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"social behavior" Category


From Chair to Playground


Friday, October 26, 2018

While viewing all the design objects in Stedelijk Museum I came to the end of the show. I thought its hopeless to find something that satisfies my eye. I finally saw the Floris chair in it’s beautiful white form. I thought it was such an extraordinary design, so feminine, so elegant, there must be something interesting on this chair, and so I began my research on Gunter Beltzig.

 

Gunter Beltzig is an industrial designer that designed plastic furniture in his youth. They are now exhibited as classics in museums of modern art. He designed many various pieces of chairs and tables. As I went on checking his website, facebook profile, and all the pages that Google gave me, I found more and more of Floris Tablehis furniture. Some were named by the same name, “Floris”, and some more playful names like Pegasus.

 

pegasus chair

In 1968, Beltzig created the visionary FLORIS chair, which made him known overnight. I stumbled upon Gunter’s research and ideal about life, he seemed to get be inspired by the atmosphere of the 1960s. World events, such as America sending a man to the moon and the preparation for the withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam, made the possibilities seem endless. To him, the world seemed full of potential and Beltzig wanted to produce a chair that matched the great future ahead.

Beltzig’s Floris chair is an ergonomic form with three legs and designed to support the three points needed for seating: the neck, rear, and back. Further the chair is light, stackable and stable. Made of fiberglass, the biomorphic form captures the spirit of the material.

272

 

fiberglass-wave-slide-500x500

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Soon enough I started to see Gunter’s designs to represent interesting forms, something that reminded me of children’s play. I noticed that his designes were morfing into samples of playground equipment.

1392651795442320beltzig_filius_bench_vitra

Also if you put them in an outdoor invironment, they represent their true shape and use: artikel_aus_sammeln_seite_07_bild_4 artikel_aus_sammeln_seite_08_bild_3

 

I found information that he worked for almost five years designing electrical equipment for Siemens AG in Munich until he decided to design playground equipment and outdoor areas for children, of course we can see by his fixation on minimal, plastic, childish designs.
He has written a book on playground design, which has been translated into several languages, authored many publications on the subject of playgrounds catering for people with disabilities and children’s aesthetics and also worked collaboratively on the playground standards. He has held teaching positions at various technical universities. He has created very interesting play areas throughout Europe, also in sensitive nature and conservation areas, with high design demands, many play offers and high experience and learning effects.

allebildermittexte

  • The 6 golden rules for a perfect playground (TEXT)
    Children play! At any time! With everything! Everywhere! All over!

     

    Children play everywhere, at all times, with everything they can find; therefore children actually need no playgrounds. But because they are not allowed to play everywhere with everything at any time we need playgrounds to entice children away from dangers, disturbances and the wrong things.

Playing means: „activities of an individual to adjust to the environment“, with other words – playing means sampling all possibilities, go to the borders, sample experiences, search, learn – and it just does not mean children alone, but artists, researchers and many creative human beings play.

There is no defined „value of play“ but many particular play functions like climbing, balancing, coordinating, sliding, to train social conduct, to sustain oneself within the group, but also the experience of wind, rain, sun, these are only few of the possibilities in functional play.

They can overlap, can support one another; but also can block up, prevent play or lead to aggressive behaviour.

Therefore it is of special importance to consciously select and search for and set in special play functions on playgrounds on special play equipment.

A playground is a highly complex sociologically functioning place.

The 6 golden rules for a perfect playground

A good playground should:
1. Offer atmosphere, impart sense of well-being, invite to abidance.
2. Have possibilities for discovery, provide only searcher with its full potentials.
3. Allow controllable risk, cognizable risk, manipulable risk.
4. Offer differing possibilities for different moods, interests, needs.
5. Supply wind-, sight- and sound-shelter.
6. Make „special“ bans dispensable.

A bad playground is:
1. A parcours for dressage.
2. A landscape decoration.
3. A use of residual areas.
4. A centralist mono-structure for only one specific user-group.
5. Not enough room, not enough choices, too uniform, not enough stability, too unkind.
6. Too safe, too similar to an enclosure, too regulated.

 

 

 

 

 

Gunter is a designer with a great imagination, I can almost say that he would fulfill all my dreams as a child, and give me the oportunity to enter a playground full of excitment.

skizze04 skizze01 skizze25

 

freizeitparks011

Some more information about projects, books, articles, text and magazine mentions:

 

Playconcepts and Projects of the recent past

– Playground without Playequipment, at the LAGA,
Pforzheim, Germany 1992
– Apulia Robinson Club, Kinderbereich,  Italien 1993
– Expo Lissabon, Spielgelände,  Portugal 1997
– New York City Hall of Science, Play Area,  USA 1997
– Naturspielgelände,  Waging am See,  1997
– Playmobilpark,  Zirndorf  1998
– Castle Plays Cape,  Billund, Dänemark 1998
– Spielinsel, Thoiry-Park,  Frankreich 2000
– Spiel-Mal, Ornithopter,  Magdeburg 2000
– Play-Area in the Livingston Park,  Puerto Rico 2001
– Princess Diana Memorial Parc, Play Area,  Kensington,
London 2001
– Spielburg, LAGA,  Oelde 2001
– Ouwehands Dieren Park, Spielhalle,  Holland 2002
– Wasserspiel im Kinderreich, Deutsches Museum,
München 2002
– Fidenza Village, Play Area,  Italien 2003
– Spiel-Mal, Kiesspiel,  Dortmund 2003
– Wasserspiel LAGA, Trier 2004
– Play in the Tree Alnwick Garden,  England 2004
– Playmobil Spielen in der Halle,  Zirndorf 2004
– Blindeninstitutsstiftung,  Würzburg  2005
– Spiellabyrinth,  Wien 2005
– “Play the Wilderness” Concept,  Deimhausen since 1998

 

 

Gunter Beltzig  is mentioned in a few books and biographies mainly interested around design in the Stedelijk Museum library.

these are the few documents:

1. 

Experiment 70 : Designvisionen von Luigi Colani und Günter BeltzigGrunewald, Almut

Hoffmann, Tobias (2002)

2. Sixties designGarner, Philippe

(2001)

3. Plastics : designs and materialsKatz, Sylvia

(1978)

4. Van bakeliet tot composiet : design met nieuwe materialen = From bakelite to composite : design in new materialsBucquouye, Moniek E.

Beukers, Adriaan (2002)

 

Books

„Kinderspielplätze“,  Bauverlag, 1987,  no longer available, revised as: „Das Spielplatzbuch“,  Spiel-Raum-Verlag 1998 translated into:  ukrainian 1991,   polish 2001 „Ksiega Placow Zabaw“

„Spielgeräte…“,  G.Agde, G.Beltzig, J.Richter, D.Settelmeier, DIN Beuth-Verlag 2001 translated into:  french,  Verlag Afnor 2002

„Leitlinien für integrative Spielplätze“, Nürnberg 2003

 

 

Articles

“Child-like, Childish, Child-friendly: is there such a thing as children´s aesthetics?”, (Kid Size, Exhibition Catalogue, Vitra Museum 1997)

Meine „Sixties“  68 Design und Alltagskultur (Dumont, Ausst.-Katalog 1998)

Kindergarten Architecture (Gingko Press inc. Corte Madera  USA 2001)

Guarderias Diseno de Jardines de Infancia (Editorial G.Gill .S.A.,  Barcelona 2001)

Bauten für Kinder (Kohlhammer Verlag Stuttgart 2002)

 

 

Texts:

The 6 golden rules for a perfect playground 

Child-like, Childish, Child-friendly: is there such a thing as children’s aesthetics 

Play areas in schools 

Concept for A Councillor of Children needs 

Playgrounds and Playground Equipment for the Handicapped 

Checklist

 

 WEBSITE: http://www.beltzig-playdesign.de/indexe.html

 

 

The Code of Imagination


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

INTRO, OUR INTEREST

During 3 weeks of design theory, we came across many different font types, some of which were far from understandable. Some of these abstract types surpassed the intelligible and had a whole coding system for themselves, in which every letter of the alphabet had a symbol of its own, which should be able to be coded and decoded in order to write and read text.
In it’s own special realm of this font families, there is a book that navigates the imaginary, it’s the Codex Seraphinianus.

 

text in the codex

text in the codex

It’s creator, Luigi Serafini , was an architect, designer and painter, who published the book in 1981. It took him around 30 months, between 1976 and 1978, in a single room apartment in Rome to create the 360 pages of this curious “encyclopedia
The book describes almost scientifically a different and strange world, reminiscent of our own planet but equally strange and obscurely abstract and unfamiliar. It is composed by two parts, one which seems to be about human science and a second about general nature, society and ruling structures of this foreign world.
The piece stands for itself, it should be seen as an art book that does have an explanation; it is extremely fantastic and creative with wondrous drawings and ideas, which stimulate your fantasies, and invite you to dream along its colorful and psychedelic illustrations.

