Archive for the ‘Petervan’s Artwork’ 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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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.


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.


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


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.


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



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 😉



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.


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…


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


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.







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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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