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Archive for the ‘Petervan’s Artwork’ Category

I just started reading the briefing for the 2019 exam Art & Culture of the Art Academy in Ghent.

The briefing is so well written – it almost feels like poetry – and it touches some deeper qualities/sensitivities in myself. Qualities/sensitivities that I have neglected for much too long and will keep neglecting as long as I work.

I long for stillness, disconnectedness, alertness, and expression. The keywords are rest and space to breath.

The idea of craftsmanship and the mastery of a technique is becoming more and more seducing. The seduction of exclusive, un-watered noise-free focus.

What is the core of “me”, that part that always stayed the same since I was born? How does that core feel? Soft? Aggressive? Sensitive? Sensual? Seductive? Reflective? Liberated?

(Almost) nobody gives a shit about me and my work and that is at the same time very liberating: it means I can do what I want. I can create what I want. I can create what wants to be created.

Sticks on Water painted cropped

Petervan Artwork © 2019 - No Title - Acryl on Canvas - 50x50cm
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Wasspelden V1 cropped.png

Petervan Artwork © 2019 - Wasspelden/Clothespins - Acryl on Canvas - 50x50cm

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I have been thinking about “digital” (identity) for a while. Way back in 2003, I got infected by the digital identity virus at Microsoft in a research project related to the launch of the Belgian Electronic Identity (eID) card, a project that led to executive sponsorship of Mr. Bill Gates himself and meeting forward thinkers like Kim Cameron and many others smart people at Microsoft Research.

bill gates eID card

Later, as the project leader of the Digital Asset Grid (a prototype research project at my previous employer SWIFT/Innotribe), we were investigating distributed sharing of data by independent trusted nodes (one would call that blockchain these days).

Future Scenario from the Digital Asset Grid
Filmed & Produced by Heather Vescent

The project never survived the prototype stage, and although the project was really about sharing any kind of data (and not only personal data), it gave me a seat at the WEF Personal Data experts group. I stayed in touch with many of them and tried to follow the space.

cambrian_fig_1_1_large

Then in 2012, I wrote a blog post titled The Cambrian Explosion of Everything, still one of my most read and commented posts since the start of this blog.

I kept being fascinated by the subject and developed a metaphor where the user would own their data, as if the user would be encapsulated in a Buckminster Fuller sort of sphere, and would be able to share different facets of their outer sphere (their data) and be in control of who they share it with and in what particular transaction context.

BuckminsterFuller

That is, in essence, the VRM concept (Vendor Relationship Management), a set of tools that would give users the tools to manage their vendor relationships, just like vendor manage their customers with CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools.

My thoughts have definitely evolved since then, especially because I always felt there was a mismatch in trying to mimic 2D identity concepts of the off-line world into the more complex 3D online world. The only thing people were trying to do was to create a digital equivalent of a physical real-world identity card, basically only a representation of an account number, or a social security number, or a government-issued ID.

Identity reduced to a number sitting on a chip of a smart card. It always felt so limiting, and with hindsight plain wrong.

I recently bumped into a presentation by David Birch of Consult Hyperion, and I was fascinated by this slide:

Dave Birch on Identity

The eID card was and still is nothing more than a “digitized” identity. The Belgian government recently decided to add a digital fingerprint to the card. Besides a privacy nightmare, this move won’t help: the card will remain static, dumb, stand-alone, etc and a misnomer in a multidimensional on-line world.

What if we pushed our thinking about true digital identity? What metaphors would help us understand what is needed? What is the new and future context for this?

Zuckerberg in prison on cropped window with white borders V3 with red effect cropped

Petervan Artwork © 2018 - Zuckerberg Prison Cell - Digital Mix

Some of my new metaphors are inspired by my recent artwork on prison cells and labyrinths. I am thinking about identity and data sharing in terms of “signatures”, “maps”, and “labyrinths”.

Labyrinth with two red lines - final

Petervan Artwork © 2018 - Labyrinth - Acryl on Canvas - 100x120cm

In essence, I believe we have to expand all dimensions of entities, data, and transaction context. In addition, we need to become more aware of a different type of scale. We have to start thinking about trillions of entities, sharing all types of data in real-time transaction contexts.

I believe that somewhere in 2012-2013 we lost the time window for VRM in its implementation as personal data stores in the cloud. There is so much data out there now (at FB, Google, your bank, your retailer, your hospital, etc.) that it is an illusion we will ever get back control over it. And even if we would be able to do that, the idea of a user taking the pain to pull the levers of control of their personal data locker is just ridiculous.

Open Banking and PSD2 may give us a hunch: what sort of new services would be possible to develop if banks (and by extension retailers, FB, etc) were forced by regulation to open and share their data. Not new services like a personal data store (PSD), but something more integrated with the daily experience.

For example, I don’t use my credit card to make payments, I use it to buy stuff. The credit card just works under the hood to give me a convenient buying experience. What would be the equivalent services enabling an experience like “I just buy stuff” when Open Banking and PSD2 live up to their promises?

