Notes, Quotes, Provocations And Other Fair Use VIII

Amsterdam 1999

January 30
Authoring Realities
I haven't mentioned Doors' Webby Award nomination. The acclaimed 'Oscars of the Internet' will be handed out March 18 in San Francisco's Herbst Theatre, and webcast. We're filed under 'Arts' and up against eg. jodi.org and Parkbench—which is only to prove how weird, wild and wonderful (do I hear lost?) web categories wander today. The team ( Kristi van Riet, Michael Samyn and myself, hopefully John Thackara will join us and Jan Abrams will be over from NY to launch If/Then) will hang out in SF for some days. Haven't been there since 1993 when Paul and I attended the historic first Bionomics Conference (fact finding for Triple P), visited Louis Rosetto at Wired and found the Exploratorium closed. It was a memorable visit. 1993 was marked by that event (which gave me, from the mouth of Michael Rothschild, my motto: 'if you're not confused, you're not paying attention'), and the first Doors conference. The circle will soon be closed, at the very moment when I'm moving into yet another 'Arts' category.

Sic Transit Gloria Mundi?
So what about authoring realities these days? Art always did, the media do, technology does. Consumption does. When media and technology and consumption/production intricately weave together, read/write complicity explodes. I repeatedly trap myself in media gaze, playing (as in playing the piano) my PalmIII, Sony Minidisc, Olympus memorecorder, Sony Mavica, taking note on the road, re:connecting at home, at the desktop atelier, to publish and communicate via the net. It's the developping 'information habit' that I hinted at four-and-a-half years ago, in 'Remember Home'. Now with increasing data send/receive mobility I can even better imagine other threads developping, threads that might lead away from home as a place, to home as a habit, or name ('Home is no longer a dwelling but the untold story of a life being lived. At its most brutal, home is no more than one's name...', John Berger), or URL... Mobility that, at the same time, revalidates the foothold, the meeting places in the rough, abundant with local color, and temperature, and light, and smell, and taste, and most importantly chance, randomness. Again: I can't wait to isolate myself physically, to un-tell the story of my life, and bury myself in the Burgundy estate, where visitors will be visitors, not messages clogging my 'in' box (the annoying optimism of 'you have new mail!'), or ships passing by in the night at this URL.

January 29
Trust the real estate market, trust the banks, trust me
With mortgage interest at its all-time low of 4,8% on a 20 year contract, some sources yesterday leaked a soon to be offered new financial product: insurance against real estate devaluation... yes, confidence is really high.

Cradle to the Grave?
Perhaps I should carry my Palm's cradle to the grave: it keeps serving me off and on and I can't find out why it sometimes does and sometimes doesn't HotSync, there's no pattern. (I passed by the shop and they suggested to send it in like the actual Palm and get a replacement bay... 3Com makes it too easy on the retailer!)

CCCrider: Container-Channel-Cruising, for Greener Grazing
Weblog 'containers' channel information (news, facts and figs, opinion, gossip), for improved cruising, when they relief some of your navigational pain. Once you've identified your agents of choice you might go around in circles for a while, but once familiar with the linking patterns it makes for sappier information grazing.

More green
The passionflower that I saved last year from a certain death, which rewarded me with abundant flowers in the spring, then, after it had been blown away from the window and lost its pot was neglected for several months in a plastic bag in the bathroom, starving again from attention, was given a new and bigger pot a few weeks ago and already shows its progress.


January 28


January 27
Mo Betta Links
'Miniportal' serves as a better name for weblogging annotated jumpboards like The Obscure Store and Reading Room, Robot Wisdom, or GrokSoup. The medium is the message: also proves true for remarkable sites like Whump ('some of my friends have lives, others, like me have Web sites'), Honeyguide ('links to some caches of honey I've found on the Net'), NTKnow ('*the* weekly high-tech sarcastic update for the uk'), or Tomalak's Realm ('behind the scene look at the web'), or Manifestation ('neurotoys sabrina openmind ezine headshop'), all of which foster technicalities, and (fringe) cultures as they 'link to links to links', as one Bad PigDog comments. For more links etc. try Camworld which lists weblogs. It's worth the detour and select bookmarking.

