Archive for the ‘Petervan Productions’ Category


For those interested, here is an overview of what happened in the last couple of months, some new insights, and some updated plans. I often hesitate to publish these snapshot-updates, because 1) they are snapshots only and don’t connect you with the day-by-day journey, 2) plans change over time, and 3) I always wonder who would be interested in this at all. Maybe it’s a way to give some counterweight to some form of imposter behavior.

The Artschool Project

Compared to the previous period, my production of paintings was relatively low. I continued my birds-project, and painted/sketched probably hundreds of birds, in small and big format. I internalized the shape of the bird in a way that it almost becomes a calligraphic artifact


Petervan Artwork © 2019 - Birds - Acryl on Canvas - about 40x60cm


Petervan Artwork © 2019 - Birds - Acryl on Canvas - 120x100cm


Petervan Artwork © 2019 - Birds - Marker on Post-It - 7,5x7,5cm

Next is to make a big work of 720 calligraphic birds, on a grid of 24×30 boxes of 5x5cm

And just came across this video

With this great still of what else I could do with birds:

birds in video

Other paintings and sketches include “Fox-on-the-Run”, “Doorway”, “Interior”, and “No Title”, all Acryl on Canvas – Format 50x50cm

Fox2 cropped V1Doorway croppedInterieur V2 croppedSticks on Water painted cropped

The academy year ended in June, and for the 4th year students, this meant showcasing your work to an external jury. I got some juicy comments but passed.

The last year, I also followed the course “Art and Culture” by Fiorella Stinders, whose enthusiasm is contagious. I will make a separate post on this, but suffice to say here that we had to apply what we learned about seeing and understanding art to 3 pieces of art: two selected by the teacher (I picked Ali’s Boat below), and one self-selected artwork that you had seen in real life.

Artschool will start again on Sep 2019, and I will start my 5th year painting. This year, I will combine it with Digital Visual Arts. They call it a “cross-over”.

Time Capsules Project

The Time Capsules Project (see my previous update) is a bit on hold. We (my cousin and I) had some good interview with possible candidates. We got a very interesting intro to an art collector living in a castle in the Austrian Alps.


We have a draft proposal ready, but we first want to have at least a prototype of our Beyoncé project, before further engaging with this Austrian patron.


I decided to change the format of Delicacies somewhat. Instead of the weekly deluge, I see an irregular, unpredictable, incoherent, unfocused set of mind-sparks that got me thinking. I gather them as I go, and once every month (maybe every two, three months), I condense the harvest in maximum 5-10 Delicacies. Also a bit back to the joy of discovery and awe, away from the pressure to pump out a too bulky newsletter every week. Hope you find the same joy in reading as I did in discovering.


Check-out the new format here.


Blog rhythm was slow. That’s an understatement. However, I queued up a huge list of reflections. I will try to post them in short blogs, 1-2 per month.


More playing. This time playing around with DJ Pro for Mac. I finally discovered how to mix audio and video. With hindsight, I could as well have done this in iMovie or Adobe Premiere, without the luxury of tempo-synching.

DJ Pro

Petervan Mix of Robyn and Lil' Louis

I am considering the idea of sharing on a regular basis some of my mixes. The working title for this project is “Petervan’s Rides”.

Visual Collisions

For a client project, I started collecting a number of “visual collisions”. Most of these are videos, a minority are pictures. These visual collisions are intended to de-frame an audience before introducing something new.

Currently, the list includes almost 200 video snippets. Here is an example snippet:


I have been reading quite a lot. Some books on design such as “Design Unbound Volume 1 & 2”, and “Speculative Everything”.

I also liked a lot David Weinberger’s “Everyday Chaos”, James Bridle’s “New Dark Age”, Paul Mason’s “Clear Bright Future”, and the fantastic memoirs of Marina Abramovic “Walk Through Walls”.


The absolute #1 recommendation is Ian Cheng’s “Emissary’s Guide to Worlding”. The quote that drove me crazy was:

“A World is a future you can believe in: One that promises to survive its creator, and continue generating drama.”

You can find a link to all the books I am reading in my Goodreads.


I visited some art exhibitions: The SMAK Anniversary in Ghent (still running till end Sep 2019, and Wim Delvoye in Museum of Fine Arts in Brussels (just closed end of July 2019)

Wim Delvoye - Embossed Maserati
Royal Museums of Fine Arts, Brussels




Korakrit Arunanondchai Letters to Chantri #1 - SMAK Ghent
2014 video and digital projection (colour, sound), mixed media

My own exhibition

Since I started academy some years ago, I produced something like 500 drawings, paintings, sketches, soundscapes, and video experiments. Many of you have asked whether I even thought of setting up an exhibition of my own work. Well, guess what? That’s exactly what is going to happen begin June 2020 (exact dates to be announced). The challenge will be to make a selection of what to showcase. I have secured a wonderful location somewhere deep into the Flemish Ardennes.


