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Community to change the system


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Dave Hakkens creates machines to recycle plastic. The concept Precious Plastic is that everywhere, everybody can build themselves these machines and recycle their plastics. For me, the most interesting point in this concept is the community around it. He says

“To start up an idea is a powerful tool to use these days. A designer is able to bring people together by just sharing an idea or a potential solution.”

 

Dave Hakkens and his projects are accessible in two points.

Most of his design projects are often provides with open-source instruction videos and blueprints, so it is presenting as a do it yourself project. You can inform yourself, make your own machine or your design object, share on social network, and use it. Make and use these projects is to be active to change the system, and be a designer as well.

Furthermore, he is very active on social networks. On Youtube (with 122 000 followers), he often published videos to clearly explain his projects, how to make it etc. But also he has a certain way of life that you can clearly see in his videos called Story Hopper. Some links: here and

here.

If I had the opportunity to talk to Dave, I will ask him if he thinks that in addition to this solution to reduce plastics wastes we also must have to adopt a minimalist and zero waste attitude. And the answer is manifestly yes. These videos fit perfectly with the sharing of opinions and go further in the ideas that he wants to give. He offers more than just designer content while playing with the border of social network influencers.

Also on his website, you can find the forum where you can talk with people around the world. It’s nice to see all these people who said « I want to recycle plastics but I don’t know where to start » Finally I understood that in this big community, some other little communities are created to make projects easier. On the topic, someone answer: « try to find people, and build an association or something with many people to reduce costs!»

 

bojimansV3 Exhibition during the Dutch Design Week 

 

I am wondering how this concept can grow and evolve in the rest of the world. Are social media enough to share his ideas? The definition of the word community by the Oxford dictionary is: “the condition of sharing or having certain attitudes and interests in common“. Dave Hakkens and his projects are accessible for those who know him and who share the same interests. Plastic machines were at first introduced in a museum as an exhibition. So a certain public is interested to see it and in this kind of place, it doesn’t have the same purpose. It is difficult to apply something that you just saw in a museum. You can maybe just except to have a discussion but not really a revolution. What effect would he have if he presents his project in a hardware store? 

I knew Dave Hakkens thanks to my sculpture class at the Rietveld Academie. Indeed, some students were able to create one of the plastic machine, the injection machine. I spoke with one of these students and she gave me an interesting reflection: « He says that everyone can build those machines, it works for us because we are in art school, so we have all the materials needed and we always can find a way to be creative with the plastic machine, but not sure it’s the same in poorer countries, because it has a cost and maybe they did not hear about the Precious Plastic project»

 

PLASTIC MACHINEInjection machine in the Rietveld

 

Dave Hakkens went in 2015 to Ganah for research. Also just a few weeks ago, he shipped a big container to the Maldives, to clean ocean. It is important because “the risk” of this way of building plastic machines is to build them for a personal use or very restrained, as the weekend handyman in his garage. But create this container, place of many workshops to recycle plastics can expand the utilization. Indeed, it can not be an activity in its own right, but it should really be part of our way of life and as we can not spend our time recycling plastic, we may wonder if this community of active people is enough? What about the big industries? In fact, there is a start-up called The Plastik Bank which collaborates with the big industries. Plastic waste that invades the poorer regions of the world is collected by local people and then sold to companies that recycle it. But finally, Dave Hakkens gives the opportunity to communities to create something with plastic, be autonomous in the research and then win money (if they decide to). It is really like build something new, maybe a new society.

 

To say goodbye: very interesting article on other people who tried to find solutions for plastic wastes. 

Results of day-to-day technology and modern media.


Thursday, November 30, 2017

An introduction to: Forensic Architecture. 

Forensic Architecture (FA) is a research based agency located at Goldsmith’s university, London. It undertakes advanced architectural and media research on behalf on international prosecutors, human rights organisations and political and environmental justice groups. It refers to the production and presentation of architectural evidence – buildings and larger environments and their media representations.

As contemporary conflicts increasingly occur in dense urbanised areas, homes and neighbourhoods become targets. Casualties come to be in cities, buildings and the ‘safety’ of their own home. Nowadays, thanks to this multimedia era, urban battlegrounds are overflowing with information and data shared to social media platforms. Many violations, undertaken within cities and buildings, are now caught on camera and are made available almost instantly.  The premise of FA is that analysing IHL and HR violations must involve modelling dynamic events as they unfold in space and time and creating navigable 3D models of environments undergoing conflict, as well as the creation of filmic animations, and interactive cartographies on the urban or architectural scale.

 These techniques allow FA to create precise, convincing and accessible information that could be crucial for the pursuit of accountability. Architectural analysis is also important because it enables new insights in context of urban conflicts.

The widespread possession of cheap digital recording equipment, the development of satellite communication, the public availability of remote sensing technology and the ability to communicate and diffuse information instantaneously through the internet have made urban conflict more complex, but also generate enormous amounts of data that can be used as potential resources for monitoring. But these transformations also lead to secondary conflict about interpretation that takes place on news and social media websites. The establishment of new forums of international jurisdiction mean that also contemporary forums themselves become dense media environments. In them screen-to-screen interaction replaces face-to-face deliberation. The combined process of the urbanisation and mediatisation of war makes FA an urgent and indispensible practice for human rights investigations. FA seeks to respond to these challenges by developing new modes of media research and new modes of media presentation for urban and architectural environments.

FA1-6.5-Photo-montage-TO-BE-CROPPED-TO-IMAGE

 

 

Results of day-to-day technology and modern media. 

Nowadays our lives are filled and dependent on electronic devices, and with that `I don’t mean the ones that keep you breathing in the hospital. It is the smartphones, tablets, laptops, smart watches and what not that makes that we can function in modern society, because of it we can keep up with the ever-changing world on a speed that we have never seen before. Now it is a very contemporary debate if this is a positive development, many pointing out the negative. From a subjective and personal point of view I would have to place myself on that end of the spectrum as well, seeing the unfavourable short and long term effects. Finding out about FA was because of that very thought-provoking.
I will open up a research project that compares positive and negative aspects of modern media and technology use in the present-day.
I will introduce this research through a series of set examples.

