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Archive for May, 2010

Inspiration and me – Danielle

Monday, May 31, 2010

Insearch of inspiration I’ve done a lot, and doing a lot but still I lack something. Something called perfection. Why I can’t see the perfection in my own work. What actually is the inspiration? Is it something what clicks between our eyes and the mind or something more? Something more that we can’t reach or is it just everywhere but hard to see till you are free.

I did research but still confused. So confused that I started to search for the inspiration in between my own confusions. Walked miles till my legs could handle, flew higher till I could fly, ran harder than I ever did, but still the inspiration is on it’s own place hidden but visible, visible because this world was once created with the inspiration, hidden because I can’t see it.

Is it only me who have got the problem finding the inspiration or others too? Been to the places and talked with people. It’s not only me (oh relief), there were more but sadly not everybody. Now I know, the inspiration is still there but need to work harder to reach the point so I can see it properly and perfectly. One night walked to the highest building, what I could find in my area, walked up, on the roof. And then stand on the edge of one corner, tried to look around, near, far, everywhere, thinking probably I will see the inspiration but accidentally I slipped, I felt like flying by knowing the fact that I was falling. While I was falling I met the inspiration, I was happy at least I met. Inspiration was my body laying on the ground for those who made an art piece of it, for those who gave everything to save me and discovered more ways to save life, for those who perfected there photography and for a lot in different ways.

Felt warm and light, opened my eyes, it was morning and I was on my bed, realized that I dreamed the horrible but inspirational. The first thing I did was bringing my dream alive on the canvas through the paints. Was happy to see my new painting what was inspired by my unusual dream. Finally understood that inspiration is not outside to search it’s inside, just need to feel it.

Leap into the void

So the point is, rules that are created are there but they mean nothing unless you don’t feel them inside of you.

Could there be a single rule explaining the whole World?


Will we ever find out?


There is no specific answer for any question. The reason our head is filled with brain is to think, and the brain never stops thinking, never stops creating new views. That is the reason why there can’t be a specific answers for up standing questions. After a decade those questions will remain the same but answers will be different because views will be different and that’s all because of the inspiration. Without the inspiration answers can’t be found, without the answers questions won’t be asked, without the questions we were not born and if we were not born then the almighty god knows what would have been happened to our earth, probably a new inspirational creature to think of for the god to create.

Sometimes I wonder, why we seek inspiration? Why we try to look for some specific things to inspire us? Why? Why? And a whole lot of whys?

While we know that it’s not something you look for. Let’s take an example of Sir Isaac Newton, an apple fell on his head and he got inspired, he wrote a whole book about gravity. Now, was he actually looking for that apple to fall so he could get some inspiration? No, he saw, he felt it inside, and his feeling became inspiration, inspiration became research, research became our source to know about the gravity.

If a single rule could explain the whole world then today we were still thinking that the earth is flat instead of round. Inspiration brought us to this point, to the point where we are now being able to walk on the moon, seeing the earth making round and being able to be proud for surrounded by the arts. Inspiration is art and art is inspiration.

The limits of my language means the limits of my world

Monday, May 31, 2010

The design lecture about rules made me think. Rules are based on agreements we make and understand. But, what is the function of language in this? And how does language relate to the world and to what we call ‘reality’?
I started reading the Tractatus logico-philosophicus, a book from 1919 by the famous Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. In this book a central question is: how does ‘language’ relate to the world i.c. reality? A question that does interest me and keeps me thinking.


Vintage as a Vantage point

Sunday, May 30, 2010


“Re-invent history, wear vintage”, a slogan that visually hits me while browsing through various vintage blogs online. The internet seems to have embraced vintage on its broadest scale, being a contemporary fetishized term for fashion and our continuous external enterprise. But a posting about vintage hairstyles( think Audrey Hepburn, Edie Sedgewick and Mia Farrow) made me think about vintage as something else, vintage as a vantage point for a multitude of areas, not just objects, but lifestyles and attitudes as well.
It seems as though all aspects of our past can be submerged into the nostalgia of vintage as a term and as an expression. The time element is crucial to explain why and what is actually classified as vintage. Used originally as a label of certain wines, vintage relates to specific grapes that were grown and harvested in a specified year, designating quality for some. The term becomes a symbol for exquisite taste, consequently a certain value is added, in price and demand. Vintage expanded in other areas of society during the last half of the 20th century as generations witnessed a rapid change in consumerism and global economy. Commodities lost their integrity as originality and uniqueness spiraled down the latter of mass consumption and reproduction. The spiritual value on personal items diminished as the availability in products grew homogeneous in its most pervasive forms, shaping a malady in western society of extreme objectification.

The myth of the movie star; hair-do goes vintage

It´s in our nature of always looking back to the past, either as way to water the soil for a new growth, a renaissance, or to point at faults to validate our presence to approach the past´s consequences for a better future. Let´s face it; overproduction and excess kill our sense of relationship with objects, whereas our grandmother´s closet might be the place which survives, for nostalgic and preservable reasons. Passing items on to new generations make them less mortal, meaning they´ll survive us and the increasing waste of cheap products we acquire regularly. Vintage exclaims soul and integrity, which points to the interest of vintage in the first place. The fact that vintage designs and clothing were created in the past, it exist a time period for items to grow into vintage, meaning it develops into a vintage state, and as a result vintage is a sign of growth and of belonging to a time we retrospectively inquire to for inspiration and aspiration. An increasing need for a closer relationship with our daily life suits this pursuit. The need for quality and uniqueness in products goes hand in hand with our need of being unique individuals. By acquiring vintage products, we are reflecting ourselves through a language of uniqueness as expression in the products. We feel more unique if we own unique items.