 

Codex-Seraphinianus-08

At a first glance you will be taken through constant confusion, where referencing what you see from what you know from the natural world leads nowhere. The feeling it creates could be described as the one of a child, scrolling through an encyclopedia, believing that what is written makes sense but is not able to verify if true or not. The pictures are all that is left to rely on and are the actual source of the story telling going on through our heads.
Ever since its publication, this book stayed as a mystery; intellectuals from all disciplines have tried to “understand” and “decode” it. Despite the familiar characteristics of language like rhythm, repetitiveness, paragraphs and even punctuation, there has been no success on making sense of this “text”. It simply can’t be figured out, but why should it? What would the decoding of this alternative encyclopedia bring and why are the efforts centered in doing so? Which interpretation would be the correct/truthful one?

COMPARING THE CODEX TO OTHER BOOKS

The Codex could be compared to the “Voynichmanuscript” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Voynich_manuscript), written around 1450-1520, which is also also written in a code impossible to decipher and is illustrated with bright colored images of a scientific nature, just as in the Codex Seraphinianus.

voynich-collage-pic905-895x505-95001

The feeling the codex creates could be compared to Aldous Huxleys  “Brave New World” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brave_New_World);  a novel about an utopian or dystopian future where everything seems to be so great and neatly organized that it gets scary, and even though it is quite different from our world we see parallels that remind us on how easily our order can slip into the realms of suppression and absolute control, without us even noticing. The aesthetic of the world described in the Codex reminded me of this morbid perfection of the modern world.
In more general terms, the story of the interpretation, coding and decoding of the “Codex Seraphinianus” could maybe be compared as a more recent artistic Bible. “The Holy Book”, which sets a broad set of rules and explains stories through metaphors, could easily be compared since, for centuries, the scriptures have been read, analyzed, compared, re-written, interpreted and decoded by intellectuals and well as whole cultures and societies. But, which interpretation is the right one?

IN RELATION TO PHILOSOPHY

Interpretation is a key element to understanding, a fundamental capacity and force of the human essence. The reason for this need falls uncertain and as mysterious as the subject of this text, but somehow it’s force is so essential and true as any other basic necessity such as eating or reproducing, interpretation is key to learning, evolving, developing and creating, it is indeed inevitable and inescapable, nevertheless, when could we say an interpretation is true?
Plato, tried to explain the burdens/risks/nature of this issue, through what is probably the best known philosophical allegory. It’s the allegory of “The Cave”.

The Allegory of The Cave
People have always lived in a cave and haven’t seen the outside world. There is no natural light, and all the inhabitants can see are the shadows on the wall projected by the light of a fire. They are fascinated by the reflections, moreover they believe those shadows are real and if you concentrate, look and study them, you will understand and succeed in life. They don’t realize that they are looking at mere phantoms.
One day by chance, someone discovers a way out of the cave. At first he is simply overwhelmed and dazzled by the sunshine in which everything is for the fist time properly illuminated, and once his eyes adjust to the light, he encounters the true forms of the shadows he had been seeing on the cave. Previously he had been looking merely at phantoms, but now, he is nearer to the true nature of being.

allegory_cave

When the cave dweller crawls back into the cave, he is confused by the dark setting of his previously familiar space. Confused, he tries to explain his co-habitants about what he just saw and discovered, about the truth he had witnessed. At first, the other cave dwellers don’t understand his ideas, they believe he is being sarcastic and at some point, even plot to kill him.
This allegory is a symbolic explanation of philosophy and humanity; Cave dwellers are humans before philosophy, the sun the light of reason, and the messenger a philosopher (and what happens to the messenger, is what truth tellers can expect when they take their knowledge back to people).
This allegory is a warning as well as an explanation about the risks of pursuing the truth, of thinking and exploring, but, where does the force of wanting to understand, to think, to decode and understand come from? Science is maybe busy trying to find the truth of things, while art is maybe one of the fields looking to solve the bigger question, WHY?

MEANINGLESS ART, IS IT TRULY MEANINGLESS?

It is believed that the Codex Seraphinianus doesn’t have a purpose, but do purposeless things mean nothing? Is the same to make an incomprehensible statement than making no statement at all?
In art and out contemporary times this is a burning question looking for an answer. E.g. What is tho be expected from a stone carver artist today?
Stone Carver: I want people to see that I pushed the material as far as I can possibly go. I maybe want people to see themselves in it. Maybe that they wonder about my reasons for carving it. I want them to argue about why did I make it the way I did and maybe have different ideas of what the reason and its purpose is.

CONCLUSION

Philosophy as seen by Plato and many others, is a practice that will teach us to live and die well, some sort of therapy for the soul. Pieces like the Codex Seraphinianus, despite it’s attractive and superficial nonsense take a stand towards curiosity, imagination and discussion. It encourages doubt and reflection, study and analysis, key element to critical thinking and human/personal/intellectual development but most important, it encourages imagination.
The book gives us back that brave imagination of a child, that creates the story itself by looking at images and assuming what is written. The book is an invitation, to exercise our imagination again, another time, its another chance for the adult to go back to the golden age of childhood, before going to school.
Weather its real significance has, will or had ever existed shouldn’t be the main focus, instead, we should appreciate the process of adapting our eyes to the light and be courageous enough to be doubtful and think, go out of the cave even if what we see is confusing, truthful or not.

 

codex seraphinianus1

 

_____________

A Bipolar Wardrobe


Monday, April 2, 2018

For many people colours have stark connotations related to their moods. Think of sayings like “feeling blue”, “being green with envy”, “seeing red” or think about mood-rings that supposedly change colour every time your mood changes. Undoubtedly moods and colours are intertwined in one way or another.

Thinking of mood swings related to colour makes me think of my mother, who has bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder causes swings in mood, energy, and the ability to function throughout the day. It is known for alternating periods of depression and mania that can last from days to months. Thus she has experienced extreme mood swings. How does she relate her moods to colour? She personally doesn’t clearly remember what happened during her manic episodes, I however do and noticed how her mania and depression greatly influence her way of dressing. She has a wardrobe filled with exotic clothes in all colours of the rainbow and lot’s of different prints and styles. When being manic she dresses herself as an artwork before going outside, making heads turn wherever she goes. When being depressed she doesn’t really dresses herself, but instead stays in her grey pajamas’s at home all day. I think that a lot of people might experience that they wear more colourful clothes when feeling happy and wearing more neutral toned clothes when feeling sad.  I decided to create a colour system based on my mothers way of dressing, and not on people’s way of dressing in general or on people with bipolar disorder’s way of dressing. I thought it would be generalizing people’s experiences too much and I think that especially dealing with people who have a condition like bipolar disorder one must avoid that to avoid stigmatizing the disorder. Not every person with bipolar disorder has the same behaviour towards their wardrobe, or the same experiences in general.

After having decided to make a colour system based on my mother’s way of dressing, I read a lot of general information about bipolar disorder, which didn’t bring me any further in the development of my project. I could also hardly ask my mother any questions about it, as she doesn’t remember how she was when being manic. I later found an interesting article written by someone who also has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, about what having this disorder means for their gender identity. The writer of the article identifies as a non-binary person, and thus I shall refer to them as “their” and “they”. They experience that when being manic they feel more feminine, and when being depressed they feel more masculine. This shows itself in many ways, one of them being the way they dress. When feeling manic, they will wear a dress, when feeling depressed, they will wear baggy clothes. This made me realize how my mother’s way of dressing doesn’t only change in colour when her mood does, but also in how traditionally feminine versus masculine her clothes would be. When being manic it wouldn’t be a bright yellow sweatpants she would put on, but a bright yellow dress. When being depressed she wouldn’t put on a grey miniskirt, but grey oversized sweatpants instead. This was something to keep in mind in the development of my colour system.

After researching I figured it was time to start working hands on. I collected all the traditionally feminine colourful clothes and the traditionally masculine baggy neutral toned clothes from my own wardrobe. I realized that I order my clothes by colour in my wardrobe, in some way I was thus already working on this project of making a colour system before it even started. With the clothes I tried making a small installation without damaging the clothes, this was very frustrating. Somehow nothing I tried seemed to work for me and I soon decided to quit trying. I felt like the best ways of displaying clothes without damaging them already existed and happens all the time and everywhere, which is putting them on mannequins, on hangers or folding them neatly. I didn’t feel like playing clothing store, so this was not the way to go. I took a step back from the whole process, let some time pass to then later come with new insights again. I concluded that the colour system I was trying to create already existed and just needed to be documented. I decided to make a video with my mother, of her wearing two bipolar outfits.

dav

The filming went very smoothly, my mother and I enjoyed putting the outfits together and enjoyed spending time together, which to me makes the video feel genuine too. We tried to make the contrast between her two outfits/moods very clear, but still true to reality. This lead to us filming her depressed outfit inside on the couch, and her manic outfit outside in a field of flowers with more movement. I later also edited the video to be slowed down when her depressed outfit was shown, and sped up the video when her manic outfit was portrayed. When presenting the video, I went back to trying to make an installation using my own clothes but now including the video shown on a tablet. I felt like just showing the video on a big screen would not fit how personal and tangible someone’s clothes, and thus my colour system, are. To make it even more personal/intimate, the viewer of the work needs to wear headphones to hear the sound of the video.

