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Archive for the ‘Think Tank’ Category

Following my post “Who is the composer?”, I got the opportunity to have a conversation with the man himself: Ozark. He told me the story of what happened when he tried to conduct a philharmonic orchestra for a film soundtrack he had written. I did not know he wrote a score for a film, but he did. It is the score for the film Crusade in Jeans and the music is performed by with the Metropole Orchestra from The Netherlands. All professional musicians used to work with artists in residence.

Film_poster_Crusade_in_Jeans

There is some real classical music stuff going on here

https://open.spotify.com/track/5RYwYGPiFq2UQ4si9Tuxu6

https://open.spotify.com/track/1ABPzFSQRIV9zSUQ0MNuHX

As a composer, he knew exactly what needed to be played when and how. He could as well conduct the orchestra himself, no? Or so he thought… But he learned the hard way that doing so was breaking hierarchies. He stepped out of his role as the composer when he tried to be the conductor of the orchestra.

An orchestra is like a ministry. Every unit has a role. The conductor does not communicate directly with the violist, no he/she speaks to the lead of the violin ensemble who speaks to the violist. Ozark brought also copies of the score with him, ignoring that copying the score was the job of somebody from the orchestra team. He could as well have said: “You know what? I found this great tribe of horn players, so they will play the horns this time.” Basically putting the original team in unemployment.

In a reaction of self-defense, the orchestra started playing – well-intentioned – games, sabotaging what Ozark tried to achieve. These games were well-intentioned because the intention was the care of the team.

In Dutch, there is a word “bezorgdheid” usually translated into “concern”, mostly an anxious type of concern. In my sense of Dutch language (my mother tongue), there is also an almost “mother-care” type of concern encapsulated in that word. A team-mother-care about what the orchestra is concerned about, the cohesion they wish to protect. This is not about care for the team, but care/bezorgheid of the team.

I often think back to the old Innotribe days, where we had a fantastic team. In my 2013 post Breaking and Making Teams, I described with quite some cynicism the recipe for breaking successful teams successfully. Remember: cynicism is a knot in the heart.

knot-tree-trunk-84928768

It is a paradox: to innovate, one must have the courage to challenge the status quo, the existing processes, and hierarchies. But on the other hand, a team and a hierarchy have a built-in DNA-like patrimony of craftmanship and care-manship. Breaking that patrimony is a recipe for failure.

One can cut-and-paste the breaking hierarchies metaphor straight into corporate mergers and acquisition scenarios, for example when a successful team is acquired into a new company. Instead of looking how the strengths of an acquired team and its internal language, proceedings, and patrimony can help to imagine new worlds – in other words, making the team even more successful in its new environment – in many cases the CEO is only interested in how that team can help him/her be more successful.

In such cases, we wonder why the team is not willing to share its secrets, wondering why the best folks leave, wondering why there is no team left at all after 1-2 years. We shouldn’t be surprised: we just broke the team hierarchies.

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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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I am super excited to let you know I have joined Gerd Leonhard‘s The Futures Agency as a speaker and as a part-time researcher and curator.

Gerd is Futurist and Humanist, Keynote Speaker, Author, Film Maker. His latest book “Technology vs. Humanity” – published in 2016 – is a best-seller and has been translated in ten different languages.

I first met Gerd when curating the program for Innotribe@Sibos 2016 in Geneva, where we experimented with a new format for his keynotes, labelled “The Future Show Live”. After lots of rehearsals this resulted into a stunning presentation using the full real estate of a huge HD wall.

Gerd Leonhard speaking at Innotribe@Sibos 2016 in Geneva

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I am going to do some shorter, snappier posts, just seeding an idea or an interesting (as in A.F.E.A.R.) point of view.

Google “Get out of your comfort zone” and you will get about 160,000,000 results. That’s solid framing!

comfort zone

But is it true?

My cousin – yes, the senior curator of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts in Belgium – surprised me the other day by stating the opposite: he performs (as in doing his best work) best when he is IN his comfort zone.

Just a couple of days later, I see this Tweet from Niels Pflaeging:

niels tweet

Niels is a management exorcist and a real myth-buster. I always listen to him.

So maybe the trick to do your best work is to find your comfort zone? Or is it all apeshit – or pop psychology – as Niels suggests above?

Let me know what you think.

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My tempo has become so slow and peaceful that it starts to be incompatible and dysfunctional with the rat race of so called “normal” life of deadlines, busyness, and fragmentation of everything, especially time.

So it’s about time I write something about time.

