september 26th, 2007

Brian Jungen
Prototypes for New Understanding, 1998-2005


Prototypes for New Understanding, Jungen’s series of West Coast Aboriginal masks made entirely from re-stitched Air Jordans, highlights his debut North American survey, an exhibit at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York City. Conflating the transformative power of ceremonial masks with Nike consumers’ desire to emulate or become sport stars by wearing a particular brand of trainers, Jungen plays with economic and cultural values, revealing the power of contemporary ‘idols’ and linking colonial history with today’s Third World sweatshop labor.


Nike Designs Shoe for American Indians

nike air indian

BEAVERTON, Ore. (AP) — Nike on Tuesday unveiled what it said is the first shoe designed specifically for American Indians, an effort aiming at promoting physical fitness in a population with high obesity rates.

The Beaverton-based company says the Air Native N7 is designed with a larger fit for the distinct foot shape of American Indians, and has a culturally specific look. It will be distributed solely to American Indians; tribal wellness programs and tribal schools nationwide will be able to purchase the shoe at wholesale price and then pass it along to individuals, often at no cost.

nike air indian2

“Nike is aware of the growing health issues facing Native Americans,” said Sam McCracken, manager of Nike’s Native American Business program. “We are stepping up our commitment … to elevate the issue of Native American health and wellness.”

Nike said it is the first time it has designed a shoe for a specific race or ethnicity. It said all profits from the sale of the shoe will be reinvested in health programs for tribal lands, where problems with obesity, diabetes and related conditions are near epidemic levels in some tribes.

Nike designers and researchers looked at the feet of more than 200 people from more than 70 tribes nationwide and found that in general, American Indians have a much wider and taller foot than the average shoe accommodates. The average shoe width of men and women measured was three width sizes larger than the standard Nike shoe.

As a result, the Air Native is wider with a larger toe box. The shoe has fewer seams for irritation and a thicker sock liner for comfort.

The N7 name is a reference to the seventh generation theory, used by some tribes to look to the three generations preceding them for wisdom and the three generations ahead for their legacy. The design features several “heritage callouts” as one product manager described it, including sunrise to sunset to sunrise patterns on the tongue and heel of the shoe. Feather designs adorn the inside and stars are on the sole to represent the night sky.

“It reinforces the core of the Nike brand, which is: If you have a body you are an athlete,” Paul Swangard, managing director of the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center at the University of Oregon

Associated Press writer William McCall contributed to this report from Portland, Ore.

The RE- generation

juli 25th, 2007

We Re-act

New Weapons

juli 9th, 2007

Shi Jinsong
Secret Book of Cool Weapons, 2007

new weapons Shi Jinsong

Industrial Evolution

juli 5th, 2007

Maarten Vanden Eynde
City of a thousand trades, 2007

Maarten Vanden Eynde city of a thousand trades

Maarten Vanden Eynde city of a thousand trades 2

Birmingham played a leading role as front runner for the Industrial Revolution, changing the world beyond recognition and paving the way for the largest population explosion in human history. In 1791, Arthur Young, the writer and commentator on British economic life described Birmingham as “the first manufacturing town in the world.” The Lunar Society, based in Birmingham, was the brain and fuel for the machine that powered the evolution of human civilization. The members of the Lunar Society were Matthew Boulton, Erasmus Darwin, Samuel Galton Junior, James Keir, Joseph Priestley, Josiah Wedgwood, James Watt, John Whitehurst and William Withering. More peripheral characters and correspondents included Sir Richard Arkwright, John Baskerville, Thomas Beddoes, Thomas Day, Richard Lovell Edgeworth, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Anna Seward, William Small, John Smeaton, Thomas Wedgwood, John Wilkinson, Joseph Wright, James Wyatt, Samuel Wyatt, and member of parliament John Levett.

In 2007 most of the manufacturing companies have moved out off Birmingham to other parts of the world where labor is cheaper. Together with the companies the knowledge to manufacture things is disappearing. In two generations there will be hardly anyone left who has the ability to make something. The Eastside area is being redeveloped and the predominant manufacturing business will be replaced by a service and culture oriented industry. Some huge factories are already transformed in yuppie-flats. I went around visiting every factory of Eastside to excavate the remnants of the manufacturing industry.

Above the Jennens road I only discovered university buildings and brain parks for the IT sector. In the middle there is Millenium Point and huge shopping areas surrounding the Bullring, one of the biggest shopping centers of the world. Everything is imported. Only in the south east, in Digbeth (the historical center and birthplace of Birmingham) I found manufacturing factories. Half of all the buildings is empty already, abandoned, to let. The others are scheduled to leave within a few years, some even in months. It felt like I was just in time to collect a few samples before it’s all gone. Like a contemporary archaeologist I wandered through the area to look for left overs. I asked the factory owners if they wanted to contribute to the collection of manufactured goods being made in Birmingham anno 2007. I wanted to preserve them for future archaeologists to discover. It was now or never.