Here are some stills from the video:

Fast walking in a flowery field

Comfy outfit

Colourfull outfit in a field of flowers

Reading glasses with tape

WHATISAWHILE’S COLOR SYSTEM


Monday, April 2, 2018

Aim: I need to combine two words which I found very different from one another: ‘system’ firstly appears to be very restricted while possibilities seem to be unlimited with ‘color’.

 

FIRST CONCEPT: Connect the situation in which you currently find yourself to music thanks to colors.

Process: You’re heartbroken and alone in the shower.
Find the key words: heartbroken, alone, shower.
Each key word is associated to one color: heartbroken = purple, alone = blue, shower = grey.
In the system, clic on the key words’ fitting colors « purple, blue, grey», it will send you a playlist matching your current needs.

Questions: How to realize the system? Do I use the computer or do I make it by hands? If computer, which site or application should I use? Need to select key words: how many, which ones and why? Do I use common key words or specific ones?

Issues: Want to use computer (better quality of colors, easier to extend the visibility and good way to classify data), I could find a specific application or website. I’ve been told by a classmate, who has studied computer science, that applications she knows are not for amateurs like me but professionals.

Conclusion: Because of a lack of knowledge and no skills in code I can’t bring this first concept to a successful end. I’m better to modify my system so I could create a new realizable one.
I still want to use the computer as my main tool.
However, I want to make this project more personal and subjective, meaning that I want the color system to depend on me. I will set my own rules.

Transition
I’ve asked to a friend of mine, a singer, if he was associating people with music, he answered he wasn’t and return me the question. Then I realize: I’m not associating music to people but colors. Indeed, when I paint someone the association of colors I choose come from what this latter inspires me, what he radiates out.
What if I would connect colors to something else than people? About me? (reminder: want to make this project more personal and subjective). I could write about my personal life? What occurred to me during the day? And connect this specific moment with a color?
From this developed the idea of my second concept: associate situations to colors.

 

SECOND CONCEPT: Connect a situation in which you have found yourself to colors.

Process: I’m going out of the cinema, touched by the movie I’m lost in my mind. Which color do I see at this current moment?
1) Visualize the color you’re seeing at the current moment
2) Find the color on internet
3) Save it on your phone
4) Give the color a name
5) Write a short sentence describing the situation linked to the color
6) Write the date and city

Questions: Want to use the computer but no code, what should I do? Where should I publish this system? Find a reachable application? Which application would fit the best?
 

 Answers: Instagram

+ Concept: share simultaneously what you’ve done with your followers.
+ Design: matching the concept (edit an image, description bellow, location, share…).
+ 1 Square 1 color: focus on the main theme ‘color’, interesting visual aspect (variety of colors).
+ # ‘hashtag’: to be seen and share data.
+ Follow or be followed by similar accounts

 

Ideas to complete:
1) Account’s name: ‘What i saw while’ = @whatisawhile
It refers to which color I’ve seen while a daily situation occured to me.
2) Profile picture: The color I identify myself with.
3) Short sentence to describe the account’s theme: ‘I associate everyday situations in which I find myself to colors’.

4) Description bellow image: for each image the description will start the same ‘What i saw while’ to give the account a rhythm and an identity and for the viewers to remember the account’s name.
Always the same plan for each publication: 1 color as an image – 1 title as color’s name – 1 sentence to contextualize – 1 date – 1 town – few hashtags.

 

FINAL PROJECT

 

 

WANT TO SEE MORE OF WHATISAWHILE‘S COLOR SYSTEM?

GO follow @whatisawhile on Instagram to discover other stories hiding behind the colors!! 🙂

Responsive Color System


Sunday, April 1, 2018

After researching information about different color systems, I realized that all the systems try to approach questions of color always in relation to something. Color in terms how we describe it in language, color as light, color as pigment, color as sound. As for the color in relation to human body there is a Chakras system. But it is all fixed, and doesn’t explain movements of the body. I see human body as a constantly changing system, it is changes every second, and I wanted to develop during this project I wanted to create color system which describes movements of the human body into the color, in the real time. I wanted it to be really interactive and visual.

illustration1_950                   illustration3_950

So I split whole process into two steps. First step was to find a sensor which will “read” movements of the body. There were several ideas possible, but after some try outs with heart rate monitors, ultrasonic motion sensors, I ended up using HC-SR501 Passive Infrared Motion Sensor (PIR) sensor. The module features adjustable sensitivity that allows for a motion detection range from 3 meters to 7 meters.  The device will detect motion inside a 110 degree cone with a range of 3 to 7 meters. I was using raspberry pi computer to program reactions of the sensor.

Second step was to find the way to represent the data from the motion sensor. I wanted to work with light. There were some ideas to use projectors. But in the end I was using Philips Hue lamps because they have open API and it is easy to program them.

There were some challenges with Philips hue lamps. They do not work by independently. If you want to communicate with lamps there is a physical device which called a bridge. . The Philips Hue bridge is the heart of the system. When you are programming, your are not communicating with lamps directly, you send commands to the bridge, and the bridge sends messages to lamps so they know, which hue and saturation apply to the lamp. Problem is that this bridge should be connected to wifi network. In school wifi network is secured, so you can not that easily add new device to it. This lamps are meant for use at home, and not really designed for the usage in the public locations.  So basically the solution to this problem was to create my own network. Raspberry pi computer became dhcp server and was assigning IP address to the bridge. It is very important to know IP adress, because than you know where to send your commands in program. So the whole system do not depend on the network connection and know can work on any location.

About the transformation of the movement to color. I built the whole system and tried it on the spot in the school. Originally it was working from the simple lamp. I installed the lamp in school and was observing people behavior how they react on the lamp. First setup was like this whenever someone pass by or approach the lamp it will switch on and start changing colors. This was clear, I noticed that once people realize how it works, they lose their interest in it. Like puzzle is solved. And usually it take 30 seconds for them to realize and they move forward. And also there were not so many people who will notice it in the first place. So I added blinking to get an attention of the passing by people. And once they approach lamp it will start changing colors, but with 5 seconds delay. After this changes there were more people discovering the work. And they spend way more time with it. Puzzled, and trying understand what action trigger lamp.

Next step was to put everything together in one container. So the whole system can work as portable device and can be shown in different locations.

As for the next steps I think it would be interesting to add more sensors. After some tests in library, I realized that people want to touch the object. It would be nice to add one more reaction to touch. And make more tests in different spots: Library, cafe, train station.


 

Back to intimacy


Monday, February 19, 2018

When visiting a museum, it is often hard for me to decide what to find more intriguing: The exhibited artworks or the visitors walking carefully among them, observing them. Hardly ever do they physically touch, or if it happens, then in shyly hidden ways. Especially when it comes to everyday design objects, there seems to be a big gap in between the visitors and the exhibited pieces, which are locked away from their original function: to be touched and used. During my last visit at the Stedelijk Museum there was for instance a person standing for quite a long while infront of a vitrine where, in between other objects, Kaj Francks „Kilta Services“ was being exhibited.

Franck was one of the designers who developed the „Iittala philosophy“: creating design that is both beautiful and functional, and lasts a lifetime. „Does not ‘beautiful’ ultimately mean necessary, functional, justified, right?“ (Kaj Franck, 1978)

In the center: service „Kilta“, glazed ceramics, production in 1953 – 1975, designed by Kaj Franck

In the center: service „Kilta“, glazed ceramics, production in 1953 – 1975, designed by Kaj Franck

The person looked at the plates and cups inside, slightly leaning against the glass that was separating him from the objects. Why was he so attentively watching them? The longer I observed the visitor observing the tableware and the distant space between them, the more I started to think the glass vitrine away and imagined him having a real physical experience with one of the cups instead: the two being naturally rejoined, exchanging what is deep inside.

‘He holds the cup that is filled with tea, leads it towards his mouth and drinks from it. The content flows in one direction which is his interior. Luxoriously he sucks the liquid inside and the cup seems to be very willing to feed him.

“The cup is the drone of the ceramics world, perhaps the hardest working of vessels and the least appreciated. In the grandest of tea or coffee services, the cup is usually the most underdesigned object, playing the role of subservient pawn to the teapot’s queen.“ (Garth Clark, „The Book of Cups, Abbeville Publishing Group, New York, 1990, p. 17)

He drinks everything of it until it is empty. But it still contains the warmth of the hot drink, as he inserts his finger he can feel it. For a short moment they contain the same warmth, the cup and him: he contains the warm tea and the cup the rest of warmth of the tea.

„Close space! Close the kangaroo’s pouch! It’s warm in there.“ (Le Temps de la poésie, G.L.M. July 1948, p.32)

cup, Service "Kilta", designed by Kaj Franck

Service “Kilta”, designed by Kaj Franck

He shouts into the cup and holds it close to his ear: he hears a distant echo. The echo vibrates a few times and is gone. He holds it close to his breast and feels that it is vibrating synchronously to his heartbeat.

