The Vessel, New York

The vessel… Wifi here woo! The Vessel, a staircase in the form of a vase and somewhat a forced landmark in the new district of the Hudson yard.

Seems like a new kind of modernism, some kind of post post modernism, similar to mannerism after the high renaissance. They also exaggerated everything, being very technical, unnatural and toying around with asymmetrical compositions. Which is not present here, all is rather symmetric but the Hudson market here is assymmetrical. Together with the controversial 200 million cost of this meaningless structure and the controversy around it, it seems like this is a typical product of the time we live in. Just as back before the baroque with mannerism or after baroque with rococo we are entering the next era of modernism. Style and design doesn’t follow function anymore, it doesn’t even has a purpose at all. The vessel is a staircase to nowhere without even a view on top of it since the thing itself is the landmark of this place. With a view on the Hudson that is actually narrow thanks to the huge building surrounding it.

Mister Miracle

Mister Miracle

Maybe it’s clever and all… But it’s one thing not: entertaining. It doesn’t help I’m not in the slightest way even interested in all the mumbo jumbo drama smart-talk and the subjects they are fretting on and on about. Just get your shit together and don’t write a comic about a super hero in some kind of existential depression constantly talking about “God”, death, being a father, life. There is also some fictitious war that’s going on in the background, but it’s just a minor character / plot. Why does this comic get so much praise again? I find it all very arty farty and I thought I was the drama lama, by writing this review and making a drama about this comic. But nope! The comic is still one hour reading of intense ‘thought’ provoking drama. Why not pick up some psychology and philosophy books in the meantime. Let’s take this to another level!

I don’t want to contribute to the hype and the score of these kind of comics and I hope there won’t be too much of this depressing genre coming out.

If you wonder what I like? Invincible. It has also the drama, but it tackles typical teenager and tweens drama in a light-hearted manner and the pace is also much quicker. I don’t want to see two full pages of a guy lying depressive in his bed and then crying in the shower. Depression is indeed a problem in society, but if you want to write about it, do it in a different way. I don’t think these kind of stories will help anyone with a depression and it certainly help people in a depression. Goddamn.

Liberty

“Liberty grew because it served the interests of power. This apparent paradox was the core of Western identity.”

David Gress, From Plato to NATO: The Idea of the West and Its Opponents

This is a separate category I have set up to collect some of the best quotes I’ve encountered in books or anywhere else. Sometimes they let me remember some good books I’ve read, but at other times it’s just a wake-up call to be focused on your goals in life again. Bits of bigger texts, or conversations taken out of context that contain some wisdom. Sadly many inspirational quote sites are not that good and just start mass collecting just about everything, and it’s just not good anymore to find something meaningful in the big mess…

George Lucas: A Life

George Lucas: A Life

George Lucas: A Life by Brian Jay Jones


This was an interesting read. To be honest, the beginning of the book and thus the childhood and especially the student years of George Lucas are much more fleshed out and it seems George Lucas is more a normal human being then when you start reading it from after American Graffiti when you notice that George Lucas is more and more just becoming a living company on his own. And you can take this Literally since Lucasfilm.ltd is a one man show at many times, with many firms underneath it with ILM, THX and LucasArts as companies with their own CEO’s and agenda’s but reporting to the “god” Lucas.

Sometimes I wonder what George Lucas real goal in life is… Since he’s constantly contradicting himself, referring to himself as an independent artsy directory / movie-maker. And he began that way at school, making abstract arty picture-poem’s movies without dialogue. Very technical stuff, mostly American Art-house movies. But after THX, he made American Graffiti to show the audience and he could also do dialogue, and afterwards with star wars to show the world he could also make commercially big movies.

He himself always said that by starting Lucasfilm.ltd he wanted to buy himself some creative freedom to do what he wants and be an independent filmmaker. Making star wars his “baby” but also a necessary evil to let the company being run on a franchise with a steady income from merchandising, thus that way he can do whatever he wants in his spare time as director.

Sadly, as far as I knew, he hasn’t done anything “creative” next to Star Wars… Just as Coppola said he was more an business man and was busy with the financial side of filmmaking, that guy did the arty films, and George Lucas, who considered himself the arty filmmaker, is more the business man, making Billions.

Otherwise, the biggest impact he made on popular culture, is the invention of CGI, THX-sound effects, digital film-making, use of animatronics, but most of all: the modern blockbuster.

Sadly, the most sad quote in this whole book is for me an answer on the question that he numbed down modern american movies in the eighties. Everybody mimicking the rather “simple” / childish movies that are now the common-American blockbuster and throwing away experimental movie-making as seen in THX, Taxi Driver, and other movies. On which he answered, something in the sense of the following, I don’t know it out of my head: “It’s not my fault the audience wants these kind of mainstream, “dumb” movies.” Somewhere was the word “dumb”.