January 26
Underhyping the Internet#7: here comes the weblog. Interesting publishing concept/genre, under a fresh name: the weblog is usually 'a one person maintained small web site, that is updated on a regular basis and has a high concentration of repeat visitors'...'often highly focused around a singular subject, an underlying theme or unifying concept'.

January 25
Tax Systems
This afternoon I visited the International Tax Systems Information and Studies Center. People from 40 nationalities work at this commercial information broker on tax systems worldwide. Instead of paying them 300/hr (for information, not advise) I visited their library and documentation center for free, to study the 1973 Dutch-French Tax Treaty and some other law texts which the librarian served me acurately. It's fascinating read. Rules are fascinating, rules that try to do economic justice are very intelligent and breed hard to follow bureaucracies...

January 24
unlimited.nl#2: common ground for the petty bourgeois?
What do you know: the Netherlands is an urban sprawl, not a country, and some architectural dudes love it to death... they're low on identity, which fits perfectly with Giorgio Agamben's 'petty bourgeois' post-class profile ('Without Classes' chapter from The Coming Community, 'Theory Out of Bounds' series, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis/London 1993, isbn 0 8166 2235 3), which again I came across the other day.

what I like about the following text

- If we had once again to conceive of the fortunes of humanity in terms of class, then today we would have to say that there are no longer social classes, but just a single planetary petty bourgeoisie, in which all the old social classes are dissolved: The petty bourgeoisie has inherited the world and is the form in which humanity has survived nihilism.
But this is also exactly what fascism and Nazism understood, and to have clearly seen the irrevocable decline of the old social subjects constitutes their insuperable cachet of modernity. (From a strictly political point of view fascism and Nazism have not been overcome, and we still live under their sign.) They represented, however, a national petty bourgeoisie still attached to a false popular identity in which dreams of bourgeois grandeur were an active force. The planetary petty bourgeois has instead freed itself from these dreams and has taken over the aptitude of the proletariat to refuse any recognizable social identity. The petty bourgeois nullify all that exists with the same gesture in which they seem obstinately to adhere to it: They know only the improper and the inauthentic and even refuse the idea of a discourse that could be proper to them. That which constituted the truth and falsity of the peoples and generations that have followed one another on the earth -- differences of language, of dialect, of character, of custom, and even the physical particularities of each person -- has lost any meaning for them and any capacity for expression and communication. In the petty bourgeoisie, the diversities that have marked the tragicomedy of universal history are brought together and exposed in a phantasmagorical vacuousness.
But the absurdity of individual existence, inherited from the subbase of nihilism, has become in the meantime so senseless that it has lost all pathos and been transformed, brought out into the open, into an everyday exhibition: Nothing resembles the life of this new humanity more than advertizing footage from which every trace of the advertized product has been wiped out. The contradiction of the petty bourgeois, however, is that they still search in the footage for the product they were cheated of, obstinately trying, against all odds, to make their own an identity that has become in reality absolutely improper and insignificant to them. Shame and arrogance, conformity and marginality remain thus the poles of all emotional registers.
The fact is that the senselessness of their existence runs up against a final absurdity, against which all advertising runs aground: death itself. In death the petty bourgeois confront the ultimate expropriation, the ultimate frustration of individuality: life in all its nakedness, the pure incommunicable, where their shame can finally rest in peace. Thus they use death to cover the secret that they must resign themselves to acknowledging: that even life in its nakedness is, in truth, improper and purely exterior to them, that for them there is no shelter on earth.
This means that the planetary petty bourgeoisie is probably the form in which humanity is moving towards its own destruction. But this also means that the petty bourgeois represents an opportunity unheard of in history of humanity that it must at all cost not let slip away. Because if instead of continuing to search for a proper identity in the already improper and senseless form of humanity, humans were to succeed in belonging to this impropriety as such, in making of the proper being-thus not an identity and an individual property but a singularity without identity, a common and absolutely exposed singularity -- if human could, that is, not be-thus in this or that particular biography, but be only the thus, their singular exteriority and their face, then they would for the first time enter into a community without presuppositions and without subjects, into a communication without the incommunicable.
Selecting in the new planetary humanity those characteristics that allow for its survival, removing the thin diaphragm that separates bad mediatized advertising from the perfect exteriority that communicates only itself -- this is the political task of our generation.