„When we evaluate everyday objects, we should place more emphasis than we usually do on ergonomic quality and tactile sensibility“ (Kaj Franck, 1978)

He fills it with tea, looks at it and it is roundly opened as if it was calling him. He lifts it towards his mouth and his lips connect to the cup. They softly touch and his tongue reaches the wet content. Then the kiss becomes wild.

„Many a slip twixt cup and lip“ (Garth Clark, „The Book of Cups“, Abbeville Publishing Group, New York, 1990)

service „Kilta“, designed by Kaj Franck

Service „Kilta“, designed by Kaj Franck

After finishing he cleans the cup. The cup is very deep, so it is hard for him to reach the ground. He cleans and dries it with care and attention, outside and inside. That makes the cup shine and renews its promissing interior.

„A house that shines from the care it receives appears to have been rebuilt from the inside.“ (Gaston Bachelard, „The Poetics of Space“, Beacon Press, Boston, 1994, p.68)

Afterward him and the cup are cold and empty. He looks around and decides to continue drinking from it: what comes out is sweet. He feels a strange feeling that is increasing and expanding inside of him. It tickles him in an unknown place and he bursts into tears.

„Moreover the cup does not have any immediate sense of drama (…). But that does not mean the drama is absent, rather that we need to examine the cup a little more closely and consciously to discover its sense of domestic theater“ (The Book of Cups, Abbeville Publishing Group, New York, 1990 p. 19)

     "Venus von Willendorf", 1963, by Otto Piene, oil and soot on canvas

“Venus von Willendorf”, 1963, by Otto Piene, oil and soot on canvas

His tears keep on falling inside the cup. It takes more or less three seconds for the first teardrop to reach the ground, the noise sounds far. When the cup is filled with tears he is still crying. He looks inside and sees his face inbetween reflections of light.

„My cup runneth over“ („The Bible“, Psalm 23:, Ezekiel 34:11-24; John 10:1-21)

Suddenly he grabs the cup and throws it against the wall…’

service „Kilta"

service „Kilta”

„A kind of cosmic anguish precedes the storm. Then the wind starts to howl at the top of its lungs. Soon the entire menagerie of the hurricane lifts its voice.“ (Gaston Bachelard, „The Poetics of Space“, Beacon Press, Boston, 1994, p. 44)

As I awake from my daydream, the visitor of the Stedelijk Museum is gone, leaving no trace of evidence for what in different circumstances might have happened between him and Kaj Francks „Kilta Services“.

 

Het zijn net mensen


Monday, February 19, 2018

Ze lijken niet op sieraden. Ik had het ook niet geweten als ik het niet wist. [x]
Een blaadje met foto’s, die vrouwenlichamen afbeelden. Ze dragen een soort ringen, vormen, objecten, onder hun strakke kleding.
Links naast de afbeeldingen liggen metalen voorwerpen. Ze lijken op gebruiksvoorwerpen. Gemaakt vanglimmend metaal. Aluminium. Ze zijn breed, robuust. Ze zijn grof, niet sierlijk. Niet sieradelijk. Ze noemen het een hoofdsieraad, een armsieraad. Dan kijken we terug, naar onze vrouwen. Met hun ringen aan. En ik vind het intrigerend hoe zij daar staan. En wat ze aanhebben. En waarom je dit ooit zou dragen. Maar de boodschap is duidelijk. Sieraden te dragen onder de kleding. Waarom heb ik daar nooit aan gedacht. Het is zo simpel en daarmee mooi en klaar. ‘’Klaar’’, vind ik precies het goede woord. En ‘’gladgestreken’’ of ‘’rond’’, want dat is het voor mij. Zo voelt het voor mij als ik ernaar kijk. Ik zou het willen aanraken. De onbuigbare ringen. Zelfstandig zijn ze, onder het rekbare textiel. Ze beïnvloeden het textiel, de kleding, van binnenuit. In plaats van een toevoeging, een accessoir, veranderen ze het kledingstuk. Ze worden deel van het kledingstuk. Niets erbij, gewoon anders. Een verandering van binnenuit. Vanuit de kern, het hart.
Vijf kleine fotootjes achter glas. Je ziet niet meteen wat het is. Het valt niet op. Wat jammer is. Maar ook wel toepasselijk. Want als je het eenmaal ziet. En als je eenmaal weet waar je naar kijkt. Is het indrukwekkend. Art & Bulletin 25, 1970, staat er op het kaartje. Ik had het niet geweten als ik het niet wist.
93.Clothing-suggestions2.1970  93.Clothing-suggestions4.1970

Je zou de sieraden onder de kleding door Gijs Bakker en Emmy van Leersem als een niet-permanente vorm van bodymodificatie kunnen zien.
Als voorbeeld, een korset. Een korset wordt ook gedragen onder de kleding met als doel de natuurlijke vormen van het lichaam te vervormen. De meeste vrouwen die een korset dragen doen dit natuurlijk om hun taille slanker te laten lijken.
Net als in body modificatie heb je met een korset opeens controle over hetgeen waar je normaal gesproken geen controle over zou hebben.
Controle hebben over je lichaam is een bekend en terugkerend thema in de hedendaagse maatschappij. Op instagram kom je vaak bewerkte foto’s tegen. Meisjes die voor de buitenwereld mooier en slanker willen doen voorkomen dan ze er daadwerkelijk uitzien. In de modebladen zijn ook alle foto’s bewerkt. De onzuiverheden van het model worden weggewerkt. De opdrachtgever, modeontwerper, of instagram-influencer kan voortaan per keer kiezen hoe hij zichzelf presenteert aan de wereld. [x]

Controle hebben over je eigen lichaam is dan ook een belangrijk thema binnen de body modificatie. Sommigen worden in hun modificaties beïnvloed door een niet-westerse of een inheemse cultuur. Zij verlangen naar een meer pure vorm van het zijn. De ‘’moderne primitieven’’ romantiseren inheemse identiteit en cultuur als authentiek en spiritueel. Zij zien traditionele vormen van bodyart als een uitweg voor de hedendaagse maatschappij en de technologische ontwikkeling om het redden van het lichaam en het zelf. Anderen laten zich juist inspireren door de toekomst. De technologie. Hun houding naar het lichaam is postmodern en cyberpunk. Zij mixen tribal en high-tech toepassingen om een hybride stijl te creëren. Ze zien het lichaam als een grenzeloze exploratie en technologische ontwikkeling. Cyberpunt body modificeerders proberen hun lichaam zo te bewerken als hoe ze zich voorheen alleen konden inbeelden in science-fiction. Ze snijden de vraag aan wie medische technologie beheert en controleert, of richten zich meer op seksen georiënteerde politiek, gender ongelijkheid en culturele identiteit. Feministen binnen de bodymodificatiecultuur zien hun lichaam doorgaans als kunst en gebruiken het om te rebelleren tegen mannelijke dominantie en het voor terugwinnen van de macht over hun eigen lichaam.

Begin jaren 90 omarmde modificeerders in het westen vergeten rituelen van inheemse volkeren en dit was terug te zien in hun bodyart. Ze begonnen met insnijding, een gebruik overgenomen uit Afrika. [x] De huid werd ingesneden met een scherp mes om littekenweefsel te creëren. Ook brandden ze de huid met een stempel of speciaal verhit metaal om littekens te vormen. Mensen gingen experimenteren met onderhuidse implantaten, maakten 3D kunstwerken met littekenweefsel, rekten hun oorlellen uit, droegen grotere en meerdere gezichts-piercings. Bodyart werd ook steeds meer beïnvloed door opkomende SM en Fetisj-subculturen met erotica en seksuele vrijheid als uitgangspunt. Bodyart werd beschouwd als een tribaal ritueel, een statement of een erotisch optreden. Later, als een voorbeeld van technologische ontwikkeling. Cyberpunks gebruikten technologische ontwikkeling letterlijk, en als inspiratie voor bodymodificatie.

Het perfecte voorbeeld van een hedendaagse bodymodificeerder is kleurenblind geboren
Neil Harbisson. Screen Shot 2018-02-19 at 18.26.40

Neil Harbisson met zijn implantaat, voorbeeld van een hedendaagse cyborg

Hiermee is de cirkel rond. De sieraden van Gijs Bakker en  Emmy van Leersem kan je als een voorspelling zien voor de cyborgs van tegenwoordig. Met wat er om ons heen gebeurd, veranderd alles langzaam in technologie. Zelfs wij. Dit doet mij afvragen wat de toekomst ons zal brengen. Je kan al pinnen door middel van een chip in de arm. Dit zal zeker niet de laatste, maar zeker helemaal niet de meest invloedrijke verandering van de toekomst zijn.
De telefoon geldt al als een verlengde van de arm. Dat terwijl de armen gelden als een verlengde van het hart. [x]
TEDTALK  NEIL HARBINSSON

Show Gijs Bakker en Emmy van Leersem (filmpje)

a plastic world


Sunday, February 18, 2018

When you look around in the modern world, the plastic materials by which it is formed are inevitable to the eye.
From everyday objects like the interior of households and infrastructural facilities to the sex industry and medical surgery, synthetics have become a big part of humans and the human/animal world.
But how did this came to be and what will the future be of this plastic world with its benefits and downsides.

