in Rhodes: Haps & Russian Dancing


Lots of haps in Rhodes. Haps, according to Professor Duerr are our last resort of understanding and living, loving, being aware are the terms of discussion. Not experience.
Now there’s something from a former student of Edward Teller. Seymour Papert who is chairing my session is pushing the MIT 100 dollar laptop scheme. We need to rethink education pronto his says: from learning in classroom to learning in the world. The educational system is to blame for not integrating technology. He calls for action based learning and learning kids as early as possible how to program computers. I proposed the same thing in a note for Mediawisdom, the Dutch initiative from the Board of Culture – learning programming alongside and with maths – so kids should be in charge. Seymour claims that that is how math started out in the first place. Mathematics started as a new way of building, a practical way of thinking about new spaces, maths was extracted, not reverse engineered. Me and Sergei, my new found friend from Moscow, we agree.

The practice of everyday life

How to live?
How to raise kids?
How to live everyday life?

Schools do not learn that.

Among other presentations, Yuri Sudonovs stood out as a brave attempt to rethink the digital commons in terms of everyday life and everyday practices. Did Russians not learn and dialogue and discuss their everyday problems in the cues in the streets, waiting in line for the hops? Now there are no more cues, but has the internet truly taking over this space of public debate?

Eziekel 25; 17
The truth is you are the weak and I’m the tyranny of evil men
But I’m trying Ringo. I’m trying, real hard.

Yes, yesterday Pulp Fiction was on here on tv. I watched it again. I can watch it over and over.

Ok man, it is a miracle. Can we go now?

Pulp Fiction is on. In Rhodes, in a giant hotel, near the sea, near the pool.

There are still miracles in Russia.

Pulp Fiction is basically about religion. Who believes what when where with a gun to his head.

Who believes a man walking?

Russians have a special place in their hearts and minds for walking men, wandering men, wandering monks.

Yesterday evening, in the tv room, I saw a movie about wandering monks, well, one in particular. Wandering monks again meander on Russian soil, peasant soil. We see old ladies and young schoolgirls, sometimes blushing, sometimes crying. The few men are either priests or camera men, photographers. He even looks like Rasputin.

But no tsarina this time.

No balance, only country won’t do it. Rasputin had the ladies of the Moscow higher class.

Maybe they can bring in the Wolf. In Pulp Fiction he straightens every situation out. But , indeed, that is fiction my friends.

Published in: on September 30, 2006 at 10:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

Breakdown scenarios: Walk across that burning bridge

Why, I’ve heard you’ve been seen with some other man?
Hey all I want you to do, is tell me that it isn’t true – says Fatal Flowers

Tell me that this isn’t true

The coming decade will see the crumbling of the European nation states as the cognitariat – the digitally literate middle class- will script its own forms of solidarity (with its familiar national and international cognitariat) breaking with the 19th century installed democratic institutions starting with the health, educational and security systems, causing the start of new class wars between the disempowered vast majority of non-cognitariat unemployed and the cognitariat which breaks away from national solidarity.


-extreme regionalization; crumbling of nation states and networked forms of organization led by the recognition of the digitally literate middle class that de facto there are no more individual nation states ( no more currency (euro), no more law ( 70-80% out of Brussels). There is no publicly shared common agenda (multicultural debate/muslim terrorism-racism- 15% rise in emigration in Holland over past four years) and networked forms of organisations will emerge that will stop paying taxes to these perceived empty shells as they can provide health (medication online, operations in Poland, India), security (local emergencies), education ( home schooling/internet) much better on their own then in this now redundant layer of organization. Resulting in: new middle ages.
-breakdown of high end infrastrucure of design for disappearance (Ambient Intelligence) will demand design for visibility: experience the design and ontological principles of ad hoc networks.
– opportunistic networking in messy environments: design for emergence is design for localities and regionalization.

Unless we find new ways of scripting new forms of solidarities with digital technology, it seems like we can envisage two roads that both lead to less dialogue, less communication, less innovation, less business opportunities, less sustainable options. The one focuses on control in a fundamentally flux wireless environment. The other focuses on hiding the technological complexity behind ever more simple user friendly interfaces. In both cases there is no learning by citizens on how to function within such a system, thereby opening up all kinds of breakdown scenarios.