 

Generation Selfie

First of all, a negative side to the rise of social media is the deteriorating self image and esteem of essentially Generation Z and the Millennials.  Quoting scientist Clarissa Silva:

“Social media has been linked to higher levels of loneliness, envy, anxiety, depression, narcissism and decreased social skills. As a Behavioural Scientist, I wonder what causes this paradox? The narratives we share and portray on social media are all positive and celebratory. It’s a hybridized digital version of “Keeping up with the Joneses”. Meaning for some, sometimes it appears everyone you know are in great relationships, taking 5-star vacations and living your dream life. However, what is shared across our social networks only broadcasts the positive aspects of our lives-the highlight reels.”

The idea of saving and sharing the highlights of our lives has been a long past introduced concept, think about the photography albums your parents made of you and themselves. But in this new form of doing so, we are constantly bombarded with other’s excitements and achievements in life as well. From the envy and hate- love relationships we hold with our online society grows a competition with a non-existent finish line. Seeing photos and videos of your ‘friend’s’ beautiful holiday destinations, their new set of clothing and perfect life is just a start. The image we have our own appearance decreases drastically, not only as an indirect result of the examples shown above, but also the obsessive behaviour around beauty.

It has been part of mankind that the vision on beauty evolves over time and differs from culture to culture, but the coming of social networks has changed the game thoroughly. We can change our DNA online to look like what we see as perfect. Setting impossible goals for ourselves in real life, which makes it less interesting to ‘live’ there.

Animated GIFAnimated GIF

Here is a link to an ongoing social media based project using Instagram as publishing base and inspiration input. 

Exactitudes


Thursday, November 30, 2017

I chose this project because I find really interesting how every human in the world even the most peculiar looking ones can be catalogued in a group. It always intrigued me how much you can express with clothing and where are the borders between being unique or just following fashion. The photographer Ari Verluis and the stylist Ellie Uyttenbroek have been working in the project Exactitudes for more than twenty years, the name of this project is a fusion of “exact” and “attitudes”.

01--Gabbers-Rotterdam-1994

Vetements which was also in the exhibition Change Makers used Ari and Elli’s work as an inspiration for the autumn/winter 2017 collection. This underscores the critique of the fashion world. After the collection was online big chains started copying it. This open really important questions about actual fashion.

The presentation of the photos they take are always the same, a grid of three by four, making it almost a catalogue of types of persons where you could find your urban tribe.

Exactitudes started in Rotterdam but actually they work all over the world. It analyses how depending on your surroundings your style will be different. They say sense of style is something you’re born with, using as an example the kids who use school uniform, the ones that even wearing the same exact thing make a little difference like wearing a chain or rolling up his sleeves.

This project is not that much about fashion but more about people and it really has an anthropological quality that it’s admirable because slowly it’s documenting the changes in society thru the years and how some factors like social media.

 

To understand better and interpret my subject I decided to recreate Exactitudes but with a twist: doing it on Tinder. Tinder is a dating app where you swipe left or right if you like the profile of the person or not.

cat owners

cat owners

 

In the profile you create, you are able to post four photos where you have to sell yourself. You can also write about you, (but no one reads that). This dating app works visually. The pictures you post will make you have a match or a sad love life with no matches at all.

In the interview for the catalogue, Ari talks about the process of finding/collecting people and how they just sit in the street and wait for the right person to pass by. For me that process was more active, I first had to find which group I wanted to categorize. As soon as you start using the app similitudes between the users pop up, and even though you can’t take photos of them with a white background and the same pose, when I arranged the screenshots in grids it was impressive to see how similar the photos were.

 

dog filter

dog filter

 

The research I made wasn’t that much about clothing, but there’s something in common with clothing and the images you post on Tinder to introduce yourself. They both are talking about you without words. You want to reflect your personality with them, it’s like a mute introduction of yourself.

 

soccer players

soccer players

 

Probably the people I put together in some of the grids won’t think they belong to the same urban tribe. I focused more on the attitudes they reflect on their profiles more than on what they wear. For example the soccer players, by making the choice of introducing themselves with a photo of  them playing this sport place them in an idea of the kind of person they can be. The same exact thing would happen if someone shaved his head and wore a bomber, these decisions reflect a statement of who they are or how they want to be seen.

 

world saviors

world saviors

 

World saviors is another example of how with a single image you can make a strong statement. They try to sell their person and reflect how merciful and helpful they are with the most needed ones. This could not be shown with clothing,

 

Now that Tinder and other social media platforms are opening opportunities for people to give the image they want to show of themselves is time for a new Exactitudes, but now on the virtual world.

 

barbies

barbies

James Bridle – The Anicons


Wednesday, November 29, 2017
 
“as an artist and activist, James Bridle 1980 shows the impact of the techno-surveillance society we live in. He has converted data collected with a spy camera for his project The Right to Flight to create a kaleidoscopic animation. As a protest against this ruthless technology, he has made unusable images.” – Change Makers
 
 Skærmbillede 2017-11-29 kl. 17.10.34
 

I have always been really interested in how our community has become an  surveillance-community, the way we store images, knowledge and numbers in our cloud, for instance. How you can find an answer to nearly anything in the “cloud”. How our focus has moved from the physical to the not physical – metaphysical. How Apple would be able to place you at a crime scene if you are owner and user of an iphone with finger and face recognition. The norm is to tolerate that without questioning.

I think James Bridles project is interesting because he’s making those data unusable, data that is highly important in the way we are interfering and meeting each other today. Data which is not physical any more but have a high value in its metaphysical form.

I did a project earlier this year about how we began in some contexts to weigh the aesthetics higher then the function, and in some cases the understanding as well. And I think what James Bridle is doing can be understated in a similar way.

When you see graphical displays of books, posters or clothes etc., you begin to see a rhythm of incomprehensible elements, repeatedly one sees that a particular artist or designer chooses to use aesthetic elements like the Russian, Greek and Arabic alphabet as bearer of language. Some choose to use barcodes or gothic letters, ornaments that are clearly from another time, then the context it is viewed – used in. It is now only a matter of creating an aesthetically beautiful product, the recipient is now 100% uncritical and chooses only on behalf of aesthetics.