I have a big love/hate relationship with Star Wars. It’s just a dumb blockbuster mainstream thing that big companies use to raise their stocks, CEO’s that pay themselves big cheques or make money off and it’s huge. Dark horse literally existed mainly thanks to Star Wars comics, the same for LucasArts gaming. And everything star wars related: the ewoks, jar jar bings, the vehicles were made with toys in mind, not art nor storytelling. But otherwise, it’s also fun and I like it. Same goes for George Lucas: I don’t know what to think of it.

Couple of years ago I went to see the Yoda Fountain at the Presidio of San Fransisco. I knew THX, ILM and other Lucasfilm.ltd related companies are housed in the complex. But what I didn’t knew, but learned from the book was that you could enter the main hall and see original Star Wars props in the hall. Like the original R2D2, a frozen Han Solo and Darth Vader… DAMN!

But anyway, on his in memoriam he wants to have his last words to be: “I’ve tried”. Which is actually… humble? He tried indeed, he changed cinema in a way nobody else did. New technologies, new ways of storytelling, the modern blockbuster, promotion, everything… Still, it seems to me George Lucas is not a hundred percent happy with his career. I don’t think as a beginning student he envisioned his career to be the Blockbuster Star Wars. Sadly his company main source of income was Star Wars. Since ILM got many competitors in the late nineties…

Protestanten: Het geloof dat de moderne wereld vorm gaf

Protestanten: Het geloof dat de moderne wereld vorm gaf

Interessant boek!

Het start natuurlijk bij het begin van het Protestantisme met Martin Luther. Korte biografie van zijn leven, belangrijkste gebeurtenissen en hoe zijn inzichten de christelijke wereld in Europa helemaal ondersteboven heeft gezet. Zijn relaties met Johannes Calvijn. De Angelicanen. Hun relaties met de Paus, Keizer, hoe de wereldse politiek er helemaal ondersteboven is gehaald.

Ze halen er ook enkele protestante sektes bij uit de 16de eeuw die bijna anarchistische kleine eilandjes vormden.

Ook de contrareformatie wordt toegelicht, hoe de katholieke kerk, de keizer, kortom de Katholieke wereld hierop reageerde.

Maar toen zat ik nog maar halverwege het boek… Hierna ging het geleidelijk aan over naar de expansie van het christendom. De katholieken hebben bij het ontdekken van Amerika hevig het Katholicisme verkondigd en verspreid, protestanten waren toen nog niet zo actief. Behalve bij het ontstaan van de Verenigde Staten is het eerste grote protestantse land gesticht. Op protestantse waarden. Veel protestantse sektes, zoals de mormonen, getuigen van jehova zijn toen opgericht. Een heel protestants fenomeen was dat het transformeerde van een progressieve protestantse beweging, veelal een conservatieve dogmatische beweging werd. Terwijl Luther een revolutionair was die alles wou omgooien en zoveel mogelijk vrijheid nastreefde en individualiteit, begon men dogmatisch luthers of calvijns (afhankelijk welke protestanten) leer aan te houden, waardoor elke vorm van vrijheid en individualiteit verdween.

Het boek behandelt ook de protestantse wereld in Afrika, vooral dan Zuid-Afrika en de protestantse zwarten met de Nederduits Geformeerde Kerk die vooral Zwarte leden had en de Gereformeerde kerk die voor de blanken was. Het omvat ook de Boerenoorlog en hoe het protestantisme ook kan uitdraaien op een extreem-rechtse politieke agenda. Sinds de 21e eeuw is de gereformeerde kerk opnieuw al gereformeerd (haha).

Anyway, zo maakt het boek de link naar de 21e eeuw en de toekomst. Waar staat het de dag van vandaag en waar gaat het naartoe. Interessant boek! Veel uit geleerd!

How being a graphic designer will help me become better at my new job as system engineer. (and my new instagram account)

I’ve silently started a new instagram account.

Since I’ve started as a system engineer and thus “ended” my graphic design career . I’m collecting some stuff I’ve made over the years on an instagram profile. Probably I’m also going to post some new stuff as well.

I don’t see a bright successful future in the design world for me. Simply because it is an overcrowded job market, here in Belgium, anyway. Also an art job is payed less well than a job in the IT world.

I’m very good in IT and as a nerd I’m doing that job with great passion. I think I will become more of an art- and design lover than a practitioner.