Just tell me that isn’t true
One more time

Published in: on September 23, 2006 at 7:33 pm  Leave a Comment  


I ‘ve been robbed late at night, I’ ve been robbed in the morning too. Deacon blue singing. Show me a sign. I’d be willing to be moving.

Published in: on September 23, 2006 at 7:25 pm  Leave a Comment  



Found this picture of me and Shuddha in a Jeep in Bandung. Let it flow. Some city. Souplesse as I just hear this word, that is good word for running not running.

Published in: on September 23, 2006 at 7:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

Me in Beijing ( in october)


France Telecom R&D Beijing is organizing the conference and exhibition on “Art Everywhere – Global and Chinese Perspectives for Innovation” taking place on October 19 &20 at both France Telecom’s Beijing Innovation Gardens and Beijing Dashanzi Art District.

“What can artistic creation bring into the business world? Can we build bridges and work together? Those two worlds often misunderstand each other and they often believe their ways of apprehending the world can not match. However both focus on the characteristics of the society and they both find innovative solutions to handle society’s concerns.

Artistic creation is made of innovations that challenge all kinds of cultural and also artistic standards. For example digital arts tend to be more and more globalized, and they challenge cultural boundaries as well as academic standards. They rely on the capacity of thinking the world differently. That can lead to diverse kinds of innovation beyond the field of arts. To express one’s creativity requires coping with a lot of constraints, and some artists push to technological innovation that reshape the frame of expression, communication, or organization for instance. In doing so, they forecast the great trends of the society.

But artistic creation is also a behavior, a way of thinking against the tide, which can lead to all kinds of innovation. It helps us raise problems differently, and thus find more accurate solutions. How can the artistic world and the business world meet and work together?”

Published in: on September 16, 2006 at 12:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

Biometrics in Vigo

Ben S was so kind to invite me as an expert – with five others-to give inspiration material and input for the Future Research Agenda of the FP7 Biosecure EU project. I was really amazed by the openness, clarity of vision and the conceptual grasp of the social and cultural-political implications in the Biovision document that served as background. I was basically relating the adhoc networking that is going on in locative media, the possibility of citizens in scripting their own biometric identification identity management and listening a lot.


And the food in Vigo! I found this place just by nose.
Guess who was there too, Queen Mary 2, Mary Queen of Scots.


So I figured what must I do?
Make a portrait that would gave me away.


Published in: on September 16, 2006 at 11:42 am  Leave a Comment  

Art at sea


Last Sunday we went out to Oostende, out to the sea with Edwin C and his wild bunch of boys, Auguste and Marcel. We all liked the Malstaf image of the projection of the Victorian lady on water. We liked the horsie too. Even more though maybe we liked to feel sand under our feet, the thick creamy lemon icecream, fried fried french fries loaded with majonaise, the train runing back on time taking us to our destination, the name on the ticket. How very efficient and what a luxury indeed, to take a rain out to sea.

Published in: on September 16, 2006 at 11:21 am  Leave a Comment  

If I had a remedy

Venzha says

if someone said something ….du..du…duuuu….

I say:

How true

if someone said something like that

Now won’t someone say something like that!

Who knows, one day we might.

We might just come out and say exactly that.

Until then we must have left it outside with our heads again! (Black Crowes)

Published in: on September 8, 2006 at 11:22 pm  Leave a Comment  


Imagine this:

“How can we transform existing areas to create lively people-oriented spaces free of traffic? As part of World Carfree Day, World Carfree Network and Carbusters magazine are sponsoring a competition to design a carfree street space. Through this competition, Carbusters magazine will collect the best designs from architects and others from around the world. We’ll also encourage people to implement the designs on the ground on World Carfree Day, September 22. You can find more information at

Edition no. 35 – September 2006 – English version

Published in: on September 7, 2006 at 3:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Future Fairy Tale

Just received it from Marcel. I think this is going to be a seminal text, Weiser style. I read it in three minutes flat, then went back to it. C’est possible alors!