Baby swaddling

Baby Swaddling photo series © Sharon Ann Burnston 2005

“Swaddling bands white as snow are wound around the newborn baby. The womb will have been such a snug fit, so the nurse binds the body tight, to mitigate the shock of its abrupt projection into limitlessness. Person who begins only now to breathe, a first filling-up of the lungs. Person who does not know who they are, where they are, what has just begun. The most helpless of all young animals, more defenceless even than a newborn chick.”

 From Han Kang’s “The White Book”

the white book

About a year ago, I visited an exhibition about Chronos/Kairos and synchronicity in the 13th century castle of Gaasbeek, in the heart of the “Pajottenland” – sometimes also referred as Breughel-land, because Breughel painted a lot of his paintings here – a region west of Brussels, where I spent the first 25 years of my life.

breughel

Pieter Breughel the Elder
The parable of the Blind Leading the Blind – 1568

The little chapel at the horizon still exists and it is the chapel of Sint-Anna-Pede, a hamlet of the little village Itterbeek, west of Brussels. During my early twenties, I literally lived 100 meters away from this chapel.

In the instruction for the book about the aforementioned exhibition “Kairos Castle”, Luc Vanackere, the director of the castle, writes (my rough free translation):

“Some time ago, I read a an interesting text by Joke Hermsen about “waiting”. She mentioned Heidegger, who said that “asking means being prepared to wait”. Waiting is not easy in an era where everything has to move fast. We suffer from a collective shortage of time and seem to be chased by Chronos, the god of the measurable, linear time. TicTac, busy busy. Mandatory deadlines, continuously buzzing smartphones, traffic jams and too slow computers. Everyday frustrations, all well recognisable.

Much longer ago, I was in primary school. When the big holiday period started in July, it looked so endless. A sea of time, immense literately. A broad intermezzo, a “time-in-between” when nothing should or must, but where everything could, where boredom settled in as a not so unpleasant feeling. A listlessness creating space for sharp observations. A slow motion where the tumult of time quieted everything down and small things got enlarged….

“Time-in-between”, the time of the right moment when new insights are born and epiphanies are possible. The “Kairotic intermezzo” breaks radically through the dictatorship of Chronos, and stands for transformation, inspiration, passion, and creativity.

This is about that mysterious moment when our soul is unguarded and spreads out its wings. Kairos manoeuvres virtuoso between two worlds: the measurable and the immeasurable, the known and the un-known, backing out of our knowledge, covertly showing us a glimpse of the possible”

moulin de l oubli

Le moulin de l'oubli – art photography by Gilbert Garcin - 1999

In the trailer of last year’s film https://www.driesfilm.com/ the Belgian fashion designer Dries Van Noten  says:

“The word fashion I don’t like, because “fashion” means something which is over after 6 months. I would like to find a word which is more time-less”.

And during the film there was a sequence about the difference between art and the fashion industry, basically suggesting that (the art) industry has finality, in the sense that if your product/collection does not sell you can close shop.  It is a subtle balance in such a time-full context to create artistic tensions that sell.

And then, last week, I finally got to read the book “Tempo: Timing, Tactics and Strategy in Narrative-Driven Decision-Making” by Venkatesh Rao

tempo cover

A deep read – quite sure I only grasped half or less of it – adding the dimension of “Tempo” that Rao defines as:

“the set of characteristic rhythms of decision-making in the subjective life of an individual or organisation, coloured by associated patterns of emotion and energy”

He talks about calculative rationality vs. narratives rationality, about archetypes and doctrines, situational awareness, and much more.

In my opinion, he is looking at a Kairotic dimension of patrimony (about which I wrote already several times on this blog) and in that sense the book helped me to better articulate the concept of patrimony to include:

  • Models of archetypes
  • Models of tempo
  • Models of doctrine
  • Models of stories, narratives
  • Externalization of narratives
  • The legibility of the patrimony as an externalisation

All this is about narrative-driven decision-making, and the sentence that brings it all home is:

“All our choices are among life stories that end with our individual deaths.”

Many different life stories, often constructed confabulated after the facts to make sense of our own life, cascading one after the other, in hopefully an upwards learning spiral, but with 100% certainly always ending in the ultimate entropy of death.

Rao makes reference to the Double Freytag Triangle and the Freytag Staircase:

double freytag triangle

Freytag staircase

That’s why – 60 years into my staircase – I believe it is important to externalise some of these learning, stories, narrative, insights, interruptions, provocations, and interventions in physical artefacts, and store this information beyond death for future generations.

