Friday, 29 June 2007

Keith Tyson - Large Field Array

In two days' time Keith Tyson's installation Large Field Array will close at the De Pont museum in Tilburg. Fortunately, I was dragged there today by my PhD adviser.

Was it worth it? Absolutely! This is, without a doubt, one of the most fascinating art exhibits I have ever seen. The work consists of 300 individual pieces of art that occupies the floor and two walls of a rather large hall. The objects are placed 120 cm apart in a large grid and range from ultra-realistic sculptures to extremely detailed scale models. The position of a particular object is not random but as a function of its relation to others. Most of them fit inside a 60 x 60 x 60 cube, but some do not.

Of course, the idea is to coax the viewer into trying to make sense of this incredible complexity and diversity. The artist certainly succeeded: I saw elderly ladies get down on their knees to inspect things from up close. As for us, we did not stop darting between the different objects for three hours, and I suspect we could have stayed at it for weeks.

Monday, 25 June 2007

Why Pod?

I've loved the W Hal since I first set foot in it. Apart from its aesthetic appeal, its structure is technically innovative, offering vast areas of open space with access to natural light. The value of this building lies precisely in that it was designed to easily adapt to new needs. I think it belongs, and deserves a place, on the TU/e campus.

Whereas the TU/e main building represents the ambition of the founding fathers of our university, the W Hal shows that innovative, technically sound solutions can also be pragmatic, understated and (God forbid) beautiful. It fits in perfectly in the context of the TU/e campus, a characteristic that its proposed replacement (the pod) clearly lacks.

It would be a grave mistake to demolish the W Hal. You can join the discussion at:

Sunday, 24 June 2007

Running Shoes

The soles of my running shoes have been meticulously designed to provide me with the "ultimate running experience". Their outsoles are made from different types of carbon rubber - I count four colours in total - all with their own rebound characteristics. They are also threaded with different studdings, ridges and gullies to provide me with superior traction.

Unfortunately, as a result of being threaded, my running shoes also tend to accumulate unwanted substances underneath. The muck I collect in this way ranges from being slightly inconvenient to downright disgusting. I am happy to rinse off those at the low end of the scale when I get home, but those at the other end makes me want to dump my "high performance running machines" in the nearest rubbish bin.

So PLEASE, if you own a dog that you take for walks in public places, clean up after it.

Friday, 22 June 2007

Did You Say 1.5 Million?

While driving to work today, I heard an item on Zimbabwe's economy. I was sure that I had heard wrong.

Well, I just checked on the BBC website and it turns out what I heard was correct. The US ambassador to Zimbabwe, Christopher Dell, predicts that inflation in Zimbabwe will reach (are you ready for this?) 1.5 million percent by the end of the year. That is 1 500 000%!

I don't know about you, but I cannot even comprehend what this means. I kind of expect time to warp back on itself at an inflation rate like that. Or, maybe the money in your wallet spontaneously bursts into flames.

Saturday, 16 June 2007

Walking the Dog

For obvious reasons I tend to spend more time than I used to strolling in parks pushing a baby carriage. As a result I have discovered a bizarre phenomenon.

I am not talking about attractive women that spontaneously start to talk to me now. (I should have had one of these in college.) No, this is far more strange.

It seems that taking your dog for a walk is not quite what it used to be. The first time I saw a lady "walking her dog" in a baby pushchair my reaction was "what the hell is this?!" Then I convinced myself to not be so judgmental; the dog is probably old, sick or both. But lo and behold! All of a sudden Fluffy wakes up and jumps from the pushchair in a spectacular arc, starts running around and comes to sniff at my wheels ("get out of here you lazy sonuva...") It would seem fluffy is quite fit. Perhaps his owners just temporarily forgot that he is... uhm... A DOG?

Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with dogs (sometimes with their owners, apparently). But if you want to treat it, just give it a bone for crying out loud!

Mama Told Me Not to Come

I had been warned about this great evil by many people.

Did I listen? Of course not! But it really is evil - a productivity killer like no other. This is the devil's turf! Straight from hell.

Last night at about 21:00 I accepted an invitation from a friend to join Facebook. At 1:00 I looked up again and asked myself "what did I do for the past four hours?" And the worst part is, this morning I got up really early. Just to check.

This is bad, bad, bad.