Great summer so far, with a couple of solid heat waves. Getting a nice tan, as maintaining the garden and biking keep me busy. I have about 150 meters of hedges (x2 both sides), so by the time you get to the end, you can start again ;-)? And biking tours are semi-regular small distances (20-40 km) at a very-very low speed.


Astrid ignoring Flying Arrow Warning in Tillegembos - Brugge


Tour De France - Belgian Surrealistic Chocolate Advertisement

The Tour de France 2019 was also close by. A romantic impression of the passage in East-Flanders.


Begin 2019, I started doing some freelance gigs.

  • I do some work for Futurist Gerd Leonhard. Mainly some research, blogging and podcasting. See also my announcement here. In June, we did a gig together in Bucharest, where I acted as Gerd’s assistant for interacting with the audience.

If you look carefully, you see me somewhere in the back. Good to see some friends there as well (shout out to Ioana and Innes!).

  • Some event content curation: some clients ask me to help them with selecting speakers and content for their events
  • I am also involved in a special project for a client, who asked me help creating a truly immersive leadership offsite, think of an Innotribe@Sibos 2016, but then created as a private high-touch retreat/offsite. The client allows me to go deep, to take the time needed to let structure and concepts emerge, like a piece of fruit needs time to mature into something well-developed and juicy. I am starting to label this sort of work “Artistic interventions, interruptions, and provocations”.

All the above helped me getting sharper on what I really want.


Retirement is coming closer. If all goes well, I will retire on 1 May 2020. What will I do with all that free time? I wrote about “The Perfect Day” in my post “Freed from Desire”

But Ursula K Le Quin challenged me in her book “No Time to Spare”


“Life out of the rat race, but still in the comfort zone, can give the chance to be in the moment, and bring real peace of mind.”

It feels I already made the great switch in 2018 when I left corporate life and started doing the things I really love doing in and with my life, following what inspires me: art and reflection. You can already witness the shift in the articles I queued up for Delicacies. With that background, a good summary of what I do could be:

I create artistic interventions, interruptions, and provocations that lead to higher states of alertness and aliveness. Formats can be analog and digital artwork, installations, performances, writings, poems, soundscapes, recordings, and time capsules.

Petervan Studios

This strange mix of formats – or “containers” as Ian Cheng calls them in “Emissary’s…”  results in different practices or studios (plural). That’s why I am starting to brand my collective work as “Petervan Studios”. I switch from the easel to the audio mixing panel, to digital drawing panels, Adobe Premiere, iMovie, Ableton Live and Ableton Push. I now also installed an architect drawing table and chair (found them for FREE on a second hand website), additional lavalier microphones for better audio quality in videos, and some extra tripods for stable imagery.

Looking at the mess, it’s time I commission some studio renovation works: it will include some fresh paint, some better lightning, a huge whiteboard for brainstorming, a quality projection screen, and a shower.


Petervan Studios - The place starts looking very messy now

I also discovered an interesting piece of software called “Descript”, a tool for automated transcripts, and simultaneous editing of text, audio, and video: amazing.


So, what’s next?

The plan for Aug – Oct 2019 is to work on:

  • Finalize and deliver the immersive Leadership Off-site
  • Doing some more cool stuff with Gerd
  • Paint, Paint, Paint
  • Private community test V1 of “Time Capsules”
  • Studio renovation
  • Take some time off in November

So, that’s it for this edition. If there is something worth reporting, next update is for Oct-Nov 2019.








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As part of my search for a new job, I was introduced to an organisation focusing on using design-led engagements to support innovation and understanding customer needs (needs, not problems, see my previous post on the tyranny of the problem solver)

Clouds above the sea

Lyonel Feininger - Clouds above the sea - 1923 - Oil on Canvas

Steve Jobs used to say “it doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.”

So, in preparation for the job interview, and to know what to tell the recruiter what to do, I started diving a bit into design-thinking and design-led engagement.

I believe that these approaches are great to create high quality information flows, but that something else is needed than noise-free rapid information transfer.

My good friend and ex-Innotriber Nektarios Liolios kindly pointed out to me during a recent chat that “noise free is not the same as conflict free”.

  • We indeed do need conflict, tension, etc to create flow, movement, change, advancement.
  • But we do need to get rid of the noisy primary motivations of prestige, status, tic-for-tac reciprocity, etc .

I think the key element missing in existing design-led engagements is (great) aesthetics.

As I said some time ago: there should be some ambition of advancement in aesthetics, morality, and spirituality.

I that context I found this great article about aesthetics:

Design used to be about sensitivity, beauty, and taste

The key performance indicator for design has changed from beauty to profit. Measuring design has transformed a handicraft into an engineering job. 

Google, Facebook, and Amazon are optimizing their products for us, as they are optimizing our minds, bodies and our kids for their profit. Humans are slowly adapting to that labyrinth, becoming lab rats of an omniscient industry that adapts to our needs as it is adapting us to theirs.

