Parallel infrastructures #4

Over the last year or so Sara (together with Suzanne Valkenburg and Eefje Blankevoort) has explored the world of vacation parks in the Netherlands. Many of these parks that had originally been designed for dutch families to spend their summer vacations have – over the years – attracted new types of temporary and permanent residents: Kenyan athletes competing for price money in dutch running events, Afghani refugees, African agriculture students, Dutch drop outs and polish contract workers and th…

The socio-economic impact of file sharing [popular science edition]

I just finished reading ‘Ups and Downs – the economic and cultural impact of file sharing for music, film and games’ (see my earlier post for context). All in all the full version does not contain a lot of surprises when compared to the executive summary (which my first post was based on): It is a well written report that, although it makes a lot of sense to someone familiar with the subject, does not really come up with much new insights either. The strength of the report is that it places file…

Thinking in times of social hypochondria

Finally finished reading ‘Denken in een tijd van sociale hypochondrie‘ (‘thinking in times of social hypochondria’) by the Dutch sociologist Willem Schinkel a couple of weeks ago. By the standards of Dutch sociologists, Schinkel is fairly young (31) and relatively famous (he was one of the 6 summer guests appearing on VPRO’s zomergasten in 2008 [torrent-file here]) which however does not mean that there are any english language references or translations of his work or available on the net (henc…

Salat | ‏صلاة‎

I spend last weekend at ars electronica speaking at the symposium on a new cultural economy curated by Joi and hanging out with an amazing bunch of people. Did not see much of the exhibitions, but at least managed to see the cyber arts 08 exhibition in the OK center and found another nice CFL for my collection. Most of the works were rather underwhelming. One of these exceptions was ‘Salat‘ by Johannes Gees which was documented at the OK center. Salat (the arabic/quranic term for prayer) consist…

Tantalum Memorial / Pandoras Index

For some reason i never managed to write about manifesta7 after having visited 3 of the 4 locations on the opening weekend back in mid july. not sure what to say of the overall exhibition but it included a number of really interesting and beautiful artworks. my favorite among them was Tantalum Memorial – Residue, by Graham Harwood together with Richard Wright and Matsuko Yokokoji. Is a memorial/intstallation to the Congolese people who have died as a result of the coltan wars. Regine over at we…

Deja vu

We saw ‘Quartet: A Journey to North‘ by Amir Reza Koohestani & Mahin Sadri at the Bellevue Theatre tonight. Quartet tells the story of two murders in contemporary Iran through the intertwined narratives of the two killers and two witnesses. Definitely reminded me (both in terms of stage setup and narrative) of the works by Rabih Mroué. Also one of the video stills looked almost exactly as this pictures i took in Abyaneh last fall: Looks peacefull but while we were enjoying the play a newborn…

Brickland

Went to see Constanza’s latest piece at the Schaubühne in Berlin on Saturday and quite liked it. With Brickland Constanza (and the equally amazing rest of the the Dorky Park ensemble) manages to combine usual chaos with something similar to a narrative that does not get lost in 2 hours of brutal chaos. Brickland is about despair, insanity end everyday evils behind the walls of gated communities (the name is taken from an existing decaying community in the vicinity of the international airport on…

Tehran has no more pomegranates!

Watched a screening of ‘Tehran has no more pomegranates!‘ by Massoud Bakhshi this afternoon, which turned out to be a beautiful film that manages to pay homage to the incredibly strange and complex reality of the city of Tehran. While Tehran is one of the least likely city to fall in love with it had a certain strange attraction to me. tehran has no more pomegranates! manages to somehow capture this attraction and to turn it into an extremely entertaining complex portrait of the city. Bakhshi in…

The myth of invasion

Just finished reading a fairly intresting reserach paper by Hein de Haas of the International Migration Institute in Oxford that deals with the ‘The myth of invasion – Irregular migration from West Africa to the Maghreb and the European Union‘. In the paper de Haas attempts to show that immigration to Europe by western African migrants crossing the Mediteranian or Atlantic is fairly small both when compared to migration of western africans to North African Countries and compared to other ways of…

Kurtlar Varsi vs. Valley of the Sun

Have seen one and a half war movies today. First i went to Neukölln to see ‘Kurtlar Varsi: iraq‘ (Valley of the Wolves: Iraq) and then tonight on TV i ended up watching the second half of ‘Tears of the Sun‘. For those who have not followed the hysteric discussions in Germany in the last month: Valley of the Wolves is the Turkish Blockbuster that depicts a Turkish secret service agent’s mission in Iraq. He is on a (unofficial) mission to kill a CIA operative who was responsible for arresting and…