For sure, the new-born baby at the start of this post did not know she was at the bottom left of the Freytag Staircase, and indeed did not know who she was, where she was, and what had just begun, and that in the end she needed to create artefacts.

 

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The way we think about change, disruption, and transformation (or whatever you want to call it) is going to be completely different in 5 years time. The speed of change is so big that our thinking itself is getting disrupted. The underestimated and ignored exponential power in all of this is the “power of networks”. This post is a follow of the post “Fintech 2017 – Quo Vadis?”

I think we are in the middle of a network blitzkrieg, a big shift driven by network powers.

blitzkrieg

WW-II Blitzkrieg Stuka airplanes

But instead of the medium being the air and the devices the Stuka airplanes piloted by humans, the medium today is made of networks and the Stukas are replaced by hyper-connected computers driven my algorithms.

A lot of the reflection in this post are based on the following books and thinkers:

Kevin Kelly’s latest opus grande The Inevitable describes the 12 Inevitable Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future:

  • Becoming
  • Cognifyung
  • Flowing
  • Screening
  • Accessing
  • Sharing
  • Filtering
  • Remixing
  • Interacting
  • Tracking
  • Questioning
  • Beginning

In The Seventh Sense, Joshua Cooper Ramo talks about a “connected-age sensibility” to be able to read and understand networks:

The Seventh Sense, in short, is the ability to look at any object and see the way in which it is changed by connection

Even as this new age advances, most of our leaders still think in terms of disconnected dangers

We have to cultivate a new instinct, one intended to make us more human, in a sense, not only more technical

Think of how often, at moments of anguish or revolution, it is the fragile-looking bubbles of philosophy or art or science that endure.

And in Whiplash, Joi Ito explains how “Change doesn’t care if you’re ready”.

This is the power of pull over push—it leverages modern communications technologies and the decreased cost of innovation to move power from the core to the edges, enabling serendipitous discoveries and providing opportunities for innovators to mine their own passions.

All these insights are of course based on big theme of “we are interconnected”. In other words, new network rules of power apply in the “we are connected” era and our leaders are not prepared for it. That became even more apparent during the main WEF Davos session on the Global Economic Outlook. I watched it live after just having read the Seventh Sense.

wef

These leaders offer a lot of lip service to the “we are interconnected” meme, but keep on playing the old zero-sum finite games and wars. Witness Fink from Blackrock at min 11:46 when he almost joyful says:

“regulation inhibits new entrants and that is not a bad thing”

But networks come with their own dynamics. In his yearly situational awareness post, Jordan Greenhall goes deep on “Deep Code”, and “Deep State”, and describes very well what I have labeled here as “Network Blitzkrieg”:

“The Deep State developed in and for the 20th Century. You might say that they are experts at fighting Trench Warfare.

But this is the 21st Century and the Insurgency has innovated Blitzkrieg.”

Jordan is describing a blitzkrieg for Collective Intelligence, being fought on four fronts:

  • Front one: communications infrastructure
  • Front two: the deep state
  • Front three: globalism
  • Front four: the new culture war

The main point Jordan is making is that the Deep State is fragmented, and so far not efficient in responding adequately to the network blitzkrieg of the Trump cohort. A lot of the challenges of the Deep State seem to be related to the problem of not being able to shift to a network blitzkrieg mode, from tight synchronisation to loose synchronization.

Last year, Venkatesh Rao (aka Ribbonfarm) did a great tweet-storm-like-post on this topic of synchronisation. He calls our age the age of atemporality.

synch

Illustration by Venkatesh Rao

“In tight synchronization, you’re on the same clock as everybody else, fit yourself into the same templates, report up the same chain, and communicate via standard protocols.

Welcome to atemporality. So long as you thrive on loose coordination rather than tight synchronization, it’s a beautiful thing.”

In previous posts and essays, Ribbonfarm even had a series on “Blitzkrieg”, where he described four categories of Blitzkrieg attributes:

  • Einheit (trust)
  • Auftragstaktik (clear mutual agreements), missionary tactical contracts
  • Schwerpunkt (strategic intent)
  • Fingerspitzengefühl (finger-tip skill) is the foundation

In The Future of Tipping, http://www.ribbonfarm.com/2014/12/02/the-future-of-tipping/,(a post about authoritarian command-and-control models to control the customer’s relationship to the brand, and hence tipping), he the four describes blitzkrieg attributes in John Boyd’s philosophy of warfare applied to business:

CEO sets clear intent (Schwerpunkt); HR develops strong trust culture (Einheit); operations focuses on developing strong, instinctive skills culture through tacit learning (Fingerspitzengehful); everybody manages/is managed through a cascade of mutually negotiated “contracts” that devolve as much autonomy as possible to lower layers (Auftragstaktik); the business relies on loose and agile coordination rather than tight synchronization/command-and-control.