The reactions were overwhelmingly positive. Somehow the necessity to preserve something of this important period in the history of Birmingham does not need much explanation. Almost 90% of all the manufacturing companies participated and did so by giving samples for free. The only three things I had to buy – because they were too valuable and too big – I got with a huge discount. After 30 seconds of suspicion I was welcomed very friendly and personal life stories came on the table accompanied with a cup of tea.
The stories were very consistent and similar: after having worked in the factory for all their lives, often even for several generations, it was not possible to compete with the cheap imported goods anymore. The rents became too high, hiring more people too expensive. The ground was to centrally located and therefor to valuable. They were simply bought out. Offers which they could not refuse… Or their children were not interested or skilled enough to take over the company. They all felt part of a disappearing tribe, the last generation of traditional workman.

I asked two pieces of each object, referring to Noach’s arch and proving somehow the multiplicity of it, the possibility to be mass produced and re-produced if needed. It takes two to tango… The objects are lined up, from small to big, marching to an uncertain future, destiny unknown.

Maarten Vanden Eynde Industrial Revolution 1

Maarten Vanden Eynde Industrial Revolution 2

Maarten Vanden Eynde Industrial Revolution 3

Maarten Vanden Eynde Industrial Revolution 4

Maarten Vanden Eynde Industrial Revolution 5

‘I remember Birmingham being epitome of modernity… Birmingham was the future – in a sense it has been the future, but that bit of the future is worn out now and we need a new one’

[Will Alsop, architect]

Marvelous Marble

juni 2nd, 2007

Four Framed Hardstone Panels
English (in imitation of an Italian typology)

Contemporary Archaeology - marble
Getty Center, Los Angeles

Based on a type of inlay dating to the 15oos, specimen plaques such as these were popular from the 1700s as celebrations of nature’s beauty and of the human ability to classify such marvels scientifically.

Wim Delvoye

Marble Floors, 1999

wim delvoye

Known for his exceptional transformations of images and objects using processes typically associated with the applied arts (i.e. wood-carving, stained glass, tattoo), Delvoye in his “Marble Floors” has photographed “charcuterie”– precision cut salami, chorizo, mortadella and ham, arranged in geometric patterns based on Italian Baroque and Islamic motifs. The visceral and sometimes unsettling effect this body of work can have on a viewer is balanced by the perfect order and rhythmic harmony of these familiar Baroque and Islamic patterns.

wim delvoye 2

Jan Fabre
De benen van de rede ontveld, 2000
(Legs stripped from reason)

jan fabre

Jan Fabre is an artist, theatre-maker and author. He was born in Antwerp in 1958. In the late seventies he studied at the Royal Academy of Fine Art and the Municipal Institute of Decorative Arts and Crafts in Antwerp. His first works date from that period. Jan Fabre makes installations, sculptures, drawings, films and performances. Over the years he has built up a sizeable body of work and has become internationally acclaimed.
In 2000 he wrapped the respectable columns of the Aula University building in Ghent, Belgium with layers of ham. Slowly the ham started to rot and turned green of fungi, imitating the marble structure even more. The commotion was incredible. The citizens of Ghent complained that it was such a waste of good food (thinking of all the poor people around). Initially the exhibition organisation replied that it was secondary Parma ham, ready to thrown away anyway, but the Parma ham company declared that they don’t have secondary ham. All their ham is prime meat! When the smell was unbearable, the work was removed.

jan fabre 2

Preservation of the Berlin Wall

mei 20th, 2007

Maarten Vanden Eynde
Preservation of the Berlin Wall, 2007

Maarten Vanden Eynde Preservation of the Berlin Wall

Maarten Vanden Eynde Preservation of the Berlin Wall 2

The Berlin Wall, known in the Soviet Union and in the German Democratic Republic as the “Anti-Fascist Protective Rampart,” was a separation barrier between West Berlin and East Germany, which closed the border between East and West Berlin for 28 years. Construction on the Berlin Wall began on August 13, 1961, and it was dismantled in the weeks following November 9, 1989. The Wall was over 155 km (96 miles) long. A no man’s land was created between the barriers, which became widely known as the “death strip”. It was paved with raked gravel, making it easy to spot footprints left by escapees; it offered no cover; it was booby-trapped with tripwires; and, most importantly, it offered a clear field of fire to the watching guards.

