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....