Ribbonfarm, Jordan Greenhall, and Simon Wardley all focus on situational awareness, strategy, tactics, operations and doctrine. It would be great to have them together one day in one of Petervan Productions’ events 😉

Add to all this the lack of trust and Bruce Scheier’s insight that we are moving from the Internet of things (with a build-in computer) to Internet of Computers (with things attached to it), and you get a pretty dystopian but probably very realistic picture of the future something that James Bridle coined “A new dark age”.

drone-james-bridle

Drone shadow by James Bridle

James Bridle is a British writer and artist living in Greece. His work explores the impact of technology on society, law, geography, politics, and culture. His Drone Shadow installations have appeared on city streets worldwide, he has mapped deportation centres with CGI, designed new kinds of citizenship based on online behaviour. and used neural networks and satellite images to predict election results. A New Dark Age is an exploration of what we can no longer know about the world, and what we can do about it.

It is a “great” talk about Turbulence, Big Data, AI, Fake News, and Peak Knowledge, and like many if the authors mentioned above, he is alluding to a new digital literacy and legibility. A literacy that acknowledges that in our digital state, everything can be copied, except…. Trust.

Kevin Kelly asks, What can not be copied?” and his answer is “Trust. Trust must be earned. It cannot be faked”. Our hope is in what Kelly beautifully described as “generative qualities”.

These are qualities that are “better than free”. Qualities generated at the time of the transaction aka it is all about the experience what people pay for. In Kelly’s view, there are 8 generative qualities:

  • Immediacy
    • Access to beta version for ex, or when released
  • Personalisation
    • A film without explicit language
  • Interpretation
    • A manual, explanation of free DNA
  • Authenticity
    • A signature on goodies
  • Accessibility
    • Ownership sucks
  • Embodiment
    • White cottony paper bound book, it feels so good
    • The value of a paid ephemeral embodiment of something you could download for free
  • Patronage
    • It must be easy to do
    • The amount must be reasonable
    • There is a clear benefit
    • Money will directly benefit the creator
  • Discoverability
    • A work has no value unless it is seen

palantir

Saruman uses a palantir in Lord of the Rings

So what would be the defences against such network blitzkrieg?

One strategy would be to try to defeat the enemy with the same weapons. But that assumes we are playing finite games, and I feel we only can win this battle by playing infinite games.

We should not be naïve, and drop all our common-sense defences against data-, privacy-, surveillance- and cybersecurity attacks with state of the art defense mechanisms and tools, but another strategy in defending our humanity in the long term may come from those infinite games.

Or maybe our defense in this move from enlightenment to entanglement is in dropping the separation of body and mind, feeling and ratio, form and content.

fame-and-success-hilde-overbergh

“Fame and success” by Hilde Overbergh – 2016
Part of expo “REFRAME” in The White House Gallery

Art may be inspiring here. In a recent conversation between art curator Hans Theys and artist Hilde Overbergh in the context of the expo “REFRAMED”, Hans arguments that form and content are inseparable, and that his sole criteria for assessing art are:

  • Is it well made?
  • Does it touch me?

Very much like Kevin Kelly, this is about what cannot be measured, what cannot be represented in numbers, big data, and algorithms.

In a very recent post Kyle Eschenroeder (also on Ribbonfarm) said:

The confidence created by our palantír-ish technologies is a confidence in our measurements, not in ourselves. The more minutiae we measure, the less respect we have for taste or experience

Caring puts us in the posture of playing an infinite game rather than a finite one. This means favoring “improvisation over fixed rules, internal sensibilities over imposed morals, and playfulness over seriousness.”

So our defense against a Network Bliztkrieg may be in the subconscious, where we don’t care about the fakeness our realness of the news and our reality, but more about what makes us unique as human beings: the ability to play infinite games and truly care.

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I recently had some conversations with prospective clients on the need for alignment and coherence of physical and emotional space when trying to create great experiences. I started to call them “sacred spaces”.

As you know by now, I am not in the events business. I am in the business of creating high quality feedback loops to enable immersive learning expeditions and deep change. In essence, I want to resonate with my client’s guests at another (additional) level than the pure cognitive. I believe this ambition also requires its own awareness and vocabulary, but more about that in some later posts.

One aspect of that vocabulary is our expression of sacred spaces. What first comes to mind is a church, a cathedral, some religious building of some sort.

