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"Exploring New Territory /process documentation" Category


21g


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

THE DOCTOR OF DEATH

On the 2nd of March at 14:35 I was sitting in the Starbucks at Rembrandtplein, ready to meet the “Doctor of Death”. It may sound like the title of a Blockbuster but in fact the Doctor of Death really exists between us. In Amsterdam. There are many more who have the same job like him but are not willing to talk about it. Believe me, I tried.

I meet Hans S. with mixed feelings. First of all because I was happy to finally find someone who wants to talk about his work and his feelings enrolled with it.

How does it feel like driving a Van filled with tools, make up, a cooling table and 2 big canisters of formalin? Does he whistle when he drives to work?

I was nervous, excited, but mostly curious to find answers to all the questions I had in my mind. It didn’t even matter to me anymore that I was sitting in a Starbucks coffee, listening to jazzy tones and observing the stage, filled with actors

A CALL FROM MY MEMORY

When I was asked to contact a person who’s work we are interested in I saw many pictures in my unconsciousness, but only one was very sharp. It was the picture of a Thanatopracteur. He looked into the camera (it was a scenery of a documentary I watched years ago), commenting: “I am not thinking about the fact that the person is dead. If I would think about his life, I couldn’t do this job as I would loose the focus.” The camera slides back and you see the surroundings of a body, covered by a clean, white sheet which is as stiff as the body under it.

FORMALIN VS. CELL EATING ENZYMES

A Thanatopractuer conserves dead bodies temporary with the help of the conscious use of chemicals. Four minutes after someone dies the body starts to decay. Blood circulation and respiration stops, the body doesn’t get oxygen and starts to release carbon oxides which cause an acidic environment. The low ph level causes cell membranes to rupture, releasing enzymes that would eat the cells from the inside out,……[x]. The “Doctor of Death” slows down the process by exchanging the body fluids, restore or reconstruct body parts in some cases and cover the appearance with make-up.

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TO MAKE-UP THE DEAD

Hans S. told me his daughter describes her dad as someone who “makes dead people look beautiful“. In that sense he gives people who are left behind the opportunity to say goodbye on an open coffin in a respectful way. Especially when people die unexpected the left behinds want to get the chance to see the person one last time before the coffin is closed forever. Hans S. said that otherwise you don’t consider someone as dead. You need to have the visual proof, see the dead person to truly understand the consequences.

NASAL FORCEPS, MEDICAL SUCTION PUMPS AND MORTUARY TROLLEYS

My first intention meeting a Thanatopracteur was all about attending a practise. I was interested in the tools he would use and the process itself as I imagine it a strange scenery and atmosphere to see someone working on a dead body.

Unfortunately it turned out it is not possible due to hygienically reasons and privacy rules. Therefore I had to work with the information I get from the talk.

THE GERMAN CODEX

The most fascinating topic for me became funeral rituals as part of a culture and how they see death in the context of life. During my research and comparing funeral rituals from different cultures my own culture became strange to me. It seemed like other cultures like the Mexicans make death part of life and even celebrate it. In Germany funerals proceed a specific codex [x] in which some points can be designed free depending on the way the body is buried.

I have never been at a funeral as I never lost a close person. I can only make assumptions for myself, exploring the territory like a journalist but also as a concerned. One day I will be at a one.

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THE FUNERAL AS A MEDIUM

I based my design object now on the idea to figure out what would help me to process the loss of a person and make use of the funeral as a medium. The funeral as a medium has the potential to help the bereaved to let go their emotions and share it. Everyone in the funeral came with the same intention and feelings as they had a story with the person who died. This creates an invisible bond between them which helps to feel no longer alone with your grief.

What if there was a room or space after the burial where you could go alone or together to transfer your emotions to an object and let it go whenever you feel like?

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THE RISE AND FALL

The first idea I had was to create an installation with small, handmade objects from different materials that would refer to the person who uses it. Each object would be linked to a ring with a thread and on the ceiling there would be hooks attached. The Thread would go threw the hooks to make the object rise.

However when I was working on the objects I felt there was something wrong with it. It seemed too artificial, too complicated and overloaded. The thread reminded me of a doll house theatre and I felt the technique of rising something would keep your mind rather busy than free.

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THE SUM OF 21g

However I still wanted to work with the body and the funeral as a medium to create a ritual, a shared experience for and with people who need to free their emotions.

While I was working on the objects I developed a feeling for the weight of different materials and started to become interested in it. I remembered from my research the story of a Doctor in the early 20ies, Ducan McDougall, who measured the weight of 5 persons just before and after they died. The result was, that their bodies lost 21 grams after the Doctor considered their death.

SCALE IS A BIT__!

I started to fell in love with the number and made it a restriction to create as many objects I can that would weight 21g in a sum.

I became inspired by the aesthetics of weights for precision scales and wanted to make objects that work as rings. Each ring would have a specific weight attached but will be carried by the person who chooses it.

 Immediately I began working on the objects in metal. However I didn’t had a precision scale during that time. When I already created a small metal collection I finally get a precision scale.

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The precision scale made me realise to stop working in metal and find other materials instead.

THE UPSIDE AND DOWNSIDE

During the process the way how to carry the object became really important. As a jewellery maker I am trained to see the ring-head upside, on the hand. In Jewellery terms it is so to say the main character of the Design. But do I want to communicate that?

((((CONTENT)))) >  DESIGN

The Design of the objects became less interesting to me than feeling their individual weight. It was like you are holding something fragile in your hand and you want to protect it.

So I stopped considering the objects as rings that would decorate your body but start to explore the content. When the object is hanging from the finger you are more sensitive for the weight. You can close your Hand around the object and feel the shape, the surface, the temperature, the weight and it is energy. You start to imagine what could be inside and take all your time you need to carry it with you during the funeral. You would be free to test the other weights or talk to other people to exchange your experience.

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THE WEIGHT OF LOSS

Duncan McDougall was obsessed with the idea to proof that the human have a soul by trying to measure it. For me as a creator it was interesting to work with the restriction of 21g. It became a challenge for me to be directed by a precision scale as it make you operate like a scientist.

The final piece will look like a wooden box on which surface there would be a formula resulting in 21g. Opening the box you would see different handmade weights not only from metal that you can carry with your finger. The box would be a suggestion to  put your thoughts of the dead person into the object and feel the weight of your memories, your thoughts and emotions. They will always stick to this object and you can carry it whenever you FEEL like.

CAPTURED AND CARRIED FOREVER.

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NOTES FROM THE DEAD


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

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Dying is something we all have to face one day.

When it finally happens, we trust on the people closest to us to give our remains a place to rest, playing the right music at our funerals and keeping us from being forgotten, by remembering us, and telling stories about us to our grand kids.
 