what I like about this text
Paradox, absurdity, the grotesque: strategies for 'surviving nihilism' in aesthetics and politics aren't an easy goal (primarily because aesthetics and politics hate each other), yet has to be on the horizon. Is this an elitist agenda, and if so, who do I share it with? I have no illusion to match his depth or to be able to respectfully criticize him, but I think Agamben shows in this text to be too anthropocentric, too humanistic, too critical and too cryptoluddite (in his scoff of the 'advertizing' media, which have become so much a fact of life, a natural—as in culture is our nature—phenomenon). His arguments however will always fail to overrule the selfcongratulatory netizen mob, with its pathological urgency to a-politically subject itself to any self-organizing flow in data promiscuity 'out anywhere'. Meaning: he is damn right in his analysis, be it bearing upon information prone Western consuman primarily. Certainly there's niches beyond advertizing, and strategies to arrive there. Art by the way hasn't proven to be any shortcut to immediacy—actually art should, immediate or not, be (and in its historical avant-gardes definitely was), the permanent detour, the 'dérive'—at-the-same-time-from-and-in (celebrating its unique trickery) aesthetics and politics. Art's articulation beyond structure. If not, it caters to the 'petty bourgeoisie' and its post-spectacular market.

January 23
Recasting my practice
Last night (late) my bookkeeper calculated our tax debt. We are about to pay 65k (Dfl) as soon as we move to France, because of the fact that Dutch taxes consider this 'bedrijfsstaking': closing down one's business... you're being charged tax on profits on the office/studio space you own. Today I sent a letter to Babs Haenen's brother, who's employed in some staff position at the Belastingdienst (tax dept), and apparently is a creative thinker on tax issues and innovations, to claim the following:

  • primo, as an 'artist' I do never 'close shop', where-ever I choose my foothold, whenever I recast my business
  • secundo, giving up my office/studio means that I need to re:invest my money into new professional facilities: like eg. server space and database support, and pay-per-view e-commerce software (I'd be glad to give up studio space for that purpose)
  • tertio, my tax residency is where my server is—if I use the Internet to conceive, produce, distribute and charge a fee for my products/services, that is... [off course there's better scenarios to be conceived for your money to be charged for a public cause. However within the current system I consider myself to be (hence to pay taxes) 'where I publish'...]
  • finally, I think the only thing that counts is 'continuity of action'—to judge whether a business is vital or not. Then, the taxes that I pay should benefit the/a consensus economical/cultural/political order that I can recognize. I'm no anarcho-capitalist like Paul, so I am prepared to be tolerant towards a public cause, and prepared to see my personal views on these matters (on these matters only!) being somehow re:presented, re:phrased, de:luted.

    January 22
    I can't get my new Palm to HotSync. Spent hours on re:re:installing the desktop software. Must be a cable problem, which makes any data transfer unreliable. Just when I'm going to see Paul at De Appel later today and we could beam away...

    January 21
    PageSpinner 2.1
    Upgraded PageSpinner 2.1 was released yesterday. I have been using this fine authoring tool for years now and it never let me down for the old school HTML that I do. The new release enables some Javascript and CSS (as well as Frontier menu sharing and lots of other tricks), so if the design or functionality of these pages complicate dramatically, you'll know that I mastered the new version...