Labyrinth small V1

Petervan Artwork ©2018 - Hand drawn labyrinth 

Many labyrinths are “meandering”. We need similar meandering in design-led engagements.

We need to bolt-on something upfront that unites, aligns, encourages, and motivates teams at a level beyond the cognitive.

I think I know how to do that.


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There once was – a long time ago – a small Helikon. He had a round body, stockings with red and white stripes, and yellow boots.

Helikon stepping forward

On his head he had – just like any other Helikon – a very fine “antenna” to feel for everything, and on top of that antenna, a propeller that indicated the direction and strength of the wind.

Our little Helikon also had a shiny black visor, so you could not see his eyes. But he could see you.

That shiny black visor was actually something he had inherited from his parents at birth. They had been wearing these visors for a very long time. It was a rule in Helikon country that you had to wear such a visor when you had lost some beloved one.

In the beginning everything was apparently going well and normal for our little Helikon. He was well formed, could climb very well, and had the clever brains for making it easy to bring all tasks to a successful conclusion.

But soon he had the feeling that Mom Helikon tested him, and tried to see how far she could tease him before he felt hurt. And sometimes she succeeded. I remember one time he had damaged the doors of the house with the propellor from his antenna. Just to show how angry he was.

Dad and Mom Helikon were rarely angry. Our Helikon therefore remembered all too well that one day his Dad had been really very angry. That was when Dad tried to polish the visor of his son. Our Helikon did not like the cleaning and brushing at all, and got very obnoxious. Dad then became so angry that he simply threw the cleaning cloth against the ceiling of the Helisphere. You can still see that spot today 😉

As our small Helikon grew up, he also developed a strong desire to see the antennas and propellors of the Helikas. Which at that time was actually considered very brrbwah and forbidden. One time, Mama Helikon had beaten him up for that. There was a story about the girl next door or the neighbour or maybe both. The old books are not so clear on that.

Over time, our little Helikon got something sad about him, even something of anger and violence. You could notice a certain dullness of his usually shiny black opaque visor. That was because our little Helikon had discovered that he had a speech problem: he could not pronounce the word “yes” very well. And the word “no” was also very difficult. Especially the first syllable of these two words was hard.

This speech defect haunted him for a long time but he didn’t really take care of it. The Helisphere of the Helikons lay in the middle of a big forest. In the forest were many old and large trees. The forest was very dense with ferns, mushrooms, and turquoise flowers.

Helikon frontal with trees at horizon

Our little Helikon often made long exploration trips in the woods. In the beginning it was fun, but as the Helikon pulled deeper into the forest, he was overcome by a deep fear. Would he still find his way back?

The deeper into the forest, the more he could smell the earth. The damp smell of wet leaves sometimes made him nauseous. And sometimes, it gave the urge to run away quickly. Were those trees real? And why were the great owls constantly howling? The small Helikon wanted to avoid at all costs that the owls saw that he was afraid.

And to prove himself, he climbed the highest trees, and jumped out of them, with his hands covering his black visor but without any further protection. It was as if he wanted to tell the forest: look what I can do! Look at what a daredevil I am! But the trees just kept standing where they stood, and pretended not to see him.

On a beautiful summer day – during one of those hikes – our little Helikon had gone very deep into the forest. There was only a tiny bit of sunlight filtering through the thick canopy of trees.

Helikon meets fairy

And whambam!! All of a sudden, an old fairy with spooky green eyes stood in front of him. The fairy told about the man in her life that she had lost, the eternal summer in this enchanted forest, and the black visor that she refused to wear. Helikon was very enchanted by this idea.

But the old fairy with green eyes very quickly tempered his enthusiasm by pointing out that he just landed in a fairy tale, and that all this was only a dream. A tale of elves, fairies and wizards, anyway … a tale of sweet crunchy make belief that everyone knows from his childhood.

The fairy with the green eyes made a few quick circular movements with her hand, uttered a very long spell and wished that the Helikon would soon wake up from this fairy tale and would be out in the real world: the real world of big stories of real love, real goodness, and where people no longer tried to restrain evil, but let the good grow by itself like fresh grass. Without pulling it, or without even caressing it.

Our little Helikon could not believe his ears. Was all this possible? Would such a world exist?

When the fairy touched him at the end of the spell with her magic wand, a shock went through the little body of our small Helikon: it was a wonderful warm gentle stream that flowed through his veins like hot jelly. The green-eyed fairy told him that this was “crostipana”, the holy manna pursued for centuries by all Helikons.

Helikon was now looking very intensely for that real world. But the more he searched for it, the less he liked it and the more difficult it was to imagine living there.

He searched and searched. He combed the entire forest from front to back.

Nothing could tempt, inspire or surprise him.

