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ABOUT

I’m living Liquid. I quit my rent and am moving around in temporary homes. I want to experience freedom and insecurity in the place I live. These are articles about my personal motivations behind the project and its resulting structure, which is (like everything else) open to change.

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There are several reasons for this project, several questions I hope to answer. On some levels it might be separate projects, on others they merge.

It’s travelling my own country: I missed the excitement of new places and people.
It’s a research project: how do we avoid superficiality in a future which changes ever faster?
It’s a personal search: what do I find important in the place I live, the people I live with?

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Some of the rooms from my first trip in 2005

Some of the rooms from my first trip in 2005

After high school I went traveling and got addicted to the rush of getting to new places, meeting new people, sleeping in different beds, etc. I feel more alive and much sharper when in an unknown environment. Even though I went travelling as much as possible ever since, I always returned home to live only a few hundred meters from where I was born. Because of my friends, my family, my comfortable and beautiful apartment and because I wanted to study a specific course not far from there: Industrial Design at the Eindhoven University of Technology.

Looking for excitement I travelled in between the years of study as much as possible and enjoyed exchanges and internships whenever possible. After graduating last year, me and six other graduates started Afdeling Buitengewone Zaken, a collective through which we explore how we want to work through a great variety of projects. I feel this is a great way to develop myself professionally and enjoy what I do to get by. Unfortunately I can’t really afford the time and money for long trips anymore and so I plan to find the excitement of the new, still constructing something bigger collectively by giving up the basic certainty of my home.

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Zygmunt Bauman - Liquid Times

Zygmunt Bauman – Liquid Times

I believe this project is relevant to many more of my generation. As we head for a future in which social structures change at an ever faster rate, how do we find depth in the things we do? Digital nomads, Urban nomads, Technomads; our pre-settling ancestors are often used as a romanticised metaphor to describe how some of us live today. In reality however, nomads often moved because of a lack of freedom and were often too busy surviving for any innovation to take place. It wasn’t anything like the exciting and dynamic times of today.

It was the agricultural revolution that gave us more time. While some would grow crops for everyone to eat, others could educate children, build temples, or become master painters. Since we settle, we specialise. Millennia of further specialisation in our roles, our spaces and our time, brought us to where we are today. I wonder how we can continue specialisation in a future where our societies change continuously.

I’m not saying we’ll lose all science and culture if we continue like this, I’m actually quite optimistic. I am just interested in finding ways to avoid superficiality while hopping from one thing to the next. And I think the best way to do that is by reflecting on my own actions.

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This project is experimental

This project is experimental

This project is experimental. Not only the specific content will be determined on the go, it’s structure is liquid too. The volatile nature of a blog is used to document both the content and the changing approach (here, at about). There can’t be a predefined set of rules to this way of living for the simple reason that I want my actual experiences to guide it, not my preconceptions.

As a start, I’ll change home every three months or so. I expect that this is short enough to prevent myself from getting truly used to my ‘home’ yet long enough not to turn looking for a place to stay my main activity in life. Of course this is just an assumption and very open to change along the way. In much the same way I chose to start within the Netherlands because I find real contact important in the daily work I do. Again, this might change.

To provide my project with some structure I work with themes which emerge as I proceed. For instance, the first theme I encountered was stuff, for what was I to move around with? Next to stuff, other themes will come up. I’m very interested in the way relationships with my friends will be, or how I will relate to specific places, routes, rituals or laws. With each theme I’ll decide on a new structure to document and reflect on that topic.

There are many other people that live liquid in some way or another, or that explore similar topics in other ways or from other perspectives. As part of my project I’m reading about, looking at and talking to as many interesting people as possible. Their projects, lifestyles, books, etc. form the context of this project and help positioning it. On this blog I collect them under ‘reference’ next to my own ‘actions’ and ‘reflections’. I use it to document my own changing perspective and hope to spark discussion here.

So excuse me if this blog seems somewhat unclear or unstructured, I’m working on it. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments, or drop a remark at any specific article.

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actual experience guides the project, not preconceptions

actual experience guides the project, not preconceptions

As an academic designer I’ve been trained to reflect on my actions. During my graduation from the Eindhoven University of Technology, I reflected on a liquid future while designing for a sea sailor on the move. Now I design and reflect based on my own actions. At Afdeling Buitengewone Zaken we are applying this ‘first person perspective’ to several other design projects and explore different ways in which it can help to design for complex, real life situations.

I believe that as humans we have rich senses, powerful tools to reflect on our experiences. I think it is both fun and relevant to try and use them to look into a possible future. I’m looking forward to encountering new needs and actively look for answers to some of the personal and societal questions that I have. While on the move I’ll be designing new ways to get my stuff around, build a home and interact with my friends based on what I need. And who knows if these products, services or reflections might be useful to others too.

I wonder where I’ll flow.

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