Saturday, April 18, 2009

Open Futures

Open Futures was the title of the lecture given by Maya Van Leemput in the emptied Museum of Contemporary Art in Antwerp, the MuHKA. It made me think, seen that since modernity we have been used to deal with hard facts, it is high time for the re-enchantment through creativity as an organizing principle. The practice of art and futures studies is very similar because possibilities are explored, dissident visions and imagination are encouraged. We have to be aware that all human actions shape the future. Art is important in this thought process and practice because all possibilities are open in the non linear possibilities that are offered here. We can have sudden shifts, spirals, layers of complexity and possibilities are not a priori excluded. Transhumanism were there is no interface between humans and machines touches the definition of what it means to be human in the psychological, social, mythical and cultural aspects of being human. That kind of technology is seen as disruptive technology because there is break in the normal path of evolution and this leads to new interpretations and new subjectivities about what it means to be a posthuman human. The so called Cyborgs lead to an unstable human identity. Then new definitions become possible. What happens if norms are questioned, when boundaries are transgressed. Remember that the power to create Cyborgs is in the hands of the military industrial complex... If we want peace we have to stop them from claiming that field of creating universal soldiers
So we all have to work to keep our critical openness and to fill it with images of desirable futures. So change will be fed by human emotion and thoughtful creativity, so we will make one of the different possible futures by our daily actions and questions. Thanks to Maya for making me think.

Friday, April 17, 2009


On the tram I sat between two men with worn, torn shoes. One was clean, the other a bit smelly. The latter was talking about investments, money, making real estate pay for one's daily needs. He spoke with a very natural intonation, so I assumed he was talking to a friend with an earpiece, although Bluetooth seemed a bit incongruous. Getting off the tram I checked, nothing to be seen. His voices in his head must be very lively. He referred to a currency that has been not been in use for over ten years... Spending then over a 1000 B FR on a night on the town, about 30 $ now. I wonder what happened to him. I wonder is he happy. And the next day, while I was waiting for the train, a man clean with a magazine in his hand, came into waiting room. He swiped it under the vending machine and picked up two lost copper coins.He probably did the rounds in the station. Are these the visible signs of crises and depression?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Meet and greet

Walking the dog, I noticed on the publicity panels at the tram stop, that on several posters, one for a sneaker from Footwear, another for photographic material, stickers were added in the by me despised combination of black and yellow which stands for extreme Flemish nationalism. Their gripe was with the English in the ads. It bothers me because it is just another sign of the refolding, retreating into the 'comfort zone' of their own culture and people. This city and many others in Europe Sarajevo (the first were I really felt the meaning of cosmopolitanism, which was bombed to smithereens and is now mono-ethnic and mono-religious), Triest (with the Lega Nationale and their racist and anti-Islam points of view) and also my city. In the sixties/seventies, when I was out and about a bit more I would always meet, musicians, painters, draftdodgers, conscientious objectors, writers who would stay a while and enrich, fertilize the provincial attitudes that were. They were poor and powerless but were the leven in the dough of society. Then this city was magnificent and it still is because enough people care. So there was a meet and greet your neighbors were cultural exchange once again happened and were deep discussions among total strangers were conducted in a lively fashion about the past and the future. Our futures will be our choice and we need to go the non-violent, peaceful way, taking care of our environment, granting the personal freedoms we all need, tolerance, working towards social justice and livable cities, where all the keys to understanding the world resound in song and languages spoken. A left wing progressive cosmopolitan. By the way the Goulash soup was great and the fruit salad just different and enough to be grand...

Friday, April 3, 2009

Last birthday

The big Nato festivities in Strasbourg, France have started with a demonstration against it at the eve of the real meeting. The first protesters have been arrested and the heads of state have had a nice dinner in Baden Baden. People don't want the 400 tactical nuclear weapons stationed in Europe: in Belgium, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Turkey...There is a question mark next to Greece and the UK. Of course there are also 100 tactical nuclear weapons on submarines cruising unseen in our sea's with deadly charge. Listen to the terminology 'short range nuclear forces'... Short range, Brussels to Luxembourg? Vilnius to St Petersburg? What does it mean. These weapons have turned out to be irrelevant now although they are nuclear. Think about the delivery systems: dual capable aircraft, F16, modern Tornadoes. The acquis Atlantique is at a turning point. We have to rethink war and peace in our transatlantic home and away in the rest of the world. Should Nato work on cyberdefence, on energy security, meddle in economical problems... Global Zero is an initiative for a nuclear weapons free world. Europe should take the initiative in this matter, further diplomacy by non-violent means and peace building. That would lead to visions of possible futures worth working for. And furthermore, I am of the opinion that Nato should be abolished. May this 60th birthday of Nato be the last.