During one of those quests – very early in the morning, the sun was just peeping over the horizon – the little Helikon found a golden casket under a large oak tree. The sun made the morning dew sparkle in fantastic colours. It was very well made, with inlaid multicoloured gems and pearls.

The casket was closed. There was probably a big treasure inside.

Our Helikon tried to open the casket. First with a passkey he always carried in his little backpack, and when that failed, he tried to pry it open with a branch of the oak tree. Still to no avail, he threw the casket with all his might down a steep rock. The casket remained shut.

In desperation, he went to see the wise men of Helikon village.

The first wise man proposed to push the casket under water until the moisture would burst it.

The second wise man suggested to move to the country where the casket was made. They would probably have matching keys.

The third wise man just told our Helikon put the casket out of his mind, as it probably was fake and empty.

None of this helped.

Eventually our little man got to see the Great Helikon of the Helikon village. The Helisphere of the Great Helikon was very big and looked a little bleak.

Helikon meets wide man

The Great Helikon himself had a long grey antenna, the screw was all rusty, and there was a large brown stain on his visor.

When he heard the story of our Helikon, he spoke with a deep voice: “Ahum, ahum” – wise men always scrape their throat – “dear little man, you will have to leave the casket with me for a while. I will handle it with special potions and spells and polish it as new.”.

When the Helikon left the casket behind, he was terrified he would never see his casket again. Let’s hope the Great Helikon would not give the casket the wrong potions, he mumbled to himself.

But, see! Few weeks later, the Great Helikon called him in, and gave the casket back to our little Helikon, saying: “You have to pamper this casket a lot, fondle very gently the lid of the casket, and talk very nicely to it all day long, and if you do that long enough, the casket will open.”

The Helikon cuddled the casket every day now. And look, after exactly three weeks the lock of the casket clicked and opened. He just had to wiggle a bit the cover, and then it really opened.

On the inside, the casket was very nicely finished: it was completely lined with soft red silk, just like a pillow, a soft bed.

Helikon looking at kistje

And in the middle of that red soft pillow – Surprise! Surprise! – was another teeny-weeny mini casket. It was the nicest little casket that one could imagine. A mini key lay beside it to open it.

When our little Helikon carefully opened that mini-casket, there was a note in it. This was what was on the note:


“You came here with your suitcase full of secrets that weighed very heavily. Little by little, you are opening this suitcase. At the end of this journey, this case will be refilled. This time with light, power and love. Thanks to all the nice things in it, the case will be very light.”


Our little Helikon knew he did not have to search any further. The answers to all his questions were actually within himself. From that day on the Helikon was no longer afraid of the forest.


The End


Petervan Fairy Tales ©2018

Story & Illustrations by @petervan

English proofreading & corrections by Geert Barbier (Thanks!)

Original version in Dutch here

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Er was eens – heel lang geleden – een kleine Helikon. Hij had een rond lijfje, kousen met rode-witte strepen, en gele laarsjes.

Helikon stepping forward

Op zijn hoofd had hij – net als elke andere Helikon – een heel fijne “antenne” om alles goed aan te voelen, en bovenop die antenne, een schroefje dat de richting en de kracht van de wind aangaf.

Onze kleine Helikon had ook een zwart glimmend vizier, waardoor je zijn ogen niet kon zien. Maar zélf zag hij je wèl.

Dat zwart glimmend vizier was eigenlijk iets dat hij van Papa & Mama Helikon had meegekregen bij de geboorte. Papa & Mama Helikon droegen zelf ook al heel lang een zelfde soort vizier. In Helikon-land moest je namelijk zo’n vizier dragen als je iemand van wie je erg hield was verloren.

In het begin liep alles schijnbaar normaal voor onze kleine Helikon. Hij was mooi gevormd, kon erg goed klimmen, en had een pienter stel hersens waardoor hij makkelijk alle opdrachten tot een goed einde bracht.

Maar hij had al snel het gevoel dat Mama Helikon hem testte, en probeerde hoever ze hem kon plagen voordat hij kwaad werd. En soms lukte dat wel eens. Ik herinner me een keer dat hij alle deuren van het huis met de schroef van zijn antenne had beschadigd. Gewoon om te laten zien hoe boos hij wel was.

Papa en Mama Helikon waren zelden boos. Onze Helikon herinnerde zich dan ook nog goed die ene enkele keer wanneer zijn Papa toch eens heel boos was geworden. Dat was toen Papa het vizier van zoonlief probeerde op te poetsen. Die vond dat poetsen helemaal niet leuk en liet dat dan ook merken. Papa werd toen zo boos dat hij toen gewoon het poetsdoekje tegen het plafond van de Helisfeer had gegooid. Die plek kan je nu nog goed zien 😉

Naarmate onze kleine Helikon groot werd, ontwikkelde zich bij hem ook een sterk verlangen om de antennes en schroefjes van de Helika’s te bekijken. Dat was in die tijd eigenlijk heel erg verboden en vies. Mama Helikon had hem daarvoor al eens een oplawaai gegeven. Er was toen iets geweest met het buurmeisje of de buurvrouw of misschien beide. Daar zijn de oude boeken niet zo duidelijk over.

