A Small Thought

All I need right now is one, small thought. I am on deadline to come up with a big idea for a little project.

This image is from an exhibition three years ago in Amsterdam's Stedelijk Museum. The pencil on the floor was barely noticeable, just lying on the floor surrounded by larger works that screamed for attention. I just need to find that little detail in my mind that can make people stop and take a second look.


der:die:das: is a new magazine out of Zurich "which examines items, objects and various 'things' from everyday life, trying to get to the bottom of their meaning to newly orchestrate them. Next to their meaning in everyday life the items will be put in an art- and design-discourse, in order to reveal the bizarre and the established all at once." "der:die:das: calls for the new in everyday life and the ordinary in the novel and assembles the various perceptions of different disciplines in art and design by various artists, designers and authors in one magazine. According to the alphabet the things will be selected, dissected and analysed." (via thepostfamily)

Fruit Tree

Autumn in Amsterdam Wandering around Oude West, I spotted a red apple hanging in the tree. What a beautiful, perfect apple, I thought. Strange though, I never see fruit trees in Amsterdam. It did look a little too perfect though. Then I saw an orange, a banana, a pear, and a bunch of grapes. The joke was on me. Perhaps they were hung there by children in the school a few doors down. I imagine that they spend their free moments looking out the window at all the unsuspecting adults who catch a glimpse of the tree, do a double take. Then stop to take a closer look and really see.

Aspiring to Nothing

Like Okakura, I know that tea is no minor beverage. When tea becomes ritual, it takes its place at the heart of our ability to see greatness in small things. Where is beauty to be found? In great things that, like everything else, are doomed to die, or in small things that aspire to nothing, yet know how to set a jewel of infinity in a single moment?

This line from The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery keeps coming back to me even though I finished the book weeks ago...

It's Supposed to Feel Small

This week, I sat in a room with a very smart technologist. As I heard him describe the shiny new, the new new…For a moment, the other ideas we’d brought in our little deck felt small. But I reminded myself: they’re supposed to be small. They’re supposed to be real. They’re supposed to build a relation(I won’t even say it because it’s become such an overused word that’s a little tasteless at the moment because we’re sick of saying it and hearing it). Yes, technology empowers. Technology is incredible these days. But don’t lose sight. At the end of the day, small, often, real, honest, respectful of real needs, of real yearning little desires that only you and your nice little set up can provide… that matters. That surprises. That means something. Use technology. Love new technology. But don’t lose sight.

(via wearethedigitalkids)

Canoeing in Leiden

leiden canals Two weekends ago I went canoeing through the canals of Leiden early enough (at the beginning) to enjoy the quiet. I came upon this duck, also interested in the dejected Christmas tree with its lone red ball still hanging from its dried branch.  Perhaps it served as a temporary decoration for a boat party in December. Too laborious to carry inside, it was left behind to decompose. Along with the boat. Or perhaps, one January morning, a Dutchman tossed it out his front door to be picked up, when a large gust of wind caused it to tumble into the canal and land conveniently in the boat. The duck, a master of luck himself, claimed it as his own and raised his family beneath the protective branches. He watches passing canoes with great suspicion.

One in 8 Million

Corner DruggistFor several months now, the New York Times has been featuring the life stories of unique New Yorkers in the video collection One in 8 Million. From Alexandra Elman, the Blind Wine Taster, to Joel Karp, the Corner Druggist, these stories are anything but typical. They reflect the charm and character of the 'average' person on the street through first-person narratives and stunning black and white photographs.

This PBS interview with the producers of One in 8 Million gives added depth to the work behind the production.

The Grand Microscope

Picture 14 A beautiful article in The Atlantic about a long-term research project at Harvard, explores the lives of 268 Harvard students over the course of 72 years.

"The study began in the spirit of laying lives out on a microscope slide. But it turned out that the lives were too big, too weird, too full of subtleties and contradictions to fit any easy conception of “successful living.” Arlie Bock had gone looking for binary conclusions—yeses and nos, dos and don’ts. But the enduring lessons would be paradoxical, not only on the substance of the men’s lives (the most inspiring triumphs were often studies in hardship) but also with respect to method: if it was to come to life, this cleaver-sharp science project would need the rounding influence of storytelling."