Over the years, the Wall went through four distinct phases:

1. Basic wire fence (1961)
2. Improved wire fence (1962-1965)
3. Concrete wall (1965-1975)
4. Grenzmauer 75 (Border Wall 75) (1975-1989)

The “fourth generation wall”, known officially as “Stützwandelement UL 12.11″(Retaining wall element UL 12.11), was the final and most sophisticated version of the Wall. Begun in 1975 and completed about 1980, it was constructed from 45,000 separate sections of reinforced concrete, each 3.6 m high and 1.2 m wide, and cost 16,155,000 East German Marks. The top of the wall was lined with a smooth pipe, intended to make it more difficult for escapers to scale it. It was reinforced by mesh fencing, signal fencing, anti-vehicle trenches, barbed wire, over 116 watchtowers, and twenty bunkers. This version of the Wall is the one most commonly seen in photographs, and surviving fragments of Wall in Berlin and elsewhere around the world are generally pieces of the fourth-generation Wall.

Berlin Wall
Maarten Vanden Eynde, Berlin Wall, 2006

‘For the exhibition Turn to Stone in the Museo Mineralogico Campano I send a postcard to the museum containing a small plastic box with a piece of the Berlin Wall. I donated the work to the director with the specific question to preserve the Berlin Wall by adopting the piece in the permanent collection. He agreed and from now on the postcard stands in the display surrounded by other mineral stones.
The small stone contains the story of the whole wall and preserves an important part of human history. It represents World War II, the cold war, communisms and all the personal stories that are connected to the Berlin Wall. It’s a memory of the past for the future.’

Maarten Vanden Eynde Preservation of the Berlin Wall 3

Maarten Vanden Eynde Berlin Wall Letter


mei 9th, 2007

Rem Koolhaas

Rem Koolhaas

Victor Hugo imagined a peaceful ‘United States of Europe’ inspired by humanistic ideals. The dream was shattered by the terrible wars that ravaged the continent during the first half of the 20th century.

However, a new kind of hope emerged from the rubble of World War Two. People who had resisted totalitarianism during the war were determined to put an end to international hatred and rivalry in Europe and create the conditions for lasting peace. Between 1945 and 1950, a handful of courageous statesmen including Robert Schuman, Konrad Adenauer, Alcide de Gasperi and Winston Churchill set about persuading their peoples to enter a new era. New structures would be created in western Europe, based on shared interests and founded upon treaties guaranteeing the rule of law and equality between all countries.

Robert Schuman (French foreign minister) took up an idea originally conceived by Jean Monnet and, on 9 May 1950, proposed establishing a European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC). In countries which had once fought each other, the production of coal and steel would be pooled under a common High Authority. In a practical but also richly symbolic way, the raw materials of war were being turned into instruments of reconciliation and peace.

Join the forum on Europe Day, the 9th of May on


mei 4th, 2007

Maarten Vanden Eynde

Maarten Vanden Eynde new European Flag 2014

Join the forum on Europe Day, the 9th of May on


mei 4th, 2007

Maarten Vanden Eynde

Maarten Vanden Eynde new European Flag 2012

The present project Europe2008: In Varietate Concordia aims to stimulate international discussion about the future policy of the EU and ultimately to press for a fundamental change of course. Gradually even the stars on the flag should vanish, leaving us eventually with a universal clear blue flag, the flag of Planet Earth. Is a conceptual ideology desirable and more importantly: is it a realistic possibility?

Join the forum on Europe Day, the 9th of May on


mei 3rd, 2007

Maarten Vanden Eynde

Maarten Vanden Eynde new European Flag 2010

Since January 1st, 2007, the Union consists of 27 member states! Is further expansion desirable when the old 25 member states cannot successfully bring about an unequivocal policy? Does Europe need borders and if so, where do you draw the line? Croatia? Bosnia Herzegovina? Albania? Or Turkey? Georgia? Azerbeidzjan? And what about Russia? Or Canada? Israel?

Join the forum on Europe Day, the 9th of May on


mei 2nd, 2007

Maarten Vanden Eynde

Maarten Vanden Eynde new European Flag 2008

We have drifted too far away from the Utopian ideas that were essential to the foundation of Europe. Equality concerning basic resources and means should create freedom and stability that will make war in the future unnecessary. ‘To unify Europe is to make peace’, said the spiritual father of the European idea, Jean Monnet, in 1950.This is an ideology similar to that of the League of Nations and the United Nations and which should apply to the entire world population. And it is precisely this deviation, this betrayal of the ideology, which causes the present suspicion and ultimate rejection of the European Union. Is Europe a new country with new borders, or is it a concept for freedom and equality?

Join the forum on Europe Day, the 9th of May on


mei 1st, 2007

Maarten Vanden Eynde

Maarten Vanden Eynde new European Flag 2006

In 2006 there were still only 15 countries represented on the flag. The ten new member states of the European Union, which joined in 2004, have not been treated equally due to fear of a tidal wave of economic refugees. A special backdoor provision was created to allow each member state to implement its own restrictions (until 2011) against one or more countries at will. This inequality and discrimination is at odds with the founding spirit of the European Union. Should free movement of people, goods, services and capital be implemented universally and immediately upon accession to membership of the EU or is an adjustment period a better strategy?