If you see Comme des Garcons for instance, they made a collab with russian designer Gosha Rubchinskiy. In this colab there were t-shirts, hoodies etc with a text in russian. I see people wearing this without knowing anything about the meaning of the selection of letters, they are only wearing it for the aesthetics and the fact that it’s popular.

 

 

Skærmbillede 2017-12-10 kl. 20.14.07

 

The connection I see between these two is that people of today’s society, the post internet generation, have such easy access to awareness – information, facts, news etc, that we have to some extent, stopped caring about it. We are choosing, consciously or unconsciously, what to be aware of and what we want to care about.

Even though both Bridles footage and Comme des Garcons/Rubchinskiys design with the language/letters is filled with important and valuable information, the finished product in these projects is only an abstract form. Roughly said, we are ignoring the value in this information and only choosing to see the abstract result that gives us aesthetic pleasure.

Didn’t I see this before?


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Didn’t I see this before?

Have you ever had this strange, but uncertain feeling that you have experienced something before? An overwhelming sense of familiarity? A moment you are not sure if something similar or the exact same thing already happened? Then you belong to the majority of people who have had a déjà vu. Scientists are still unsure how to explain this phenomenon. Some try to link it to memory functions, claiming that familiar events can trigger memories of forgotten information. Some say it’s a more like a “memory check” of our brain: a signal that there is a conflict between what we think we’ve experienced and what we actually did experience.

There are other interesting theories as well that try to explain a déjà vu:

Precognition: We have the power of foresight. A déjà vu is the evidence that we are actually able to predict the future.

Reincarnation: We have lived before. A déjà vu is the surfacing of a hidden memory, evidence of a previous existence.

Higher dimension: Our consciousness actually exists outside of our physical bodies in a higher dimension, and when a déjà vu occurs, it’s a brief moment when that separation becomes clear.

Parallel universes: There are other versions of ourselves, living in parallel universes. A déjà vu is a moment we share a memory with an alter ego of another universe.

Precognition: A déjà vu is the evidence that we are actually able to predict the future.

 

dejavu-gif

 

In a web app I created for iPads you can move along stories told by various images and collages of hands. Sometimes you end up at a point you think you have experienced before. But is it really the same, or does it just familiar? You might just have a déjà vu.

When browsing through the internet, we often experience this feeling of familiarity. Links and tags create a confusing net of intertwined information, often taking you back to a page you have been before. But because of the information overload we are exposed to, we are often not sure. Maybe you experienced it while surfing through the Design Blog, using the various tags. And you asked yourself, didn’t I see this before?

 

Roots and Branches


Thursday, May 4, 2017

Go on Wikipedia and start a research for something, it can be the most common thing or notion you think about. Then, start clicking on the first link you see, in the sentence that defines what you are searching for. Again and again. If you arrive on a webpage where you have been before, just click on the next link, so not the first but the second one and see where you will end up. Here is my example :

London

london_1100

> capital city

capital_1100

> municipality
> urban area
> human settlement
> geography
> science
> knowledge
> awareness
> perception
> sensory nervous system
> nervous system
> eumatazoa
> clade
> organism
> biology
> natural science
> natural phenomena
> phenomenon
> experience
> philosophy

SQLtree1

So, this brings us to a crucial point. It shows how important arborescence (which means in French from the trunk to the branches) is in a research process. By starting from a very specific subject, you can end up on something you don’t expect to see, something really independent from your first research. By a system of hierarchy, websites choose for you what you should see, in order to make your research larger and more relevant. The concepts presented through the pages are of course connected, because terms are presented to define the notion you are looking for. That is by the way essential for every website : to give a hierarchy. But how? On what logic?

If you follow the previous example on Wikipedia, you can try how many times you want, you will normally end up on the Wikipedia page related to philosophy.

By placing some hyperlinks, you can give an orientation on an internet reasearch. In that sense, links are super efficient tools. Just have a look to what is offered on an everyday internet journey.

But more widely, from the easiest thing, you can always go to something larger in terms of meaning : groups of living species, geographical regions, etc. By defining something, you need an element with a bigger concept to categorize it. Then, is philosophy the final notion, the highest point to reach?

It is basically more than just a simple category in which we can put everything like a cellar where you come to take an old box once a year to remember your sweet childhood.

 

A dopamine delivery service

By spending time by scrolling down, letting my eyes wandering a bit on the DesignBlog, and repeating the same process previously experienced, I found that article by Olya Troitskaya about a concept that defines pretty well this process. It is called “cyberflânerie”. Have a look at it here.

flâneur (word which comes from the french verb flâner) is according to Baudelaire, quoted by Olya Troitskaya, “a person who walks the city in order to experience it”.

By experiencing a part of the internet content in a certain order, you expect something to get, a crucial information, or just an everyday surprise, your dopamine doses maybe. At least some satisfaction.

Play at this (not)serious game, make this fantastic tool a hijacked object, follow the lines, think about this endless journey, how you move through this digital space in terms of pictures and map, with a starting point and an unreachable end.

Welcome to my homepage!


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

by Noémie Courtois

The Internet arrived like an ufo, bringing a promise towards the future. When it became accessible to the broad public, users started to play around and share their hopes, dreams and productions with  the global village in which their children will be living. The birth of the Internet created a specific utopic spirit and everybody was invited to the party.

‘‘And here comes everybody ; moms teens, celebs, goths, tots, gamers, nerds and artists’’. Everybody else, Cory Archangel, 7 [x]

 

20131231131117-7c05877a

 

The Internet changed a lot over the last decades, this utopic spirit began to fade and its users with it. Today, these webpages have been hidden and forgotten by everyone. Luckily, our digital heritage defenders do exist and are truly active ; there seem to be a resurge of our digital culture and artefacts.

In my thesis, I’m exploring the Internet in a sociological and archeological perspective. I’m developing the idea of a ‘digital folklore’ (cf Olia Lialina ) ; Today more than before, there is a wish to keep traces of our digital tradition. The defenders of our Internet culture are fighting against the forgetfulness of a material that henceforth belong to the past. This thesis is a contribution to save that part of history that went missing in the fast Internet evolution.