    At the Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam artist/curator Renée Turner of the Amsterdam based De Geuzen initiative and myself were invited to discuss an international public art and design event this spring, with the chance of a follow-up programme the coming years in eg. Barcelona and Helsinki. Kees Verschuren, Femke Snelting and John Blake are the organizing team, which we would join as researchers/co-organizers. Renée and I had met before but never been properly introduced. On the train back to Amsterdam we had the occasion to compare paths and interests. I like her style. With De Geuzen she sub-curated for Hau Hanru's unlimited.nl#2 at De Appel. I'll step by the opening tomorrow.

    January 20
    Doors 5 re:visited
    All day digital clips from Doors presentations. The 5Live crew is working on CDrom proceedings. Their team watched the videos we had made. Later I took home the tapes and saw my own presentation. It's an interesting exercise to try to re:connect the registration to your recollected experience of the performance. Considering the gap between a and b (or a') it is simply amazing that we take all the information/mediation we are living off on a daily basis for granted... Everyone who once spoke to the press is familiar with this effect: they just never have it right, and, they hardly ever succeed to present something new (and are most of the time not supposed to). Nevertheless we tap from their channels. I remember an Airplane song, I think from the Bark album, Crazy Miranda, 'she lives on propaganda, she believes anything she reads, it could be Free Press or Time/Life covers', etc.

    January 19
    Golden Palm
    3Com gets my Golden Palm for fidelity... when I phoned their repair service just before Xmas, after running distantly through some tests unsuccesfully, their man gave me a repair job number and asked me to send them the PalmIII, promising it would only take a few days. Holidays postponed this action however until now. Of course I miss the little darling, but there's a lot on my mind these days. Imagine my surprise when this morning DHL brought me all the way from Paris a replacement Palm, batteries included and clock set! All cynicism about the value of technology, sustainability issues and consumerism criticism aside—I think this proves 3Com knows what they are dealing with, connecting people and technology, and that they do a very good job at that. And I love my Palm!

    January 18
    Understanding Aesthetics
    Yesterday Paul added to his site, as part of an interesting post on programming as what I would call a (the?) cultural intelligence...

    - Is not 'understanding' simply another way of describing (aesthetic) appreciation?

    It is, for you and me. Aesthetic understanding yet is very confused these days of media crazes. I could say rare, but this is a matter of taste. Man is the aestheticizing animal, in its full potential of language and mediation. Aesthetics is his path of danger, in any endeavour.

    the dog eat dog world of aesthetic appreciation

    January 17
    We're only in it for attention
    How we love to pay. This week-end Gil and I did more major digging and browsing and crating our estate. The histories one comes across... Lots of it better left alone. Some of it screaming for attention. I wonder what we'll pick up once over there. I imagine having the time of my life re:connecting loose threads. How have I managed to stay away so long from what really matters to me: that which really deserves attention, poetic license and its incarnations?

    January 16
    Broker Anna Sprenger upped the value of our place in a big way. According to the 8 January Volkskrant, Dutch real estate sellers are in 'buying panic'. How long will it last? Long enough for us to do business. We need the dough.

    January 15
    At the Almere Paviljoens, Francine Zubeil had her opening. There's an installation and a book. Why do I prefer the latter over the former? Some text and image relations, narratives, do pay off between two covers, in the intimacy of flipping pages, rather than in an exhibition space, the white cube. Especially when like in this work the juxtaposition of text and two images 'per narrative' (Almere people guided Francine to their favourite hang-out), doesn't allow much mediation in the first place. How unaffected yet is the book (when compared to the cube), by museology and media confusion, where there's always the curatorial hand.

    Even web presence allows more drift than the halls of culture.

    And hurray!, it's Rienke's birthday. My little sister's 43 today... What can I say more? All the best to her and the kids. I hope she'll be online one day when we live in France.

    January 14
    I plunged into the late sixties and bought Spirit's Mercury years recordings and a Moby Grape selection. I was genuinly moved to find out from the Spirit linar notes that Randy California, Spirit's lead guitar player and one of my 60s role models drowned 2 January 1997 when swimming with his 12 year old son Quinn, who he managed to save, when they were caught in a riptide swimming off a Hawaii beach. Not so many years ago Joke and I went to their concert at the Melkweg, to see them perform Nature's Way...
    My first ever exercise in typography was lead type spacing the word VAANDELDRAGER, chosen for its VA and AA (and LD and RA) level of kerning difficulty. This was in 1972. I just discovered the possibility of giving point-size (FONT POINT-SIZE="72"; in the above example) tags to text in HTML (for Netscape 4+ browsers anyway) . I hadn't seen any specifications since a while. It isn't much used. I like big type.

