and ink, on page 6. If a form of anti-popularity is to re-emerge (to save lived reality for its final demise in mass readability, with no alternative symbolic order parallel realities available), it is from media and in cultural contexts where elites (which today we happily assemble under the 'special interest group' or patients' association heading) are the driving forces: networked, information sharing, peer review, collaborative, intentional, ambitious, vital, international communities. Niches.

August 3
RIRO, rubbish in rubbish out, and the likes, goes for all irremediable, unarticulated, unrefined processes of mass production.

August 2
Today I discovered that I had to clean my fresh water source because it spilled to the wrong side and watered the field. Meantime the house seemed in danger of running dry. Hm. How symbolic and what an appropriate day to search and solve the problem. Later, in the early evening for half an hour three generations danced to the music of the Moody Blues and the likes on the loggia.
clay particle pollution ran the moulin near dry
a film of minuscule clay particles lays on top of the round filter front right, almost closing it off
August 1
The without-hope-ness of not being in love, whether a person be young or old, single or married, is the worst thing on earth—in my opinion, the main reason for crime. I also recall reading somewhere that the majority of people in mental institutions have been disappointed in love. The essence of loneliness is that one both remembers and hopes, though in vain, in the midst of one's dissolution. Plain nothingness compared to it is a comfort, a kind of hibernation, a tundra of arctic whiteness that negates feeling and want. Loneliness, not hatred, is the antithesis of love.

(...) Marketing is now the instrument of social control and produces the arrogant breed who are our masters. Control is short-term and rapidly shifting, but at the same time continuous and unbounded, whereas discipline was long-term, infinite, and discontinuous. A man is no longer a man confined but a man in debt.
(...) what it means to talk of institutions breaking down: the widespread progressive introduction of a new system of domination.
(...) It's not a question of worrying or of hoping for the best, but of finding new weapons.

(from: Gilles Deleuze, 'Postscript on Control Societies', via Joke Robaard)

July 31
Meanwhile, the Thurignois dance on. (from Le Patrimoine des Communes de la Nièvre, 1,096 pages, 4,000 annotated photos, Flohic Editions 1999, isbn 2-84234-054-X, I learned that the people from Thurigny are called Thurignois, while the people from Saint-Germain-des-Bois are the Germaniens. Thurigny is part of the Saint-Germain municipality). Today is our third annual vide grenier, only two prairies away from the moulin. I bought a large simple blown glass vase and a very skilfully detailed (brass hinges and locks) art deco side board. The latter was delivered, when the preparations for the mechoui started. Then we joined.
young Thurignois as photographed by Rolf
young Thurignois, Rolf's age, he photographed them
Everyone is trying to get to the bar.
The name of the bar, the bar is called heaven.
The band in heaven plays my favorite song.
They play it once again, they play it all night long.

Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens
Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens.

There is a party, everyone is there.
Everyone will leave at exactly the same time.
It's hard to imagine that nothing at all
Could be so exciting, could be so much fun.

(from: Talking Heads Fear of Music 1979)

July 30
God's Own Attic
Yesterday Hans and I locked ourselves in in the attic to do some constructional archaeology.
the room at god`s own atticthe view from god`s own attic
the room with the perspective
Years ago with Joke Robaard and Lon Robbé we referred to the rooms where we could be closest to one essence or another (life, death, people, work), as the 'godkamertje' or god room. This attic room has all the desired qualities, including the possibility to burn a small wood stove, as Hans suggested. Wonder what will have the GodDieuGottGod label next (this small piece of self adhesive art of mine adorned my MacIIcx for years; its hard disk labelled OriginalSin). My god lately moves about a lot, is (s)he hard to pinpoint.

July 29
Heaven, One Year Later
A place where nothing ever happens... a profound Nothing, like in 'the secret of life is that it's nothing new' ('het geheim van het leven is dat het niets nieuws is'), which was on both R and r's birth announcements. Both heaven and the nothing-newness of life bear upon an alternative for the New we all love to Death. Il ne faut pas changer les habitudes, friends: today a year ago we first set foot in the moulin.

Weblogability Standards
Just when Alamut's been admitted to Camworld's master list (on the very day that P., Mea Culpa Include Me Out, steps into his own minefield, to test its backfire), Dmoz's update (50 to 61 weblogs listed) contains NQPAOFU.

A Propos Credits Due
I think Dave Winer long before he had a real world shipping product invented the Moi™ genre which today we call the weblog and we should thank him for that: let's have fun, Dave! BTW aren't weblogs the grassroots of the PPLM Pro Profuse Linking Movement?

July 28
MIT time (NPI)
We wake up at 5:30am. and I reach down from the bed for my index card to take down 'disintermediation?' We exchange some observations but G. wants to go back to sleep and I sneak down to the office. An occasional scan yesterday had linked me past John Maeda's "Design by Numbers", and the book, which made me question again the artist's (designer's) choice between technology and epistemology in Early Information Age. 'Born-again technologist' Maeda`s choice has been made, he hails engineering as the 21C humanities, in the New York Times.

- One of the things that brought me back to MIT was the idea that engineering will be the humanities of the 21st century.