 

hakims

 

The first users of the Internet were the first digital tribes and they were living in a specific environment:

‘‘A structural, visual and acoustic culture you could play around with, a culture you could break. There was an ocean of options and one of the options was to be different. (…) It was bright, rich, colorful, naive, slow, personal, direct and under construction.
It was a web of sudden collections and personal links. It was the Internet of personal pages and personal collections. It was the web of indigenous and barbarians, the web for the amateurs soon swept by Internet experts’’

A vernacular web, Olia Lialina, p19 [x]

 

img5

 
The importance of the first tribes lays in the spreading of the Internet architecture and culture. The shutting down of GeoCities (the biggest hosting service at the time) marks a shift in the Internet history : only a very small part of webpages have been saved,  there are holes in the shallows of the World Wide Web and pages are filled with dead links.

 

ghhj

Shot(picture?) of one of the many digital ruins, where images have been replaced by the icon "image not found".

They work as a religious triptych and are inspired by traditional construction : The birth, the life and the death

They are the remains of the first digital tribes : structures that were once complete and have fallen into a state of partial of complete disrepair. These digital monuments became places of worship, places where you can remember this specific time where movement and construction were the core of the online activity.

This specific idea lead me to my graduation project:

« Incidentally they're all gone,
well not exactly gone... more sort of... absent… »

 

unnamed (1) nonot3

taps2 nonot tapes4

The 3 tapestries were part of the graduation show.
They work as a religious triptych and are inspired by traditional construction : The birth, the life and the death

The tapestries pay tribute to a web that is gone or -say- hidden. They work as a religious triptych and are inspired by their traditional construction : The birth, the life and the death. The idea of making tapestries came into my mind quickly while writing my thesis. Initially, tapestries were made to educate illiterate and uneducated people about subject of war, religion and so on. Whilst contributing on saving the history, they were also made to make a space warm and welcoming (such as the first webpages). The connection between the Internet archeology and tapestries was really straight froward; they also recall the computer screen and pixels.

 

thesis_900 [click on image] to download this thesis by Noémie Courtois

all rights to this thesis are property of the author © 2016 http://courtoisnoemie.tumblr.com/ [x]

 

willit

 

CREATING WORLDS


Sunday, November 27, 2016

.. Those kinds of worlds that swallow you whole, the worlds where time stand still and you forget your body. It doesn’t have to be an intellectual or logic world. The worlds you discover in your childhood was often better – more fantastic. Maybe because children’s mind are not so constricted. I loved to emerge myself in books and movies. Now in our world of massive possibilities of streaming we have a free choice of worlds. Who doesn’t love Game of Thrones? I might be a bit more into those kind of worlds than the average, so I was really pleased to find another little world in Clair Verkoyens works. I saw a design work of hers in the exhibition “Dream out loud” at the Stedelijk Museum. Three ceramic bowls with three-dimensional worlds added on. The idea of creating new worlds are an interesting possibility that, for me at least, feels like the work leaves the idea of design and move towards something that looks more like an art concept.

clairV
She uses a generic 3D software program to make the animated landscapes and the little creatures “making” it. She is creating the landscapes with shapes and then deleting the solid part so only the lines are left. The landscapes on the bowls exhibited at the Stedelijk Museum are made with a collage technic, where Clair Verkoyen samples and merges her 3D animation together and make the universe.

As to the question why does this little universe belong on ceramics the answer is, that it maybe does not? It seems nevertheless that it has been a natural process of her design career to this point, working first with 2D, then 3D and shifting from photoshop to 3D animation. In connection to Clair Verkoyen’s work the Stedelijk Museum presents, as exhibition text, the history of the Dutch tradition of importing ceramics from China. And it is true that Clair Verkoyen bought the ceramics in China but it was more because of fascination of material rather than a nod to history.
I have seen more post-internet art works around for the last couple of years, and for me Clair Verkoyen has used some of the same technics of working – creating worlds – (besides the obvious: that the work made by/on the computer program). Why does post-internet artist make utopian worlds? I have seen a work by Cécile B. Evans named “What the heart wants”. It is an animation about the connection between human and technology. Her world is set in a futuristic, sterile and a bit barren world where human and technology has merge so much that it is hard to find out what is what.

Ed Atkins work has esthetically similarities to Cécile B. Evans’s work because the formal presentation (screens/projection) and something else I can’t put my finger on. I perceive Ed Atkins animation works differently, he creates a narrative or a statement and the world he creates somehow implied. And that is the thing about making animation, it has to be created from a blank screen. Because of the digital medium these artists uses it to open up a new platform to show there art. Serpentine Galleries has a website connected too their gallery this opens up fore another art form ‘Net Art’.
The differences between ‘Post-Internet Art’[x] and ‘Net Art’[x], is that in Postinternet it is able to be both online and offline. Where ‘Net Art’ only exists online. In the depth of the internet you can be friends with AGNES at the interactive part of the webpage of Serpentine Galleries.

agnes

AGNES is made by Cécile B. Evans. I have visited AGNES several times during this writing assignment and mostly she follows a pattern but one time she encouraged me to think about the idea of herself and showed me a place where I could learn to write HTML code.

Cécile B. Evans seems captivated by the though of involving others in process of her work. At the exhibition “What the heart wants” Cécile B. Evans had created a part named: “Working On What the Heart Wants”.  Here she shows how the animation/movie was made through chatroom bits, pieces and conversations between her and her programmer. Somehow it a very natural nextstep because all of us have a computer so in principal we can all make our own world and what is more important is that everybody can access it. Public art on the internet makes the definition of art even wider. And raises the question: Can the game SIM’s (as an example) be art? It’s interactive like AGNES and it is a world where you create houses and relationships.

All this research made me realize that the worlds created by Clair Verkoyen, Cécile B. Evans and Ed Adkins in whatever medium they work in are very complex and speaks to the observers fantasy. Nothing is given and more observations opens up new layers of experiences. I love being emerged into those kinds of worlds I find in art, literature and movies.
Being able to make worlds is a specific kind of magic.