    January 13
    Been There, Done That
    Gave an introduction on the role of the designer in the development of 'edutainment' titles at a seminar organized by an ICT consultancy to the ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW). Three major publishing houses (Meulenhof educational and Zwijssen educational, and non-educational Bruna) proved that they don't have a clue what is at stake in new technology.

    January 12
    Among Makers
    we don't mystify.

    January 10
    Creating an estate in these restless times, of dislocation and consumerist nomadism, in this our not makeable but certainly designable (not per se desirable) world, is a gotspe, a surprising brutality.

    January 9
    More Merle. I added a Dutch introduction to the site (it's part of a letter to friends that is in the making), a French translation will follow.

    January 8
    'Mérite le détour': IJmuiden. The old studio/storage we paid a visit. To investigate what has to go. IJmuiden was of a superior sea greyness. We had a bouillabaisse after the visit and took fish home. I never spent a lot of time there but it is a great place. Now I leave it to Maarten, Arno and Joke (who will be returning to take my space). We've been sharing it for a long time. The sight of 'old' work made me itch for some restoration and re:conceptualization.

    Zero Input
    Mere reflection.

    January 6
    At 2am this morning I posted to the rhizome_raw list for no obvious reason other than that at times I'm simply struck by the tired history of new media, connectivity, the net, the attempts of net.art(...) communities to make a difference and sense of their tools and position, the old bears they meet on the road, from a general feeling of disorientation vis-à-vis first principles that apply as much to the material institutional political economical world, as to the information landscape that's woven between them, in which these 'first' worlds express and represent themselves, their players and denizens, and power relations.

    The discussion was about the 'Small Net Town' and as always was primarily about who's got the biggest (players, art, enemies) in his or her own small town (NY in case). The crucial difference between dwellers and visitors underpinned my argument: that it is so much 'harder' to live in a place than to visit it. Indeed any place (even the ones with the biggest reputations and claims) is a 'small' place when it comes down to the nitty gritty of local battles—with the same capital crooks-and-heroes scheme applying everywhere. Then the idea that as a result of the various dislocations all of us are nomadic tourists everywhere all the time is a huge misunderstanding, frustrating the action. All action is local, no matter which medium you use. Identity, reputation, action, only come in local flavors, whether you are on the net or in the wet... folklore rules.

    Found imagery
    the nearin2the...Future logo I pieced together December 1997 to use December 1998. Forgot all about it.

    nearin2the...Future, we ain't seen nothing yet
    January 5
    I'm uploading lots of new files, which partly restructure the site and will probably produce some error404s the coming days.

    1'26,4" who wants to be off .beat?
    ...not my sons (Times 'R+r' Us): I just ordered them each a Swatch limited edition Webmaster Internet time ticker. Will give it to them for their tenth birthday—4,5 and 7 years away, if at the time we'll still be dancing to SOB: Swatch Ol' Beat.

    The S idea is interesting but not very radical. They even made their Swiss homestead Biel the new benchmark meridian of the Internet beat: at wintertime noon in Biel it's @500 beats... They could have solved (at least postponed with another 60-70 years) the millennium problem by introducing the BI and AI (Before the Internet and After the Internet) Era! (so the BMT Biel Mean Time is a great example of BIEL: Before the Internet Era Logic :-) Before I say more I'll adjust my computer's date to anno 36 AI. I'll have to relate the date and pace and stuff. Which will be too much of a project. Let someone else figure it out.