But what if a person dies who doesn’t have any close ones to remember them…
Who doesn’t have friends or family to attend their funeral..
 
In Amsterdam it happens multiple times a year.

 

The Pool of Death

Drug addicts, drunks or abusers rejected by friends and family…

Illegal migrants, wanderers and hobo’s without papers, permits and names…

Rejects and the misunderstood, whose mental disorder kept them living in seclusion… Recluses who cut off all social contacts or lost everyone that was ever dear to them… Elderly who outlived every last relative… Youth, abandoned and unable to survive on their own…

The pool of death is a group of poets, who honour the lonely deceased.

As the sole attendant of a lonely funeral they accompany the lifeless remains to the grave where they recite a specially written poem.

To write about someone, and give their story to the world, a poet needs to learn as much as they can. Like a detective, they look for clues. They visit the homes of those lost, talk to their neighbours, and search through city archives gathering as much information as they can to form a sense of the person that was.

The same week i received the assignment (to meet up with someone that inspired me), I attended a funeral, my second of the past two years. This very present sense of death and mortality made me think of the Pool of Death and the Foundation of Lonely Funerals, a project by artist/poet F. Starik.

 

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 Frank Starik

I had met Starik once before, about a year ago, when he was clearing out his workspace. He was leaving his current atelier to work from home, and couldn’t bring all the things that had come to fill that space. I got a tip from someone very close to me who was helping him sort out what he would take with him from what he would sell, that the rest would be thrown out.

Amongst all the things, I found this big box. Inside it, were all these wooden crosses. They were old crucifixes that all seemed to be missing their christ figures, leaving them to look like movie props for an old Hammer production starring Christopher Lee. When I asked him why he had so many of them, and what happened to their prophets, he addressed me in the solemn but raspy voice of a chain-smoking reverend:

“Well my son, I have dedicated a great part of my life to freeing Jesus from the cross…he’d been hanging there long enough!”

When I later continued my look around, I found an army of Jesus dolls lying carefully displayed on the ground, as if they were all out sunbathing on the beach.

Along with the crosses, I left with some old photo works. Most of them were collages made on old canvas frames, all black and white.

 

 The Detective

On an early Sunday afternoon I went to my appointment with Starik at his house.

Next to his writing table stood an enormous plant and above his couch hung a note saying: “we are decent and normal”. Some of his work’s consist of a note or message, handwritten on a painter’s canvas. I really like these works. They might seem simple but they work really well.

I was curious about the proces of writing a poem for a person that just died, in total solitude. Somebody you’ve never met: how do you learn about them? Are you allowed to visit their homes and search for clues like a detective?

He told me that sometimes it was very difficult, depending on the situation. He was allowed to go into their homes, but a lot of times these were in total chaos. The anonymous deaths are often discovered when the neighbours call the police to complain about the smell. It can be weeks before they are found, and by then, the bodies are in a state of decay. But sometimes you can find something that can be of use. He confirmed my suspicion and said it was very much like being a homicide detective. He always makes a talk with the neighbours, and if the person still has some long lost family members, searching the city archives can be a big help.

Sometimes people have a strange relationship with public workers, relationships that in a way replace the lack of closeness with anyone else in their lives.

He told me of the anonymous death of an autistic man, who had a special relationship with his plumber. Being extremely parsimonious, he was particularly stingy about his water-heater, and feared spending even a single cent too much. Every day he would blow the flame out, fearing it was burning away a lot of unused gas. Sadly he was never able to reignite the flame, so every day, when he needed hot water, he would call the plumber to reignite it. Because the plumber understood the man’s condition, and knowing this system would actually cost him significantly more than he was trying to save, they worked out a deal. Each day he called, he paid only 10 euros. This was still significantly more than he would pay if he simply kept the water heater running..

He also told me about another man who fabricated the whole of his own history. Among the stories he told people is one about him as an important war hero with the resistance. His long lost family members however, said he had actually been working for the Germans. He kept on with these stories for so long that he came to believe them, and lived on in his own fantasy, in his own fabricated biographies. In the poem Starik wrote for him, he kept those fabricated stories alive and didn’t kill them off.

 

 The Design

After you die, you sort of live on in marks you’ve left behind..in handwritten letters and notebooks…in old grocery lists…in doodles and scribbles… because handwriting is really someones second voice. Handwriting is personal, has a character that speaks for itself: a voice that is read instead of heard. Reading a person’s script, you can almost hear a person’s voice talking.

 
De Dichtkist

 
I wanted to make a sort of vending machine, containing unopened letters written by somebody that passed, so that the living could receive letters from the dead.
This transformed into the big turning of the wheels, and then to the transfer turning of a scroll from the bottom to the top. Inspired by Starik’s written canvasses, it became a sort of alter, displaying a composition of words.

 
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De Dichtkist (translates into “sealed burial box with poems“) is a tribute: a coffin for handwriting, an open casket, a single space for the second voice and all of its marks to collect, and with a bit of turning, display. As it fills up, that turning can lead to a sort of conversation. The second voice can speak with itself. Built from the wood of century old doors, de Dichtkist houses the marked memory of lives that will some day, come to end.

 

highlight our movement


Wednesday, May 3, 2017

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

Unlocking interaction


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

The interview I had, was with my uncle, who has a autistic son of 6 who doesn’t communicate with his parents.
This problem was my starting point. We talked about autism, communication and the relationships between father and son.
I did a research myself: I read a lot of books about autism and, that was very special, I explored my nephew’s sleeping room.
How does a room look like from a person who is autistic? What do I see, and find?
I observed my nephew in different situations: while playing (with his father) – being on his own – dinner

I saw the communication between parent and child in different situations, and what I saw was trilling, new for me. All the information I collected was interesting material for my design-assignment.
In playing situations (with his dad) I saw the boy open up to his father, they played.
Drawing was an interesting exercise to observe the communication between father and son.
I saw this observation after observation.

The idea of a design product began to develop: I want to make something (clothing, an object or whatever) to unlock “more” interaction between father and son.
For this, I did some research in the house they lived in. Are there any special objects for “autistic people”? How is there room structured?
What I found was quite interesting: a room full of drawings! The room was structured, but the one wall was made by my nephew, his wall.

This element of putting something on the wall and declare it your own, is an element I took with me in my research for making a design product.

I was convinced that I wanted to make clothing: but not this regular clothing, but something of his own! I remembered the/his wall. The question raised: Can I make a piece of clothing that has the same specific connection like he has with his bedroom wall?
Which material do I want to use?

I also made a t-shirt for the dad, a shirt which also unlocks interaction. The pieces on the shirt are moveable, they communicate. You can start a conversation after playing with this shirt. In practice, this shirt doesn’t really work out. It was too complicated, also the material was wrong, I will later explain why.

