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Outsider Mantra (2015-2016)

Title: Outsider Mantra (2015-2016)

Description: Two poems bought directly from a █████████ author for 1 euro each in a bar in Neukölln, Berlin. Translated into Persian by an Iranian psychoanalyst in Tehran. Performed by her via Facebook voice message service.

When tech-tongue lingo gets replaced by (normal) words

Just this simple comparison can show how an IT concept is adopted in the real world. How p2p became peer to peer. Or, when tech-tongue lingo gets replaced by (normal) words. It shows what comes after a hype cycle. Hopefully a long long tail.

Makes me think of a the that time prophetic Chris Anderson quote: “If the past 10 years have been about discovering post-institutional social models on the Web, then the next 10 years will be about applying them to the real world.” (2010, Wired). The graph below may not offer complete proof since the peer to peer is used in IT as well, but still we could assume that the term peer to peer refers more to a broader practice than the techy acronym p2p.

Global distribution of ‘p2p’ vs ‘peer to peer’


"Hype-Cycle-General" by NeedCokeNow - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Hype-Cycle-General” by NeedCokeNowOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

The Long Tail

The Long Tail

Asylum center phonecard party


Friday October 31st, 2014. Refugees at the belgian federal asylum seekers center Klein Kasteeltje/Petit Chateau in Brussels were invited to gather in a so called ‘phonecard party’, initiated by Recyclart at the asylum center. The people from Syria, Afganistan, Albania, Palestine, Senegal.. were helped by the dj to plug-in their phones in the mixing table and play the favourite songs they stored on their device.

The result was an at least sweaty and astonishing event, with a hard to grasp atmosphere. The festive and somehow cosmopolitan mixing of local and often unshazamable mp3 hits had a dark and hysterical side to it. Nostalgia, hope, despair, trauma, adventure, melancholy, excitement and pride,.. all this was part of the melting pot and shared in a single room.

The disco gathering was loud in every aspect: the music, the cheering and the clapping, the way people danced, laughed and sweated or sat idle on a stool and stared. Loud.

Mixed groups of arab adolescent men, african women, eastern european families with childeren and elderly people all participated in what resembled an unfamiliar wedding party. Each new song that was played introduced a different traditional or less traditional dance to the floor, which was then interpreted by the others, or simply denied in favour of cheerful improvisation.

Apart maybe from my own presence, there was nothing exotic to this confusing reality of a hysterically loud transit zone.


About the tracklist:

Not all songs could be recognized by Shazam. Actually, the most beautiful and mainly Arab songs were not. I’m still looking for people who could help identifying them.
For the tracks I could find, a quick research often showed a direct link between the status and quest of a refugee and either the lyrics or the biography of the singer: “European gipsy”, the Palestinian winner of Arab Idol 2013 singing “Raise your keffiea”, “I’m titanium, I’m bulletproof”, the Iraqi singer Hussam Al Rassam (a singer banned from Iraq by Muslim fundamentalists), Meda (an Albanian singer born in Kosovo and living in Stuttgart) etc, “taste the money – testimony” and the international polyglot release Shiki Riddim…

It is very clear however that this tracklist shows something else as well. Unsurprisingly, we a see what Henry Jenkins called pop cosmopolitanism through monocultural ‘urban’ music mixed with Bruce Sterling’s favela chic reflected by the phablets – you have lost everything material, no job or prospects, but you are wired to the gills and potentially big on facebook.. And add to that a twist of cyberbalkanization.

  • Taste the money (Testimony) – P-Square
  • La Nueva y La Ex – Daddy Yankee
  • European Gipsy (Balkan Cigeni) – Koddok
  • Ala El Koufiea – Mouhammad Assaf
  • Gili Gili – Sinan Hoxha
  • Shaki Riddim – Sir Lewis
  • Edhe Pak – Dhurata Dora Feat. & Lumi B
  • Alef Mabrook – Hussam Al Rassam
  • Kar E Don, E Don – Meda
  • Titanium (Alesso remix) Lyrics – David Guetta feat. Sia

All we lost was hardware

Breakfast disaster: gisteren sprak de eredirecteur van De Munt, Bernard Foccroulle, in De Morgen in een open brief aan Mijnheer de Eerste Minister. Keurig met hoofdletters en al. Hij beklaagt er de zware besparingen die opgelegd worden aan de federale cultuurinstellingen. Hij heeft gelijk dat die besparingen zeer jammerlijk zijn, oneerlijk ook, en voor sommige makers en medewerkers wellicht ook een sociaal drama betekenen.
Maar als hij stelt dat dit een gevaarlijke en explosieve situatie is, dan volg ik toch niet meer. En als hij verder verwijst naar De Stomme van Portici en het einde van België.. dan lijkt het alsof de tijd boven sommige kerststallen is blijven stille staan. De NASA berichtte vanochtend dat een van hun onbemande raketten net na de lancering is ontploft. Zonder erg: “All we lost was hardware”. En ik morste aarbeien-yoghurt op een sinaasappel.


Somewhere in-between telephone, radio, twitter and the nsa.