Mettertijd kreeg onze kleine Helikon – je kon dat zien aan een zekere matheid van zijn doorgaans glimmende zwarte ondoorzichtige vizier – iets droevigs over zich , ja zelfs iets van boosheid en geweld. Dat kwam omdat onze kleine Helikon had ontdekt dat hij een spraakgebrek had: hij kon het woord “ja” niet goed uitspreken. En het woord “nee” lag ook erg moeilijk. Vooral de eerste lettergreep van deze twee woorden kreeg hij moeilijk uitgesproken.

Hij bleef een hele tijd rondlopen met dit spraakgebrek, zonder het echt te verzorgen.

De Helisfeer van de Helikons lag in een groot bos. In het bos stonden veel oude en grote bomen. Het bos was ook heel dicht begroeid met varens, paddestoelen, en turquoise bloemen.

Helikon frontal with trees at horizon

Onze kleine Helikon maakte dikwijls lange verkenningsochten in het bos. In het begin was dat leuk, maar naarmate de Helikon dieper in het bos trok, raakte hij bevangen door een diepe angst. Zou hij zijn weg nog terug vinden ?

Hoe dieper in het bos, hoe meer hij de aarde kon ruiken. De vochtige geur van natte bladeren maakte hem soms misselijk. En soms overviel hem de dwang om snel weg te lopen. Waren die bomen wel écht ? En wat zaten die grote uilen daar constant the oe-hoe-en ? De kleine Helikon wou tot elke prijs vermijden dat de uilen zagen dat hij bang was.

En om zich te bewijzen klom hij in de hoogste bomen, en sprong er dan – met de handen voor zijn zwarte vizier – zonder enige bescherming uit. Het was alsof hij tegen het bos wou zeggen: kijk eens wat ik kan, kijk eens wat ik durf ! Maar de bomen bleven gewoon staan waar ze stonden, en deden alsof ze hem niet zagen.

Op een mooie zomerdag – tijdens een van die trektochten door het bos – was onze kleine Helikon heel diep in het bos gegaan. Door de dikke kruinen van de bomen kwam nog maar een heel klein beetje zonlicht.

Helikon meets fairy

En plots, ineens, uit het niets, stond daar een oude fee voor hem, met groene ogen. De fee vertelde over de man in haar leven die zij verloren was, over de eeuwige zomer in dit sprookjesbos, en over het zwarte vizier dat ze weigerde te dragen. De Helikon was erg aangetrokken tot deze gedachte.

Maar de oude fee met de groene ogen koelde al snel zijn enthousiasme door hem duidelijk te maken dat hij enkel maar in een sprookje was beland, alsof het slechts een droom was. Een sprookje van kabouters, feeën, en tovenaars, enfin… een sprookje van zoeterige kunstmatigheid en on-echtheid dat iedereen wel kent vanuit zijn jeugd.

De fee met de groene ogen maakte een paar snelle cirkelvormige bewegingen met haar toverstaf, sprak een heel erg lange toverspreuk uit en uitte toen de wens uit dat de Helikon snel wakker zou worden uit dit sprookje en op zoek zou gaan naar de échte wereld: die wereld van de échte grote verhalen, van échte liefde, van échte goedheid, en waar de bewoners niet meer probeerden om het kwade te beperken, maar het goede als fris gras lieten groeien. Zonder er aan te trekken, of zonder er aan te strelen.

Onze kleine Helikon geloofde zijn oren niet. Was dit allemaal wel mogelijk ? Zou zo’n wereld bestaan ?

Toen de fee hem op het einde van de toverspreuk aanraakte met de toverstaf was het alsof er een schok door het lichaampje van onze kleine Helikon ging: het was een weldadige warme zachte stroom die door zijn adertjes vloeide, zoals warme konfituur. De fee met de groene ogen vertelde hem dat dit nu “crostipana” was, het manna dat door zoveel Helikons als ultieme doel werd nagestreefd.

De Helikon ging vanaf nu heel erg op zoek naar die échte wereld. Maar hoe meer hij ernaar zocht, hoe minder hij vond en hoe lastiger hij werd.

Hij zocht en zocht en zocht. Hij kamde het hele bos van voor naar achter uit.

Niets kon hem nog bekoren.

Tijdens een van die zoektochten vond de kleine Helikon – heel vroeg in de morgen, de zon was net op – een goudkleurig kistje onder een grote eikenboom. De ochtenddauw glinsterde nog op het kistje. Het was heel mooi gemaakt, met inlegstukjes van veelkleurige edelstenen en parels.

Het kistje was gesloten. Er zat waarschijnlijk een hele grote schat in.