We´re constantly designing our life as availability and income supports a selective way of living. With vintage, one can classify or rather differentiate certain objects or designs from the rest of society´s mainstream market. It creates a distinction. Or one rather attains this distinctive aspect of separating oneself from the majority. Vintage is also associated with lifestyle, one add an extra element to your life. We embark upon a journey of image orientation, meaning we re-create or re-enact an image connected to the past. James Dean like lifestyle. The Beat generation´s poets influence on the intellectual youth, adding a specific trademark dress code; think hipster fashion without neon colors, a pre-8o´s hipster, relating to Allan Ginsberg and his contemporaries way of living and looking. RayBan´s Wayfarer for example were born before Tom Cruise saw his own reflection in them from Hollywood’s on-set film camera lenses in the 80´s. Hollywood and mainstream fashion have a tendency to pick up old codes for a new generation to re-mold into their own. Consequently, vintage design and clothing stores are today located in hip areas in big cities. An urban phenomena one could add, that merges our past with the present. It´s a business of its own, based on individual items, may it be garments from specific designer houses from the previous decades in the 20th century, 1920´s up til the 80´s. Or it be re-productions and copies of vintage design for nicer price tags. The vintage “look” can be acquired by anyone, yet the true vintage items, the high-value and unique ones are restrained to people who collects or can afford to buy the extra aura.

The thick frames, cigarettes and rolled up pants; ultimate vintage  look for men

The myth of the culture heroes; Mia Farrow and Veronica Lake´s hair-do and Beatnic Allan Ginsberg´s thick frames and rolled up pants. They represent an image or a lifestyle, molded into present day trends, making vintage a part of us- transformed from ideals and nostalgic decades, a sign of our present day mythmaking and longing for the past.

In 1995 James bought a t-shirt from the Coca Cola 1988 Olympics.  James feels that if something is genuinely vintage and personal, like our t-shirts, then it’s OK. We have grown old with them.

Thanks to James Westcott´s t-shirt, known as the mountain goat to many; currently a writer for OMA in Rotterdam, juggles art critiques and most importantly, a conquistador of global awareness.

Vintage Apparal

With Vintage, one can classify or rather differentiate certain objects or designs from the rest of society´s mainstream market. It creates a distinction.

Within apparel vintage has become an important part of the choice that people have in building their wardrobes. Vintage can be seen as an anti-movement to fast fashion and consumerism. Vintage pieces are often unique and carry a ‘soul’ in them. The items had a history and this is what attracts people to them.
Vintage can be divided into several subdivisions, here are two of them

Vintage stores in amsterdam:


Vintage — ironic hipster

the largest and most consumed division. these stores are mostly found in smaller shopping area’s where they attract a younger crowd of students and twentiesomethings. The stores are mostly overpacked with items, and decoration is often vintage related. The clothing tends to be a parody of past trends and iconic clothing items. people pair shirts with wolf prints and eighties addidas jackets. This whole movement has sparked highstreet retailers like H&M to actually copy the vintage and vintage look into their apparel to also attract this costumer. Whats apparent that within this segment its not about the authenticity of vintage but more about the aesthetics of it.


Vintage — Labels

Here mostly collectors and fashion enthusiasts are active, the strive to collect the most coveted pieces and do research on them, aside from the collectable quality, these people are also interested in the make of the garment, because many of these garments are made in ways that are not utilized anymore due to expensive labour. Stores like these can be found in smaller shopping area’s in the higher segment, many of the store owners are collectors of vintage themselves and seek to curate their selection presented in the store. Many of these stores carry also vintage bags and other accessories like jewelry. Clients vary from young fashionistas to old ladies.  Also interesting to add is that many fashion designers scour these stores in search for items that they can incorporate into their own collection, many vintage items get copied and recycled into the current fashion landscape.

Ebay Vintage > FerryVintage

Movie > intersection: Manhatten Vintage

Fashion brands using vintage for their collection as inspiration and copies.

Maison Martin Margiela — ‘Replica’
Margiela scours vintage markets and stores to find items that can be directly copied into the house’s aesthetic. A label is included in the garment or shoe that this item is a replica. Additional info about where its found and material is also found in the label.

Other big brands
Several big brands employ research teams to find pieces as inspiration for their upcoming collections. In addition to vintage found outside they also use their own archives to draw inspiration from and reuse their old designs in new contexts.

TedTalk > Johanna Blakely

post by Marie Louise Jacobs — David Kulen

Growing chairs

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Growing your own design-chair, made out of living trees, grass or crystals – sounds interesting?

Nowadays, more and more designers are working with nature, instead of against it. They’re combining unpredictable, living objects with well-thought design and come up with new ways to make creative and durable furniture.

In a workshop, given by graphic designer Ayumi Higuchi, students had to create trees out of black tape. Every student received one role of tape and together they had to make a tree on the wall. It was interesting to see how this worked out – you’re able to control your own decisions, how and where to place the tape on the wall, but you can never completely control what the others will do with their roll.

This concept – not being able to direct the final outcome of a project- is closely related to the trend of ‘growing designs’. One could speak of an ‘eco-trend’, a form of slow design in the furniture-industry. In recent years, more and more designers experiment with the combination of nature, and the natural forms it grows in, together with practical and smart designs. We can see this most clearly in the design of chairs. Chairs that mingle the, in a way, unpredictable side of nature with the well-thought side of modern furniture design.