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While exploring the last question I found out that the main material should be; paper, like the paper on his bedroom wall.

I made different kind of clothing: jacket, trousers, shoes and sleeves.
All the different kinds of clothing are tested, within the 3 situations: while playing (with father) – being on his own – dinner.
I observed.

I made a jacket for the father; a jacket where you can play on, I tested this one, but it was not the jacket I was looking for! It did not meant anything for the boy. Also: this jacket has buttons, which did not work out.

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I found out that the idea of a jacket worked really well, especially during playing time. Now, I tested a paper jacket on the boy; he wore a paper jacket, suddenly he started drawing on it.

He even asked his dad to help drawing on his new paper jacket!
A simple idea unlocks an interesting situation here! They talked about what they where doing, what they were making and so on.

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I asked myself many question about my position in this project. Am I part of the observations? Should I interact with the boy? What is my position when the final product is done? What is my position anyway!?
During all the observations and the process of making in general, I found out that my position is a silent eye, who watches what happens, observe, make notes and sketches.
When this part over, I have a crucial position: making a relevant design object for this “problem”. I have to unlock my creativity, and find, test, examine, and communicate the results and outcomes.
Reflection on this very last part is as important as the first part of the silent eye. Because when these two parts of the whole process don’t work together, the end result won’t be seriously.

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I came up with an interesting leftover, a simple paper jacket full of interaction, ideas and meanings. A truly unique object.
I was glad with the result, but it was not the end result, yet. There were a view practical problems I had to solve: how many jackets do I want to make? What is the right size? How do I want to present it?
While working on all these questions I came up with my end result. I jacket, for little boys between 5-6, no sharp edges, and cut out of one paper.
The jacket is so made that when it is finished, you can unfold it, and hang it on you bedroom wall, your unique object. The conclusion is that with this very serious process, I described above, I came up with a joyful product, which fits my starting point: unlocking interaction.

 

Alien Matter


Monday, May 1, 2017


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Strandbeest‘ by Theo Jansen

Large sculptures made out of plastic PVC tubes, able to move on their own. An animal like mechanisms that does not need food, but just the power of wind.
Theo Jansen, a genius that fusions art and engineering, is busy since 1990 with his project called Strandbeests (Beach animals): a new life form on earth, yet unknown for humankind.

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A life form looking at another form of life : What it means to be alive.
I always wonder why is it so exciting for me to watch the Strandbeests moving? Perhaps because I can not define at what I am looking at, is it real?
How to define it?
When I look up the word alive in the dictionary, I came across the meaning existing.

But wait, everything has an existence in space and time, so how can you recognize a life form? People may think, the fact that something is not animating is a reason of a non-life form, somehow no definition feels right to me. There is much more to living than having a heartbeat. There is much more to life than breathing and the blood flowing through your veins. You might be living, but are you alive?
What if matter has a life on its own, able to learn, teach and to stretch its ‘lifespan’ beyond humankind? An alien matter that absorbs intelligence and reaches capacities that go far beyond our own.

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Inspired, I went to Delft at Theo J. exhibition with the hope I could come across his path and there we go: I was able to talk to him. Unfortunately our meeting was so spontaneous,  that I just got a few minutes. Nevertheless it felt like a miracle, he ended our conversation with the sentence man should get rid of its ego, then he will be able to see the real qualities in life.

I got fascinated by his way of being, how modest and grounded he was when we met. He is not an artist but rather a happy victim of his work which is pure functional. The tubes are the ones making the process beautiful.

As miraculous life is, I decided to adopt a Strandbeest myself, the Animarus Ordis Parvus. First It needed to be born so I assembled 117 plastic pieces together. About an hour, the evolution was finished and I had my own beast at home.

During the process something weird happened to me, something I can not explain. It was like a virus in my head : the beast’s rubber feet.

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I got inspired to work with Silicone. Why Silicone and not something else? Something that remains a mystery. What happened to me, at this moment? Perhaps it started to communicate with humans, perhaps it chose me.

Silicone is a synthetic polymer made up of silicon, oxygen and other elements.It is generally liquid or flexible and the rubber like plastic has useful proprieties. From medicine to personal care items.

Sometimes there is a confusion between Silicon and Silicone. Silicon is a naturally occurring chemical, a key element in bricks, cement or glass. It is the second most abundant element in our earth crust, after oxygen. Whereas Silicone is a chemical substance that derives from Silicon.

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Silicone often stands as a tool for the use of something else. Maybe it is living, maybe I should threat it as a oneself.

Exploring the matter

I started experimenting and researching on the structure, and I tried to find out some processing and proprieties of the material. I adapt myself to the matter, a constantly evolving process between human and material.

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There are different kinds of Silicone and they all have different proprieties from each other. From sticky to stinky.
The Silicone from the hardware shop has never a clear structure, it is really hard to manipulate while it’s liquid. Impossible to work without mask, it almost intoxicates you.

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The splintered structure could almost be found in nature.

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Birth of Silicone

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Silicone organ

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colour absorption
I experiment with different kinds of tools such as a pencil, a marker, watercolours , acrylic, ink.

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One ting that was completely new for me is that, Silicone can print.
This technique just works with Silicone from the hardware shop, because it is so sticky.
It absorbs the ink while drying and the text or image will appear reflected.

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 At the end, it is hard to discover something mind blowing in such a small period of time. Theo Jansen is still researching on the same material since 1990 and he thinks that there is a long path to be done.

In a constant flow of doing and learning, there were plenty of disappointments on the way. But on the few occasions that things worked out, being connected to matter is such an enriching experience.

 

The Liquid Object


Monday, May 1, 2017

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About How Glowing Is Not Easy


Sunday, April 30, 2017

Yoga has been part of my life for the last 7 years supporting me in the toughest times, helping me heal in the most painful ones, bringing me joy and opening my eyes when I needed it. I understand what yoga brings into my life and I understand the benefits it can bring to people since I witnessed it myself. And yet, something about a lot of yoga teachers I met always made me feel… Intimidated ? “Intimidated” may not be the right word but something invisible about them intrigued me. It was something that I had a hard time understanding or even pointing out which is why I decided to contact a yoga teacher.

Skadi is a dutch yin and vinyasa yoga teacher. I attended a couple of her classes last year but had never actually talked to her before I started working on the design assignment. She is the perfect example of a glowing, radiant human being. Even before I had the opportunity to meet her in person and have an actual conversation with her, I could feel all of the love and kindness and patience and generosity that was shining around her. There was something flawless, some kind of purity about her that I could not explain and that I was almost afraid of. That something became even more powerful once I met her.