The ignorant ‘Homo Ludens’ of the 21st century


Sunday, October 23, 2016

Last September, after visiting the exhibition about Constant Nieuwenhuys’s ‘New Babylon’ in The Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, I delved into his work and ideas. I came a across a movie about Constant titled: City Rising by Metahaven. Intrigued by this contemporary view on Constant’s thoughts of society, I started to examine the thoughts of Metahaven on the web and especially found one of their latest works called The Sprawl (Propaganda about Propaganda), interesting. Having seen the exhibition and both the works from Metahaven, in my opinion the freedom of the individual is central in all three. Though the way the individual is presented by both Constant and Metahaven, especially in The Sprawl is entirely different. This led me to ask some questions:
Can we actually call ourselves free individuals with all the contemporary propaganda thrown at us? Should we act more towards Constant’s ideas? Is Metahaven pushing us into the right direction?
To explain my thoughts and to enlarge upon these questions, first I’d like to shortly introduce Constant’s ‘New Babylon’, Metahaven (City Rising) and The Sprawl and later on give insight to a correspondence between Metahaven and me.

New Babylon
‘New Babylon’ is the imagination of a progressive and modern utopian society by Constant Nieuwenhuys by means of maquettes, drawing, movies, graphics and manifests. In ‘New Babylon’ dynamics are crucial and where the inhabitants arrange their artificial environment. An automated community where labor is unnecessary whereby everyone can fully focus on developing their creative ideas. The individual decides how it’s habitat looks like without any restrictions or creative borders.

Metahaven
Metahaven is a Dutch design group based in Amsterdam founded by Daniel van Der Velden and Vinca Kruk. They’ve already had many exhibitions including the MOMA PS1 in New York and the Museum Of Modern Art in Warsaw. The group released several films and graphic designs focusing on contemporary political and social issues. For this instance City Rising (2014); a homage to Constant Nieuwenhuys’s ‘New Babylon’. The film is an exploration of the individuals’conditions of life, work, and love in neo-liberal times where the architectural maquettes of Constant’s ‘New Babylon’ are displayed in the video. This is a general example of what Metahaven deals with.

The Sprawl (Propaganda About Propaganda)
The Sprawl is a multi-channel video installation, feature-length film and episodic online documentary that considers the “ways in which fantasy can be designed so as to seem or feel like a truth”, as Daniel van der Velden describes and states that the Internet has become a disorganized geopolitical super weapon. Where, for example, funny cat videos distract us from urgent matters and that’s where The Sprawl jumps in by asking pressing questions about the internet in relation to our idea of the independent individual few others dare to ask. Looking at the design one can see that The Sprawl is a paranoid, digital trip in which the form and content keep on influencing each other in combination with futuristic beats and sounds by Kuedo, green screen-manipulations and glitch elements which deliver a chaotic and high pressuring image to the viewer.
All the different parts of The Sprawl, the so called “Shards”, can be found on the website sprawl.space; the interface of the project.

Fullscreen-capture-5272016-103924-AM

 

The Contemporary Individual
In both Constant’s ‘New Babylon’ and Metahaven’s The Sprawl, there is an interesting and different way how they approach and think of the individual. Constant claims –for his utopia to fully act well– that every individual should be able to free himself from daily routines such as labor, to become an adventurous, playful and dynamic human being, what he calls the ‘Homo Ludens’. So as a community, all individuals can create a new society where everything can be artificially influenced. Metahaven puts a question mark over the reliability of the internet and the information flows the individual engulfs. What is fantasy and what is real and objective? The internet makes extensive use of propaganda where the individual only gets the information certain people wants them to get. The Sprawl is trying to clarify this; that third parties and the internet form the individual by deciding which and what kind of information we can assume to be relevant. Metahaven tries to convince us we’re not that much of individuals at all, because of all the contemporary propaganda thrown at us.

In the correspondence between Metahaven and me, I asked them a question about The Sprawl to better understand the true meaning and purpose of the project.
My question: (Translated from Dutch) “How does Metahaven thinks to convince the individual by means of The Sprawl that the information we absorb in our daily life is manipulated; and in what way their chosen design contributes to this goal?”.
Unfortunately Metahaven didn’t want to answer the question based on the facts that they don’t speculate about their own made work not knowing what will be written about it and they don’t want to interpret their own work; they are of course fully entitled to do so.
However, they did send interesting references to articles which already conduce to better understanding The Sprawl. Troubled I couldn’t completely understand the project first;
from the article of Ruth Saxelby (see link below), it became clear this is actually a conscious choice of Metahaven:

-The Sprawl is less concerned with what “the truth” is, and more interested in the impact that the internet avalanche of conflicting truths has on the reality we experience, both individually and collectively.-

-The Sprawl’s tagline is “propaganda about propaganda,” and its third manifestation—dropped like breadcrumbs across YouTube—is the one that feels closest to the spirit of the project; its fragmentation is a reflection of the way we half-see, half-read, half-understand the world in these hyper-distracted times. But what does propaganda even mean today?-

“I used to think that propaganda was about persuading people. Jacques Ellul who wrote the classic study of propaganda in the 1960s, French philosopher, called it mass persuasion. He didn’t say propaganda was good or bad, he said it was a part of modern society, a part of technological society, a part of mass industrialized society, whether it’s getting people to wear condoms or to get them to become Maoists. Soviet propaganda used to be, ‘Believe in communism, Moscow is the shining beacon on the socialist hill.’”
“Now it doesn’t seem to be about that. It’s just about deconstructing the other side, disrupting Western narratives, of any sort. There’s a steady stream of disinformation whose purpose seems to be to sort of undermine the very idea that truth is provable.”—Peter Pomerantsev, The Sprawl

 

Metahaven Is Breaking The Propaganda Machine - The FADER-
Every individual has the right to create it’s own truth and what to believe. The internet gives us the idea we get equal choices and information flows, though this isn’t true. Big parties as multinationals, internet-companies and media-tycoons or even Metahaven, have a greater possibility to proclaim their “truth”. The individual is often not aware where certain information arises from.
To get back to Constant and Metahaven together. It indeed seems we, the many individuals, are trapped between many flows of information each claiming to proclaim the truth; while no one really knows what is the “truth” nor whether it exists, and far from being able to call ourselves “Homo Ludens”.