Just like with the trees made of tape, designers are using elements in their work that they can never fully control – and they do this on purpose, because it makes the outcome more interesting. One can only predict the way the final work will look like. And, commercially speaking, it’s a smart way of working. In the IKEA-era, a time in which identical chairs can be bought for just a few euro’s,  buyers are now looking for more unique, durable designs – they don’t want to see how the chair they just bought is also to be found in the living room of their neighboor.

Below, you’ll find some interesting projects that illustrate this new design-trend. All working very differently, they still show simular starting points.

First, there’s the work of Christopher Cattle that really shows the concept of taking the time to make an object, being very aware of the process of designing and being able to constantly make small changes in this process, to try to change the outcome. In this case it’s the use of growing trees, to make a small stool. The making of one can take about 5-7 years and you can make it bigger, stronger and higher by working together with the growing process of the tree itself. As you see on the image, the stool is made from three sycamore saplings that are ‘trained’ and grafted together around a plywood jig to form the tripod base of the chair. In an interview, Cattle points out:

Growing furniture […] can be used to demonstrate that it is possible to create genuinely useful things without adding to the pollution that industry inevitably seems to produce. Trees are self-generating […] It’s free and it’s non-polluting. Training and grafting trees as they grow are established traditional crafts, and wood is durable but it’s also biodegradable, so it doesn’t have to end up in a hole in the ground. I call this Grownup furniture as it’s the result of mature thinking.

Another project in which a designer is working with nature, is the ‘Venus Chair’ by Tokujin Yoshioka‘s. This chair might not be that comfortable, it is a nice concept in which design and nature can get along. The object is made from growing natural crystals.
The Venus Chair is grown in a tank, the production process is half controlled by Yoshioka and half left up to nature, therefore giving space for interesting developments in the work. Yoshioka says: “I […] feel that incorporating the principles and movements of nature into ideas will become something important in future design.
This is a prototype of his crystal-chair.

A work that is ready to use, is the design developed by Michel Bussien. It’s called the ‘Growing Chair’. It’s potted and on rollers, but you can of course remove the box and put it in your garden. A nice see-through chair, a very good example of letting nature, literally, fill up the design. To use the complexity and beauty of natural forms and include this in new designs – to almost ‘reconstruct’ nature, without having to bend and force the natural shapes in a dramatic way.

Also great for your back garden is ‘The Grass Armchair’, by Purves & Purves. Again, working with a frame, this chair is ‘leading’ the grass. It will almost dissapear in the landscape, being completely covered up with the surroundings, you’ll have to be careful while mowing.
The chair is made of biodegradable cardboard which you fill with gravel and soil, seed with grass.

Finally, this last example is made by the Dutch ‘Droog Design’. It’s the so-called‘Tree-trunk bench’ by Jurgen Bey. In his design ‘A fallen tree can serve as a seat. The addition of bronze classical chair backs makes it a proper piece of furniture, a crossing between nature and culture.
The designer makes clear, very firmly, that ‘it is ridiculous to transport trees when they are locally available.’
It is because of this statement that only the chair backs are for sale, thereby forcing the buyers to really find a tree, that’s already there, to use. Thereby making the buyer very active in the process of the design. Although this tree is not growing anymore, it’s still a nice way of using natural shapes and transforming it into a design.

All these projects show how you can make unique design in a new, eco-friendly way. A ‘movement’ that will probably set the trend for future designs and will constantly inspire designers to work in a creative way with what’s already there.

My grandmother and her weave

Friday, May 28, 2010

I want to tell you about my grandmother and needlework.

My grandmother had a big house and in one of the rooms she had a weave. On the weave she made tablecloths and carpets out of old sheets and fabrics. She ripped the fabric in to long thin strings and weaved them in to carpets. Some of the carpets she made where for her own house, some for the summerhouse and others to give away to family and friends.

My grandmother had an education as a nurse but after she married my grandfather she became a housewife. No busy work life for her but instead she had time to do different kinds of needlework an of course be a wife and mother. After her children moved out of the house she also developed new interest such as hunting to spend more time with my grandfather who was a keen hunter. But enough about her life story so far because this text is about the needlework she made and her as an example for a generation of woman and design.

The carpets she made are called kludetæpper in Danish, which directly translated means rag carpets in English. A better word for it in English would properly be patchwork carpets. The technique is that you ripe a bunch of old fabrics such as sheets or bed linen into long thin shreds about one centimetre wide. You then weave the shreds together again into rectangular carpets. The results is colour full thick carpets. When weaving you can also make patterns or motifs in the carpets by selecting the specific colours and then applying them in a pattern. The more traditional look of the carpets is a wide blend of colours without a specific pattern or motif.

A patchwork carpet my grandmother made


Ants at Mars

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ant robotics

During our first talk of a guest teacher, in the last design-period, I got interested in the way one could reach something really complicated by following some simple rules. We made tree-kind of forms according to a few rules, and however these rules where really simple we created quite complicated structures. I was questioning myself if this way of reaching complicated goals was also being used by non-artists, scientists, researchers, architects and maybe in nature as well. This is how I started my investigation and got to a website of a scientist named Chris Melhuish. He has got a lab at the university of Oxford, where he’s investigating ants ad robot’s together with ant-researcher Ana Sendova-Franks.

From a distance an anthill seems to be a lot of chaos. All the ants are just running around without a clear common goal and without noticing each other. If one would look more closely, his opinion won’t change that much. One ant is carrying some food or a larva to a nice looking place and another ant will just as easy bring it back to the beginning point. They just care about finishing there own tasks, and don’t care about what the other ants are doing.
An Ant has no sense of a higher purpose, and doesn’t know for what reason he is actually working. Therefore the organization of an ant colony is far too complicated. Nobody has got the survey and there is no unified management. Even the queen hasn’t. Some scientists are looking at ant colonies as being one organism, which exists out of a lot of smaller animals.