Our meeting was generally good. Nothing exceptional happened, nothing terrible happened. We talked about yoga, life and how she experienced both. We had a nice conversation, we got along well. To be honest I was excepting some kind of grand revelation, an explosion of inspiration which would put me directly on the right path for the development of the assignment when in fact, I felt completely lost. My mind was blank and inspiration was nowhere to be found. The more I thought about what I could do, what I wanted to do and the more I got frustrated both with myself and with her. The frustration was not directed towards her as a person but towards the expectations I had going into our meeting.

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first sketch. > second sketch, very representative of my state of mind at the time > below: What my first idea would have resulted in.

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I knew I had to start somewhere in order to find my way. I started thinking of how I could communicate the feeling of frustration I was dealing with. What material could I use to represent Skadi ? How could I materialize the negative mindset I was in ? How could I detach myself from it ? My first try out was pretty literal. I used velvet to represent the flowy and soothing energy that radiated from Skadi and added to it my element of frustration represented by small pieces of metal wire. The result was supposed to be some type of cape, a protective piece of clothing.

Here lies the remains of the material of my first try-out.

Here lies the remains of the material of my first try-out. The more I looked at it, the more I tried to work with it and the more I hated it. I ended up "destroying the evidence".

That is when I realised I needed something light. I needed something fun to transform that frustration into something positive. I thought, why not try to actually make that strange and yet soothing energy I was so curious about ? Why not represent it and materialize it from my perspective ? After freeing myself from this negative mindset by not so simply breaking the barriers I had surrounded myself with, I finally found the material I needed to work with. I was immediately drawn to balloons. The idea came after seeing a 5 year old child riding a bike decorated with party balloons. This is when I connected with this material which, to me, breathed lightheartedness. This was exactly what I needed.

Rainbow Waterfall

A rainbow Waterfall,
result of a first try out with a material full of lightness and playfulness.

I saw the energy that glowed around Skadi and other yoga teachers as something that was natural to them now. Something they had in them. But I believed that most of them probably had to struggle in the past to earn what was now simple. This is what I chose to represent.

The following video offers my interpretation of this experience.


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Wrestling with Lightness


Analyzing Modern Religious Writing


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

 

Time Spend Analyzing After Meeting A Modern Cult (The Introduction).

Recently, I have been looking at language while diving into modern religious or cult-ish writing techniques and aesthetics. This is mainly the language used by Scientology and the way its founder L. Ron Hubbard confuses the reader, which then, makes it possible for Hubbard to arrive at simpler conclusions. I have looked at the writings of William S. Burroughs in his book The Job, where he argues for the seemingly nonsense idea of language as a virus.

The following is a result of these readings made with the agenda of publicizing these techniques for us to advantage of.

 

I: Using “Mental Fogginess” To Simplify Conclusions

In the first chapter of the very first scientology book, Dianetics: the original thesis (1948), L. Ron Hubbard concludes after a small, compact and confusing rant on topics such as heuristic science, workability contrasting idealism, semantic difficulties, psychosomatic ills, the unknowable/the knowable, spiritualism, deism, telepathy, clairvoyance, the human soul, field of thoughts, dynamic principle of existence, that the first cornerstone of what for the reader seems to be everything, is for the human to SURVIVE!. This is just after the section entitled important notes, placed on page four, where the church informs the reader that:

 

“Trying to read past a misunderstood word results in mental “fogginess” and difficulty in comprehending the passages which follow. If you find yourself experiencing this, return to the last portion you understood easily, locate the misunderstood word and get it defined, using a good dictionary or the Glossary at the end of the book.”

 

The problem is not that these difficult concepts such as telepathy, dynamic principle of existence, etc. are hard to grasp. The problem is that Hubbard is using them as a sort of “mental fogginess”, so when he finally concludes that the essence of all this is to SURVIVE!, the reader might not have understood what was meant above but the essence of it (to survive) we all surely understood, and we then do not need to use a good dictionary to understand this.

Hubbard also tells us in the text that we do not need to concern ourselves with the basic questions to our existence. He says that by dividing everything in the field of thoughts into two categories, the unknowable and the knowable, we then do not need to concern ourselves with such indefinites as spiritualism, deism or the human soul. This is of course addressed towards those who search for meaning. Hubbard constantly plays with concepts that an ordinary person will be confused by, and what the ordinary person will easily understand and in these easily understandable parts, he then gently pads our backs to ease our worries.

L.RonHubbard

 

 

II: An authoritarian language.

As William S. Burroughs writes about his invented professor, Professor Wilson Smith, he does it in a very scientific and authoritarian way. He uses this authoritarian language as a tool to create confusion and chaos, so his own radical and confusing statements have a chance of being seemingly logical. He writes:

 

“The word has not been recognized as a virus because it has achieved a state of stable symbiosis with the host, though this symbiotic relationship is now breaking down, for reasons I will suggest later. I quote from Mechanisms of Virus Infection, edited by Mr. Wilson Smith: “Viruses are obligatory cellular parasites and are thus wholly dependent upon the integrity of the cellular systems, they parasitize for their survival in an active state. It is something of a paradox that many viruses ultimately destroy the cells in which they are living.”

 

After Burroughs has claimed that The word has not been recognized as a virus he then quickly makes a shift to Professor Wilson Smith, making it seem like it is exactly this that Wilson Smith argues for, although Wilson Smith is not. But when Burroughs then quickly again reassures the reader that the spoken word as we know it came after the written word due to a virus infection, which also is a highly speculative statement, Borough is then again putting this idea of the word as a virus into our minds, and it is only made possible by the use of an authoritarian language.

We see that Burroughs is using language like it is an actor in a hidden camera show. Like a scene where an actor is dressed up as a police officer on a train station, ordering passengers to get out of the train, only to be left on the station, tricked by what they thought was the law. This is just as I have done by manipulation all of Burroughs’ statements for my own agenda.

 

III: Take Advantage. 

But what I in generally would like to propose is this: Let everyone take advantage of these techniques to create a more chaotic environment, were illogical facts can sprout in the chaos of all other illogical facts. But to make this environment to perfection, there are other techniques we need to acquire. Luckily every technique can be learned for this purpose since much of it already has been produced for us to observe.

 

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Mads B Sørensen: Text from the essay collection “Language and Technique”

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 !

VISION


Saturday, April 22, 2017

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I always felt this inner urge for adventure and to built crazy machines like airplanes. I never thought I would ever be capable of doing so, so I never tried to realize these dreams. Until I found out about Joost Conijn. He’s an artist that builds his own airplanes, cars and other vehicles. I tried to contact him. This ended up into an email contact drama. Then I tried to meet with two other, but with no result.

Eventually, I thought it to more challenging to go to a specific place in which people exist. For me it was important to spontaneously meet a person and not having an email contact introduction. I went to a church. Religion, or in this case Christianity, is such an undiscovered way of perceiving the world for me. It feels so distant and isolated from what I think is the ‘truth’. The main idea was to talk to a person in a confession booth to talk about my ‘rage’ that nobody cared to meet me or help me with my project.