    January 4
    State of the art 'millennium proof' self-supportiveness à la Wallpaper (jan/feb99), or 'bunker basics': large stocks of champagne and baked beans and Evian and batteries, two mountain bikes and a loaded crossbow... since we realized that in St.Germain-des-Bois for a simple b/w photocopy we might have to drive 8km, we are listing new gear and stocks: not to beat Y2K but to be productive sur place.

    Recent book acquisitions (I can see my interests subtly shift): David Farraly's 'The Book of Bamboo', Geoffrey and Susan Jellicoe's 'Landscape of Man', and Victor Papanek's 'The Green Imperative', while Charles Jencks' 'AdHocism: the case for improvisation' (1972, never reprinted?) I found at last at www.alibris.com, this great new site for out of print and second hand books. (I almost ordered the Farraly with them at $32, but hesitated and the next day I found a mint copy at De Slegte at Dfl. 37,50 (for you non locals, that's Euro 17,01: how much is EUro to the U$ anyway? Today, when the dealing started it went from $1,165 up to $1,19 and down again)

    Swatch the Time
    The times they are a changing, different cycles introduce new measures: Swatch launches universal 'Internet time': 24hrs devided by 1000 '.beats' (of 1'26,4" each), with no time zones, just start it and let it run. It's like introducing a new currency and see who buys it. But 1000 beats/24 seems a bit slow to me, why not a million beats of 0,0864" each, etc. Time is on our side. On the other hand (no pun intended) there's Danny Hillis' clock for the Long Now, with its mechanical tick-a-day to drive 10.000 years away.

    January 3
    What a relief to get physical. Practice makes perfect. Packing stuff is a skill. I hardly remembered how to unroll long stretches of extra wide sellotape, like to close a box. In repeated actions you develop elegance and efficiency. That's learning. The moulin will be physical.

    January 2
    We started packing.

    and labeling

    ROA: Return on/of Attention
    Attention meets attention. A desperate plea for attention and for an attention economy in a media age is pathological. A 'forest of signs' doesn't allow for trees. Like Paul writes: 'what goes around comes around'. If the artist sows attention (s)he'll harvest attention. That's all there's to it. What if we would forget about attention—or rather, focus ours very narrow: would we become invisible? The true virtue of all art, to destroy the senses, blind us.

    Amsterdam 1998

    December 29
    Finally here. When I was a kid I used to calculate my age in 2000. It seemed lightyears away. Gilberthe, Rolf, Roemer and myself will add up to a hundred years for a two week period in 1999: between July 17 (Rolf turns 6) and August 2 (I turn 46)... We'll party around the mill.

    December 24-28
    Silent Night. No traffic. Only Rhizome persists in its battles over net.artistry: it's their net.folklore.

    December 23
    Global, Minimal, Traditional
    Every traditional, indigenous culture has its (moments of) minimal expression.

    December 22
    Into the Light
    Into the Burgundy light. The desk from which nqp comes to you has been in the dark since a few years. These Amsterdam warehouses are deep. You want all vital functions near the light, but you cannot sleep, eat, sit and work in front of the same windows. So I hid in the back. I'll see to it that my computer's setup in the moulin will give me plenty of light, a long view beyond the screen and fresh air all year round. See what that'll do to my content (and physique).

    December 21
    Future Present Past
    Babs Haenen sent us this pic, that she shot September 4 (see there), at her opening... we're history at the Amsterdam Stedelijk Museum! Left to right, for those youngsters among my audience: Ton Mars, Jouke Kleerebezem, Hans Scholten. For more detail: behind Ton's right shoulder is (Leendert) Van Lagenstein, once director of famous Corps de Garde, when the rest of us were getting ready to start notorious De Zaak in 1979. Stay posted!

    Winter Solstice
    Reason to be cheerfull. A relief (or is it tomorrow?).