And so does Chris Melhuish, however some ants aren’t working that effective, as a whole, an ant colony seems who work quite well. After all they are living on planet earth for millions of years now. This antsystem has a lot of advantages for robots as well. Using a lot of small stupid robots solves for example lots of miscommunication if all the robots are just deciding themselves what they are doing, because mistaken tasks of a higher power won’t exist anymore. They are also more vulnerable when a higher power is deciding everything. If this higher power would pass away or something, they won’t know what to do any longer. Another big advantage of using a lot of small stupid robots is that it won’t cost lots of money to build them.

U-bot, one of the ant robots of Melhuish

Scientists are now thinking about the use of these robots at another planet or for the use of nanobots. In the case of nanobots, which are really small robots, it would be very useful to use simple robots that don’t need complicated soft- or hardware, because you just don’t have the space for it. You could for example use these nanobots in paint for bridges or buildings to discover small cracks in the paint or even to find weak spots in the iron. When using Robots on the moon or another planet it would be a really big benefit to use a big amount of cheap and simple robots. It won’t matter if one or two robots wouldn’t work or would get destroyed by landing at this planet.

Besides the technological use of these robots I think there are also great possibilities to use them in art. For example interactive art, because you can easily instruct these robots to complete certain tasks, while they will never complete this task in the same way. There will always be a certain randomness in the way they will complete their task. A second benefit to use these robots in interactive art is that it doesn’t matter in which kind of environment you will place them, they can work in any kind of environment because they react on the things that are happening around them.

The beauty of this system for me is that you don’t have to be effective to create an effective system while a lot of futuristic city-systems like Aurovile, discussed earlier at this blog, are based on pure effectiveness. One ant can carry some food or a larva to a nice looking place and another ant can just as easy bring it back to the beginning point, however at the end they will reach there final goal. Actually it’s a kind of anarchy, there is no higher power to check or instruct them, they have got all the information they need since their creation.

Eat sleep create?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Detail from the flee
Detail of the Bayeux Tapestry,c.1066. People eat, sleep, breed and create.

In this post I will quickly address to a specific example and a specific theory that goes into this subject. Even though we do not see art as a necessity to life, as long as we life there tends to be creativity. Apparently they go together, they feed each other. How are they linked? Besides sleeping, eating and breeding, do we need culture? If it does not contribute to surviving, why is it there? Man has been carving in caves, painting in sand and weaving threads to tell stories that will survive us. You could say this is a pattern in human existence. If storytelling or archiving in either books or objects is a pattern, is creation equal to basic need? Researching this subject I found the Bayeux Tapestry to be a nice study case. Tapestry’s made at the time of the Bayeux Tapestry are often described as folk art. Folk art, a concept that is very well explained by Jean Dubuffet, typically embodies traditional forms and social values. It originally suggested crafts and decorative skills associated with peasant communities in Europe – though presumably it could equally apply to any indigenous culture. It has broadened to include any product of practical craftsmanship and decorative skill. Folk art has also a utilitarian characteristic to it. Utilitarian because it displays the life events of a collective, rather than an individual experience. This social or collective aspect of it makes it interesting to research in association to social behavior. When looking at cultural history there are bluntly put two ways to look at the history: through folklore culture and through ‘elite’ art culture.
Art in the 14th century was a male dominated field. Artists worked a lot for commissions, and painting can be seen as the biggest medium. It represents an elite culture because the elite financed most paintings. On the opposite the folklore culture deals with a great collective history. Woman, left on the shores while their man went out for wars or exploration, stood together and shared their lives in many ways. It is no wonder then, that most of the folklore art, made by these women in particularly, is usually subject to a specific event in their lives. The documentation we know nowadays, is the same as the folk art way of storytelling of these long last centuries.

Greec Vase 570 BC, Trajan Column Rome, Captain America vs the Axis of Evil, a message from the Minestry of Homeland Security.

Although you could argue that the Bayeux Tapestry is not an example of folk art, I would say it is. It is true that the tapestry was made as a commission and the ‘team’ of people who made it where highly classified workers who were selected to work for the state of England. But think about it. It is not about who made it that much, it is about the specific choice for this medium. Each medium talks and feeds our minds differently, not only visually. So the English King and Queen wanted to document this period of Great War. They could also have chosen any other medium besides tapestry. They could get a painter to make a huge war scene; they could pick a hero from the battlefield and give him a statue. But they chose for the medium of textiles. And there is a reason for this choice. The Bayeux Tapestry is made in this form so that the people could relate to it. It is made as a form of propaganda to underline connections between the English crown and the bishop at the time in England. Also there are small references to the Normandy regime, undermining their power and choosing a more heroic English version of the battlefield. The Bayeux Tapestry, or actually the real technique is embroidery, is like a modern propaganda youTube movie. Looking at it shows no difference to ‘real’ amature paste-up movies. In this case there is surely a strategy behind it. I do not want to go into this too much, or make it a conspiracy story, but it seems not more than logical to me that a mass medium is not always just directing the masses of the people. It can also be used to address the elite, because it appeals so much to the mass. Susan Sontag already wrote it in on photography. Amateur pictures and art photography are different. They talk different. But this difference is a strength you can use.