The day I went the church was closed and the confession booths were out of use, but a small chapel was open. Two ladies opened the door and one of them guided me to the chapel.

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A confession-booth with a sign that says 'afwezig',
meaning absent in dutch.

She told me about what her relation was to religion,  about the future of religion and the people that come there. She said that religion resembles the inner truth to existence. People who believe, are people that have felt a lot of pain in there life or people are simple raised that way. Pain brings people back to the ground, it makes people see the light and realize what’s really important. She says that people nowadays also have to much distractions, people shroud themselves with fun and give importance to things that really differ from what she says is important in life.

Our conversation was so honest. I realized that if I were to talk in a confession booth about certain things, it would almost feel like I’m mocking the people that actually go to a church. Talking to this woman, made me realize that there was far more than just believing, it was an undiscovered world.

I thought the element of pain was something to work further with and for me after the talk religion in a modern society also became an interesting subject. What makes people nowadays believe and how is religion holding up. The interior of the chapel was very modern and recently renovated with unnatural white lighting. One lamp was broken and blinked the whole time, for me that felt like a metaphor for religion in a modern society. Also the whole ritual churches have of lighting a candle for good fortune inspired me. Especially because wax is also known as a material with healing abillities, it made me think of the people in pain that decide to devote their lives to Christianity.

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My first ideas how to translate my experiences into matter. Candle-like drawings with lightbulbs.

For me it felt obvious to make a lamp. My first idea was to make a lamp out of wax in the shape of a candle. After some feedback I realized that I wasn’t using the wax in a way that I could fully explore the material. I had an idea to make a lamp and using wax was just to live up to certain aesthetics I imagined in my mind. So making a lamp was to limiting.

IMG_4423

A construction for a 'candlelamp'. The idea was to pour liquid hot wax over it so the construction wouldn't be visible, but it would look like a candle with a lightbulb instead of a flame.

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I started rethinking what my experiences were going to the church. Looking back the aspect of suffering and this isolated community of people that kind of live outside of society were the strongest memories. I started working with a big chunck of wax and started carving into it with a spoon, it felt saying a prayer over and over again, a road of suffering… Eventually this weird religious object came out of it, looking like a plate. After this I started making objects that resembled a kind of ritual, but in a way that I used very recognisable objects and used the wax to melt them together and creating a totally new function.

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These are three of the eventual religious objects I made; a cup together with a leaning carafe and a square plate with it's inside carved out with a spoon and with an object that fits in it that holds coctail picks to display small foods.

Then came the idea to go back to my startingpoint, church, to make my objects interact with what made me make them. The voices in the video are recordings of collective praying by the people (just ladies) in the chapel. It is said that jesus is present in this chapel, they were singing directly to jesus.

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Criteria of beauty


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Step 0 | Question: What is beauty?

 

 

What is beauty? How can it be defined?

It could be an obscure question which does not have a clear answer. A topic of my first art theory class of this semester was just about it. The first chapter in Cynthia Freeland’s book, Art Theory: A Very Short Introduction was used and it also referred to aesthetic judgement of Kant. It has never been a simple subject for me, since there would be an enormous space to argue.

But a couple of months later, I happened to think of what is called “style” might have its own clear answer.

This idea made me feel a little bit better.

 

 

Step 1 | Dutch style aquarium has appeared as unknown territory

 


Work by Takashi Amano, the founder of the style “Nature aquarium”

 

When I got an assignment named “exploring unknown territory” in design class, I never thought about such a thing. As I need to meet a professional who inspired me to go in his/her context, I was simply looking for someone who I can contact in the Netherlands. In my mind, a specific genre of aquarium, Dutch style aquarium, came earlier than an idea of who to choose.

It is because an aquarium making was my hobby which I got interested in, few years ago in Japan. This aquarium is specifically called “Nature aquarium” in which you can create an “aquascape” resembling nature landscape by putting growing aquatic plants, stones, wood and little creatures like tropical fishes or shrimps in your tank.

Unfortunately I had to leave mine in Japan when I moved to Amsterdam, but I still had a little expectation that I would see a different type of aquarium. I had already heard the word of “Dutch style aquarium” even in Japan. Now is it time to explore it here, in the Netherlands?

 

 

Step 2 | The Answer from Dutch style aquarium

 


A work from category of Dutch aquascape in AGA contest 2015

 

There are two kinds of major styles of aquascaping. One is called Nature aquarium in which I had been interested since before, and the other is called Dutch style aquarium, the oldest style becoming popular during the 1930s in the Netherlands. The former has become the global mainstream since being established in Japan in early 1990s, but actually it came after the latter.

To know more about the Dutch style I tried to meet one of judges for a category of Dutch aquascape of the international aquascaping contest. Unfortunately it was not realized. Instead, I still could get a lot of information on the internet.

Though the most simple feature of the Dutch style is nonuse of hardscape material like stones or wood, the most interesting finding for me was the very detailed rules. It is very much specific.

 

It requires;
- well grown and defined grouping plants
- a small space between the groups
- clearly different height between the groups
- more than 3 plant species per foot (foreground / middle / background)
- terracing to convey depth
- rich contrasts (made by color variation, leaf height, texture)
- a focal point (emphasized by a red or large plant / by the effective use of the “Rule of Thirds” / only one focal point in tanks 36” or less)
- more than 70% of the floor planted
- imaginary streets / pathways of plant
etc…

 

You would also find that contest’s judgments are always given from an objective viewpoint, if a work fulfills the criteria mentioned above or not.

In my mind, these were immediately connected to the question, how aesthetics can be judged, which was discussed in the theory class before. If the guidelines of aesthetic, could be applied to even other things?

Then, I decided to try to make “beautiful” compositions by appropriating these criteria for totally different things.

 

 

Step 3 | Then, what can the criteria fit?

 

The first cutout with images from “SimCity” app

 

It was not easy to choose the objects for the composition.

I think I was caught too much by the idea of choosing a specific motif, which needs arrangements as well as aquascapes do. What came in my mind, for example, was still life painting, architecture or city planning. I actually have tried to make some 3D collages with these motives.

After some struggle, my idea eventually reached autonomous graphic compositions without any motives. It would be interesting to use things without any restriction, than to focus on a specific objects, since it has more expandability. What is more, I could not imagine the result and it simply made me curious.

How much universal could this criteria become? I wanted to make some studies to examine it.

 

 

Step 4 | Interpretation of aquascape language

 

 

To go on with this experiment, I deliberately applied some points mentioned below to my practices, choosing from many.