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Constant Nieuwenhuys,’Homo Ludens’, 1964. picto©Constant Foundation/SM

Didn’t I see this before?


Monday, May 9, 2016

Didn’t I see this before?

Have you ever had this strange, but uncertain feeling that you have experienced something before? An overwhelming sense of familiarity? A moment you are not sure if something similar or the exact same thing already happened? Then you belong to the majority of people who have had a déjà vu. Scientists are still unsure how to explain this phenomenon. Some try to link it to memory functions, claiming that familiar events can trigger memories of forgotten information. Some say it’s a more like a “memory check” of our brain: a signal that there is a conflict between what we think we’ve experienced and what we actually did experience.

 

dejavu-gif

 

In a web app I created for iPads you can move along stories told by various images and collages of hands. Sometimes you end up at a point you think you have experienced before. But is it really the same, or does it just familiar? You might just have a déjà vu.

There are other interesting theories as well that try to explain a déjà vu:

#1: We have the power of foresight. A déjà vu is the evidence that we are actually able to predict the future (Precognition)

#2: We have lived before. A déjà vu is the surfacing of a hidden memory, evidence of a previous existence (Reincarnation)

#3: Our consciousness actually exists outside of our physical bodies in a higher dimension, and when a déjà vu occurs, it’s a brief moment when that separation becomes clear (Higher dimension)

#4: There are other versions of ourselves, living in parallel universes. A déjà vu is a moment we share a memory with an alter ego of another universe (Parallel universes)

When browsing through the internet, we often experience this feeling of familiarity. Links and tags create a confusing net of intertwined information, often taking you back to a page you have been before. But because of the information overload we are exposed to, we are often not sure. Maybe you experienced it while surfing through the Design Blog, using the various tags. And you asked yourself, didn’t I see this before?

 

Didn’t I see this before?


Saturday, May 9, 2015

Didn’t I see this before?

dejavu-gif

 

Have you ever had this strange, but uncertain feeling that you have experienced something before? An overwhelming sense of familiarity? A moment you are not sure if something similar or the exact same thing already happened? Then you belong to the majority of people who have had a déjà vu. Scientists are still unsure how to explain this phenomenon. Some try to link it to memory functions, claiming that familiar events can trigger memories of forgotten information. Some say it’s a more like a “memory check” of our brain: a signal that there is a conflict between what we think we’ve experienced and what we actually did experience.

In a web app I created for iPads you can move along stories told by various images and collages of hands. Sometimes you end up at a point you think you have experienced before. But is it really the same, or does it just familiar? You might just have a déjà vu.

There are other interesting theories as well that try to explain a déjà vu:

Precognition: We have the power of foresight. A déjà vu is the evidence that we are actually able to predict the future.

Reincarnation: We have lived before. A déjà vu is the surfacing of a hidden memory, evidence of a previous existence.

Higher dimension: Our consciousness actually exists outside of our physical bodies in a higher dimension, and when a déjà vu occurs, it’s a brief moment when that separation becomes clear.

Parallel universes: There are other versions of ourselves, living in parallel universes. A déjà vu is a moment we share a memory with an alter ego of another universe.

When browsing through the internet, we often experience this feeling of familiarity. Links and tags create a confusing net of intertwined information, often taking you back to a page you have been before. But because of the information overload we are exposed to, we are often not sure. Maybe you experienced it while surfing through the Design Blog, using the various tags. And you asked yourself, didn’t I see this before?

 

A performance in n dimensions


Monday, June 16, 2014

In spring 2014 Designblog was invited by the 26th International Biennial of Graphic Design Brno (subtitled Education and Schools) to prepare a presentation for their Open OFF Program.
I decided to involve a group of BasicYear students in a research focussed on browsing the blog. The goal was to look for a personal objective and to visualize the browsing behavior it generated.
In an effort to regain more insight in the position of Designblog, we invited Klaas Kuitenbrouwer to lecture on the position of blogs as part of the wide interwoven internet space. A space that turned out to look much flatter than our imagination could have ascribed it.
The lecture later developed into this text supporting "WORDPLAY", our final presentation at the Biennial. No better place than to publish that text as part of the student research project "Browsing Designblog" on the Designblog itself.

Henk Groenendijk : moderator Designblog

 

 

While the screen of the device you are using shows that Designblog has a relevant two-dimensionality to it, this text will take you along perspectives on Designblog from single dimensions to two-and-a-half, three, four and even the ever flexible n-dimensions in which Designblog simultaneously exists.

 

Address

http://designblog,rietveldacademie.nl
is an address, a pointer to a location. An address refers to a particular spot, a one-dimensional unit that is typically part of a thing with more dimensions.

An address like this has two kinds of capacities:  one is understood and used by machines, and the other is for humans. In its machinic capacity, designblog.rietveldacademie.nl points to a specific series of states of tiny logical gates, that are part of a memory disk in a server owned by some provider. That’s where Designblog resides in what you could call its latent, purely informational state. In this state Designblog is inaccessible for humans.

The human-facing capacity of the address points to a location on the WorldWideWeb. This address holds particular information on what it points to. In terms of content, it suggests its visitors to relate to what is behind the address as a time-stamped list of musings (a weblog) contextualized in the particular world of meanings known as design. But the address also ties the web location to a place on the physical globe, mobilizing some spatial –geographical- reference frame. It shows the blog is affiliated with an art academy: the Rietveld Academie in The Netherlands.

When a human calls upon that address – when it is clicked by you in this text, for instance – a command is sent to copy a section of that series of logical states from the server through fiber optic cables, through a couple of routers to the computer or phone where the click was performed. The browser on that computer (yours, that would be) than has the specific task and ability to allow that series or logical states to inform the screen of its computer to display what we have come to think of as the front page of Designblog.