We have to expand our dimensions

Many are confused by the privacy focus on personal data sharing. By now, I tend to agree that privacy does not exist online. I think privacy only exists in the off-line world and in the unspoken word/thought, not in what is being shared (intentionally or non-intentionally)

Privacy only exists Off-line

Privacy has to do with The Unspoken Data. In The Crisis of Intimacy in the Age of Digital Connectivity, Stephen Marche says:

“In an all-sharing world, what we don’t share will define us. The secret will be irrelevant because it is not on the network. It will be the part of us that matters.”

The DAG/Holochain/Solid/etc projects of this world won’t solve this. I don’t know what would solve it. I don’t know whether there is a problem to be solved.

“It can not work because we can’t own information”, says also David Brin.

The more critical question is “What kind of world do we want to live in?”, as in Apple’s CEO Tim Cook’s speech to the EU in Nov 2018.

He talks about “Human-centered technology” in the era of surveillance and misinformation. It is a call for regulation of the platforms and their relation with (mainly) personal entities. I believe we have to expand this.

The Cambrian Explosion of Identity has ramifications beyond platform-human relationships.

In an upcoming series of blog posts, I will expand the following dimensions:

  • Identity
  • Entities
  • Relationships
  • Transactions
  • Type of data
  • Context
  • Motivations
  • Governance
  • Entropy of information

Hope you’ll stay on board for the series.

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An overview on what happened the last couple of months, some new insights, some updated plans.

The Artschool Project

Artschool started again in Sep 2018, and begin Jan 2019 we already had our mid-year review: time flies. I had a good production during Q4 of 2018. Check out my art page on my blog.

At the time of writing this post, I am practicing painting of birds, in preparation for a bigger painting with a swarm of 250 birds. Internalising the shape of the bird.

one bird

One bird in hand...

I did a lot of pieces on labyrinths & mazes, experimented with techniques as washing and spray, and created an installation with shaped canvasses.

shaped canvas

Shaped Canvasses

On the topic of the labyrinth, the plan is to create a big land-art-labyrinth of about 140 meters diameter that would be created with my uncle Hubert’s tractor on a field in Flanders. Probably when there is snow. Here is the sketch on a 1/500 scale

landart

Land-art-labyrinth scale 1/500

The paths are 4 meters wide, and 1 meter in-between each path. Total diameter is 140 meters. I contacted a surveyor and some friends who are willing to do a drone recording of the build-up and end result. It may cost some money, so I will have to find a sponsor to pay the production bill before we go ahead. Anybody?

Prison cell performance

In my previous update, I already shared some screenshots from my Sep 2018 performance in Mexico. The whole thing was recorded and ready to go on YouTube. Although most of the soundscapes used were self-created, there was one 20 second snippet from Rammstein’s “Heirate Mich” that got captured by the YouTube licensing algorithms, so the organisers of the event were unable to upload the performance video to YouTube.

performance

Rebel Sequence Performance Petervan

But I do have the full video on my HD, and I’ll put it on a private shared drive. If you are interested, send me a message and I will send you a link to the full video.

Lesson learned: next time, ALL soundscapes will be mine ;-).

There are also a bunch of pictures taken, check out the gallery at The Futures Agency.

Time Capsules Project

I continued working with my cousin Joost on the Time Capsules Project (see my previous update), and especially on the Beyoncé one. We now had two detailed viewing and commenting sessions in my studio, and we made transcripts of everything.

me and joost

Joost and Petervan in the studio
preparing Time Capsules

We are literally dissecting the Beyoncé-Apeshit video, and coming with alternative imagery and narratives.

As an example: in the beginning of the video, there is a crouching man with wings. In our re-make, we will inject for example imagery from Wim Mertens’ “Wings of Desire / Der Himmel über Berlin

crouching man

wings-of-desire

Fairytale

Something I started writing in 2007, but never finished, until now. I published my first fairytale on my blog here. All illustrations are mine too. There is pattern here 😉

helicon

Helicon

Silence-is-Broken Project

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

Video is a bit shaky, so I got myself a new toy for the studio, the DJI Osmo Mobile 2 Gimbal . Will use it a lot for the other Time Capsules as well.

gimbal

Little Drops

I have started planning on longer term, using an alternative calendar.

  • A year starts on 27 April
  • A week is 11 days
  • The 11th day is a rest day
  • A month has 7 weeks
  • And we have 17 months in a year

The planning now looks at a 10-year period, till Dec 2027, when I – if still alive – will be 70, my wife 59 and my daughter 22. Puts things into perspective. Also, the week-calendar is organised in big chunks of activities, and open slots that are unplanned. And I am doing planning along phases of 20 (Gregorian) months.

For example, by week-11 of Year-1, I plan to organise my own exhibition of my own artwork. In the Gregorian Calendar, that is June 2020. And my 70th birthday will be on day-11 of week-1 of Month-12 of Year-3, and it’s phase-6 of my planning.

