December 13, 2010

LaLa#4 - Bubbleissues

Vervreemdend. Drie dagen na de dansvoorstelling LaLa#4 is dat het woord wat me nog het meeste bij blijft van deze voorstelling.

Vervreemdend in geluid. Vervreemdend in beeld. De openingsscene is bijvoorbeeld een alleen dansende vrouw – maar van haar zie je alleen haar benen. Haar bovenlijf wordt volledig opgeslokt door een verzameling ballonnen bij elkaar gehouden door een donker omhulsel. Maar de bewegingen fascineren. Achteraf licht de maakster van de voorstelling toe dat ze juist sterk visueel is ingesteld – en dat de voorstelling dus juist probeert sterke beelden neer te zetten.

Deze sterke beelden blijven de hele avond terugkomen. Ook door dat gewerkt wordt met media die je niet verwacht bij moderne dans: een gedeelte wordt volledig beheerst door een groot videoscherm.

De voorstelling bevat meerdere onderdelen die niet allemaal bij elkaar lijken te passen. De verschillende dansstijlen maken het soms lastig om te blijven begrijpen. De mooiste stukken zijn die op een luchtbed – het lijkt wel alsof de dansers zweven, alsof ze in een zwaartekrachtvrije ruimte zijn zo vloeiend zijn hun bewegingen.

Niet de meest makkelijke of voor de hand liggende voorstelling dus, maar delen ervan zijn fascinerend juist vanwege het gebruik van sterke beelden in combinatie met krachtige dans. En het heeft mij nieuwsgierig gemaakt naar ander werk van LaLa.

LaLa#4 is nog een paar avonden te zien. Maar je kan natuurlijk ook naar een volgende Blind Date theater voorstelling gaan om nieuw talent te ontdekken!

December 12, 2010


Winter was well and truly here last week. The city looked gorgeous, under a white blanket of snow.

I'm now hoping we will jump straight into spring.

[But with the current forecast for the week, and the fact it is only mid-December, I guess I have to either suck it up or emigrate]

December 05, 2010


on the beach
Originally uploaded by macchi.

At the beginning of September, I spent a weekend on the Dutch island of Vlieland. It was for me the first time to go there which was a good reason in itself. But the main reason was the Into The Great Wide Open festival. Fantastic weather, great atmosphere and some really good music. We've already booked accomodation next year! (now to get the tickets for the festival itself though...)

Anyway, why write about this now?

I just stumbled across a fascinating string of video's from one of the most surprising performances at the festival - Hauschka. He does amazing things on the piano. In fact, things you would not dream of doing to your own piano!

Have a look at this:

It's only making me more excited about the prospect of possibly having a piano in my house as well sometime in the next few months. Looking forward to playing again!

November 28, 2010


Coming back to this blog after 6 months is kind of interesting. I guess over the past years it really has become kind of a diary, where I talk about the things I'm busy with and think about.

Yesterday, I wanted to use 'The Future' as a new tag. Or so I thought. It turned out the tag already existed and I used it a couple of times in the years before. In one post I talk about the prediction a friend made about me starting a PhD in the next few years. Hmm. In an earlier post I talk about finally having found a 'goal', having found an answer to the dreaded question 'Where do you want to be in five years from now'? Funnily enough, I've been asking myself that question lately but the answer that came up a few years ago wasn't included now. While I know it is something that is very important to me. Due to recent events I just need to become more creative in realising it. One to consider again I think.

A few minutes ago, I again thought I used a new tag, 'Africa'. But there it was also! This time about a previous IDFA-post, which has clearly been a constant over the last few years.

I find it quite interesting to read back, and see what I have been busy with over the past few years. And reading all of that, I don't think much has changed. Even if I do feel my life has changed (or is changing) since then....

The danger of a single story

This weekend I've been reading about Africa, through a friend's blog and her adventures there over the last few weeks/months. In one of her most recent posts she talks about Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I have never heard of her, but am now intrigued to read her books. Especially after listening to the following talk, with a message so true.

November 27, 2010

The future?

Dongguan/ New South China Mall
Originally uploaded by macchi.

One of the highlights of IDFA was seeing a showing of Utopia in Four Movements. A special screening with live narration from the director and live music by a band as the images were playing.