 

Page

The ‘page’ is home turf for the graphically oriented. A two dimensional surface, that can passively hold various two-dimensional artifacts in a fixed relation to one another. The page was a helpful metaphor to be able to relate to the strangeness of networked information, as it was performed by snippets of code – a rewarding, but also frustrating metaphor for the graphically oriented: neither is there a real surface, nor is there a fixed two-dimensional relation between any artifact and any other. Still, although the page doesn’t exist anywhere but in your lazy perception, it doesn’t really hurt to think of Designblog as a collection of pages.
But there’s more…

The latent, machinic state is now activated. The address opened its front door, and revealed what performs not only as a page, but also like a place. An online, publicly accessible part of the Rietveld Academy, that indeed has some characteristics of a classroom.

 

Place

A place is an appropriated space. A location with layers of stories, traces of events. A place offers corners, furniture, a means to sit down and be there. A place ties to identity, to individual identities, or group identities. At places, relations become entangled. Anything can talk to who- or whatever also happens to be there. A place is somewhere you can be with your experience, somewhere to orient from. This possibility of being there, (which is different from ‘looking at’) this possible sensation of presence, subtly mobilizes a notion of partiality.

Over its years of existence Designblog has become a place with a deep accreted inside, a vast archive of contributions by Rietveld students: worded observations, found media-items, responses to assignments, to each others contributions, linked to each other, to other addresses on the web, clustered and flagged by tags.

Unlike a classroom, the inside of Designblog is at the same time its outside: the stuff inside is crawled and indexed by the bots of Google, that provide the endless amount of entry points for the querying audience. In this sense Designblog is like a Klein Bottle, an object with two-and-a-half dimensions, of which the outside and the inside are one unbroken surface.

Every corner of Designblog either links to some item in the vast non-dimensionality of the web, or is accessible from it. Things inside Designblog are not even closer to one another than to things accessible through other addresses. Everything  on the web exists at more or less the same distance from everything else. If this is a classroom, it is an extremely open classroom.

 

Space

Designblog has a lot of placeness, but clearly also still has endless space. To call it space pulls the attention to its not yet actualized potential. It brings to the front that whatever it is, it could house a great many future developments, without ever loosing that quality of potential. In the sense that any member of the blog can always open up a new empty page (a sub-address) to fill, Designblog performs as space. But this spaceness, because it is part of the web, has no particular kind of dimensionality to it.

 

Nest

Designblog is a collective, open archive, an accessible history of students’ online work. But to say (like you would say of an archive) that informational artifacts are ‘stored’ there would be misleading. The artifacts are not stored in its structure, they are its structure, as well as its decoration.

Like a birds nest is made of twigs, threads, leaves, wires, found things that are sufficiently twinable, Designblog is made of its twines. Also a nest is a place where one can land and fly off from. A nest is a place that holds up who dwell there, but that does not cover them. A nest offers place, but has no real inside. All that seems to hold for Designblog: as a groups’ nest it offers a place to land, to contribute informational twines to, and to fly off from.

 

Body language

When language deals with space and location, it stubbornly uses the body as implicit reference. The language of spatiality is about here or there, behind or in front, up or down and in or out. The web captured the human imagination through the metaphor of cyberspace. This spatial approach offered important and helpful familiarity, and has made the internet inhabitable, so to speak.

Spatial concepts have played and still play a crucial part in helping people to relate to networked computing. But insisting on spatial notions also fixes the relation between people and the online as a spatial one.

 

Time

And it is through the time-perspective – the fourth dimension- that other Designblog realities reveal themselves. Because the most essential aspects of Designblog are processes.

The emergence of Designblog, (as of all blogs) follows a time line, that would be one-dimensional if it didn’t fold in on itself, and looped to earlier contributions. Twining may be an apt practice by which to perceive the development of Designblog: both making and responding to what’s there, simultaneously creative and reactive.

Time is also the room in which learning takes place – the process of one thing informing another thing, the process of information, the raison d’être of a school.

 

Performing

All agents related to Designblog are engaged in some act of distinctly time-based performance. A performance of a for a particular audience – you.  Some of those acts come down to straightforward, unambiguous execution of tasks, others are more elaborate and creative.

Your computer or phone performs its web browser, for you. The web browser in turn performs the latent code of Designblog to make it active and accessible, again to you.

Designblog performs its fuzzily structured content, never showing more than a glimpse of its vastly twined labyrinthine body. It responds to your clicks by turning a differently dressed little facade, by offering a new shadowy inroad, or by suddenly pointing a spotlight in your eyes.

Members perform the mysterious part of author – transforming found things into new source material. They create independent, informative agents of text or (moving) image, that in their turn perform the act of information on your sense organs.

And the members add tags to their agents, to suggest similarities or difference between their agents to you. These tags perform as frames through which to move with your mind, frames that you put on to shape your perception. Every one of those tags performs like one of n dimensions along which the content of Designblog can be morphed, when you travel along it. Although it is not so much you who travels through Designblog, it is more that Designblog travels through your screen – you stay put, Designblog performs the moves.

But you are not undergoing this passively. You are the last performer, performing the score of Designblog, following the by-roads and sideways. By your clicking you act upon your pseudo-conscious choices about what material is allowed to inform your perception. Your clicks and non-clicks manifest your own perspective in the material of Designblog.

 

Klaas Kuitenbrouwer augustus – september 2014

(written for the occasion of "WORDPLAY", the presentation of the online artefact Designblog at the Graphic Design Biennial in Brno, Czech Republic.)

 

Didn’t I see this before?


Friday, May 9, 2014

Didn’t I see this before?

dejavu-gif

 

Have you ever had this strange, but uncertain feeling that you have experienced something before? An overwhelming sense of familiarity? A moment you are not sure if something similar or the exact same thing already happened? Then you belong to the majority of people who have had a déjà vu. Scientists are still unsure how to explain this phenomenon. Some try to link it to memory functions, claiming that familiar events can trigger memories of forgotten information. Some say it’s a more like a “memory check” of our brain: a signal that there is a conflict between what we think we’ve experienced and what we actually did experience.

In a web app I created for iPads you can move along stories told by various images and collages of hands. Sometimes you end up at a point you think you have experienced before. But is it really the same, or does it just familiar? You might just have a déjà vu.