A Future Fairy Tale

Twenty years from now, a cell phone gently falls to the bottom of the river. It’s one of the latest models. The clever design, trendy colours and nifty features make our cell phones look ancient. Everything about it is new. Cell phone isn’t even the right name for it. It’s hard to describe exactly what it is. So I won’t.

Anyway, this phone, for lack of a better word, belongs to Steve, who is on the bridge, feeling generally depressed, but for the moment happy to be rid of his phone. It was a powerful gesture.

Steve got wired up only half a year ago, after everyone else had been wired up for years. People used to ask: “Are you wired up?” That question was soon followed by: “Why aren’t you wired up? Are you religious? Aren’t you curious?” They looked at him suspiciously and you could hear them think: “he must be suppressing something. Definitely some sort of denial.”

Getting wired up means having all sorts of sensors either implanted or attached to your clothes. They’re connected to your cell phone to monior heart rate, temperature, the sound of your voice, the position of shoulders, hands and feet, chemicals in the blood and what not. These sensors have been around for decades, even small portable ones. Their first use was medical: monitoring health and medication, correcting bad posture and compensating all sorts of disabilities. They had also been used successfully in psychology: monitoring body language, metabolism and chemicals in the brain. Data was gathered from many patients over time, giving new insights into psychological disorders. But it only took off when some clever marketing guy, later to become yet another trillionaire, realized their combined potential for the consumer market. When people started using their game consoles to train their memories and concentration, he thought: “Maybe they’d like to know about their emotions.” By then, sensors and software could read people like a book. This marketing whiz quickly teamed up with academic researchers and major producers of sensors. And all of a sudden there was this huge company selling insight, one-ness and emotional connectivity. It started an industry of self-reflection, mood blogging, mood matching, real-time automated flirt coaching and some embarrassing employment relation strategies.

Steve, however, was reluctant. He didn’t need any software to tell him how he felt. He was depressed. Three years after losing his job as a garbage collector to some smart-ass system, he was definitely depressed. But he was determined to handle it on his own, as he always had. Then Steve got even more depressed. When he finally decided to get help, he skipped the on-line forums and arranged a face-to-face talk with an old fashioned trained expert: R.L. Steinberg, MD, psychiatrist. Doctor Steinbergs first question to Steve was: “Are you wired up?”
– “No, I’m not,” he sighed.
“Is there any particular reason you’re not wired up?”
At this point he used to express his concern about privacy and security, but that argument didn’t seem to convince anyone anymore.
– “I don’t need it. I know how I feel.”
“I see. Of course self-reflection is the best tool. And I’m sure we can understand your situation by discussing it here. But some data would be very useful. You see, the way we see ourselves is often different from the way we actually behave. When a child is frustrated, it doesn’t say ‘I’m frustrated’ it just starts kicking things over. It needs to be taught then and there, by adults who understand this behaviour, that what he is feeling is frustration and it can be expressed in different ways. Even adults have difficulty understanding their emotions at some point in their lives. They mostly need feedback from others, but they also gain insight into themselves from a higher perspective, so to say, from objective long-term observation of their behaviour. It’s no magic, but a useful tool.”
-“I see.”
“I suggest you get wired up without any interpretation software. You’ll just get the sensors and leave the rest to me. All this software just oversimplifies everything anyway. We can look at some of the data during our meetings, if need be.”

So Steve got wired. He met doctor Steinberg every Tuesday and promised to follow his advice on exercise, sleep, diet, etc. But he couldn’t get himself to actually do all those things. The meetings with doctor Steinberg, who confronted him with data that proved his lack of motivation, got more and more embarrassing. Eventually he stopped seeing him.