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Sagrada Familia – Barcelona – 31 Oct 2014

In the best cases, the moment you come in, you are struck by a lightning of beauty, awe, stillness, and grandeur. The entry into the space feels almost ceremonial. You cross the entry, the line between outside and inside. The experience of the space sends vibrations down your spine. You feel suddenly whole and small at the same time.

This whole- and small-ness creates some kind of safety; some form of familiarity that this space is the right space, that this space is right. Just right for what it was designed for.

I think in similar terms about the spaces for our experiences.

Our spaces must be safe spaces. Closed as with an entry door. The entry into the space is a ritual moment. The coming out as well. It must be a physical experience: guests have to walk through the “arc of change”. They must do this in a “communion” style, as a collective, creating a visceral experience of the collectivism in their change process.

The space is about “roundness”, round as in circle, but also round as in generative, coming back to the starting point with new insights.

The space becomes a pulsing “egg”, a “womb” that will be our “nest” for a couple of days. It has of course to do a lot with right spaces for humans, and Jean Nouvel’s views (video here) on architecture. The video is also called “Reflections”, just like the latest from Brian Eno, one ambient song of 54 minutes (interview here)

jean-nouvel2

“Combining big bold shapes with intricacy and delicacy. The ability to be bold and delicate at the same time. The relation between time and light. The sphere above, the cupola. A spiritual space.”

I love the idea of the cupola. In my opinion, the closed space described above needs a roof – like a cupola – with some lattice membrane. But at the same time, the space needs to be “porous”, with light (the crack) coming in through the lattice, and light (enlightenment) coming out to inspire others. Or even better, some form of post-enlightenment as in Danny Hillis’ entanglement.

And light itself can also be the “roof” and the trees of the space forest. Check out this wonderful video of Fujimoto’s light forest:

light-forest

 

I shared the video with my good friend Marti Spiegelman, who replied:

Thanks for the link – this is extraordinary. It reminds me that sometimes the light itself is the sacred space – I’m thinking of the light beam on the floor, when one of the walkers stands in the light – and sometimes the light creates the boundaries, or defines the edges, of the space – as in a forest when there is a small round clearing, it’s traditionally considered to be a ‘power spot’’ [another name for sacred space] where you can call in greater powers of nature and the universe to create change.”

I was looking for some good description of sacred and sacredness. I think I found it in an article about a fashion book by Belgian fashion designer Ann Demeulemeester.

book-demeulemeester

“It looks and feels almost sacred, with pages so thin the images can be seen on both sides of each sheet; it’s a truly delicate beauty. For this reason, every single page is printed only on one side, creating a uniquely singular reading experience. The size and weight of the book gently contrasts with the fragility and smoothness of the paper, while the almost total white of the inside is in opposition with the blackness of the sides and the linen cover. Text is kept to the essentials, limited to an introduction by Patti Smith (Demeulemeester’s longtime muse) and a short final dedication by the designer herself. The book was designed by Victor Robyn, a Belgian graphic designer who has been in charge of realizing Demeulemeester’s graphics for years—from show invitations to printed fabrics. The art direction is curated by Victor Robyn, Demeulemeester herself and Patrick Robin, her life and business partner.”

Happenstance that I visited this week Casa Argentaurum, an art gallery in Ghent run by Caroline De Wolf, who kindly opened her space for me. It was one of the last days of the exposition about Ann Demeulemeester’s jewellery.

jewellery-demeulemeester

Necklace – Ann Demeulemeester – Casa Argentaurum

At the end of our conversation, Caroline gave me a copy of the catalogue of the 2010 exposition “Things, Thoughts, and Territorities”.

book-andrea-branzi

The book has some great design drawings by Andrea Branzi, and also a wonderful testimony of the artists’s love relation with Belgium (mostly Flanders btw). Somewhere half way, there is this superb quote:

“Architecture is not the art of building, it is a very complex discipline,

interpreting history, technology and the changes in society.”

It could have been the tag-line for Petervan Productions, as I see myself as the architect who conceives, gives birth to the vision together with the client, and then pulls together and orchestrates the resources, experts, and artists to create a unique experience in search for the secrets of life.

But “you can’t find secrets without looking or them” (quote by Peter Thiel in his book “From Zero to One”), so I am looking for your views on what you would expect from a sacred space.

I am looking for architects, space- and stage-designers to be part of our collective of leaders, visionaries, artists, craftsmen, designers and producers.

If you are interested to be part of that calling and dialogue, you can just leave a comment on this post.

Rebelliously yours,

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