Onze Helikon probeerde het kistje open te maken. Eerst met een grote bos namaak-sleutels, en toen dat niet lukte, probeerde hij het open te wrikken met een tak van de eikenboom. En toen dat ook niet lukte gooide hij het kistje heel hard naar beneden van een steile rotswand. Het kistje bleef potdicht.

Ten einde raad, trok hij met het kistje naar de wijzen van het Helikon dorp.

De eerste wijze stelde voor om het kistje onder water te duwen tot het van vocht zou barsten.

De tweede wijze stelde voor om naar een ander land te trekken waar het kistje gemaakt was. Daar zouden ze allicht nog passende sleutels hebben.

De derde wijze zei dat er waarschijnlijk niets in het kistje zat, en dat onze Helikon het kistje gewoon uit zijn gedachten moest zetten.

Niets van dit alles hielp.

Uiteindelijk stapte onze kleine man naar de Grote Helikon van het Helikon dorp. De Helisfeer van de Grote Helikon was heel erg groot en zag er een beetje somber uit.

Helikon meets wide man

De Grote Helikon zelf had een lange grijze antenne, de schroef was helemaal versleten, en had een grote bruine vlek op zijn vizier.

Toen hij het verhaal van onze Helikon hoorde, sprak hij met diepe stem: “Lieve kleine man, je zal het kistje een tijdje bij mij moeten laten. Ik zal het kistje met speciale toverdranken en -spreuken verzorgen, en het weer helemaal oppoetsen”.

Toen de Helikon het kistje achterliet, werd hij bevangen door angst: zou hij het kistje nog wel weerzien ? Zou de Grote Helikon het kistje geen verkeerde toverdrank geven ?

Toen na een paar weken de Grote Helikon hem terug bij zich riep, en het kistje teruggaf aan onze kleine Helikon, zei hij: “Je moet dit kistje heel erg vertroetelen, driemaal daags heel zachtjes op het deksel van het kistje strelen, en er elke dag heel lief tegen praten, en als je dat lang genoeg zal doen, zal het kistje opengaan.”

Onze kleine Helikon streelde nu elke dag het kistje. En kijk, na precies 3 weken klikte het slot van het kistje. Hij moest nog even wrikken aan het dekseltje, en toen ging het echt open.

Helikon looking at kistje

Het kistje was vanbinnen heel mooi afgewerkt: het was volledig afgezet met zachte rode zijde, het was precies een kussentje, een zacht bedje.

En in het midden van die rode zachte zijde lag – en dat was toch wel een grote verassing – een ander héél klein mini-kistje. Het was het mooiste kistje dat men zich maar kon inbeelden. Een mini-sleuteltje lag ernaast om het open te maken.

Toen onze kleine Helikon dat mini-kistje voorzichtig opendeed, lag er een briefje in. Op het briefje stond:


“Je bent hierheen gekomen met koffer vol geheimen die heel zwaar woog. Deze koffer ben je stilaan aan het openen. Op het einde van deze reis zal deze koffer opnieuw gevuld zijn. Deze keer met licht, kracht en nog meer liefde. Dank zij al die leuke dingen erin, zal de koffer zeer licht aanvoelen.”


Onze kleine Helikon wist dat hij nu niet verder moest zoeken. De antwoorden op al zijn vragen lagen eigenlijk in hemzelf. Vanaf die dag was de Helikon niet meer bang in het bos.





Petervan Fairy Tales © 2018

Tekst en illustraties door @petervan

Engelse versie hier.

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De oogst V1

Petervan Artwork © 2018 - "Oogst/Harvest"
Acryl on canvas - 100x120cm

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Here is my Sep 2018 update. On what happened the last couple of months, some new insights, some updated plans.


© Petervan Performance “Get out of your prison cell” – Sep 2018
Picture by Eduardo Morales

Many people ask me what I am doing, and I usually answer “nothing”. But if you look at the overview below, there is not yet something close to “nothing”.

The luxury of time and silence has given me the possibility to let emerge and mature some concepts that were brewing inside me for quite some time.

My ambition has not changed: to inspire other people to dream. Not “realise” their dreams, or realise their potential, but just “dream”. It’s a mantra, like Guy Kawasaki’s two-words mantra “Empower others”. Mine is a five-words.

And I think I have found a way – a tactic – to articulate that ambition. The tactic of a “job”. In that sense, I think my job is to create “Time Capsules”. These are interventions, interruptions and provocations that lead to higher states of alertness and aliveness. Formats can be artwork, installations, performances, immersive learning experiences, writings, soundscapes, recordings, documentaries, arrangements, compositions, or just casual conversations that resonate at another level than the pure cognitive.

It seems it took me two years to peel the old corporate skin and re-invent myself into something more artistic and closer to my real self.


Life is rippling slowly onwards with some small and some bigger family events.

Astrid is back at school, 2nd year secondary school. She went on summer camp at Lago Trasimeno in Italy. She struggled over summer and still now with an ingrown toenail, and like the other toe, it will probably require surgery. She started horse riding lessons, as well as trampoline and tumbling courses at the local athletic club. In addition she stays very creative, alert and energetic with a good sense for aesthetics.