    December 20
    All Dressed Up
    Just before midnight I take up R+r from our bed to take them to their own room. When I pick up Rolf in the dark I notice a different feel of his pyjamas... he wears the overalls that he got as a Sinterklaas present over it! All zipped up... When did he put them on? I saw him take a leak at 10pm, wearing only his pyjamas... This is so weird! He's a sleepwalker, and a sleepdresser too! Preparing for rural life? Also awake he's aware of his dress. When preparing for Xmas dinner at school he rejected what his mother had selected and insisted to dress all white, with exception of a black bow tie. So he ended up in white jeans (with a hole in the knee), a white jeans jacket that needed cleaning, a crisp white shirt, and a dark bow tie, the only one he has.

    It's been a week-end of Christmas and re:moval anticipation. We had our Sunday lunch with Anne and Greet Levine. Sharing Roemer with them has always been a tremendous pleasure (they run his Oma Pap kindergarten—Reggio Emilia style), I share Victoria Williams with Anne, this afternoon it was pasta salad, rosé and irish coffee at a too early hour. Yet I'm back fullfilling my selfimposed duties... This morning I had another brainwave concerning our property. So far we are basically trying to outsmart the mortgage banks and the Dutch tax system, with little luck. Yet we are on a fair course and hope to 1) take the money and run to the moulin, 2) keep an interest in the Amsterdam property, 3) share interests (in several meanings) with the future owners of said property... No harm in that, but banks and government taxes hijacked the market and leave little space for alternative economics.

    Underhyping the Internet#6: Collecting visual bits with their original captions. The original URL is in the source of the document, after the caption.

    December 11-19
    Let's see what the diary has. Evaluations (Doors, live.doors), business (sacking the broker, getting more financial advise), prints from slides (finally the moulin in its surroundings), dinner (John and Kristi; Rolf's Xmas dinner at school), happy hours (with the Vormgevingsinstituut board; a goodbye drink to Dick, Vanessa, Aeliane and Sandra; the Oma Pap kindergarten Xmas cocktail) and taxes... all with but one perspective: leaving south. (Which reminds me of good old MUD days: 'there is one exit, at your south'). A propos exits: I found a nice 1962 first edition Dutch translation of Witold Gombrowicz's 'Ferdydurke'. One page (182), the 'Voorwoord tot Filibert met kind gevoerd':

    - Alweer een voorwoord... ik ben verslaafd aan voorwoorden, ik kan niet zonder voorwoord en moet wel met een voorwoord, omdat de wetten der symetrie vereisen, dat 'Filibert met kind gevoerd' overeenstemt met 'Filidor met kind gevoerd' en het voorwoord bij 'Filibert met kind gevoerd' met het voorwoord bij 'Filidor met kind gevoerd'. Al zou ik het willen, ik kan niet, ik kan en kan mij niet van de ijzeren wetten der symetrie en analogie losmaken. En het is hoog tijd even te onderbreken, ermee op te houden, tenminste even uit het onrijpe groen te kruipen en bewust onder de last van miljarden kiemen, knoppen, blaadjes te kijken, opdat men niet zal kunnen zeggen dat ik ongeneeslijk krankzinnig ben geworden, blè, blè. En voordat ik verder ga op de weg der geringe, alledaagse, niet-menselijke verschrikkingen, moet ik ophelderen, rationaliseren, motiveren, uitleggen en ordenen, de hoofdgedachte waaruit alle andere gedachten van dit boek zijn ontsproten blootleggen en de oerbron van alle hier aangehaalde en op de voorgrond geplaatste smarten aantonen. Ik moet een hiërarchie van martelingen en een hiërarchie van gedachten invoeren, het werk analytisch, synthetisch en filosofisch commentariëren, opdat de lezer wete waar het hoofd, waar de benen, waar de neus en waar de hielen zijn, opdat men mij niet zal verwijten dat ik onwetend ben van eigen doeleinden en niet rechtuit loop, gelijkmatig, stijf, zoals de grootste schrijvers aller tijden, maar zinloos in een kringetje rond en rond. Maar welke is de voornaamste en meest fundamentele marteling? Waar is de oermarteling van het boek? Waar ben je, oermoeder der martelingen? Hoe langer ik pieker, onderzoek en analyseer, des te duidelijker zie ik dat eigenlijk de voornaamste, principiële marteling, naar mijn mening, doodeenvoudig de marteling is van de slechte vorm, van het slechte exterieur, of anders gezegd: de marteling van de frase, van de grimas, het gebaar, de smoel; ja, dat is de bron, de fontein, de oorsprong, en van het hier uit ontspringen zonder uitzondering alle overige kwellingen, razernijen en pijnen.