Skill and Skull
New technologies some in the arts/design communities hope for to meet the necessary dynamics to enhance and enrich a culture of communication/information for the 21C, and offer them a channel to be active, autonomous players. Indeed the dynamics of interactivity are a given of new media—real time is its momentum. Artists however would be wrong (and terribly under challenged) to consider technological animation the driving element of information culture; after all it's just the technology we deserve—tools and media we were ready for, that developed parallel to our budding cultural intelligence, which over the 80s-90s drifted us away from the museum and mass media and into new disciplines... informational drift, which entitles us to all of it and the best of it. It even should be developed under our guidance, like paint and brushes and canvas once were (rather than under the guidance of a mish-mash of post-academic social reformers). Of course artists in order to do co-design their new tools, need to have a notion of its possibilities (my old graphic design teacher Ralph Prins simply taught me to consider everything technically do-able, which I still think is the only advice—even more so today than in the 70s—to the young artist). If anything is needed at this stage of the information change, it is bold design competence: as much applied to new materia as to new media.

Nearing Zero
The dynamics of true historical change (and hence the artist's possibilities and cultural challenge) of new media, new technology, interactivity, computation and telecommunication are in scratching the skulls, not the skills (nor the balls) of its players.

skull maximum materia prima
Gabriel Orozco
Black Kites 1997
black pencil on human skull

After all: with free computers, free Internet access, free software, and content reproduction costs that near zero, who will design your content, what will it be and from-where-to-where shall it flow? This question is the more topical since the essential new media differences are not designed into the very basis of current software, hardware and connectivity development or industry, so 99% ultimately leads to one-way traffic—not to 'uncontrolled' participation, collaboration, information sharing, etc. Neither do politics or commerce. The design challenge is not to go by numbers, but to take a new attitude towards a new materia prima: uncontrolled use.

Designing Use
Those who today give away their prime products (hardware, software, connectivity) are the first to know that Use is information age's true source and drive. For all 'designers' who pretend to join the revolution, it would mean to generously give away their prime product, which is design (and actually a lot of us do indeed; in different ways, most of us give away design time, attention and ownership). Ownership is the secret ingredient of successful use of information media. A sense of ownership guarantees use: designing use of information media means designing ownership, designing attention. It is not ergonomics, stupid; it is not 'information design', or interface design, or Nielsen forbid 'usability', it is not even 'designing experience': you cannot continue forever to paternalize the constituencies, or 'help' the poor overloaded things... design for information media means trade, not aid, a truly revolutionary task and a lot of old habits to kick for the designer type.

Will the designer be generous? Generous enough to focus on information use excellence? Generous enough to share control?

July 27
Off-the-grid days are here again. Digging the materia prima of friendship and old times' sakes. Besides it is 37°C... Rini cuts our hair. I do long for the Fall. At night a young fox crosses the garden. Before going to bed, instead of doing one last tour around the net and adding some html to nqp, I find myself in the bathroom scribbling notes with one of R+r's colored pencils, on an index card that I brought upstairs. G. gets a blast from the past with a scene so familiar, and likes it a lot better than me glued to the box.

July 26
Old friends Hans Scholten of the Zaak reputation—I have never searched the net for memories of our 1980-1990 pre-net artists' space (sounds like past history, but in some histories it is still very topical), but Katalin Herzog will start her research for the book in September with two RuG Groningen University students—and Rini Hurkmans are finally visiting us... they brought lots of goodies and the 9 shelves that were missing from my library!

Materia Prima
Why start from scratch, when their is abundant material, reference, commentary, insight: content, form and context available? Isn't individual and hence cultural or collective progress hopelessly slowed down by our apparent need to invent the wheel over and over again? Are we the slowest species?

To learn is to burn: there is no absolute progress. The New always comes at the cost of some Old, which at one point later generations might prefer over this new, that it helped bring forth... not out of nostalgia, but because a new generation considers some old (sacrificed for a in their opinion obsolete new) is more fit to their own New, a new New cause, which considers the once sacrificed Old not replaced by something better, but wasted, and re:installs it as conditional or integral part of their New. Memory is made of this.

Every new on the other hand, doesn't burn enough old, but comes forth out of ignorance, of (all) the old that went before. The Old lives side-by-side with (is a contemporary of) the New. Our ignorance of what old is still alive and should be finished before the latest New can be considered the only Now (our ignorance with what is sometimes referred to as The Literature), is slowing down progress a lot. Yet we are saved in this by the fact that there's no absolute progress (neither in a material way, nor) in a cultural way, of Competing Progresses (the absolute YMMV principle; you and I live in different worlds, in which 'my progress is bigger than yours'). Cultural diversity demands (and affords) myriad Olds and News at the same time constitute myriad (competing) Nows. YMMV. Memory is wasted by this.

The (eg. Paul Valéry's) notion of poietics is of a (individual and cultural) process without (absolute) finishing end, yet in discernible stages (with distinct products, ideas, objects). To Elliot every new (work of art) changed the entire Literature ('tradition' as Elliot called it in Tradition and the Individual Talent) in such a way, as it wouldn't be ever again the same. In both the ideas of poietics and of tradition, we discover a relative new, which is a force of change, yet no absolute progress, since the process of change, which is the process of making, is never finished, and the tradition of change is never the same, with every new addition (work) to it. Memory is informed by this.

For progress we need absolute accessibility to a progressive, changing tradition: both to tap from it, as to add to it, in such a way that our contributions are accessible to others—a question of scratch.


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Rolf and Roemer, kid brothers and our sons Rolf (big R, the elder) and Roemer (little r, the younger). Since we moved to middleofnowhere France they make 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.
G., Gil, Gilberthe
( 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.
Jouke Kleerebezem, 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.


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