Join the forum on Europe Day, the 9th of May on

Ira Bartell

april 18th, 2007

Ira Bartell
Flowerpot, 2005

ira bartell

In a town of Roman antiquity like Cologne, a pottery shard is not simply a piece of ceramic. A shard speaks – to archeologists most completely – but to us all. To a professional, a shard tells of its origins: the period, place, likely use, possibly the former contents. To the rest of us, a shard means that what once was held together as a functioning vessel is now no more than pieces; to paraphrase the Buddha, “Whatever is put together, comes apart.” Perhaps the shard tells of violence. Certainly it speaks of destruction, and most ineluctably, the passage of time – a point Bartell underscores by dating this object. On a emotional, human level, a shard points to broken structures, broken relations, broken plans, broken dreams. Here is a broken thing.

Acknowledging all this – having broken the pot himself – Bartell takes several triumphant steps past depression or nihilism. He has re-assembled the pot – not back into a seamlessly, cleverly, glued camouflage job – but loosely, so that the pieces remain pieces, and the destruction remains present and visible. This airy reconstruction of shards into the shape – the former shape – of a flowerpot, becomes an act of bravery and pluck. Bartell says, “yes, things break, my things too. But you can do with the pieces. Pick them up, put them together. Make something.”

The pot Bartell has wrought is indeed a beautiful thing – much more lovely than the original, unbroken, garden variety. It attracts all who see it, simply because it looks so good. This pot is a three-dimensional mosaic (a nod perhaps towards Cologne’s oldest and most beautiful resident artwork – the million-piece mosaic dining-room floor from an Roman villa in the middle of the old town.) The attraction of this object comes in the first instance from the artistic integrity and the craft in it. Bartell knows the importance of doing things well, and that it is not enough simply to make jokes or create objects of the absurd. The pot is empty; it holds nothing but beauty and bravery, and this is magnetic.

David Schieider, 2005

Ira Bartell
The History of Egypt

Ira bartell 2

Ontological Internet

april 13th, 2007

internet ontology

A representation of the internet
(Credit: Bill Cheswick, Lumeta Corp.)

In both computer science and information science, an ontology is a data model that represents a domain and is used to reason about the objects in that domain and the relations between them. Ontologies are used in artificial intelligence, the semantic web, software engineering and information architecture as a form of knowledge representation about the world or some part of it.

The term ontology has its origin in philosophy, where it is the name of a fundamental branch of metaphysics concerned with existence. According to Tom Gruber at Stanford University, the meaning of ontology in the context of computer science, however, is “a description of the concepts and relationships that can exist for an agent or a community of agents.” He goes on to specify that an ontology is generally written, “as a set of definitions of formal vocabulary.”


Swoogle is a search engine for the Semantic Web on the Web. Swoogle crawl the World Wide Web for a special class of web documents called Semantic Web documents, which are written in RDF (Resource Description Framework). Swoogle is a research project being carried out by the ebiquity research group in the Computer Science and Electrical Engineering Department at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC).

Computer Modelling to Influence Public Opinion

april 11th, 2007


Dr. Chris Evans
Science Fact, 1977

‘Anyone who doubts the potential of computer modeling to influence public opinion and action should remember that the whole of the modern surge to ‘ecology’ and the rejection of thow away capitalism arose because of the first large-scale computer simulations – the warning of the Club of Rome that continued profligacy with natural recources would lead to the destruction of modern society’.

The Club of Rome is a global think tank and centre of innovation and initiative.
As a non-profit, non govermental organisation (NGO), it brings together scientists, economists, businessmen, international high civil servants, heads of state and former heads of state from all five continents who are convinced that the future of humankind is not determined once and for all and that each human being can contribute to the improvement of our societies.

The Club of Rome was founded in April 1968 by Aurelio Peccei, an Italian industrialist, and Alexander King, a Scottish scientist.

Hasan Özbekhan, Erich Jantsch and Alexander N. Christakis were responsible for conceptualizing the original prospectus of the Club of Rome titled “The Predicament of Mankind.” This prospectus was founded on a humanistic architecture and the participation of stakeholders in democratic dialogue. When the Club of Rome Executive Committee in the Summer of 1970 opted for a mechanistic and elitist methodology for an extrapolated future, they resigned from their positions.

The Club of Rome raised considerable public attention with its report Limits to Growth, which has sold 30 million copies in more than 30 translations, making it the best selling environmental book in world history. Published in 1972 and presented for the first time at the ISC’s annual Management Symposium in St. Gallen, Switzerland, it predicted that economic growth could not continue indefinitely because of the limited availability of natural resources, particularly oil. The 1973 oil crisis increased public concern about this problem.