So from which desire does folk art come? In researching the essence of why we create the basic question first is what is there to create from? Philosophers have written many theories about how we perceive the world. Choosing one of the many, I focus on the theory of Lacan. It describes three ways in which the world is ordered. It is interesting because it suggests that the way we life, think, and create are prior to eating, sleeping and breading. This all comes from Lacan’s theory on the three world orders, being the real, the symbolic and the imaginary.

Lacan’s order of the Real finds a lot of similarities with the well known philosophical term ‘die welt an sich’. The real order is the objective outside world, known as a whole, without any conceptual boundaries set by language. This order always remains invisible for the subject, never to grasp. The symbolic order is the world the way we experience it through language, image, story, and so on. Every conceptual possibility in words is used to give form to the imaginary order. That imaginary order is the world of desire and fantasy. It is not only desire and fantasy as we know it in de Freudian way.
In Lacan’s theory the imaginary refers to every single subjective experience through the real. In the three orders it is clear that the imaginary order is something that is fundamental to our being. We think, or at least we would like to believe so. Every thought, desire, fantasy or whatever you experience non-materialistically fits into this order. But it did not come there by a gift of god. Like I said above, the three orders feed each other. Our experience comes from the real world, but what we notice of this is depending on the symbolic order. In a way the symbolic order determines what we explore of this real order. Then again, the imaginary takes all these concepts deriving from the symbolic order into consideration and is able to give some output.
This output needs a concept, definition, or even materialization to be noticed and to be justified. And this is the point were culture comes in. From this I understand that culture is like a snowball. It takes along things that stick, it leaves out things that don’t.  It starts small but picks up along the way and grows and grows and grows. When accepting this theory it is very logically that creation is a fundamental part of our existence, because we need concepts and objects to think. Without thinking we cannot react.
What for example the Bayeux Tapestry is showing us, is in a way nothing new to what we already know: we shape and create our own existence. This does not come after the first basic surviving needs of eating sleeping breading etc; it goes parallel next to it.

Ghost Science?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

During a workshop of Ayumi Higuchi about ‘rules’ I saw one of the books she brought with her to class. One of them was “Design as Art” by Bruno Munari. While reading, I noticed he was clearly writing in and for another era, but his ideas about visual, graphic and industrial design are still working. It’s a modern classic about how we see the world around us.  I have an obsession with modernism of an earlier era. I don’t know why exactly. But I know that something is haunting me. I constantly seek references of music, book, clothing and product design from the past. I wanted to write about examples of where I see these references, and what is it exactly that is haunting us and what enhances this power of haunting.

Lets start with Apple, almost everybody I know owns a macbook or an I pod. Most people don’t know that every single product at Apple, from hardware to user-interface design, is based on old designs for Braun during the 50s and 60s made by Dieter Rams. Jonathan Ive from Apple design is clearly inspired by him. Dieter Rams gives the clues for the products of the past present and the future of Apple, he is a furniture maker, architect and product designer.

Maybe a few of you are familiar with my next example, the magazine Monocle. Its an international magazine with its headquarters in London. Its more a book than a magazine, about international affairs, business, culture and design. Tyler Brûlé is Monocle’s editor-in-chief and chairman. He is the guy who brought neo-classic post-European modernism to lifestile publishing. Writers and photographers from over 50 countries deliver stories on forgotten states, political figures, emerging brands and inspiring design solutions. Monocle also works with impressive illustrators who contribute to the magazine periodically. Here are a few examples of illustrations made for the magazine.

Andrew Holder


Adrian Johnson

Notice the vintage inspired style and color composition. Few of the readers know that this is not the first Monocle. There was another Monocle , a virtually forgotten, but important magazine that was published from the late 1950s to the mid-1960s. the new Monocle however actually looks nothing like the old Monocle.

Maybe all this nostalgia is not for the recent past, but more for the future that it promised, but never came. I present you Hauntology. Hauntology is derived from haunt and ology.

Hauntology is the opposite of nostalgia. The term goes back to 1848. Marx and Engels stated ‘A sprectre is haunting Europe, the spectre of Communism’. It was introduced for the first time in 1993 by Jacques Derrida in his work “Spectres de Marx”. The future can only exists in relation to the past. We are living in a time when past is present, and the present is saturated with ghosts of the past. In hauntology, the present is not only haunted by ghosts of the past but also by  ghosts of the future. Jacques Derrida talks in the documentary “Ghost Dance” about ghosts being part of the future. In the documentary a student asks Jacques whether he believes in ghosts. He answers “Le phantom c’est moi”. In this case, yes it could be himself, since he is asked to play himself and without knowing it, he lets a ghost speak for him, he lets the ghost play his role.

Cinema is the art of ghosts, a battle of phantoms, its the art of allowing ghosts to come back, and let them speak for you. Watch the interesting documentary “Ghost Dance” (1983), starring Jacques Derrida.

My last example, hauntology can be found also in music. Recording label Ghost Box is an English recording label by graphic designer Julian House and musician Jim Jupp. They describe themselves as a label for artists that find inspiration in library music, folklore vintage electronics and haunted television soundtracks. The name Ghost Box itself is a reference to television and the way previous experiences with this medium can haunt your real-world experience.

I agree with Jacques Derrida that cinematography and telecommunication enhances the power of ghosts and their capability to haunt us. Music also contributes to this power of haunting. To prove it, listen to some of these examples of haunted music and let the ghosts of the past and future speak for you.


Broadcast and The Focus Group

Mordant Music

Grammatical System Investigation (GSI)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

What is perfect? Is it complete, non-existant, precisely accurate, pure, to improve, unattainable? What are these words such as ‘perfect’ about? When it comes to communication, can language in general explain what we are trying to say? What words are chosen to express this meaning? In the historical sense grammatical languages have been developed and evolved. Is there a constant factor to be found in these different languages?