There are other interesting theories as well that try to explain a déjà vu:

Precognition: We have the power of foresight. A déjà vu is the evidence that we are actually able to predict the future.

Reincarnation: We have lived before. A déjà vu is the surfacing of a hidden memory, evidence of a previous existence.

Higher dimension: Our consciousness actually exists outside of our physical bodies in a higher dimension, and when a déjà vu occurs, it’s a brief moment when that separation becomes clear.

Parallel universes: There are other versions of ourselves, living in parallel universes. A déjà vu is a moment we share a memory with an alter ego of another universe.

When browsing through the internet, we often experience this feeling of familiarity. Links and tags create a confusing net of intertwined information, often taking you back to a page you have been before. But because of the information overload we are exposed to, we are often not sure. Maybe you experienced it while surfing through the Design Blog, using the various tags. And you asked yourself, didn’t I see this before?

 

dejavu-gif

Didn’t I see this before?


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Didn’t I see this before?

dejavu-gif

 

Have you ever had this strange, but uncertain feeling that you have experienced something before? An overwhelming sense of familiarity? A moment you are not sure if something similar or the exact same thing already happened? Then you belong to the majority of people who have had a déjà vu. Scientists are still unsure how to explain this phenomenon. Some try to link it to memory functions, claiming that familiar events can trigger memories of forgotten information. Some say it’s a more like a “memory check” of our brain: a signal that there is a conflict between what we think we’ve experienced and what we actually did experience.

In a web app I created for iPads you can move along stories told by various images and collages of hands. Sometimes you end up at a point you think you have experienced before. But is it really the same, or does it just familiar? You might just have a déjà vu.

When browsing through the internet, we often experience this feeling of familiarity. Links and tags create a confusing net of intertwined information, often taking you back to a page you have been before. But because of the information overload we are exposed to, we are often not sure. Maybe you experienced it while surfing through the Design Blog, using the various tags. And you asked yourself,

 

 

Didn’t I see this before?

 

dejavu-gif

 

Have you ever had this strange, but uncertain feeling that you have experienced something before? An overwhelming sense of familiarity? A moment you are not sure if something similar or the exact same thing already happened? Then you belong to the majority of people who have had a déjà vu. Scientists are still unsure how to explain this phenomenon. Some try to link it to memory functions, claiming that familiar events can trigger memories of forgotten information. Some say it’s a more like a “memory check” of our brain: a signal that there is a conflict between what we think we’ve experienced and what we actually did experience.

In a web app I created for iPads you can move along stories told by various images and collages of hands. Sometimes you end up at a point you think you have experienced before. But is it really the same, or does it just familiar? You might just have a déjà vu.

When browsing through the internet, we often experience this feeling of familiarity. Links and tags create a confusing net of intertwined information, often taking you back to a page you have been before. But because of the information overload we are exposed to, we are often not sure. Maybe you experienced it while surfing through the Design Blog, using the various tags. And you asked yourself,

 

Didn’t I see this before?

 

Didn’t I see this before?


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Have you ever had this strange, but uncertain feeling that you have experienced something before? An overwhelming sense of familiarity? A moment you are not sure if something similar or the exact same thing already happened? Then you belong to the majority of people who have had a déjà vu. Scientists are still unsure how to explain this phenomenon. Some try to link it to memory functions, claiming that familiar events can trigger memories of forgotten information. Some say it’s a more like a “memory check” of our brain: a signal that there is a conflict between what we think we’ve experienced and what we actually did experience.

There are other interesting theories as well that try to explain a déjà vu:

Precognition: We have the power of foresight. A déjà vu is the evidence that we are actually able to predict the future.

Reincarnation: We have lived before. A déjà vu is the surfacing of a hidden memory, evidence of a previous existence.

Higher dimension: Our consciousness actually exists outside of our physical bodies in a higher dimension, and when a déjà vu occurs, it’s a brief moment when that separation becomes clear.

Parallel universes: There are other versions of ourselves, living in parallel universes. A déjà vu is a moment we share a memory with an alter ego of another universe.

Precognition: déjà vu is the evidence that we are actually able to predict the future.

 

Didn’t I see this before?

When browsing through the internet, we often experience this feeling of familiarity. Links and tags create a confusing net of intertwined information, often taking you back to a page you have been before. But because of the information overload we are exposed to, we are often not sure. Maybe you experienced it while surfing through the Design Blog, using the various tags. And you asked yourself, didn’t I see this before?

In a web app I created for iPads you can move along stories told by various images and collages of hands. Sometimes you end up at a point you think you have experienced before. But is it really the same, or does it just familiar? You might just have had a

 

dejavu-gif

déjà vu.

 

 

Didn’t I see this before?


Monday, May 9, 2011

Didn’t I see this before?

dejavu-gif

dejavu-gif

dejavu-gif

 

Didn’t I see this before?

In a web app I created for iPads you can move along stories told by various images and collages of hands. Sometimes you end up at a point you think you have experienced before. But is it really the same, or does it just familiar? You might just have a déjà vu.

Have you ever had this strange, but uncertain feeling that you have experienced something before? An overwhelming sense of familiarity? A moment you are not sure if something similar or the exact same thing already happened? Then you belong to the majority of people who have had a déjà vu. Scientists are still unsure how to explain this phenomenon. Some try to link it to memory functions, claiming that familiar events can trigger memories of forgotten information. Some say it’s a more like a “memory check” of our brain: a signal that there is a conflict between what we think we’ve experienced and what we actually did experience.

There are other interesting theories as well that try to explain a déjà vu:

Precognition: We have the power of foresight. A déjà vu is the evidence that we are actually able to predict the future.

Reincarnation: We have lived before. A déjà vu is the surfacing of a hidden memory, evidence of a previous existence.

Higher dimension: Our consciousness actually exists outside of our physical bodies in a higher dimension, and when a déjà vu occurs, it’s a brief moment when that separation becomes clear.

Parallel universes: There are other versions of ourselves, living in parallel universes. A déjà vu is a moment we share a memory with an alter ego of another universe.

Precognition: déjà vu is the evidence that we are actually able to predict the future.

 

In whichever explanation we believe in, the question remains:

Didn’t I see this all of this before?

 


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