Schermafbeelding 2014-10-28 om 12.39.04 

My Locus Pi is up and running again. Somewhere in the naughties I invited the team to our Cimatics festival in Brussels. At the time they built and offered an arduino-based standalone device for streaming location-based soundscapes, i.e. a box with an ethernet connection and a mic. Participants were invited to put their microphone close to their (open) windows and connect the box to their internet-router. A global map depicted the various streams available for the visitors of the website. Each place (or ‘locus’) was provided with a short description and a photo of the setup or specific location. This resulted in a global network of ‘soundscapestreams’ triggering imagination.

To listening-in into a place is truly poetic. It sits somewhere in-between telephone, radio, twitter and the nsa. Recently the locusonus team came up with a ready-made Raspberry Pi Locus Sonus diskimage to set up your own locus sonus. And even an Android app to turn smartphones and tablets into a naughty sound sniffer. Please do join us.


A fb message to isabel


hi isabel to answer your question: yes and no. i’m head of department for design at the school of arts ghent, where we have been setting up the project ‘atelier de stad gent’ together with timelab. the main goal of our design department in this project was to experiment with mixing critical and speculative design approaches on the one hand-side, and peer production on the other. In other words: which role could conceptual design play in the field of peer production? with the project ‘het spilvarken’ (focusing on urban pig farming) this critical approach has proven to be very productive.

apart form that, we had another goal or question: namely, what is the role institutes can play, e.g. educational institutes, in the explicitly informal and non-institutional phenomenon of p2p society? related to this question i’m connecting people on round the idea of education itself within the context of peer production. an etherpad or wiki will soon be made available on this subject. the core focus of (as written in the objectives) on design, knowledge and context is obviously very relevant for this. if you or other people are interested in collaborating, just let me know.

The #interwebs is increasingly transforming into #splinternets due to urban #datasexuals and #informationflaneurs, many of them shameless #quantifiedselfpromoting #CEO2’s from the #skeuomorphing #maker-movement. #Morozov-ian #networkshops could help resolving this #cyberbalkanisation with #criticalengineering towards a reclaimed #netneutrality.

As Darkness Falls – and the gap between technology and society


Mercedes Bunz introduced the night of ‘dunkelheit’ with some bright metaphors on technology. She was so kind to send me the transcript of here lecture. You can find the link below. In this lecture she points at the gap between society and technology:

There is something going on in technology, which is of interest to us. Walter Benjamin was among the first to notice in his famous essay “The work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction” that there this interesting thing in the midst of technology: it’s own logic, which can be used and influenced, but stays on its own. Regarding the conceptual setting of society and technology, this means something interesting: society and technology are related to each other but they don’t determine each other. They are disparate, and will never be congruent – technology will always get to the point, where it eludes the human teleological logic. So between society and technology we find a gap. We need to make more use of this gap between technology and society.

Furthermore Bunz compares technology to a five year old child, which can be influenced but who has his own logic. But also most often polarized relation to women in society and the regulation of the use of technology in sport brought was enlightening. Find the full introduction by Mercedes Bunz here.


π boy

A short film about order and disruption by Esther Polak and Ivar Van Bekkum. Looking at the square before the Centre Pompidou in Paris they witness a young child playing in a temporary arena, unaware of the structures encapsulating him.

Inspiration for this video executed in Paris in 2013 was the exhibition “Drones/birds, Princess of Ubiquity”, Brussels 2013.

Berlin – Surreal graveyard for dead plants

The set is on Flickr.


Dear Teresa,

Dear Teresa,

I attended the OTHERnet workshop at Studio Weise 7 because I plan to host the NETworkshop in March/April in Belgium with the School of Arts Ghent and iMal in Brussels. Both the OTHERnet and NETworkshop offer important insights in networked communication technology. The required (basic) knowledge for setting up your own media cloud or web server should be regarded elementary.

For the most of us, we the users, “the internet always looks like someone walked into our diagram and peed on it“. (quoted from Luis Fernandez, workshop participant). It is represented as a fluffy, handy cloud. Learning the very basics of this infrastructure, and the way your devices are hooked up to the network, is as elementary as geography or history and should as such be implemented in today’s educational programs.

Technology, and especially information technology, has never been (and will never be) neutral. Also at Transmediale and festivals alike there has been an extensive debate on this. Instead of another debate, this workshop offers a practice-based reflection. A hans-on approach of what almost seem dirty or obsolete tools (but which aren’t, e.g. the unix terminal, a bss) is crucial. It reminded of the meaning and role of ‘arts and crafts’ in the ate 19th century as not solely an artistic movement but at least as much a political and economic one, and the recently published essay by Evgeny Morozov as a harsh morozovian critique on the maker movement. Instead of getting all our hobby-time into 3D-printing or urban agriculture, or regressively withdrawing into quitling bees and knitting clubs to “join the revolution”, it might be far more urgent to get our hands on the network and our devices that are connected to it. A nice quest for more insight in and experimentation with obsolete network technologies can be found in what I regarded as Goto80’s new years resolution: More Networks, Less Internet.