 

- Contrast by colors
the use of color highlights
black and white, green and red, positive and negative…

- Contrast by textures
fluffy, flat, glossy, mat…
photo prints showing different textures

- Contrast by shapes
curvy and strait, circles and angles
same shapes but in different size and height

- Focal point
A focal point provided by the use of above techniques
Application of the rule of thirds

- Imaginary pathways
Emphasis of the perspective

 

In addition to these rules, I found that aquariums are something in-between of 3D and 2D. I mean, it is actually three dimensional but the layouts are always considered from a fixed viewpoint. Traditionally tanks show only the front side and the other sides are totally covered. Photography always had an important role in showing it also. I put a camera in a position where I started to make each layout.

 

 

Step 5 | A result

 

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

 

In this experiment, I had already found that the goal of this project would not be to make an finished image but to try a lot of compositions as studies. What kind of results can I get from this? Is it “beautiful”? These kinds of tryouts are not completed in short time but should be just a starting point of pursuits.

Will it still continue?

Tailor Made Construction


Friday, April 21, 2017

 

In 2010, when I was still in high school, I discovered a minimalist blog named Love Aesthetics. Ivania Carpio is the creator of this blog about fashion, photography and do-it-yourself projects, all with a consistent and unique style. I have been an active follower ever since. The appearance of this blog is ‘quality over quantity’ based; high-end fashion items are present as well as a healthy amount of handcrafted items, that are no less in relevance.

 

Last year the lifestyle brand Aetelier (short for ‘Love Aesthetics Atelier’) was established. Few designs of this brand, that carries the same ideals as the blog, are sold online. The selection includes one bag in two available colors, a notebook with exposed binding and a concrete-look blanket. An ‘under construction’ element is the self-explained signature of the brand. This refers to a concept of a creative space with open possibilities.

 

Over the years this blog and its branches have been influencing the forming of my own personal style and self-development. To this day I keep up to date with the blog via social media. This is the reason why I wanted to meet the woman behind Love Aesthetics. Unfortunately, our agendas did not collide within the given time span. Instead of meeting Ivania in person, I chose to let one of her designs speak on behalf of her.

 

love-aesthetics-aetelier-flat-fold-bag-arm

 

I took the Aetelier ‘Flat Fold Bag’ to be the mediator for this design assignment. High-quality materials as leather, stainless steel and acrylic tube are used in the design. The signature element is found in the two hardware clasps that make the chain a continuous loop. The exterior of the bag is left visually clean by placing the zippers on the inside. This makes that the bag is a contemporary translation of Ivania’s need to keep this bag very minimalist.

wieke 1

This analysis resulted in a starting point for my design; it was now clear that I wanted to make a bag tailored to my own requirements. To have an insight into these requirements for a bag, I had to evaluate the bags I currently own and the items I wanted to fit in the bag. It became clear immediately that all of these bags and items are black. This is a result of my preference to dress all black, my carried accessories are no exception to this rule.

wieke 2

This preference, in combination with my forgetful nature, often causes a problem for me. Let’s say I am on a train and want to check if I did not forget my wallet at home. When I open my bag, I am looking for an optical confirmation of the presence of this wallet. Instead, because of the black on black, the outcome is panic by visual confusion. In this case, the initial scare is counteracted by touch; a quick pinch in the bag will tell if I am in trouble or not.

wieke 3

This haptic perception is the basis of the redesign. To amplify this existing movement all the items were given an own tailor made pouch. This way, all my valuables can be recognized by touch. The pouches are connected by a hardware clasp. The clasp binds the pouches as a whole and, when a strap is attached to the clasp, the bag can be easily carried. Alterations to the bag are easily achieved; pouches can be taken off or put back on, to the desire of the wearer.

 

wieke 4

After the first prototype was made, it was tested and evaluated. The basic shape and function of the bag were right but the haptic element loses strength when, upon first contact with a pouch, it is not immediately clear what corresponding item is touched. To avoid this confusion the haptic element needed to be extended. This was done by adding a specific material to a pouch that complements it content. A piece of leather was added to match my wallet.

 

wieke 5

 

In the meantime, I have tested this design approach on the items of my classmate Yuri. Her items and requirements are different than mine. This immediately opens up the possibility of adding back colors and different textures. To save resources, I used the kitchen towel that came with the bento box and some left-over material from my bag to construct this bag. The result is a tailor made lunch bag for her bento box and chopsticks.

 

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The interim conclusion for this design process is positive in my opinion. Both the lunch bag and the bag for my personal use turned out substantially different than conventional bags. I think interesting steps are made in redesigning a personal bag. I would like to continue this project by looking into more individual needs and outcomes for this process since there was a lot of initial interest shown in this project from my classmates. A point of attention would be to experiment with different colors and materials to use the personalized potential of this tailored made bag to the fullest.

 

yuri tas wieke tas

 

Groundbreaking Ceremony or Action towards A Brighter Future


Friday, April 21, 2017

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Room


Thursday, April 20, 2017

 

 

I think they live differently. In a different world than mine. They look differently. They do not chase after things that capitalism offers. They live within a concept that is rooted from ages ago. The concept is centered around the immaterial. It is real for them. I would like it to be real for me too, but somehow it does not work. I wonder how it works for them. I think they are happy to have a one focus in life. I feel that my mind is out of focus. I wonder if in a contemporary society one is able to find a grounding. If one has to separate himself to find a clear focus, in order to create a space inside thoughts that are often dominated by information from the outside world.

 

 

 

Saša Karalic / Square

 

My process started with the interest in people who communicate with immaterial. I thought about contacting psychic mediums or ones who have strong belies in god. I ended up going to a monastery for 3 days. I was welcomed really warm and had long conversations with nuns on religion and their personal stories about their decision to live in a closure. I am not a christian myself, but i am interested in eastern philosophy, that also shares connections with christianity. And in the case of the monastery, the practice of silence was the strongest meeting point for me.

 

By separating themselves they fill the space with the highly structured concept, that occupies their lives from the very morning till the very evening. I resist to analyze the concept, but I rather focus on their inner state. Which seems to be empty form overdose of various forms of information. They have one form of information that can guide them through all. That information is received in a condition of silence. They said that the noise of the world disturbs the signal. And a closure helps to cultivate it, creating a room for exercise. They lived in a space that was elected for a special meeting, for a vertical sight and inwardness.  Space filled with quietness.

 

 

 

process

 

The first object I made was a silent book, that contains no written word or image. It was influenced by old religion books i found in the monastery. They were made ofreally thin paper, that was nearly transparent.

Later on I researched believe systems that contain practices or notion of silence and learned what does that mean. I also remembered a composition by John Cage “4’33”, where orchestra does not play any sound in duration of the piece. This piece is not necessarily about the silence, but it is more about the sounds of the environment, listeners are surrounded by. This made me think about the negative spaces, the inversion, the surroundings that are invisible.