 

alexander farkefarkesine

(left- Alexander Parkes, right- Parkesine objects ) 

 

Before plastic became fully synthetic in the way we know it nowadays, cellulose found in plants was the base material for the discovery of modern plastics.
This discovery was made in 1862 by Alexander Parkes who invented the material he named “Parkesine“.
Parkesine was made from in alcohol dissolved nitrocellulose mixed with oil or camphor wax which created a transparent, moldable material which maintained shape after cooling down.
Therefore it was used to make things like combs, stamps, and buttons.
The American brothers Hyatt picked-up this idea and created a variation of this Parkesine in 1869 they named celluloid by pulverizing camphor an nitrocellulose separately, adding pigments to the nitrocellulose, after mixing it was pressurized to remove water and then molded with extreme heat.
It was used as a replacement for ivory, specifically ivory billiard balls.
Celluloid became a great success and eventually made it possible for the film industry to be born.

 

celluloid film   bakelite factory

(left-celluloid film, right-bakelite factory)

 

These two inventions can be seen as the ancestors of the modern plastic society, nevertheless, it only came to be because of the first fully synthetic plastic, meaning no molecules that can be found in nature are used.
This first fully synthetic plastic was called Bakelite.
Invented in 1907 in the USA by Leo Baekeland in the search for a synthetic insulator, he found a way to control the condensation reaction of a phenol-formaldehyde mixture and stop this reaction while remaining liquid.
This could be formed into different stages with stage A, the first stage, directly making it into usable plastic.
Stage B, making it into a solid state with the possibility to make it into powder and soften it with heat.
Stage C is where stage A or B are being heated under pressure and the result of this is what he called Bakelite.
Bakelite appeared to be a perfectly suited material for the purpose of insulation as it was heat resistant and could be manufactured in mass-production as it could be molded quickly.

This last fact and the fact that it was fully synthetic opened the doors to a world of mass-produced synthetics, the plastic world we live in.
Soon new materials followed this creation with the invention of polystyrene in 1929 (used for electronics like refrigerators, microwaves and tv, medical equipment and packaging), polyester in 1930 (used for clothing), polyvinylchloride (PVC) (used for pipes, electrical insulation and clothing) and nylon in 1935 (mostly used for clothing and parachutes).

 

parachutes-255791 platsic fabriek

(left-nylon parachute, right-plastic mass-production)
During the 30’s of the 20th century, these synthetic products were seen as extremely glamorous and beautiful but still, all these materials did not completely infiltrate society during that time.
While used for a lot of military equipment during the second world war, synthetic products really became part of everyday life after the end of the war when the manufacturers of plastic products had to find a way to stay in the business and therefore aim at people and everyday life. Because of the low price, moldability and the way it could be mass-produced, it is not more than logical that plastic became such a big leading part of the capitalist consumer society.

Gueules cassees, Soldiers with severe facial injuries, First World War (photo)  brazil85

 (left- WW1 plastic surgery, right-plastic surgery movie brazil1985 )

 

Like the plastics, humans are moldable as well, changing along with new inventions. During the same period as the development of synthetics, doctors were forced to find a way to repair the extreme damage done to soldiers during the first world war.
Never before had there been so many heavily wounded soldiers whom all needed treatment for their facial wounds, burns and lost limbs and with the development of anesthetics, surgeons could develop new techniques without the patients experience pain during this operation.
Yet the use of plastic surgery for the beauty industry really kicked off in the 1950’s when the first breast implants were used to enlarge the female breasts.
This was done by injecting it with the liquid, synthetic plastic called silicone and in the 60’s by implanting a bag-like version.
In the 70’s liposuction (removing fat) was developed and not long after that botox was tested on humans for the first time.
Botox temporarily relaxes and smoothes wrinkles by blocking signals from the nerve to the muscles, this gives the user a smooth, young and Barbie-like face.
With this slow infiltration of plastics into the human body, the birth of the plastic human became a fact.
Largely stimulated and promoted by the cosmetic glamour industry.

 

platsic waste plastic ocean

(left- plastic waste mountain, right- plastic ocean)

Due to this rise of plasticity, synthetics slowly took over the world.
The waste created by the plastic consumer society has already created big islands in the ocean intervening with the animal and human world, fish-eating tiny plastic particles, humans eating fish.
Entering our body through food and cosmetic products, plastics are now even detectable in our blood influencing our hormones.
Humans becoming deformed from natural appearance due to cosmetic surgery in their striving for perfection, plastics infiltrating our body and system and the extreme use of plastic products in modern life could in my opinion only lead to the beginning of a more extreme, new plastic human being disbanded from its nature.

floris Voor

(left/right- Floris chair)

To me the in 1968 made Floris chair by Günter Beltzig, which was the starting point for this research, is the perfect example of what has happened and may come.
This chair is made out of fiber reinforced plastic and molded into an alienated human shape which could only have happened because of all the developments and inventions mentioned in the first paragraphs of this research.
The shape of the chair gives the impression that it is a plasticized human being or at least that it is made for such a human, as it seems to be made for a specific kind of person.
Like with the shoe of Cinderella, it should fit perfectly to be a match and not to lose all its comfort.
Is it not possible that it is the plastic ‘perfect’ human of the future who will fit perfectly in this piece of furniture, alienated from his natural self in its plastic world.

 

plastic man  perfect human

 

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.

or an other link:  here.

If I had the opportunity to talk to Dave, I would 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. For me, the series Story Hopper highlights this way of thinking because he gives advice on how to consume and act more responsibly. These videos fit perfectly with the sharing of opinions and go further with the ideas that he wants to present. He offers more than just designers 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 or how 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!»

 

expo_02_1100
V3 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 because Dave Hakkens is at first a designer. So a certain public is interested to see it and in this kind of place, it does not 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? The visitors of both places are different and they are mostly not looking for the same interest. So I am wondering about the accessibility if Dave wants that everyone can build those machines and change the system. For me, to imagine the Precious Plastic project in a context more realistic like the hardware store allows more an action than a proposition that we can not touch and allows a wider impact on the population.

 

I discovered the work of Dave Hakkens thanks to my sculpture class at the Rietveld Academie. Indeed, some students were able to create two of his plastic machines: the injection and the extrusion 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 I am 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».

It was quite complicated for students to build these plastic machines because some pieces were difficult to find, expensive, and a lot of detours at the metal workshop were needed. Finally, it took 6 months to complete the injection machine and the extrusion machine is still in construction.

 

 

PLASTIC MACHINE             Injection
Injection machine in the Rietveld (Left beginning of the construction, Right the electronics part has been added)

 

Dave Hakkens went in 2015 to Ghana for research to help the poorest countries to access the construction of plastic machines. As we could experiment at the Rietveld, this needs a lot of resources (internet or specific stores to buy the pieces) and money. But this visit to Ghana shows us that even recycling machines can be an option and it is not necessary to have money. They found machines which are made to press the juice out of fruits which are very similar to the extrusion machine, in this way they were able to reuse these machines as an extrusion machine with a little bit of do-it-yourself.  Also just a few weeks ago, he shipped a big container to the Maldives to clean ocean. However, the help of Dave Hakkens is still necessary to implement these solutions at first. Then, after his visit to Ghana, the local population can be more aware and autonomous to recycle plastic.

The fact that Dave Hakkens brings container 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. Containers, places of many workshops to recycle plastics, can expand the utilization and bring a lot of people to work together. 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 in the end, Dave Hakkens gives the opportunity to communities to create something with plastic, be autonomous in the research and win money (if they decide to) as part of the process. It is really like building something new, maybe a new society.

 

To say goodbye one more 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 organizations 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 urbanized areas, homes and neighborhoods 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 analyzing 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 cartographics on the urban or architectural scale.

 Forensic_Architecture3.top_

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. However, 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 urbanization and mediatization of war makes FA an urgent and indispensable 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 negative end of the spectrum as well, seeing the unfavorable 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 Millennial’s.  Quoting scientist Clarissa Silva:

“Social media has been linked to higher levels of loneliness, envy, anxiety, depression, narcissism and decreased social skills. As a Behavioral 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 is 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 behavior 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.

 

Panoptical Society

“He who is subjected to a field of visibility and who knows it, assumes responsibility for the constraints of power; he makes them play spontaneously upon himself; he inscribes in himself the power relation in which he simultaneously plays both roles; he becomes the principle of his own subjection”

A quote from Michel Foucault about ‘Discipline and Punishment’ and his theory of the panopticon, referring to an experimental laboratory of power in which behavior could be modified, he viewed it as a symbol of the disciplinary society of surveillance. Jeremy Bentham proposed the panopticon as a circular building with an observation tower in the center of an open space surrounded by an outer wall. This wall would contain cells for occupants. This design would increase security by facilitating more effective surveillance. Residing within cells flooded with light, occupants would be readily distinguishable and visible to an official invisibly positioned in the central tower. Conversely, occupants would be invisible to each other, with concrete walls dividing their cells. Due to the bright lighting emitted from the watch tower, occupants would not be able to tell if and when they are being watched, making discipline a passive rather than an active action. Strangely, the cell-mates act in matters as if they are being watched, though they cannot be certain eyes are actually on them. There is a type of invisible discipline that reigns through the prison, for each prisoner self-regulates himself in fear that someone is watching their every move.