Instead, he downloaded the latest interpretation software. During the installation he opted for ‘brutally honest’ instead of ‘constructive’ or ‘positive’. Now he wasn’t depressed. He was lethargic, unconcentrated and occasionally agitated. “So be it,” he thought to himself as he scrolled through the diagnosis on his cell phone. It also said “hungry”. “Am I hungry? Well, come to think of it, I am.” And he told his cell phone “I’d like to order a chicken curry, anywhere.” It replied “Chicken curry has been ordered at Phonsawan, located ten minutes from here.” His left shoe started vibrating, so he turned left. As he walked to Phonsawan restaurant for the first time in his life, he thought: “Funny how quickly you get used to this stuff. Three months ago, when my shoes first started vibrating, my first impulse was to kick them off. Now I’m not even aware of them. I just turn left or right because that’s where I need to go.” He read somewhere that shopping malls are installing vibrating floors just to lure customers into expensive stores. He even checked to see if it was a hoax. One site strongly denied these claims, but it seemed to be sponsored by the same shopping mall. That didn’t have to mean anything though, because google ads are placed anywhere automatically, or so he thought. He didn’t feel like digging any deeper. True or not, he decided vibrating floors in shopping malls were very unlikely. Right then, both his shoes vibrated shortly, indicating he had arrived at the restaurant, just as planned, not at some expensive store. This somehow proved his point. Steve entered the restaurant.

The rest of the evening was spent eating curry, staring at the waitress, ordering beer, staring at the waitress and ordering one or two more beers while staring at the waitress. In the end Steve felt better than after any meeting with doctor Steinberg. As he walked out of the restaurant to cheerfully follow his good vibrations home, he felt the urge to check his mood on his mobile. “Happy” it said. “That’s right,” he thought, “I know it. I feel it. Who needs these gadgets.” “More details” it said. “Ok then, get me the details.” A warning screen appeared. He clicked “ok” and read: “Happy, intoxicated, consumed too many saturated fats, sexually aroused.” “I beg your pardon?” Steve asked, clicking on. “Repeated sexual response when in contact with female x.” Up came a chart showing his hormones, blood pressure, some correction for the influence of alcohol and this “female x”. He clicked on, passed some more security alerts and read: “Annoyed.” “Annoyed”, he thought, “I wasn’t annoyed, was I? Show me the details. “Tired, embarrassed and annoyed when in contact with Steve Smith.” “That’s me!” he panicked, “And this is what the waitress felt.” All of a sudden Steve felt a dark, numbing heaviness come over him. “That’s how she saw me. And that’s what I am. Annoying.” He stood still, ignoring the vibrations in his feet. “That’s what I am,” he repeated, as he slowly fiddled with his mobile. “Requesting further information… Connection terminated.” He sank to the ground as he realized what had just happened. He had asked the waitress what she really felt for him. Her phone must have buzzed, she must have read his request and thought “what a creep.” She had rejected him. Slumped on the pavement, he slowly clicked “exit” until the main menu appeared. “Current mood: depressed.”

Time passed. Steve still felt depressed and rejected, as he suddenly stood up and told his phone “take me to the highest public area.” His right shoe vibrated and off he went. This was an old habit. At times when he was most down, he’d wander through the city, late at night, looking for certain places. Places he could jump from. Not that he ever actually did. He knew he never would. But just standing there, on the edge, feeling the wind, having the option to jump, somehow everything made sense to him. He was comforted, aware, awake, charged, relieved, everything. No software would make any sense of it, but that was how he was. He felt determined as he walked toward the city centre, even though he didn’t know where he was going. Being guided by vibrations in his shoes was a little different than the old, long walks to nowhere, but he went with it.

It was cold and windy at the bridge. Perfect. Walking toward the middle of the bridge, he started wondering how he felt. Was he relieved? Comforted? That was when he decided to chuck his mobile in the river. He swung his arm backward, which was interpreted as “greatly surprised”, and he flung his mobile as far as he could. It was a powerful gesture. The device made a disappointingly small splash, but Steve was relieved. “I am relieved,” he thought, “definitely relieved.” His mobile slowly sank deeper and deeper to the bottom, still giving off a blue glow. It silently landed right next to another mobile, which also gave off a blue glow.

This second mobile belongs to Sandy, who is also on the bridge at this very moment, feeling both depressed and relieved. As she climbs the railing to look down at the water, she notices Steve, balancing on the railing, walking slowly towards her. Meanwhile, at the bottom of the river, their phones are frantically trying to interpret their increased heart rate and a sudden surge of dopamine.

Copyright © 2006 Marcel van der Drift

Published in: on September 6, 2006 at 8:52 pm  Leave a Comment