 

The absence of sound is registered as non-existence and non-form. Emptiness is the inner state of things. Things around us are weightless. They do not have any meaning, only our mind creates meaning for them. Objects are silent and transparent.  We are surrounded by space and we float in it. The absence of sound is registered as non- existence and non-form. Emptiness is the inner state of things. Things around us are weightless. They do not have any meaning, only our mind creates meaning for them. Objects are silent and transparent.

 

 

 

silent book copy

 

I thought that the subject of silence could be expressed through a suggestion of the object that appears in mind but not in matter. In Japanese language word MA expresses a gap, a space, a pause. MA is also the thing that takes place in the imagination.

 

We are surrounded by space and we float in it. Space is a continuum. It gently touches objects not affecting them. If we would like to, we could see just space around us instead of objects. We could see negative shapes in objects instead of seeing objects themselves. We could experience how much weightlessness and formlessness is around us. Everything around consists of being and non-being, processes of becoming and vanishing.

 

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2.3

1.

 

Soap stone was the material I used for my objects. It is a really soft stone, also called a quiet stone, because of its properties. I carved abstract shapes in them, creating a negative shape of a suggestive shape. An immaterial object that can exist only in mind. Three stone objects work as the reminders of an inverse looking.

 

 

Orange see-through


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

yo yo yo

The photo above is a source of inspiration.

I aimed to get knowledge from people who achieved something in their life. I chose two bloggers that are important to the media community. Internet gives great opportunities for the users, sometimes it makes people famous. I guess, we all have followers nowadays.  The question for me is what is it to be a media guy? I wanted to get a better understanding of certain processes (How it is made? What is that for? How does it work? How did you get there? etc) and ask some personal questions or advice on a topic of common interests. I started with writing an email, in which I introduced myself, explained the idea of the project and said, that I would love to meet them, if possible, and have a personal talk. At this point the meeting was important for me, but I knew things might go wrong and I was prepared for that, as it is part of the game.

I reached Good Guy Boris from thegrifters.org [x] to talk about street culture and his personal artistic experience. I chose him, because, in my opinion, he is a great example of anti-style graffiti artist, as well as street and urban exploration photographer, media-guy, curator and book publisher. He has been around for many years and came up with a lot of cool and funny content, that gives an insight into mysterious, for general public, world of graffiti. Most of artists/vandals tend to hide their identity, Boris, on opposite, does not want to do that because, he claims graffiti is not a bad thing! So, he became the middle man between graffiti elite and ordinary public. It is great, because a lot of people do not know what the language of the streets is.

 

Good Guy Boris

 


By the time my project was going, Good Guy Boris Published his new book, from material he has been collecting for around ten years. He told me, that he is busy, but, maybe, one day, the meeting will happen. I was ready for this sort of outcome and had a second option: Michail Charoudin aka Boosted Boris  - journalist, petrol head, media person and simply a great guy, that lives by the famous racing track Nürburgring. The facility is approximately 21 km long and requires a lot of concentration from driver. Most of the production and super cars are being tested and improved there. It is still a public road, while being one if the greatest race tracks on Earth. I am wondering what it is like to live in a car paradise and how he ended up having a dream job there? Boosted Boris :)

 

Michail agreed meet and said, that he might be in Helmond, Netherlands soon. That was perfect for me, because, it is only one and a half hours away from Amsterdam and I had no need to leave the country. Unfortunately, I did not get any confirmation before the arranged date and the meeting, obviously, did not happen. Although both Boris and Michael were kind to reply, they explained, that at the moment they have no time to answer my questions, but they appreciate my interest. Maybe, one day, but not this time. That was the answer.  I had to come up with an other option.

So, I wrote to Utah&Ether, a couple, famous within graffiti community for doing pieces around the world. They are called Bonnie&Clyde of graffiti world and left a mark in many exotic places, mostly on track sites, trains and public areas. You could find their pieces in the Netherlands as well. It would be truly amazing to meet them in real life. This time I got no reply. Luckily, they have been interviewed many times, so I had some good material to read. There is link to check:



I guess, I did not manage to meet anyone, because my intention was not clear enough for them, or they were really busy.  Maybe, we are just on the different levels.  Now, I got no one to rely on except for myself. I had to put away my questions for a certain time and continued working on my own. Lately I came up with this:

orange_glasses_1000

The glasses with great visual effect, which is produced by an optical illusion.

I was not satisfied with my first result, so, I did a cleaner version, with an understanding what I want from it. This time lens worked well. After having fun with it I looked through it with a camera. The image that you get is orange and combined from different planes, smoothly merging into each other. I love the fact that these images are like that, because of the way it works, without editing. No photoshop. Here are some examples:

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The visuals, that I got out of the process are truly fascinating. It is an orange madness. Complete disorientation. Perception of space and things entirely changes.

To sum up, I did not get much practical information from the experience, which supposed to be a meeting, but I ended up with a great visual material and new way of getting it. I guess one day it would not be a problem to meet these people. For now, I am happy with the outcome.

Composing Chaos


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Composing the chaotic mind

  meeting Hendrik Kerstens

 

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Sound file: music: Dimitri Shostakovich Piano Concerto no.2, Andante

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Meeting people in an age of the internet and social media seems not romantic at all, which I can assure you it isn’t. When we got the assignment to meet a person we admired and make out of this experience a design object, I made a list of artists I considered as being interesting and admirable. Starting with the first name, I did not get any response and waited for a week. I tried another artist but also he gave me a radio silence. Choosing another artist seemed just as interesting and I send another email.
But having to present my progress in the project and having no responses yet, made me feel a little isolated from the world. ‘The inner monologue’ took its place in my mind.
Thinking about this brought me to the feeling that I wanted to make an isolated space which resulted in a mock-up of a room, made out of four wooden walls isolated with foam. The idea was  that a person would be able to stand inside of the isolated space and was able to listen to my spoken inner monologue without the outside world being able to hear it. Of course for me this was not the best idea and I was far from content…

 

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inside my box I got a vision….

Then something great happened. In my inbox appeared an email from the management of Hendrik Kerstens. I have been intrigued by Hendriks work from quite a young age. Interested by the pure combination of modern vision and classic interpretation of the composition of the portrets he has made.