In four chapters, it talks about different interpretations of utopia - not so much the search for an actual location but efforts that people have made in the past to move towards a utopian world. Examples used were Esperanto, mass political movements but also the inventor of shopping malls. Did you know he originally envisaged malls as a community center where people would be together and share - and not just to shop/consume/buy?

An example of shopping malls into the extreme is the South China Shopping Mall in Dongguan, China. I was there last April and wandered around this building - the largest shopping mall in the world - in amazement. It was a ghost town.

Not only is it an example of a shopping mall gone wrong, but also of the realization that continuous investment and continuous economic growth might actually not be possible.

Tim Jackson explains this on TED:

How to write

The title of my last post - again a month ago - and the final paragraph of that same post, talk about inspiration.

Because of the things I'm doing. Because of the people I'm meeting. Because of the conversations I'm having.

For the past 1,5 weeks I've been on a break from work. Much needed as it has been - again - far too busy and hectic for my own good. [Everytime I go back to work after a short break I resolve to keep my work schedule in check and to keep the work load manageable. I still haven't figured out a successful method to do that. Does anyone have a foolproof suggestion?]

For several reasons I decided to spend these short two weeks at home, and not travelling to Berlin, Spain or even somewhere further away. And I'm loving it!

I spent three days at IDFA, seeing 10 incredibly different documentaries from all over the world:
* about people surviving in a tough environment
* about people trying to change their life but failing
* about people trying to change their life and succeeding
* about decisions - by governments, by large companies - changing the fate of communities
* about forgotten parts of the world
* about places we all know
* about the past
* about the future

I also had a friend from abroad visiting for a week, just after she had broken up with her boyfriend. It was fantastic having her here for so long (usually it's just a day or two we have to catch up) even if the reason wasn't so nice. It also meant many discussions on relationships and what we want out of life.

During this time I've been slowly reading Stones into Schools - a sequel to the earlier book Three cups of tea. It follows the endeavours of an American with his team of Pakistani and Afghan men to build schools in the most remote places of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Like the first book, it really shows how you can make so many things possible in an environment which seems without hope. Amazing stories.

It has also been good to not be at work and to not be distracted with all the chaos surrounding it.

So now I'm staring at my screen trying to think how to write down all the stuff that's spinning in my head. Without actively spending time on it - though I had planned to - I think I have a better idea of what's ahead. And I'm excited about it. But there's more and I want to do something with it.

But maybe I should just let it spin for the moment, and see what happens....

October 26, 2010


First of all - WOW. I can't believe it has been over 6 months since I last posted here.

Now that I have said that, hopefully I'll stick around for a while this time.

I feel like starting to write again. There's a lot going on - lots of fun projects, many potential changes will happen professionally - and I feel like I should start writing this blog again.

Some examples:

* I'm helping Cheruchan with launching No Impact Week NL next month.
A week in November to challenge people from all over the Netherlands to live with as little impact on the environment as possible. It will be my second time to experience this week myself. And I'm very excited about it - can't wait to find out what new discoveries this will bring me. And my colleagues and friends who I'm trying to tag along in this.

* With some friends, I'm setting up a new Toastmasters club in my town. Lots of fun. Which is why we are doing this as well. Humour, flexibility, enthusiasm, and no rules. Result: great speakers and hugely entertaining evenings.

* Professionally, I have a fairly uncertain year ahead of me. This was quite a shock two weeks ago when I found out. But the more I think about it, the more confident I become about this situation only offering me new opportunities. I can't wait to find out what is next.

I feel inspired - so many things going on which make me feel very excited about the future. Very good feeling.

April 04, 2010

China in extremes

After a week, well 5 days, in China you would think I would be back with tons of stories about all the strange things which can only happen in China. Unfortunately, not this time.

As I already predicted, this was one of my most intense work trips so far. Usually I have at least an afternoon to sightsee, or I arrive a day early to get a feel for the city. This time sightseeing was limited to staring out the car window on the three hour drive from Guangzhou to Shenzhen. My one day in the Pearl River Delta was actually, from a getting-to-know-China-perspective, the most interesting part of the trip.

The Pearl River Delta is the main economic region in China and the two main cities, Shenzhen and Guangzhou, are the richest cities in the country. We spent the day driving to see some extremes of China - a good change from being in meeting rooms in Beijing for the four days before.