Astrid horse riding and appreciating contemporary art - summer 2018

Mieke turned 50 in May, but she doesn’t seem to age (I will score some points with this one). She keeps being super-patient with this unpredictable guy, and makes sure I don’t get out of the house like a vagabond. She keeps us tidy 😉

Our father in law made a nasty fall from the stairs in his house and broke his wrist. Out for the next 4 months or so.

And we lost our dear uncle Toon, who was also my godfather. He’d grown old, the body was used up, but his mind was still alert when he passed away quietly in the presence of his wife and children. Farewell, my dear uncle…

kerk toon Ver-Assebroek

Uncle Toon passed away
The old Marian pilgrimage church of Ver-Assebroek near Bruges

The Artschool Project

The 2018-2019 season of the Ghent Art Academy restarted in September, entering my 4th year painting. I initially tried to get a cross-over year combining painting with digital media, but that did not work out for the academy. So, no cross-over, and it’s probably better for me to keep it simple, and to focus on doing one thing right.

Despite the ambitious plans for summer, I have not done any painting/sketching during summer, but improved a bit my video editing and soundscape creation skills in preparation for the performance.


My new spotless spot at the start of the 2018-2019 Art Academy year

landscape V1

©Petervan Artwork 2018 – Landscape #1 – Acryl on canvas – 100x120cm

Prison cell performance

Finnovista invited me to do a performance at the Finnovista Summit in Mexico-City on 12-13 Sep 2018. I was invited last year, but the event needed to be cancelled halfway due to the 7,4 magnitude earthquake on 19 Sep 2017. So the organizers were so kind to invite me again.

The working title of the performance was “Get out of the prison cell! – An artistic reflection on listening, learning, and leading”

Petervan Performance moving walls

@Petervan Performance 2018 – Peter moving prison walls

I already documented the overall narrative in my “Get out of your prison cell!” post.

This time – in addition of the multi-media approach – I included props on stage, a life camera feed, even some vestimentary attributes like suite, hats and masks, and a lightning script for the light technician.

Here is a link to the slide-deck I used during the performance

As soon as the video and (professional) pictures of the performance will be available, I will post them here.







It was a fantastic experience preparing, executing, and getting feedback on something I wanted to do for the last two years. I felt at home on stage in this new vulnerability, an encouragement to continue on this new journey.

Many thanks to Andres Fontao and Fermin Bueno and their Finnovista team for taking the risk of letting me do this.

Time Capsules Project

There is something new brewing: a sort of documentary starting with a navigator and a spark. It is an evolution of the Studio Oxygen idea, and working title is “Petervan’s Time Capsules”. This project is also somehow a natural continuation/evolution of the performance project.

Time Capsules are encounters with an interesting person. Open ended expeditions, with no agenda. The purpose is to scratch beyond the surface, to go under the skin of the guest, to appeal to his/her unconscious beyond the cognitive. The spark – the start of the journey – for each Time Capsule is a tangible artistic object (painting, sculpture, clothing, music, poem, dance,…). The spark sparks a high quality conversation – where information can flow freely. This conversation is guided and facilitated by an expert and/or a professional facilitator and leads to a found learning (vs. searched learning). This learning is recorded, edited, produced, and externalised in a new tangible artistic object (painting, visualisation, sculpture, clothing, music, poem, dance, video, ) and thereby made shareable for internalisation by an audience.

A more in-depth blog post is cooking in the kitchen on that one.

The first Time Capsule will be an art-historical dissection/critique/buildup of Beyoncé’s latest APESH*T video. One could call it “Beyond Beyoncé’s Apeshit”.

The aesthetics in the video are great, and the background of the Louvre museum gives it some extra credibility, but from an art historical point of view, it is all plain wrong and misleading. S**t sold as culture.

My cousin Joost will be our navigator for this first Time-Capsule. Joost is Senior Curator at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium in Brussels. He is also the Co-Founder and Project Leader of the international multidisciplinary Jordaens Van Dyck Panel Paintings Project (JVDPPP) and the Project Leader for the establishment of the visitors centre at the Brueghel House, Brussels.


My cousin Joost and JVDPPP team in Lazienki Krolewskie Museum in Warsaw

The second Time Capsule is planned on the immense property of a count and countess in Austria. It’s a documentary of two very wealthy people who still live in a very traditional way in the Austrian Alps. A real time machine expedition resulting into another time capsule. Also here, Joost will be our navigator.

We have some cool ideas for our next guests and navigators. But by no means, if you have an idea for a subject, guest, or navigator, please contact me via email.

Little Drops

The Silence-is-Broken Project (see previous update) resulted in some more silence-scapes.

