Francis Alÿs - Song for Lupita (1998)

Dear reader,

I hope this September newsletter finds you well on this first Monday of October.

This past month marked the start of the academic year and, for those of us not actually enrolled or teaching in schools, the end of holiday work-life. Time to take things seriously again and put in the hours – or at least that’s what my internalised capitalism is telling me.

Last month Jack wrote about the intrinsic need for non-commercial pursuits in work and education and how university degrees that don’t offer economically viable career prospects are in danger of getting phased out. It got me (Kirsten) motivated to continue this thread since, as you may know, matters concerning the value of labour and time – specifically those kinds that do not necessarily deliver financial profit or anything ‘productive’ at all – are what I ponder over daily. I had big plans for it. I wanted to include something about Curriculum Veto, the performance by Art Goss we went to see in The Hague on September 16th in which Marthe rolled around the stage while contemplating the artist’s CV and ‘course of life’. What accomplishments do you fill those 2 pages with, and what do you leave out that is perhaps more important and meaningful to you? Then also something about Groot Rotterdams Atelier Weekend on the 24th and 25th, where like last year we were again confronted with visitors that expected to be served art in tangible form but mostly had to make do with verbal representations of our individual and Extra practice(s). What if you don’t have much to show for what you did in the last year? In general, how to manage or entirely refuse expectations or standards, while still trying to participate?

Unfortunately I once again found myself lagging behind and trying to squeeze out the words on the day of the self-imposed deadline. At around 6 PM I thought “tomorrow, tomorrow”, closed my laptop and left the studio.

Then the next morning instead of having another go at writing, I made a parmigiana.

Kirsten's first solo parmigiana di melanzane (2022)

For those that don’t know how much time and labour goes into the making of a parmigiana – it takes some hours, especially for a novice cook like myself. As I took my first bite, a bodily sensation came over me that I hadn’t felt this strongly in a very long time; I was truly proud of myself. “Best thing I made all year”, I joked, but only half.

And then I decided: maybe this is it. Maybe the thing I wanted to write towards is somewhere in the parmigiana. But instead of writing more about it, I ate it.


Extra News of all sorts:


In September I gave a lecture about my practice of satellite listening and the sounds of water to students of the Icelandic University of the Arts. It gave me some excitement and energy to keep developing this practice.

I’m documenting the process with notes, some more expanded writing, photos and recordings. These will soon be online at

This website is hosted on a little computer in the studio of Extra Practice. When you load up the website in your browser, you’re taking a digital step inside of our space. There’s not much to see yet, but come back for another visit later for more.

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I’ve started the workshop-phase of United Mental States project, helping students between 13 and 21 to imagine their mental health as a physical place, and am currently translating their first creations to a huge digital illustration. Jack taught one of the workshops with me, and we started a little workgroup around the public/social aspects of our practices (among other XP workgroups!) which I’m excited about. I’ve been feeling a bit lazy and unproductive, torn between allowing the slowness that perhaps comes with this season/age/life, and disciplining myself back into hard working Emma cause I know she’s in there somewhere. She would finish coding her website.. but maybe that could happen on the train to Florence, where I’m headed next week for sunshine and friendship.

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supergijs has news! Tower decoration time:

> I wrote a piece on what design discourse may learn from the poetics of emerging types of memes. If @afffirmations and @avocado_ibuprofen can share their internal conflicts in a single square image, could claims about the power and limits of design do the same? You can read “Between Fox Traps and Hero Bait” in Design Drafts, available at The New Institute bookshop and Disegno (or come by the studio for a free copy! 🤫).

> I’m happy to be working on an installation of three video portraits with Vera van der Burg. We explore if a self-trained algoritm can work as a kind of personal curator, helping to make sense of the things we collect and make. We’re currently training an object-recognition algorithm using our own subjective labels (‘glorious’, ‘filthy’, ‘teasing’), and making still lives of our objects that these curator-algorithms can try to interpret. “Objective Portrait” will be on show Oct 22-30 at Microlab in Eindhoven during Dutch Design Week.

> BONUS. I’m playing synth for Lloyd Usidame’s solo project ITUA, and we’ll have the first gig on Oct 21 at KEVN in Eindhoven.

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I am really enjoying the autumnal days which are for some reason steeped with nostalgia and have me looking forward to going back to England in November.

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On October 27th I’m performing an essay at MU Eindhoven as part of Dancing with Trouble, a programme by Stimuleringsfonds, where maybe some loose ends of this letter will be picked up in one way or another. The next day my stage persona Personae will be playing a little ambient set at the Hoekhuis zine launch in Flip’s Kiosk. Lastly, I’m happy to be drawing dots every day again.

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