For me I think the skillset I’ve gathered over the couple of years I’ve worked as a graphic designer will help me further in my IT career, especially now on the helpdesk I’m working at. IT may be very technical and less “creative” as you would think, but you also would be surprised how creative and out of the box you can be when solving problems, especially the short term workarounds. Workarounds are temporary solutions to fix a problem on the short term so end users can keep working and giving yourself more time to solve the bigger issue.

Anyway, I was a very technical graphic designer with a high level of detail in finishing my work. I don’t like vectors with too many lines, unnecessary points and layers. I always use 1 shape preferably; thus use one layer, with as less points as possible. The same goes for all designs, the fewer vector elements and objects a design is comprised of the less that can go wrong when somebody else has to roll out your design. The same goes for IT, make everything as clear as possible and as fool proof as possible, the end users are mostly people who sometimes have not even the slightest interest in technology.

Another skill sets I can use as system engineer is communication. I hate vague or too technical communication, you don’t make yourself look smarter but only more cocky. It’s best to communicate in simple and clear sentences and words, since not everybody else knows what you are talking about.

The third thing I can think about is being stress resistant. In the graphic design world you’ll have every day crazy deadlines; finish things in 15 minutes, 30 minutes or finish whole redesigns of brandings within a day just to get that latest design on table during a meeting for some managers. Or doing the latest modifications on a book just before it goes into print, and it has to go through the whole approval process within 2 hours. In my so far, short IT career, many end users have looked on my fingers while they had some problem and if you are not used to that, it can be very stressy. They’ll expect you to know the answer to every problem they’ll throw at you. Sometimes during a presentation a laptop may fail or hardware can fail, or there may be network difficulties during a deadline for other persons and you are the guy they count on to fix their technical issues. Sometimes people get mad and that’s just because they don’t understand what is going on or what is exactly going wrong. They can get very mean. Others, especially nerds, think they know it all about computers and come up with their own solutions, just as it is at their own home, but they don’t understand that a big corporate domain network doesn’t work in the same way.

The fourth is that as a graphic designer you’ll constantly have to learn new things with the adobe programs and the mac hardware. But to be honest there is not that much evolution in that world. In the IT world there is enough to keep studying and learning about. for multiple lifetimes probably. Nobody is good at everything. Just as with everything in life: overspecialize and you breed weakness. It works in both directions. Overspecialize in too many things and you’ll be good at nothing, overspecialize in one thing and you are only good at… that one thing. In IT you’ll be at your best when you know a little bit of everything and you are specialized in a couple of things. You’ll have the networking side of the job and then also the system engineering side. About that system engineering side: I was always Microsoft oriented and loved the idea of their half open system. Linux is cool too and while I’m interested in it, I think it’s now more handy for me to learn to use Microsoft’s environment as professionally as possible. Microsoft Server is pretty cool and gives so much possibilities to create and design networks the way you want it to be. Most companies uses Windows Servers anyway to set up big networks. The only downside is that in some rare occasions you’ll encounter Windows Server 2012 and that was in that horrible metro oriented UI design… What were they thinking… As if a server would ever be used with a touch screen.

The networking part is also very old school and while talking to a friend, we both compared the CLI as some real old school and cvlt black metal band. It’s awesome once you get it, and for the majority of computer users it’s something incomprehensible and abstract. But nothing is as satisfying as using the old school Command Line Interface. It’s so powerful and fast, and in some CLI interfaces it is possible to change the fonts, colors, sizes and whatever. So those are the times when the graphic designer in my comes above.

Anyway… Click on the link and enjoy my work.

https://www.instagram.com/skw4tch/

Symmetry

Symmetry is only a property of dead things. Did you ever see a tree or a mountain that was symmetrical? It’s fine for buildings, but if you ever see a symmetrical human face, you will have the impression that you ought to think it beautiful, but that in fact you find it cold. The human heart likes a little disorder in its geometry, Kyria Pelagia. Look at your face in a mirror, Signorina, and you will see that one eyebrow is a little higher than the other, that the set of the lid of your left eye is such that the eye is a fraction more open that the other. It is these things that make you both attractive and beautiful, whereas…otherwise you would be a statue. Symmetry is for God, not for us.”

― Louis de Bernières, Corelli’s Mandolin

Quotes

This is a separate category I have set up to collect some of the best quotes I’ve encountered in books or anywhere else. Sometimes they let me remember some good books I’ve read, but at other times it’s just a wake-up call to be focused on your goals in life again. Bits of bigger texts, or conversations taken out of context that contain some wisdom. Sadly many inspirational quote sites are not that good and just start mass collecting just about everything, and it’s just not good anymore to find something meaningful in the big mess…

“I shall never be ashamed of citing a bad author if the line is good.”