The importance of independent devices and cloud service has been brilliantly translated by Eben Moglen, in what for me has become a seminal lecture from  ‘Freedom in the Cloud’. If you did not yet watch this video, watch it now!

Perhaps we should not withdraw from the monopolized and privacy infringing cloud services and centralized social networking tools. Perhaps. We should not leave them behind, because of the simple fact that for now they are – apart from being privacy infringing and copyright enforcing – they are indeed very useful handy tools for sharing information and social organization. It’s intellectual formalism not to use them. It is as good as impossible not to feed your data to the big beasts (be it blue, red, green or yellow).

Perhaps the seed for revolution lies in education indeed. Secondary and elementary schools should structurally include basic technology classes into their programs. To imply this, is a well-suited and perhaps rather easy role modern states can play in the technology debate.

One day we will (have to) delete it all.


But remember, if we don’t feel like eating the rich one day, we better start thinking about who, when, where, how and if we will delete all ‘our’ data in the cloud. Perhaps this is the true meaning of urban cannibalism. One day we will (have to) delete it all.

To come back to your questions, Teresa, it was great fun and very interesting to attend the OTHERnet workshop. I managed to set-up a working (not-always-on) portable web server on my little netbook, and am now planning to set up a portable (not-always-on) BBS on a Raspberry Pi. I felt privileged to be able to get the help from Danja and Julian. I must not forget to thank my fellow participants for the patience they had with me struggling as a ‘not so sudo’.

Best regards,



You wanted a little bio and/or professional background. Here it is:

Bram Crevits is leading the design department at the School of Arts Ghent, Belgium. He was co-founder and artistic director of Cimatics in Brussels. In 2013 he curated the exhibition ‘Drones/Birds – Princes of Ubiquity’ and is now working on the project ‘Atelier de stad Gent’ (translate: The city as a studio, Ghent), as a hands-on practice-based research and application of smart citizenship, remixing approaches from speculative, social, critical and participatory design.

Seedcircle – a collaboration with Esther and Ivar

adaptation of the #sandmapping project by Esther Polak & Ivar van Bekkum. --> Seedmapping

adaptation of the #sandmapping project by Esther Polak & Ivar van Bekkum. –> Seedmapping

IMG_8247 IMG_8248

Esther Polak and Ivar van Bekkum created the #sandmapping project “a DIY landscape art project using a bottle, a rope and sand”. Since they collaborated on the exhibition ‘Drones / Birds – Princes of Ubiquity’ we talk quite a bit, and the idea came to test a sand-circle with seeds.. this would result in a circle with the same affordances as the sandcircles but would attract birds and force them into a circle, or to behave as a node, dot or point on this geometric figure.

brief curatorial statement

We seem to live in a weird and surreal mix of an inclusive and participatory society underneath an ever more total(itarian) system, which both are instigated by the same ubiquitous technology.

We are knitting, 3D-printing, self-publishing and growing our own urban vegetables under the shaddows of drones, internet monopolies and bankrupt and corrupted economies.

Bismarck would have called this a ‘balance of powers’… Maybe

However, the ever increasing rate and pace of these evolutions — which are essentially technological (with a huge social, political, economic and cultural impact) — shows us this is only a moment of balance.

Some fields of study would call this the ‘technological momentum’.

When James talks about an ‘endless war’, I would like to add this seemingly continuous revolution to it.

The ‘technological momentum’ can be found in every process of technological development or innovation. It is that moment or short period of time when equally powerful (or interested) stakeholders struggle to steer a technological innovation in a certain direction.

Ideally this is a cultural fight or debate. And given the circumstances we can fairly say it is revolutional (as opposed to evolutional).
Let’s call this continuous revolution something like ‘slow-revolution’, as in slow-food, slow-science. (which is a bit more profound, if you like)

In order to be a true powerfull player in this fight or debate of this timely ‘technological momentum’, we ‘the users‘ — who are interested in and benefitting from this inclusive technology — we need a collective imagination.
A mobilizing, inspiring, collective, technological imagination.

And history proved metaphors to be crucial elements for this kind of mobilizations.

The exhibition (Drones / Birds) tries to trigger it’s visitors imagination in this way; by trying to re-vitalize a contemporary image of birds.

The bird was a symbol and metaphor in every culture and history we know.

Today, the bird seems quite a relevant embodiment for rather conceptual notions related to digital technology: such as ubiquity, the immersive, wirelessness, remoteness, locality, distributed networks etc.
And we, ‘the users’, should claim these notions and deal with them… which otherwise are far to easy being claimed by a total system in an endless war.

To finnish I have to more qoutes:

First of all:
Hans Ulrich Obrist once stated:

“Birds are elements of ubiquity in the middle of things, but in the centre of nothing, oscillating between the actual and the virtual.”

And when James states:
“Those who cannot perceive the network cannot act effectively within it, and are powerless. The job then is to make such thing visible”.

Next to and after making visible, we need means which grant access to often complex conceptual notions. Revitalising effective metaphors seems essential.