 

3000

Cross section drawing of how the prison is structured.

 

Nowadays we can question till what extent our privacy is legitimate. Especially in the western world where conspiracy theorists can not stop about ‘big brother’ and the never ending evolutionary steps in technology which make registering everyone’s smallest move and collecting this data easier. Still to be a fully functional in the society we shaped we require the illusion of privacy. It allows us to be fully human. This illusive quality of privacy is not something of the past decade, it goes back to the Hebrew bible. Consider beautiful Bathsheba, who strips for a bath in the second Book of Samuel, an ancient text, only to come under the lustful gaze of King David, pacing on his palace rooftop. Or Hamlet, whose private conversation with his mother is overheard by Polonius, hiding behind the drapes.

 

1-bathsheba-at-her-bath-jean-francois-de-troy

Bathsheba at her bath, by Jean de Troy (1750)

Hamlet Kills Polonius

Hamlet killing Polonius, by Leonard de Selva (ca. 1980)

 

This enormous growth of ways to document humanities slightest movements with or without their full realization is not lacking a reason. Governments worldwide are gathering data about their civilians, justifying it by telling us it is for our protection. Like possible terror attack prevention. But why would they need your WhatsApp messages? A connection to your webcam? And access to private files? Princeton computer-science professor Edward Felten explained that simply because it’s cheaper and easier than trying to figure out what to take and what to ignore. “If storage is free but analysts’ time is costly, then the cost-minimizing strategy is to record everything and sort it out later,” Felten noted. Ofcourse this is questionable as well. And we have reason to be suspicious, we all know how classified and mysterious the higher working powers can be. Cases like Edward Snowden’s make us aware of the ambiguity of the top authorities. Snowden, a former contractor for the CIA, left the US in late May after leaking to the media details of extensive internet and phone surveillance by American intelligence. Mr Snowden, who has been granted temporary asylum in Russia, faces espionage charges over his actions.

This being a very contemporary topic, artists (as they tend to do) have taken a liking in the subject as well. At the Sonic Acts: The Noise Of Being exhibition in February 2017, I saw the work of Zack Blas called Facial Weaponization Suite. It showed several masks hanging on the wall and a video explaining the cause. He calls is a protest against biometric facial recognition and the inequalities these technologies propagate. This mask, the Fag Face Mask, generated from the biometric facial data of many queer men’s faces, is a response to scientific studies that link determining sexual orientation through rapid facial recognition techniques. With this work he makes us question ourselves how much autonomy, privilege, power and privacy we let them take away from us. Or have they taken it all already, and is what is left just an illusion?

 

Is there anything to rely on?


Thursday, November 30, 2017

 It is quite common to notice that we have been focusing on automatizing, and motorising any of our work related physical efforts. As for example, the number of workers in a factory has nothing to do with what it was 30 years ago, and also nothing to do with what it was 100 years ago, and it hasn’t increased for sure. As a paradoxical consequence (that can have also other different causes), it is also amusing to observe that in order to stay healthy, more and more people start to work out, going at the gym. The gym has even become a social environment, where people share their tips and advice, and help one another reaching his goal of physical performance.

 This is what Melle Smets points out in his project: the human power plant. The thing is that according to this “gym” trend, the energy that we produce with our physical efforts nowadays is completely wasted, as we only see it as muscle training; we don’t run on the treadmill to make cold water hot but to get a nice ass. It seems unnecessary to develop how a nice butt is useful to sustain life.  Anyway, all of these machines that are handling so much effort could actually stock the energy to use it afterwards. The human power plant project is a proposal of the use of human physical effort to create the energy that we require in our daily life. In their first case study, they planned a conversion of one building of the Utrecht University into a 100% human-powered student house. On the other hand, in its concrete realisation, the project is still quite utopic or futuristic, as the prototypes are for the moment only to charge a phone or a laptop, and the latest to heat a Jacuzzi…

Designblog

 Going back to human attitude towards effort optimisation, we can also to a certain point qualify this quest for automatizing and motorising any work related effort, as the natural egocentric human condition of wanting to do what we want, and not being a machine, or not being a clone. It can also be directly linked with artistic activity, in a way that it commonly comes from us wanting to get something out of what we think is our singular identity or thoughts. Or the link could also be that art is commonly/traditionally seen as completely useless, when artists are the most passionate about their job. Wouldn’t it mean that we just want to make ourselves useless? We could argue in this way to conclude that we obviously live to die. But then, why not act as a mere gear in this gigantic mechanic world? We can observe to confirm what was said before a relentless research to motorise the perpetual motion we live in, with very contrasted fields of research like Leonardo da Vinci, Nikola Tesla, or more recently Theo Jansen. Of course, their views on this topic are all very different, and even how they consider or see this topic varies. For example, Theo Jansen’s approach absolutely didn’t think of the “perpetual motion motor” side of his creation, he just wanted to create life. And even if the approach has to be understood sometimes in a metaphorical way so it doesn’t become contradictory, these enormous solitary creatures wandering on the beach are tightly close to have the possibility of being independent and to continue living eating wind to make their hundred legs move. So here we see that the difference is about what could be qualified as the artistic approach, that the function of the energy is not necessarily to use for us humans but just to contemplate. In a way, the only energy a perpetual motion motor/generator distributes is to itself, and we can only watch the wheel turn.

 Switching back to Melle Smets, the goal here is not to make a wheel turn on its own. The social and cultural context is privileged, and the aim is to make people self-sufficient in what they require concerning energy; we are the perpetual motion machines. It’s interesting to see, that most of the creators, to find a solution to how to produce energy, will try to find or invent something that is not there or that is not known. And they often argue that the world is your oyster, there are so many things outside that we can take advantage from. What is interesting and funny is to see that after thousands of years of trying to widen the distance between our own self and energy production, there is an actual proposal of an alternative where it is ourselves that we can the most directly take advantage from.

The concept is not even this innovative, in a way that we have always been producing energy with our efforts. Actually we don’t even have a choice not to and it is all we will be doing our whole life. Following this alternative perspective’s idea is tending to not only make us self-sufficient but also self-reliable and as a consequence disciplined. Just like a child to who we don’t learn to become autonomous by providing anything that he would need or want to not think about how he could do it himself. We can notice that nowadays, energy like electricity is so much a part of our daily life norm that having lamps in any room of a house is completely natural whereas a house without any would be linked to a spooky fictional movie. We don’t show to the children what electricity is and can do, we just tell them to not put their fingers in the plug. The point is that what we have to do to start, is to make ourselves reconnect to what we essentially do need in our life. Where does it come from, and how can we get it, (energy wise of course, I wasn’t talking about love).

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Thinking small, shrinking (hu)man ::


Thursday, November 30, 2017
 

 


How good is your zoom? please device-zoom in order to simulate
the viewing experience of a shrunken person :
 

Short people

Humans have been evolving, growing ever larger with no popular trends in the reverse. This movement is fueled by vast amounts of resources that the human being demands as it grows – things like energy, space, dairy and popular consumer goods. In turn immense costs are inflicted on the environment and fellow human beings, to get such produce on the shelves. This inherited idea that being taller is generally better is widespread in many societies and consequentially those in power tends to also be taller than average..

This collective drive is being fueled by vast utilizations of oh so precious resources that the human species demands as it grows – things like energy, space, dairy and other consumer goods. In turn the immense costs are let out on the environment and fellow human beings, to get such produce on the shelves. This inherited idea that being taller is generally better is widespread in many societies.

But in our time  this aged-old trend be upheld?

The song short people was released by the artist Paul Newman to popular though not universal acclaim in the 1977 with a satirist lyric mocking short people in the favor of the tall. This was quite very ridiculous but also funny, with many short people taking a liking to it on their own. I therefore decided that the opposite of the song, (offered above) should be created to switch the social experience. It’s another sign of the discrimination against short people which does not seem to have receded to this day and beckons the tall as the gold standard.

Throughout vast plains of the internet some attention are being paid to this perceived difference of social values in terms of height. Popular mass media provider Buzzfeed made videos highlighting the many boons of being on the short side (or tall for that matter), and many other accounts add to this. All the more reason to not assume that taller = more prestigious.

 

Short

Going against this widely held belief in the preferability of more height, Dutch designer Arne Hendriks proposes a reverse trend – to shrink. Currently Arne teaches at NextNature of TU Eindhoven, the Design Academy Eindhoven and the Gerrit Rietveld Academie and apart from the Incredible Shrinking man is making on a Fatberg.

The Incredible Shrinking Man had, for the past eight years been proposing alternative possibilities diligently curated from all over the world and many specializations. The ultimate “theoretical” goal is to shrink the human average height to 50 centimeters, and greatly reduce the material demands that society consume. The endless litany of social observances and projects featured there offers wondrous though perhaps hard to implement promises to redesign human beings.