Perfect is a word from the English language. It can be a verb, a noun or an adjective. These are devisions made in the dictionary, where you can trace back words. Some words in it equal other single words, others are described by several words. This is how ‘perfect’ is equaled by several words, but for example ‘couch’ can be equaled by one word, ‘sofa’ (a type of furniture). But by referring to a couch, also the frame of the type of furniture can be aimed. In the theoretical meaning of language, ‘grammar’ is a name for the study, description and explanation for everything that involves the system of a natural language or an artificial language.

Grammar is a term derived from
the Greek word:
(grammatik techn) which means “art of letters”,
(gramma) which means “letter”,
(graphein)which means, “to draw, to write”.

To study language a structure of words and sentences are used that are defined by a set of rules. These rules can function as a sort of pattern to relate to the meaning or the logic in language. This is how a description of the word perfect could have a totally different meaning for any person individually. When a baby is born into the world, it has not learned a specific language yet. It can communicate through sounds. By repeating sounds the baby could learn a grammatical language. Other people can teach it, by using this system of words, that they once learned in the same way. Grammar can also be a way to express the system of a specific language. This can be a formal-mathematical description, a way to describe the language itself or in another language, or a combination of these forms. To translate a formal-mathematical description a formal system can be used. In grammar these systems function as well as in math and logics. They consist of the following elements:

a finite sequence of symbols that help to formulate formulas
In grammatical sense an alphabet helps to create words. Each alphabet has its own sequence of symbols. In the word p e r f e c t i o n each letter is a symbol and a part of the word or sequence.

a grammar that prescribes how well formed formulas are formulated.
The words that are put together by the letters of an alphabet according to a defined set of rules. In the following example ‘pre’ has in every word (or formule) the same quality. The rule ‘pre’ is the pattern. It can be recognized like this:

a sequence of axioma’s or an axioma schedule
This is a proposition that is not proved or demonstrated but self-evident.
In the formal system new expressions are being abstracted from older ones. The older expressions that assumed are called axiom’s, the new expressions are called propositions.
‘pre’ is a Latin (or Greek) prefix that is used in the Latin language as well as in English. The word ‘pre’ is equivalent to the word ‘before’, although in this sense it cannot replace ‘pre’ in the words above.

a rule that abstracts a proposition from a number of propositions
These propositions are being called premises and the subtracted proposition is called the conclusion.
“Perfect is a word” is a true proposition
“Perfect is a sentence” is a false proposition
“Perfect is cute” is a contingent or random proposition
“Is this perfect?” Is a question, not a proposition

Conclusion: ‘Perfect’ is a word, it is not a sentence. ‘Perfect’ could be called ‘cute’, although it is a random proposition that cannot truly logically define it.

In logics proposition statements are either true or false. In this way it is right to say that ‘perfect’ is a word. This does not apply for, for instance questions, desires or exclamations. If the statements are true or false can be unknown, as long as the question: ‘Is it true?’ can be asked usefully. So is it useful to ask if the proposition ‘Perfect is cute’ is true? ‘Cute’ is a adjective that describes in this context, not an equal meaning, but a subjective meaning to ‘perfect’. Also in different languages this word may have various understandings, although the same type of word is used.

The English language is spoken as a primairy language in Australia, Belize, New-Seeland, Nigeria, The United Kingdom and The United States of America. As a secondary language it is spoken in a much wider range. Almost half of the grammatical English language is originally from Germanic and Roman languages. When Germans invaded Brittain 450 After Christ, they brought their language with them and so the Old English was formed. Then the history of English evolved when colonies were founded in North-America around 1600. The language developed within a different setting. Nowadays the American English changes under the influence of media such as television and the Internet. Emigration, invasions, mass media, and for example wars have caused the absorbtion of external words into existing languages. In this sense finding the origin of words could explain something about the history of the world.

The grammatical history of the word perfection lies in the Latin word ‘perficio’; in English the meaning is ‘to finish’, ‘to bring to an end’. The word perfect (io) in this sence means literally ‘a finishing’ and perfect(us) ‘finished’.


Me, You and Alexander van Slobbe

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Exhibition flyer

This spring I went to visit the exhibition “fashion for thought” at the Centraal museum in Utrecht. The exhibition was containing the work of fashion designer Alexander van Slobbe.

In the end of this interesting, and well curated exhibition, Alexander van Slobbe showed one of his patterns for a dress, with all the materials needed to copy it. I decided to make a project out of this dress and went right after the exhibition to buy fabric.

choosing fabric

I chose a black, transparent fabric for my dress.

Alexander Van Slobbe works a lot with the fabric, not forcing it into any direction, on the contrary, his way of designing really follows the direction and weaving in the textile he uses.

In my reinvention of the design of Alexander Van Slobbe, I would like to work, like Alexander van Slobbe, by draping the fabric. To find inspiration, I therefor looked up two of my favourite designers, Diana Orving, who works a lot with draping, and “House of Dagmar”, a designer collective who´s design is based on stitching.

left: Diana Orving, middle and right: House of Dagmar (;

When I looked at the patterns I copied, I saw that the size was to big for me. Therefor, so that I can more easily work with draping, and to make the dress my size, I started to make a tailor’s dummy.