    Upcoming Changes
    I'm changing the architecture of this site. nqp with all the personal stuff will move to EnclavExquise, ciw will become the organizational jumpboard. Moulin du Merle and ijsseloog.nl 'Radius Loci' (not an autonomous URL anymore, but still a domain) are separate parts of EnclavExquise.

    December 10
    A hot valerian saturated bath. Ahhh. Exhaustion.

    December 9
    Set up Gilberthe's email account. You can now mail her at gilberthe-akkermans@ciw.net. (http://www.ciw.net/gilberthe-akkermans) R+r will follow. This is the start of the re:organization of ciw.net et al.

    December 2-8
    December has arrived with family affairs (Sinterklaas, birthdays), more considerations on the real estate front and general reflection on how to conduct business and enjoy it. We are thinking about how to benefit (and let others benefit!) from what we built up over the past and what we are investing in for the future. This needs a lot of time. We stopped negotiations with the broker and one prospective buyer of the place, and start over. In an ideal world we would keep Amsterdam and find participation in it, possibly as well as in a French foothold. Most of my work will for a while result from my Dutch network, friends, colleagues, projects—the whole context of cultural production. The moulin is added value to that. The 230sqm. Amsterdam loft was the basis from which we worked and where we primarily lived; now there's a shift in all that, but it seems desirable to keep things and people connected, one way or another. Hence a call for participation has to go out. It's a challenge and we have to find the right way to do it. It's hard to get sound advice. We are looking for alternative paths. But old habits die hard.

    December 1
    I installed nqp#8 this morning.

    November 26-30
    Doors of Perception 5: Play
    My personal 5 point checklist for Doors 5 was:
  • content is history (full awareness and interpretation I left to the conference)—games are a time machine and history is written all over them
  • play and games is a generation thing, and crossing gaps is part of it
  • however simple fun never ages, it never grows up
  • there are no rules to that—obviously a lot should be learned from how we make or break the rules of play and games
  • you don't have to be smart, or use all the smart stuff, in order to learn: simple stories do a lot of good

    content is history
    re:capturing data, history's weight on 'new' media, all today's (and yesterday's) knowledge, design nostalgia, cut-and-paste, rearview mirrorism, old media re:conceptualizations, et cetera.
    a generation thing
    'Lifelong Kindergarten' Mitch Resnick re:validated lifelong learning... play is with the toying mind. When Logo meets Lego things wake up from toy stupor.
    fun never ages
    The greatest example of this was the totally inspired opening of the conference by Simon Vinkenoog. Play is an ongoing revolution. Then three days later, the last speaker Marco Susani remembered Bruno Munari, his booklets, and I was reminded of my professor Ralph Prins who introduced me to Munari's genius in 1972... the circle closed.
    make or break the rules
    Rules and their breaking is a pattern language. Even if you want to go without rules, your path will be interpreted, and followed, as a rule. There's no escape. Homo Ludens is Homo Rulens.
    simple stories do a lot of good
    We learn by—just—understanding. Sometimes you have to start simple. Have something explained to you. Explain to others. Actually there's not a whole lotta 'learning' going on. The future repeats itself. The present is more like the past than the past. Quite a simple story. Lots of games (and learning) thrive on a present past, kiss ;-).

    feedback up

  • hard currency not available until January 1, 2002
    19990101: the end of money
    as we know it


    best bits from correspondencies, attendencies and collected hard copy

    SINCE 1998

    from March 1999 brought to you through
    Le Moulin du Merle
    St. Germain-des-Bois
    58210 Varzy
    Nièvre, France

    underhyping the Internet#6

    981220: Unemployed people advertize their skills