Shenzhen actually surprised me. The city has transformed in 30 years from a small fishing village across from Hong Kong to a major, modern city filled with high-tech companies. It was the first Special Economic Zone in China, announced in 1978 as part of Deng Xiaoping's Open Door policy. It sparked tremendous growth for the region and ultimately made the Pearl River Delta into the production powerhouse of the world. A lot of the cheap toys and computer components which are 'made in China' are likely to have been made here. So in my mind Shenzhen would be a very industrial, factory-filled, dirty & grey, chaotic city. Similar, in fact, to surrounding cities such as Dongguan.

Surprisingly it was much better than that. In fact, we visited Shenzhen to meet with an architect from OMA who is working on the construction of the building for the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. And this is only one of many buildings under construction with some other top designed buildings close-by. The wealth of the city is clearly showing.

But to show me that China isn't all about amazing growth rates, spectacular buildings and more, my colleague also took me to the biggest shopping mall in the world. I guess it's another symptom of China's development where everything needs to be bigger and better. But bigger doesn't always mean better, as the New South China Mall clearly shows.

At first we thought we were in for a disappointment. Driving up to the mall we saw shops, people, lights and, well, activitiy. This wasn't what we were coming for. Because apart from it being big, we were told it would also be empty. When we walked in behind the McDonald's we were relieved to see this was true. Five floors and corridors going off in every direction, but no shop in sight. It was clear that there had been some shops at a point in time, but everything was gone apart from the Spar, the McD's and the local drugstore out front. A ghost shopping mall - and an example of how it can go very wrong as well.

Haphazard investment clearly doesn't automatically guarantee growth and further investment. And that ties in nicely with a presentation I attended on Wednesday on the Chinese economy. That presentation closed off with the prediction that the current level of high investment is only going to have a negative effect and that China's economy will crash within the next few years. That set the stage nicely for that afternoon's discussion on our organisation's strategy in China for the next few years....

March 27, 2010

Ah.... Asia

Life is very busy right now. But the good part about it: I'll be in China as of Monday. Yay.

Can't wait to get a quick fix of Asia again. It's been a long time.

Unfortunately (and that's the bad part of the chaos right now), it's a work trip. I have a feeling this is going to be one of the most intense work trips I've done so far. Incredibly full schedule, but with some very interesting meetings.

I do wonder how much I really will get that China feeling.....

February 28, 2010

No news is good news?

I just noticed that my last post is from two months ago. Wow.

And it's true - I haven't been inspired to write at all. Even though there's a lot in my head I can't find a way to get it down on paper (well, screen) in a way that makes sense.

Some things that I have been occupied with:
Den Haag. Trying to make this 'my' city and discovering what it has to offer.
Sustainable living. And realizing that it's not so easy as it seems. And also: do I want to make those choices that are necessary to do so?
Politics. Local elections coming up this week (and yet to figure out what to vote), a government that fell apart last week and trying to figure out if this is a good thing.
Traveldreaming. If all goes well, as of next month it'll be London, Berlin, Paris. Not bad huh.
Work. Office politics and internal reorganizing has been taken to the maximum over the last few weeks. Not great. At all. Am learning how to be okay with less control. But it's tough.

My last post was on the beginning of a new year.
Weirdly, I have a feeling that this year is going to be a year of stability and domesticness. And maybe not writing here for two months is a reflection of that. Life is good - I have a great new house, a new city to explore, steadily building up my career without any major changes expected.

Boring? For the readers out there, yes - but I'm sure I'll have my share of drama at some point this year.

January 03, 2010


Originally uploaded by macchi.

Wheeeee! Happy new year everyone!

2010.... a strange number. As someone already said: it's The Future. Can't wait to see what this year will bring (apart from flying cars).

Didn't have any 'new' firework pictures of this year's fireworks extravaganza (we were almost in front of my place of work - a quiet residential/office area; felt strange being there) but figured this one is festive enough.

I've been on a two-week break (still two more days to go, yay) and it's been a very reflective two weeks. Lots of insights, new ideas, inspiration, energy - so there are some stories to follow but don't seem to have them quite written up in my head yet.

Hope this will be a fabulous year for everyone out there. XX machi