@Petervan Silence-Scape 2018 - The sound of grazing cows

I am also experimenting with an alternative calendar: A year would start on 27 April, a week would be 11 days, the 11th day is a rest day, a month has 7 weeks, and we have 17 months.

How would a year look/feel like? How would you plan for it? How does that change your priorities? How more/less stressed would you be? How much stress/pressure would you get from normal-calendar-people?


There are not so many art exhibitions during summer. The season really restarts mid September.

I went to one very small exhibition, titled “Gemeubelde Kamers/Furnished Rooms”, in Ressegem (Herzele) of all places, truly Flanders centre for the arts. It had works from Pirò Pallaghy and Luc Degryse.


Combined artwork by Pirò Pallaghy and Luc Degryse in Herzele, Sep 2018

Chickens and Pigs Project

With such an exceptionally warm and sunny summer, our garden was a real treat.

We enjoyed our first organic harvest of salads, tomatoes, carrots, spices and herbs. The fruit trees just did fantastic. One of our apple trees gave us more than 1,000 apples. We gave away a lot for free to our neighbours and family.

Unfortunately, the hot weather also had its consequences for the chickens. They were plagued with blood lice, and we tried to battle those terrible insects in natural and not so natural ways. The battle will continue till deep in autumn, when temperatures will get consistently below 10°C.


One of our apple trees gave us more than 1,000 red apples – Summer 2018

Finding interesting work

All the above is non-paid work (more play than work to be honest), and something needs to pay the bills at the end of the month. Maybe one day a company or institution wants to be a patron of my work.

But I am standing two feet on the ground, and finding a job is probably a more realistic option.

So, I am looking for “job(s)”, more along the lines of what I did before in events (immersive learning experiences) and/or what I am doing now (using art in support of content) or other interesting work.

So, if you know of somebody who can use my talents, please contact me via email.

Eternal gratitude will be your reward.

What’s next?

The plan for Sep – Nov 2018 is to work on:

  • Finding interesting paid work
  • V1 of “Time Capsules”
  • Paint, Paint, Paint
  • Publish my first fairytale – surprise !

So, that’s it for this edition. If there is something worth reporting, next update is for Nov-Dec 2018.



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The 2018 Music Festival season is almost over, and the pattern of “experience” is all over the place. To be honest, I can’t hear the word “experience” anymore. Because most of them are fake, or fantasy at best.

Tomorrowland 2018 Aftermovie

Whether you look at videos from the Dimitri Vegas World Madness Tour, the Alcatraz Hard Rock & Metal Festival, or the Tomorrowland 2018 aftermovie (with almost 3 Million views!), it is all the same: the Disneyland-for-adults-landscape-escapes, the rude language, the circus artists, the booze, the drugs, and the illusion of beautiful people only (except Alcatraz) horrify me. And now there is bigger than big, the Sziget Festival in Hungary. Check-out the photo tab on their site. And then there is lower than low: the Belgian Camping Kitch Festival with this year’s them “Your Marginal Alter-Ego” (parental advice). All of the same decadence at scale.

And it starts dripping over into the corporate event scene. Have a look at the Event Manager Blog: plenty of ideas to make a great event.


Dimitri Vegas may be born in Willebroek (Antwerp, Belgium) but he could as well be originating from Las Vegas. This Las Vegas style/experience was also showing into this year’s Money2020Europe event (they started their event-as-a-business in Las Vegas anyway 😉


And it’s all about scale: 5,000 people, 10,000 people, 100,000 people, … labelled as event-as-experience but deep inside as event-as-a-money-business. We have lost all sense of intimacy.

Besides the enormous challenge and expense of crowd control, these are super expensive productions, just to create fake, to escape from reality into fake nature, fake fountains, with rosy girls with flower in their hairs, hands forming loving hearts, glitter, fake smoke, huge fireworks, confetti machines, heat, sweat, groping, etc.

It feels like the New-Orleans Bourbon Street vulgarity becomes the new norm. You know the norms when somebody calls you a dog.


Picture from Bestival (sic) 2018 – via The Guardian

Fake-ness has of course for long already permeated news and corporate communications talk, and has now also invaded fake scientific reports, fake reviews, fake attention, many of them algorithmically organised by robots.We are now all part of the New Dark Age that is so well described in James Bridles highly recommended latest book.

new dark age

And it feels the fantasies become bigger and more fantastic the more reality fails at fulfilling the needs. Fantasy compromises on real fulfilment of real needs. The more the audience’s reality is distorted, the more they find comfort in fantasy experiences.

Fake trumps reality.

Nobody seems interested anymore in authentic décor, grace, purity of mind and body, with an intention to create wonder for their guests. Or are there still folks out there, who look for being dipped in a silver cleaner, and rediscover their bright shininess, the newness under the accretions of time, habit and fantasy?

My cousin recently reported from his vacation in the Austrian forests and nailed it:

“What people are looking for artificially is always present there naturally”.

BTW, how was your holiday ? 😉

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