Man chicken

 

This is a good opportunity to examine the role of a change maker – if it is indeed possible, and if so how can anyone bring about such a leviathan and un-instinctive changes to the world. Perhaps someone have a brilliant idea, but how then should they show and communicate it to the rest of the world. With this project, Hendriks chose to continue contributing to the development and contribution of this project for the past eight years. Through this sustained timeline, examples have emerged across time, culture and region to show that this thought has perhaps been something lurking in the back of our mind. From this unique body of research Hendriks, often referred to as an artist establish short term, pop up studios in art establishments that keeps evolving with a bigger body of research every time – the latest being Museum Boijmans van Beuningen and ‘invite’ visitor to fish through the considerable body of research including a wall of postcards each illustrating a small info.

 

Studio of suspended disbelief

There seems to be no clear connection from the project’s base in such white cube spaces to major established institutions, namely the government and commercial entities so one wonders how far can this idea go? However upon a closer look in the project’s heaps of documents lead to references to the real world abounds, with a prominent example of the Thai government’s policy to encourage the consumption of milk through its multi-state collaboration, the The Thai Danish dairy company. The government’s policy aimed for project growth of its younglings of 6cm for male, and a rather lesser 2cm extra for females. Hendrik’s admirable research length is able to uncover other unseen details of our society through his dedication to the Incredible Shrinking man. And he is not the only one doing something about it.

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Mass damon resized

 

This idea has also recently taken off on the Hollywood mainstream albeit in the form of a badly reviewed film, ‘Downsizing’ in which the development of new technology allow the protagonist to choose to downsize his to body to a tiny size, smaller than even a hand. The concept of shrink here is thus illustrated to the extreme, although it is important to note that even though one of the reasons to downsize in this film is impeding human devastation on the environments, which perhaps mirror the situation in our real world, Paul the lead character has another main factor to downsize, namely the financial perks of being able to spend more. His assets of $152,000 becomes a gargantuan $12m when converted and perhaps enable him to splurge and consume even more in a large estate. It is not surprising too that the film’s title of Downsizing alludes to the unsavory act of corporate efforts to cut cost and relief its employees. The notion of going small gains a comical element in Downsizing but nevertheless highlights the need for alternative ways to reduce our hazardous impact on the environment, large part of which are being fueled by the footprints of gigantic big corporates – whom dystopian downsized world has to deal with. The film’s little community worryingly mirror the flawed outside one.

The world is a complex place and being more mindful about the hidden details, whether it be the gargantuan, empirical human footprints on the environs which this day few can deny acknowledging these hidden worlds as Arne Hendrik’s incredible shrinking man project discover are vast and fascinating. Somehow this idea of an ongoing research that involves you, and invites all to add on, is very attractive. 

And who knows maybe you will now see more traces of going small in your life!  

P.S. If you’re interested in Arne’s approach to shrink, take a look at this video where he presents his research and a closer look at the studio of suspended disbelief here, and thank you for your up close attention.
 

 

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

James bridle is not only an artist and an activist, he is also a writer and a publisher and has appeared in magazines and newspapers like Frieze, Wired, Domus, the Atlantic and many others. He has a master degree in computer science from University College of London and wrote his dissertation on creative applications of Artificial Intelligence. Bridle also lectures regularly at conferences, universities and other events.

The Right to Flight was a four month installation, event series and ongoing research programme investigating technical infrastructures, surveillance, ballooning, and utopias. Ballooning has taken a dark turn since the zeppelin raids of the first world war to the use of surveillance-balloons in Iraq and Afghanistan and on the US/Mexico boarders.

James Bridle is in a specific case talking about a stolen car which is found trow Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) in northeast England in this text he is describing how a system like this is making every car a potential suspect, and how the surveillance-community suddenly becomes visible, and take a physical shape.

 

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 bar-codes 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.

Gorillas inside a box


Saturday, November 25, 2017

The first indication given to us about this assignment was to select a book based solely on its design. As soon as this information was delivered the first thing that popped into my mind was to find one that would present the most extravagant, out of the box features, so that whatever the next steps to follow would be, the subject matter could not be accused of being boring.

Ironically enough, I chose a book that is inside a box. Which actually was the main reason it outshone its shelf mates, that suddenly looked very serious with their glue bind cover.

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Puzzle box by Ines Lechleitner is an artist book released in 2009. I was momentarily skeptical at the functionality of its green gapped cardboard cover —not that it mattered to my eyes, since the pick was based on unconventionality—, or to put it in a way that fits better the central reasoning that led to my choice, maybe the fact that it would present an additional layer to access its content, or remind the feeling of opening a present, would make it more interesting. Soon, the content justified the packaging: it is composed by two books one being the artist’s work where you can find pictures of a group of gorillas in a German zoo and drawings that explain the movements made by the camera. The second one being a response of different authors to the work carried out. Then, two videos were also included — found as a CD in the book— that focus on the gorillas entering and leaving the frame, and finally, a map of the relations between the gorillas’ habitat, the photographs and videos. The box now seemed like a handy support to carry the CD and the map.

You can find the true reasoning behind the design in the author’s website: «Puzzle Box is modeled after ‘Beschäftigungskästen’, which were designed specifically for apes as an interactive occupation and recreation tool. The apes are expected to learn how to manipulate grains inside the box by pushing them from one level to the next in order to gain access to the food.»

This box was inside the gorilla’s location and is recurrently found throughout the images of the book

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IMG_0757 (1)3256

As I mentioned earlier the book contains a response of different authors to the work. It was captured as a conversation between the artist and the authors. When I finished reading it, I imagined myself participating in that conversation. To get more insight on what the artist had experienced over the period of 5 years in which she developed this project I decided to go to the Amsterdam zoo to elaborate my response.

I quickly began to make associations. The humans standing there encircling the gorillas’ cage while expressing their reactions could be similar to the way the gorillas manipulate the Beschäftigungskästen, both actions are driven by the effect, even if in the first case it might be entertainment and in the latter obtaining some food. It is interesting to consider the sizes of those involved in this equation and the movement of this idea which goes inwards in distance.  Us humans look at the cage and touch the glass with our fingers while inside, the gorillas look at the box touching it to get some food. And even taking it further, while manipulating the box the gorillas fell into it, furthering the confinement, satisfying the humans need for entertainment and consumerism now possible through the Puzzle Box in which they lie. Definitely, I noticed how much my perception of the zoo as a place had shifted since I was a child.

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There are five polar notions that get emphasized in the book

we/them

open/closed

active/passive

space/movement

In the frame (onscreen)/ out of the frame (offscreen)

The pictures in black and white somehow make stronger the sensation of two different entities separated by distance. The framing delimits the space in a way that makes you wonder what is around, almost as if each picture wasn’t complete or was a piece of a puzzle. It also happens with the video where you would need a 360º panorama to understand the full set. The pace in which the gorillas are depicted is calm, almost uninterested.

In the zoo, once I spent enough time with the gorillas and my brain ended up getting used to the extreme, overwhelming aroma, I was able to truly concentrate on their movements, realizing how much more aware I was becoming of my own. I felt there was a strong relation between this feeling and the fact that the whole work of the artist (the map, the video, the pictures and the drawings) was to know very precisely, almost memorizing, each step and movement of the gorillas knowing what movement it was, which place were they occupying in space, when they did it, all of it systematically. This is also linked to the book’s design that appears to be calculated, calm and neat, using the same typewriter font throughout the book, and clean ‘one-line’ drawings.

Remembering that humans possess in a 98% the same DNA than gorillas I suddenly felt funny imagining my movements being dissected in a book.

 

Puzzle Book, designer: Ines Lechleitner, Rietveld Library Cat. no: lec 1

Gaza: A leopard never change its spots but a donkey can change and get stripes


Thursday, May 18, 2017

A cages, a theater, a library and research center – Gaza Zoo, the first one ever in the strip. It opened in January 2006, the same month Hamas, the radical Islamist, came to power

I have chosen to analysis what it is to be Authentic. Authenticity is the undisputed origin and not a copy; genuine. In my opinion, the artist chose to use the donkey as an analogy for the Palestinian people that their “authentic life” is to survive in extremely difficult living conditions. The donkey throughout history has been known to be used for labour by humans and are often overworked. In comparison, animals such as zebras and horses are always seen to be more superior than donkeys. Zebras and horses tend to have more rights and often protected from abuse as though they are on a pedestal. Similarly, the Palestinian people are represented by the donkey who have also been stripped of their true identity as they are not recognised by the Israeli government. Palestinian people have no citizenship rights in the west bank and in Gaza. It is as though Israeli people have superiority and the Palestinian are inferior and are left powerless.

(http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/20436092)

faux is made in imitation, it is artificial, it is not genuine. Faux is the opposite to authenticity as it masks itself to look like the real deal, however underneath lies the truth. The chair, similar to the donkey is sat on by man and are used, changed and adapted. Sincere imitation is achieved through genuine feelings. Portraying these feelings of how you see the world and its changes are the keys to make it.