Instructions how to make your own tailor´s dummy

Material: tape, scissor, plaster bandage

  • wrap your self in tape. Not to tight

  • cut it open

  • tape it together again

  • cover it with plaster


while starting the cutting process, I realized what a difficult fabric I had chosen. It was to thin. When making the hem, and cutting it, thin fabric gets really easily wrinkled. I had to put a cotton ribbon between two layers of the fabric to be able to complete the hem, both in the sleeves and the collar.  After stitching and unstitching several times, i could finally start with the drapings.

back of the dress front of the dress

The most problematic part was the making of the collar. I called my parents for advice. My mother told me that her mother  used to cut very thin fabric on the diagonal when making a collar. By doing so, the weeving of the fabric lyes in the “wrong” direction, and therefor the fabric stays in place.

My grandmother would be horrified if she could see my way of working with the dress with the unregular stitches and the cutting in the fabric. She was a teacher for dressmakers and always knew who should wear what and how. She used to design clothing from private orders by rich ladies in the 50s. Actually my other grandmother, the mother of my dad, was also working within fashion. She was a sewer, and her sister a fashion designer. But I guess I lack the patience and interest in mathematics to work with sewing. On the other hand, the fashion designer Diana Orving, sketches directly on the dummy. She didn’t have any training in pattern construction. She just began by putting fabric on a dummy and register the way the fabric was falling.

I don´t know why I like drapings so much. Maby I see it as reaction against garnment wich only aims to bring out the body, clothes that are not interplaying with the fabric nor with the person who weares it. This kind of fashion is very excluding. It´s only made for people who are happy with their body, or only think that they are beutifull if they show their body parts because of objectification. But working with drapings goes further than that. It makes us aware of the importance of the fabric. It makes us see the handicraft and how gravitation creating shapes through the fabric. What Alexander van Slobbe does, is that he manages to balance the drapings through simple lines, forms and colours. It never becomes to much.

By choosing a black, thin fabric I tryed to do the same. The belt in the waist, and the  narrowing of the lower part of the dress brings out the classical shape of the woman body.

By making the décolletage in the back more low-cut than in the front, the dress becomes sensual without revealing to much.

So this is the result. Now it´s  only Me, You and Alexander Van Slobbe!

Something Else . . .

Saturday, May 15, 2010


This is the opening sentence of “Rules” a graduation essay written by Ayumi Higuchi in which she investigates the impact rules have or can have on the process of cause and effect in the creative process. A story that drags you into the exiting process of research where every question or statement leads to two others.
Using interviews as a platform to ask questions and create interaction, she involves Jan Groenewold (physician-chef), Luna Maurer and Jonathan Puckey (graphic designers), Snejanka Mihaylova (philosopher-writer-artist) and Peter van Bergen (musician-composer) to talk about the subject from the perspective of their specific discipline.
Look for yourself how she illustrates this story with many images and quotes dragging you deeper into the matter every page, creating in depth understanding. Munari, Wittgenstein, 9/11, John Cage, mixing politics with art and science with nature to get her point across.

Ayumi visited us in April 2010 to present a workshop in which she planted the seed of understanding using Bruno Munari‘s observations; [] We can establish a rule of growth: the branch that follows is always slenderer than the one before it (Drawing a Tree).
Providing us with a trunk and applying two simple rules to it: The branch that follows must be slimmer than the one before -and- the tree must be symmetric, it quickly became clear that there are many rules behind complex and organic circumstances.


download this research essay: “RULES”, there are rules behind complex and organic structures

Parallel Reading

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Dear fellow student,
I have been for a couple months gathering from friends and writing myself Parallel reading reports*, brought together as two PDFs, around the quite broad themes of (self-)education and the death of the author.

Dear_dear_dear_fellow_student_and_reader.pdf 1 - Le Lecteur / Collectif, Nathalie Piégay-Gros • 2 - “The?Extasy?of?Influence: A Plagiarism”, Jonathan Lethem • 3 - Composition n° 1, Marc Saporta • 4 - Fahrenheit 451 — plagiarism, Stéphanie ?Vilayphiou • 5- “The?Death?of?the?Author”, Roland Barthes

*: PARALLEL READING REPORTS are personnal notes written along the reading of a text, image, artwork, lecture, exhibition (anything goes) in order to remember it better. They can be simply handwritten and scanned, continuous text, drawn or layouted; disect the source or give a personal interpretation. The only important thing is that they avoid showing the original material and end up being shared!

**: PARALLEL SCHOOL OF ART is a virtual and international school where people who want to self-educate themselves can share what they are doing and thinking, as well as their interests and projects. Parallel school wants to generate and spread work emulation, and to develop self-initiated projects such as publications, meetings, lectures, workshops etc.

Jules Estèves

— More details, documents and reading reports on:
More by Jules E.

Idealistic intentions

Friday, May 7, 2010

Idealistic intentions

All over the world idealistic ideas about ecological, peaceful communities and city’s rise up with the intention to create a new world and to design a new society and mentality that would chance the world. Nature supporting architecture, religious like rituals, education, economic and social structures are developed to amplify the realization of this new and “better” world. In every such project that was developed until now, cultures come together in a fusion of art, education, rituals and tradition. It is clear that a lot of people have the desire of a new structured, new spiritual and in every aspect more organic and ecological world. One that gives us the peace of mind that we will not use up our energy sources, that we will not exterminate our nature and therefor importantly to most humans ourselves! Every kind of media is trying to inform us to be aware for the need of change throughout the hole world. To raise the question of awareness, in what way do we go on manipulating the world, in what way can we change our living conditions. It is even a big inspiration for the art world, television series that create science fiction out of it, writhers, designers, architects etc…


Some reactions to all of this have bin the design and building of Utopia’s. Still up until today non of these “Utopia” projects seem to really succeed. It is an interesting question to why these projects fail time after time and still why so many projects are rising up. It is a question that I will give my own perspective on. I will take two cities as an example for the experiment for the improvement of a better quality of live.