Somebody is having fun…

Exhibitions

I visited a lot of art exhibitions. About thirteen or so. Here are some impressions:

pieter jennes

Pieter Jennes in The White House Gallery, Lovenjoel

cindy wright

Cindy Wright in Castle of Gaasbeek

klimt

Franz Lerch – Mädchen mit Hut – 1929
Part of Klimt Expo

Finding interesting work

I am happy to report that end Jan 2019, I joined @gleonhard’s The Future Agency, as a part-time researcher and curator on Digital Ethics, and as a speaker/performer. See my announcement post here.

We think we are at a critical inflection point in the exponential growth of technology and we need a renewed focus on humanity and ethics. Listen to Gerd below on his ambition to create a Digital Ethics Council:

Digital Gerd suggesting a Digital Ethics Council

What’s next?

The plan for Feb – April 2019 is to work on:

  • Rocking the Digital Ethics boat
  • Private community test V1 of “Time Capsules” on Beyoncé
  • A landscape art version of the labyrinth of 140 meters in diameter
  • Paint, Paint, Paint

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

Warmest,

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Villa V4 cropped final

Petervan Artwork ©2018 - Villa - Acryl on canvas - 120x100cm

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Labyrinth with two red lines - final

Petervan Artwork ©2018 - Labyrinth Red Lines - Final version
Acryl on Canvas - 120x100cm

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A relatively short essay on what may capture your identity: about titles, maps, codes and signatures.

What’s your title ?

Your title is what is on your business card. It is what you put in the about us section of your website, or in the profile information of your social media. But how much of that is made up?

Darth Vader business card

That title is more a promotional thing. The good side of things. In that sense somewhat related to fakeness, or to rationality as defined by Nicholas Taleb in his latest book “Skin in the Game”.

Crafting your title is a form of ego design optimisation. In many cases that optimisation only makes sense in context of the organisation you work for. Titles also somewhat assume you do work, you do have a job. No job, no title.

Those titles are also ephemeral. You change titles as you change jobs.

But they are fairly meaningless. You will learn that people are only interested in what you can give them access to (money, investment, contacts, brain picking, etc). You risk becoming nobody without your corporate title and business card.

What is your map?

A better way to think about your identity – or “onlyness” as coined by Nilofer Merchant – is to think about your identity map.

Richard Martin already did the homework on this topic, especially when highlighting the Map of Days (HD PDF) by Grayson Perry.

map perry

Fragment from A Map of Days by Grayson Perry

 

“In the Map, Perry presents his complex personality and plural identity in the form of a walled city. Streets, buildings and other locales represent personal traits and behaviours, indicating a self-exploration that embraces both the positive and the negative, that poses questions, as well as providing answers, binding together truth and fiction.

 At the centre of Perry’s map is a labyrinthine garden, in which a figure walks, off-centre, pursuing ‘a sense of self’.  

I am getting somewhat obsessed by labyrinths and mazes these days. Some fans also refer to my labyrinths as brains or intestines 😉 If I could fabric 3D labyrinths that fit into a skull, that would be a good metaphor for the complexity of identity as well.

Labyrinth on landscape cropped

Petervan Artwork 2018 - Digital composition - Labyrinth on landscape

What’s your code ?

Some people refer to “code”.

Code is very similar to patrimony, very close to narrative, very close to structure.

Some refer to code as to formula. Others – like Christopher Alexander in the Timeless Way of Building – talk about “pattern languages”. The code of a house, of a building so to speak.

There is also “code” in fashion.

BTW: the Balenciaga show has a fantastic soundtrack. You can fine it here.

But the danger is around the corner: that the code becomes a gimmick, nothing more than a formula, getting formulaic, turning into meaningless clichés, and ultimately loosing spontaneity and becoming irrelevant.

What’s your signature?

I believe “signature” is a richer concept. There is no face anymore, no title, but there is a signature, your unique way of creating, executing and communicating.

There is a recognition that you are part of, influenced by a bigger set of interactions and community. Like Celine Schillinger did on her latest website. She labeled that page “Together”, a list of partners in crime.

In painting, artists and critics refer to somebody’s “signature”. They don’t talk about the handwritten signature on the bottom of the painting.

In the past, painters put their signature on the painting when done. These days this is not-done. That handwritten signature becomes a disturbance, distorts the coherence of the image. The signature distorts the signature of the image.

No, they talk about “touch”, “writing style”, and “symbolic script”. In dance one refers to the “choreographer’s writing”,…

What is the signature of your work? When you architect something, will your audience immediately recognise it as yours? Not because it resembles like a copy-cat of previous work, previous collections, but because it carries your unique signature?

And how does your signature reflect your sense for ethical, aesthetical, and spiritual advancement?

robert motherwell the voyage

Robert Motherwell – The Voyage – 1949

New American Painting Calalogue2

In the beautiful 1959 “The New American Painting” catalogue (PDF) of MOMA, Robert Motherwell said on page 56:

“I believe that painters’ judgments of painting are first ethical, then aesthetic, the aesthetic judgments flowing from an ethical context …

Without ethical consciousness, a painter is only a decorator.

Without ethical consciousness, the audience is only sensual, one of aesthetes.

When are you more than a decorator? When do you touch your audience beyond the cognitive, sensual and aesthetical? When do you resonate at an ethical and almost non-conscious level? What is your signature?

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