Seneca

I thought this was a good quote to begin this category with. Let’s see where it goes from here on out…

Redout

On first sight this game gives the impression of being a shameless cheap wipeout, f-zero and star wars pod racer rip-off. But actually, this game is very impressive and extremely good and it combines the three games together. In style, track design as ship handling.

It even has better track design than for example formula fusion and the wipeout games for ps2. 

The sense of speed is incredibly well done with many effects that don’t distract the player, no motion blur for example, and the framerate keeps very steady. Something which is for me extremely important. 

The controls are unique. It’s like the difference between f-zero and wipeout, this game has another take on the racing controls. A-button or left bumber is the boost button, right trigger is throttle, the left trigger is braking and the left joystick is turning. Now this seems like a regular race game so far and in f-zero and wipoeut it is extremely important to brake with the two triggers in the right direction to “strafe” into the corner and find the apex. But this game strafes with the right joystick. So u use both thumbs for direction and positioning while using yur index fingers for speed. Which is actually pretty comfortable.

The game is not easy, nor really difficult. For veteran wipeout and f-zero players like me the controls were extremely weird at first, but now I’m blasting through the campaign as a pro. You wont win any race bumpering the walls and going full speed. You really have to brake, use the strafing controls to find the apex and then boost to go through corners the fastest way possible.

Music is done very well. It’s different from f-zero and wipeout as it is more trance, house sometimes mixed with cool guitar solo’s: it’s fun, melodic and light-hearted music. Wipeout is more… dark and less melodic. It somehow reminds me of the good songs from Unreal Tournament 99. It give a very nineties vibe, which is good because these kind of games were the ♥♥♥♥♥♥ back then.

Good game! Instant classic. Sadly how the DLC is handled. Way too many DLC and while playing the campaign most of the tracks are locked behind a paywall..

Iconografie

Ik heb ooit een lerarenopleiding begonnen maar niet afgewerkt. Verschillende redenen hebben me ertoe aangezet de opleiding te annuleren.

Voor de klas staan vond ik simpelweg minder leuk dan ik verwacht had. Veel autoriteit straalde ik niet uit en ik voelde ik geen nood om dat uit te stralen; de leerlingen luisterden en deden hun werk, ze leerden bij en ik had ook dat gevoel dat ze dat deden. Achteraf gezien heeft een leerkracht ook gezegd dat desondanks de persoonlijke – niet autoritaire – gemoedelijke en rustige sfeer van mijn les toch de leerlingen luisterden en aan mijn “lippen” hingen omdat de inhoud van de les best wel goed in elkaar stak.

Er was ooit 1 klas bij die mij uitdaagde en waar ik toch de autoriteit in mij moest oproepen en ik vond dat totaal niet aangenaam. Het werd een les vol kat en muis spelletjes en ik had eigenlijk geen zin om de leerlingen op het matje te roepen en straffen uit te delen. Ik ben nog steeds van principe dat als ze de les niet mee willen volgen, ze dan maar buizen. Uiteindelijk zullen ze wel beginnen opletten en als het hen niet interesseert dan moeten ze een andere opleiding zoeken. Spijtig genoeg werkt deze verwachting van volwassenheid niet altijd bij jongeren.

Een ander probleem was dat ik mezelf niet jaren aan een stuk voor de klas zag staan. Het is best een zware taak en om eerlijk te zijn, eenmaal leerkracht voor de klas is het “plafond” van het vak best wel bereikt. Ik wil ook nog wel groeien in de job en vooruit gaan, maar in het onderwijs blijkt dat dit dan vooral draait rond het vastbenoemd te worden en niet om de jobinhoud zelf.

Om dit lange verhaal af te ronden, dit is een presentatie die ik onlangs op mijn computer teruggevonden heb. Het gaat over Iconografie. Het zou voor het theoretische deel van een vak kunstinitiatie zijn in het 5de middelbaar.

Achteraf gezien was mijn les te abstract bevonden voor leerlingen die 16 tot 17 jaar oud zijn. Daardoor zouden ze ook niet begrijpen wat er allemaal bedoelt wordt het de term iconografie. Persoonlijk was ik het daar niet mee eens. Ik versimpelde mijn les tot de etymologie van het woord. Bij elke betekenisverandering van het woord icoon gaf ik aanschouwelijke voorbeelden waardoor het duidelijk werd waar ik naartoe wou gaan en waar iconografie om draait en hoe het een invloed heeft gehad op hedendaagse grafiek en kunst.

Let er wel op dat dit een presentatie was, dus het document is eigenlijk niet bedoelt om bekeken te worden in boekvorm.