“Auroville wants to be a universal township where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities. The purpose of Auroville is to realize human unity”. In there philosophy they try to wave cultures and societies together with traditional and modern lifestyles. In that way Auroville has become a playground in many area’s such as architecture. Not only does Auroville have an interesting architecture it has it’s own economical structure, a research area for renewable energy and recyclable energy and elements, it’s own social structures and developed education.

The sketch of Auroville ‘1965’ begun with Mirra Alfassa (who was collectively called “The Mother”) she laid down the basic concept for the town. Here first sketches are called “The Galaxy” in witch she tries to lay down all the important activity areas that would fulfill the vision of making it a universal township.  It was to be a city that would totally intergrade and be submissive to nature. Then in 1970 Mirra Alfassa asked Roger Anger to begin with the design of the center “Matrimandir” the hart of Auroville. This is the most and very important  building of Auroville. It is called the “soul of the city” and is situated in a large open space much like an arena called “Peace”. Inside the building there are 4 pedestals that all belong to a wind-region North-East-South-West and symbolize characters. And also a mediation hall, this contains the largest glass globe in the world. Above it is a hole in the roof so that the sunlight shine’s s straight line into the globe by daylight. Witch gives it a extraordinary glow and light spectacle.

Every building has a symbolic meaning. The city exists out of 4 zones (cultural, international, industrial, residential) and a green belt. The movement of the city became to be intergraded in the nature it was build in. Around it other communities came into existence. Thus a kind of double city gradually developed. Auroville starts weaving into a structure of it’s evolution and become one pattern. The city has relied on the possibilities that nature trees and plants gave room for to build, and because of that a very natural shape became to be, almost tornado like, if it was made and shaped by nature itself.

This all came to be in the order of a charter of rules that where developed to the being of the City. Some of the architectural rules:

  1. Not to Harm nature or its existing habitants in the build of the city
  2. Eco Friendly Architecture
  3. Climate responsive architecture
  4. Architecture integration with natural surroundings

The following link is to the architectural aspect of Auroville:


Here I want to make a bridge to Chandrigarh another city that was build in India. This city came to existence because in 1947 Punjab was divided into a Pakistani and Indian part the new Indian state therefor needed a new capital city. The architect is Le Cobustier who also created the Modular formula and his own charter’s of rules for architectural constructions.

Some of Le Cobusier values:

  1. Architecture that has a moving relation with light, shadow and space.
  2. Provide of cheap and high quality buildings
  3. To contribute to a more comfortable and easy lifestyle
  4. To connect people by the use of elements and natural senses

These formula’s had everything to do with the natural elements.Le Corbusier had an aversion for industrial like cities, he thought it led to crowing, dirtiness and lack of moral landscape. He tried to intergrade a way of architecture that suggest and encourage people to have a certain lifestyle. He was also very concerned with the human body responding to its architecture. Also the feel and touch of materials and shapes, color, space, sounds, light where all even as important. The city Chandigarh pronounces itself as a city where modernization coexists with nature’s preservation. Tree and plants are as much a part of the construction plans as the buildings an the roads. And he city is surrounded by a green belt.

The most important and symbolic monument is an metal 85 feet hight open hand that rotates in the direction of the wind and carries out the message of peace and unity “open to give and open to receive”. Much like the symbolic meaning of the centre building “Matrimandir” in Auroville. Also Chandrigarh is divided into different area’s witch are self-sufficient neighborhoods, that are linked to each other by roads and path networks. The zones are numbered from 1 to 47, with the exception of 13 (since it is considered unlucky). The shape of the city is much like a patchwork blanked. It is clear that the city, roads and networks are organized and designed for practical use and comfort.

Failure and Succes

Both cities show in some way’s a lot of resemblance to each other but are also very opposite to each other in a lot of way’s. Both city are divided in sectors that have there own function, witch is also very important to both city’s is the richness of nature. In both city’s the architecture is build with a very friendly approach to the human body and environment. And both cities contain symbolic elements. But where Auroville wants to be a total new economic, ecological and self sufficient city and break loos of commercial and mass production companies, Chandigarh has companies like Mc Donalds etc… The mentality and philosophy differs in a economical, spiritual and educational way. Auroville tries to contribute to a solution for our problems of pollution of our environment, our energy sources and the quality of our mental and physical health. Chandrigarh tries to have a quality of living environment but does not in the hole try to change the use of economical and commercial consumers with the outcome of a more nurturing use of our environment. Still Auroville has not provide a solution and is now surviving on neighbor-villages. If you look at the world as a symbiotic organism it is clear that one can not survive without the other, everything is linked to each other. Even within the smallest organic cels and atoms there is linkage to everything around us. We humans have designed and created a world full of problems that are totally linked and symbiotic to each other. If we take one of them away the survival of function as we created it is in danger. In order for a concept like Auroville to work there has to be a chain reaction throughout the hole world to maintain that symbiotic relationship that we have with the world in order to survive.

It is very clear now in the scientific world, the spiritual world, the business and economic world, that a change and chain reaction like that is very necessary for our survival. Money became digital and lost its value and creditability. Banks are falling, oil one of our biggest sources of energy is running out. There is a big hole in the ozone-lear that damages our  bio culturals. We have to find a way to make a solution possible. And finding this way is very inspirational for designers all over the world!

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