In the picture below, the man seen is Mahmod Berghote standing with one of Marah Zoo’s world famous painted donkeys. The zoo’s two white donkeys caused an international media frenzy after Mahmod and his brother spent three days painting stripes onto them using black hair dye. Unable to find an animal trader to bring a real zebra through the tunnels from Egypt, the Berghote family decided to make a fake pair using white donkeys. The story was reported all over the world as a feel good news piece and often used as an example of the Palestinian people’s resourcefulness during the siege of Gaza.

 The idea that imprisoned people can make a business out of smuggling, locking up, and exhibiting animals is deeply ironic. There are about a dozen Zoo’s in Gaza and their story is intertwined with world politics in a way that would be unimaginable anywhere else.

In 2005, Dr. Saud Shawa, a veterinarian, decided to establish Palestine’s National Zoo. For Shawa, this was about education and showing people how to care for animals. Supported by international donors, he built a spacious compound with big movement, won elections in Gaza. The border was closed and the initiative was halted before it could get started.

As of today, not a single zoo has been profitable. In fact, there is only one person in the Gaza Strip who benefits from the business: Abu Nadal Khalid, an animal trader. He has animals drugged and smuggled through the infamous system of tunnels leading from Egypt into the strip.

gazazoos6

The Swedish/British Anastasia Taylor-Lind (Great Britain, 1981) is a photojournalist connected with the VII Photo Agency, with a special interest in the Middle East. She made this photo of the Marag Zoo Zebra, Gaza 2009.

 

Untitled photo by Anastasia Taylor-Lind. Exh.cat.no.32-faux

highlight our movement


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

DSCN2325

When we have an appointment ahead of us there is all kind of preparation, there is a planning, and there is a lot of expectations. On the other hand the beauty of having an appointment with someone that you do not know, I have to admit, is in the fact that just a little of what you have planned or imagined will happen.

The most important thing the public space means to me is when it allows you meeting something or someone unknown. When we are surprised, it will add to our life an emotion of discovering, and participating. Meeting someone or something that you do not expect, something that you have not seen before. Where does this encounter leave to you?

Many people feel alone in a city, and are living an unpleasant and isolate life.

Why? There are probably several reasons: is it because there are so many impressions that a modern city offers to us and make us feel lost? Or is it because the individualist way of living, where everything is centered on what one wants for her/himself, making people isolate from each other?

I want to participate in creating the feeling that we are creating and using the public space. That means that we ourselves are the ones who can make this space as we want. I start asking my self what and how I want the space I use and I share with the others?

I would like to create something that could connect people through the action. A  kind of action that we are used doing in every day life.

I started by analyzing mistakes or things that I dislike – or in other words those that I was looking for ….

First mistake would be to design something for people without observing what people do or want. I want something that connect people who don’t know each other. Some one asking to a stranger to help him to sit, for instance?

I started to understand that I had to design something for somebody else (out of my personal sphere) and in this case something for any kind of person: something universal

I reached the conclusion that you can not force someboy to do what you want but you must follow the organic situation that is present and that is important to put the subjects in question at the same level to each others.

I went far from the image of an object and I finally started by giving the importance to the fact that “If the actions are what unify people, what about if the actions are the one that tricker something?” so instead of the people having to go and do something to make that happen, it will focus on what they are already doing that will create an external factor. A factor that could be an emotion but could also be an aid.

Scan 20.47.57.jpeg Scan 7.jpeg

I started to imagine it in a more playful circumstance.
My elements became the sidewalk floor, and the walking the triggering factor. As I said before there is no better meeting than with a stranger. I wanted to refer to people who don’t know each other… My project consists in a non platform.

Untitled-1 Untitled-2pdf

This platform will be positioned under the tiles that form the sidewalk and connect only with the three of them. I imagine the Amsterdam Central Station as a starting point, because it is a place were many people from different backgrounds and identities are passing and walking.

Scan 2 Scan 8

While people are walking, tree people are activating a system that generates something. The soap bubble represents a good element for this situation, because it is an element that does not intimidate, and more important does not need to be cleaned up. The element could vary from different situation to different environment: for example if tree people are waiting for the bus and they are standing on the tiles. The tiles can pull out an umbrella for example that protects you from the rain or the sun. This means it can be open to us for many different choices but the goal will remain the same.

 

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I want to give a special thank to Jesse Jorg who inspired me in this project.

 

Try to Attempt


Sunday, April 23, 2017

___After remembering my child dream about a brave crane man, I’ve decided 10 years later, no matter what, no matter the way, to get in contact with him. The main goals ? Talk with him and learn about his work. Did my dream reflect the reality ? I’ve tried to understand why life got in the way.

Crane experience

The first step was to know what’s going on in the field. It was quite easy, some construction sites took place just next to the Rietveld Academie. To reach my goal, I’ve first talked to a worker passing by. Straight away, he made me realize that everyone was very busy over here. From this moment, I’ve understood one thing : it’s going to be more complicated that I’ve thought.

I spent one day asking questions to several workers, but none of them had time to answer me. It was my first failure. Then, I tried to figure out something else. Maybe I should have tried to get in contact directly with the crane man ! But how to approach someone that busy ? I had to find a way. I’ve spent a few days, walking around, observing the crane man through the Rietveld Academie Windows. While I was looking at him, I was wondering what he his seeing ? How could I capture his attention ?

As the site was in front of the Rietveld Academie, the crane couldn’t have missed the school’s walls. Therefore, I came back to my class room and I start thinking. After putting a few ideas on the paper, I’ve found the one. I had to draw the crane man’s attention on something special, something that he couldn’t not see : a big sign just in front of him. The goal, still the same : capt his interest, but moreover, make him fell special, like the man in my dream. In order to do that and stand for his work properly, I’ve decided to picture him as a super hero. The sign had to be very clear : CRANE MAN, I’m a fan ! Let’s talk about your superpowers !

Sign for the Crane Driver

A few days later, I heard some of my classmates, speaking about the crane man, who finaly got my message. Unfortunately, I wasn’t in Amsterdam at this time, and when I came back, the crane man was gone.

During several days I was wondering what should I do next. Try to talk to him again ? Find an another way to get in touch with him ? I started to think that I’ve missed my chance.

Against all expectations, I heard about the crane man through the social networks on the school page. He actually post a picture of the sign from his crane. I couldn’t expect more !

cren driver's picture

I didn’t fail, I actually got in contact with him !

I’ve learned a lot about him and his work, just observing it. I succeeded to deliver a message, without directly talking to him. This is the very proof that when you’re trying hard, and when you really want, you can do Something. Even if it was not your first thought.

Experience to attempt

picture dice

___This experience gave me the desire to spread this message to people. Telling them that after all,  the aim doesn’t matter, trying does. To do that, I was looking for something that always makes me think about attempting. I thought about a dice. Each time you roll it, you’re trying to do a specific number. It’s actually a real tool of the idea of attempting. For instance, you’re using dices to get out of jail when you’re playing Monopoly. I’ve been thinking about how could I change the dice in order to erase the proper aim of rolling it : never reach the specif number you wanted. Erasing the numbers ? Changing the size? The shape?

I got the idea to create a specific dice, a dice which never stops Rolling. From there, you’ll be rolling it only in order to try the object, without directly knowing where it’s going to lead you. The original size of the dice was important for me because of its practical aspect. It needs to be small, easy to grab, to catch and to carry. I also wanted something playful.

Then the bouncing ball emerged in my mind ! I thought about playing without a goal. You just attempt it for what it is. However, as far as we know it, you can get bored quite easily with bouncing balls, because of the repetitive action. This made me create something that can change the first aspect of the ball and show the different steps along the trying process. From now, the idea is to create something that can captivate people’s attention in the street, and make them start to attempt something with it. Give them a gift which is actually not the ball as they think, but the action of trying.

I now have to find a practical way to do it. Creating a layer around the ball could keep the track of the different attempts. I first thought about tape, but the ball was not bouncing anymore after being wrapped. About Velvet, tracks were not that clear and the ball didn’t bounce enough. I’ve noticed that sometimes on the public benches, you can find some painting missing, It’s the wear, due to people, sitting a lot at this specific place.

Then I thought about putting a layer of paint around the ball. Attempts will brake it step by step. The painting missing on the ball will show a pattern. Each of them will be different and will represent the track of experiments during the day.

try project Vondelpark

Now I’ve found my object, I still need to figure out how people will face it. First I created a small box looking like a board game. Inside ? 4 balls and the rules of the game. Nevertheless, it didn’t work, because people just had to follow the instructions, without thinking of the idea of trying several times. I’ve wanted to let people the choice. If they want to try it, why, how ?

I built a small public facility, where balls were free to access. That way, people can choose to pay attention or not. With this making, I offered people to do whatever they wanted. No matter what they did with the balls, each choice was a good one. This project became a free gift to people, without giving them something tangible.

After all, the experience itself is the most valuable.

trying-in-Vondelpark,-Amsterdam

Just try, click on it !


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