Thoughts and theories, born from experience.

…or so they say. I need to get out of my current house within two days and haven’t found anything new yet. It is a strange feeling, stronger than I imagined. Many friends have told me I can stay in their places if I wanted to, and sleep over for a night or two. I’m not actually scared that I’ll end up in the cold outside one night, and yet I feel a strange anxiety. For the first time since I started this project my insecurity seems to overrule my freedom, and I can now somehow imagine how it can drive people. How they might drop their level of expectation out of despair. I haven’t been actively on the hunt for housing and now housing seems to hunt me. Maybe I am a nomad after all.

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reading lights on an angle

With a few bare pieces of furniture I’ve had a lovely home for the past three months. I had done little to make it my own place, rearranged the furniture once after a month or so. This was my comfortable seat for relaxing. Since the place was quite dark when I got there, I placed these two lamps on the wall behind my relaxing chair. It looks as if there had been a bookshelf before where the wall held four plugs, two above two others (you can still see the lower ones). The light also has two holes to hang it, but they are next to each other. Just one of the available plugs fitted the lights, hence their angle.

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The one thing I always bring on trips

Going through all the things I have forced me to reconsider their value. I did not automatically take all my most valuable belongings but building a home on the move requires a mix of practically and emotionally valued things which is difficult to define.

This rope is the only thing that I always bring on my trips. I mainly use it to hang my drying clothes, but it also served many other purposes. It held improvised curtains for months in my Stockholm apartment, helped keeping me dry during cold, rainy nights in Austrian forest and prevented my luggage from falling off a truck on a bumpy Burmese road.

It is not their economic value, nor the frequency of use, but maybe it’s about the memories that stick to objects that define their value to a great extent. And memories often come with the unusual, with improvised use. What does open functionality, or the degree of improvisation allowed by a product mean to its value? And to what extent do we need to physically understand these degrees of freedom? For instance, I have used software on my computer to digitally improvise in many cases, yet I do not feel such a strong physical relation to my laptop or the applications it carries, for that matter.

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I missed my spices

I’m still looking for a way to get a healthy diet into my new lifestyle. Since I’m working long days and have to travel quite a bit to get home afterwards, I’ve been eating at work or on the train a lot. We only have a small oven and a microwave to warm things up so dinner often comes down to some takeaway, pizza or microwave meal. When I do cook at home, I am glad to have my spices and sauces in place to turn some fresh ingredients into a decent dinner. Initially I didn’t bring my stock with me, and I was forced to buy all ingredients for each meal, decreasing complexity and diminishing improvisation.

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When solid, I used to stock up on vegetables from the marketplace once a week, buy bread from the bakery I liked and choose a cheese at my favourite cheese store. Now, I go to a market less frequently, but when I do, I visit one that I have never been before. Makes me try new ingredients and it feels like being on holiday in some weird way.

However, as much as I am now more likely to come across new ingredients to cook with, the quality of my dishes might not benefit from my naivety in this regard. When cooking with tomatoes for example, I used to know exactly which tomatoes from which stand I liked. Although I might base my current choice more on my own senses, the look and feel of the tomatoes and possibly a bite, it is still somewhat of a gamble.

I think this exemplifies a general issue with our liquid future. If we don’t get used to situations and cannot trust on previous experiences to help us make decisions, how do we find the focus to go beyond a first look at things?

Are we superficial without prejudice? Or are there other, less excluding ways for guidance? I’ll try a different approach on my next hunt for fresh produce.


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Yesterday we had parliamentary elections in The Netherlands. Since I still lived in ’s-Hertogenbosch when they sent me the card to vote with I had to go back there in order to vote. Luckily its on my daily route now but it brings up both practical questions as well as fundamental ones for Liquid Living:

– What will the implications be of moving from one address to the next? Will I miss out on fundamental things due to my lack of a solid address? What mail will I miss? Could I live without one registered physical address?

– When do we start trusting digital addresses and digital votes?

– Will location remain the main political structure in the future or can different groups of people with different ideas about how to live define their own laws? Could social democrats, liberals, religious, socialists, greens, anarchists, etc. define their own states (however big or small) over distance, not defined by geographical borders?

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Liquid living is explored through combinations of design and research. This project looks at a number of trends in society and technology, towards a future in which we construct our own identities through mediated connections, without the restrictions of fixed locations.

To address this abstract future, a special platform was designed for Ocean Search. This project involves sailors collecting data on water quality for oceanic researchers, and using storytelling to connect these abstract data to the personal experience of being on the ocean.

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