He wanted to meet me. I got into a back and forth communication with his assistant by mail, which resulted after rescheduling and answering questions into a date. Hendrik invited me to his photo studio in Amsterdam.
When I came there at an afternoon he let me in. I was struck by his big black glasses with the kind eyes and the clean and sharp looking white studio with black furniture and equipment.
The room was filled with the sound of classical music which comforted me and everything was organized and clean. We started talking, I asked him questions and he told me a lot of inspiring things. When I asked him about his clean, organized studio, he told me that this was necessary for his chaotic mind to run free. So his surroundings would not interfere with the creative processes in his mind. He said that the process of making a picture was as composing a piece of music. This process he also addressed as sometimes hard to let go when it’s finished and ready to leave the studio. He quoted:

“Art is never finished, but only abandoned.” -Leonardo da Vinci

Hendrik Kerstens surprised me with his enormous power of persistence in his new ideas and projects. He spoke of his desire to bring sculpture and photography together, which he is currently experimenting with. And a future project where he wants to create a close connection between painting and photography. In his vision, one I would want to live by, everything you can imagine is possible.
Hendrik gave me advice in the end and I gave him a print of a pinhole picture that I had made which he accepted with a smile. When he let me out, I felt light and encouraged.

My conclusion after this meeting was that I had to rethink my idea of the isolated space in total, I had been to quick to give in and this good experience deserved a good outcome.
Thinking about my experience the subjects of ‘composing’ and the ‘chaotic mind’ kept running in my mind. Letting this be, I started developing an interest in the material epoxy and especially in its clearness after molding. I made several try outs by molding the epoxy in different plastic, glass or porcelain cups and Tupperwares. The idea was to take the chaotic aspect and function away from the object and create by molding a simplification of the shape.
After drying the objects, some were easy to come out and some I had to break out, some had air bubbles or even cracks which for me became interesting aspect in the idea of a ‘crack in the mind’.

 

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Interested by the molds of the epoxy as well I made molds of clay, to create a connection between the mold and the epoxy. The epoxy in the clay mold gave a watery effect, even after drying it seemed liquid and shiny but would not come out of the clay mold. I disposed two epoxy objects from their clay molds and this created a look which reminded me of the glass smoothened by the sea.

 

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For my last experiment with my epoxy objects, my interest was captured by making an epoxy mold for an epoxy object. My expectations were by filling a bigger Tupperware with epoxy and hanging the already dried epoxy object in it, that after drying I was able to take the object out again and this would leave me with an epoxy mold. But it didn’t, the epoxy object and the fresh epoxy
into the Tupperware had melted together in one totally new object. The ‘melting together of ones thoughts’ created its own existence.

 

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Looking at my experiments resulting in a collection of epoxy objects, a simplification of chaotic objects, the thought arose that I wanted to recompose or rearrange the different objects, creating ‘the recomposing of the chaotic mind’. Therefore creating a grid in which every space had the same measurements (except a special one) so the objects could be recomposed in any position.
My doubt was with the material of the grid: metal or plastic sheets. But fate took this decision from me when I was not able to work in the metal workshop for it was closed and so it became plastic.
The plastic sheets I glued together, creating a clear construction. In retrospect I was satisfied with my decision to use plastic, because of the subtlety, clearness and connection with the epoxy objects itself.

 

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In the end, recomposing a chaotic mind is creating something clarifying. I’m not sure if I would address my final outcome of the design project as ‘clarifying’ rather than ‘clear’. In my opinion I made a composition, in which every object is a ‘clearer’ form of itself.

 

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I have repeated it a 1000 times


Wednesday, April 5, 2017

 
I met him. I ordered a coffee, thee and beer. He only drank thee. I was probably to enthusiastic.
‘Now you have had everything’, he said. He had sweet eyes that looked shy to me. Charming almost. Most.
‘I never really like to meet people’. We laughed, we just met.
‘No I mean, now it has a purpose, so I know what to do, what to expect. But when I meet with friends it does not have a purpose. It really stress me out. I cannot focus on anything the day before I am going to meet with someone. All I think about is that meeting, so now I kind off stopped meeting my friends, I only see good friends’.
I was confused I laughed.

This remark of him kept coming back in my head and a few days later I realized that I had the same. Not as present as he had it, but still. The appointment keeps repeating itself in my thoughts, I have run through everything that could happen.

No surprises.

What if I could create something to protect us? Something that would keep the stress out. What made me actually stressed? There were three things I could think about that really, really stresses me out: New Things, Being in a Hurry and Ajax.

 

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New Things because I do not know what is going to happen, and so I do not know how to react and what to expect.

I have a respond to every situation that could interest me.
But I know that it is a bit useless to thing about everything that could happen, because the people I am with will not respond the way they do in my mind and they are also not as busy with me as I am.

 

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Being in a Hurry stresses me out because I always think that the consequences will be huge and not repairable. It also makes me frustrated because I know what to do to be in time, but then when I am late it turned out that I did not follow my own schedule.

Surprises are unthinkable.

It was the first time that week that I was on time. I could not be late when I was going to meet him. Nervous. Checking my Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Snapchat and back. He did not know what I look like. O wait maybe he checked my profile. Would he?

 

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Ajax stresses me out because I love that club so much.
And I have zero influence on their success. The only thing I can do is wear a lot of Ajax merchandise.
When they play I have the feeling that my throat is a bit squeezed together, a goal is made quickly you know. At the end of the season I have this squeezed throat basically the whole time, and when they win, all the stress is replaced by an amazing joy.

I read an article about students who wore a Superman shirt, those students thought that they where more capable then they actually where.
I took this idea of clothes that make you think you are stronger as a starting point.
What if I could wear a stress protection?

New Things, how could you possibly protect yourself from it? You cannot. You can surrender yourself and observe it. How could I observe the New Things that happen to me? From an old belt I made a camera holder which I can wear around my shoulder to the other side of my flank. By always carrying my camera with me, I can observe situations when they stress me out to much, I can ‘hide behind the camera’. When you take photographs of a situation you immediately create a distance between yourself and the rest. You watch Them.

In my mind social situations, are more interesting than they most of the time will be in real life.
But, when a situation in real life ís interesting, it is exceeding. It are those moments when I learn the most.

 

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For Being in a Hurry I wanted to use the  idea of the Superman-shirt even more. I wanted to create my own Superman-shirt, which protect me.
When I am in a hurry, I am most of the time by bike. So I am outside. A sweater is perfect for Dutch weather, most of the times it is kind of cold. On the sweater I attached patches of racing cars, one even with ‘Winner’ on it. This is on my back. On the front of the sweater I attached a rose, so I could, maybe, have the feeling that I am this very cool biker boy.

For my stress factor Ajax I wanted to create my own merchandise, as a way of showing my love, surrounding myself with ‘Ajax’ and hopefully send some positive vibes to the players.
From an old Ajax-short I made a shoulder or fanny pack, that I can easily wear.

Surprise Suprise, come to me.

I can prepare every situation in my head, but I cannot know how it will actually go. It are the situations when I am not aware that it is a situation that are crucial.
Without him I would not have known all this about myself. Or at least I would not have thought about it so much. His shy looking eyes make more sense now. His charming look makes me curious to him, but I know that it is not likely that we see each other soon.

 

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