Hello friends, it's Ben here.
Welcome to another Extra Practice Newsletter.
Now that springs officially in season, I hope that some of the tips we wrote in our last newsletter are coming in handy. I, for one, have been enjoying watching the pigeons attempt to climb down the spindly branches of the tree outside my house as they pluck the blossoms in the mornings. They usually end up hanging upside down and it makes me lol.
In this months newsletter, I wanted to write about something without necessarily knowing where it would end up. So please bear with me, and also bare with me ~ ~ ~
On the 27th of March I made an account on Wikipedia. I'm not quite sure what led me to do it, other than the intrigue of seeing what it was like to edit something made by someone else online. I didn't have any intention to edit, I guess I was just curious.
You see, online I am mostly a lurker. I sign up, look around and then don't post, interact or participate and if I do, its a rare occasion. I like to think that when I do post, it somehow becomes more meaningful than if I were to post everyday but I think if I were to examine that logic I would find something quite flawed.
In a conversation in the studio this week with Kirsten and Gijs, we talked about how spending time with something you're working on, whether it's active or passive, can give you more of a feeling for it. In this case we were thinking about a piece of graphic design, but it made me think about all the other things I need to spend time with if I am to get a feeling for them. For example, I (try to) read the first 50 pages of a book in one sitting in order to get to know the writer, their way of writing and the general vibe of the book. It gives me more of a sense for the world I'm entering when I read the text. Somehow I can land within the words on the page and get amongst them. They flow through me more easily.
The same is true for writing. Even as I tippity-tap on my keyboard for this newsletter, I find my mind doesn't want to stay in one place. Look Ben, theres a pigeon in the tree, look Ben theres a nice dog, look Ben, LOOK!
A while ago I wrote here and then, a year later, here about wanting to be more immersed as a general concept for how to approach things in my life and I think somehow I've been developing it as method over the last year or two. It's led me to feel more focused in general, as if I have more direction and I'm more certain of my choices. Long term immersion. However, sometimes I want that immersion on a daily basis.
I just went for a swim. I try to swim each Tuesday at a pool here in Rotterdam. The cost of entry is more than I would like to pay for the amount of time I spend there but it's a really nice pool and in the summer they open an outdoor area and I feel like I could cultivate some Australia lido vibes when the summer finally arrives. Anyway, I try to swim at least one (1) kilometre each time. If the perfect swim were to exist, I would be able to continuously swim up and down the length of the pool without interruption. However, even though I go mid-morning to avoid the early co-worker crowd, there are always other swimmers. Swimmers with different strokes, at different tempos and different abilities. I spend quite a lot of my swimming sessions considering how to streamline my swim by changing my pace so as to not have to overtake, stop mid-length, or overexert myself trying to keep up with someone.
I think swimming lengths is quite a lot like life and I won't explain why.
The utopian swimming session cannot really exist. I think why I like going to a public swimming pool is for the people. Half-naked, big, small, medium, tall, short, bodies all flapping around in a big bowl of chlorinated water in the name of health and happiness. It's quite absurd when you think about it.
I'm writing this because during todays swim, there were 3 or 4 people in the lane with me. During the time we spent there we came to an unspoken understanding that we would give way when someone wanted to go a bit faster and that we would make space when someone wanted to go slower. It involved a lot of eye contact, hasty nods and awkward smiles. It felt good and for the first time in a while I felt immersed in many ways.
I'm writing this on the metro now, between Rotterdam and The Hague and I'm thinking about my Wikipedia account. I think I aspire to be more than a lurker. I aspire to be an active participant in a community. I'm drawn to people who are part of something bigger than themselves. However, when I think about coming out from behind the lurk-curtain (creep), I struggle to settle on the way in which I want to be present there.
I learnt last week that the term Wiki comes from the first ever user-editable website that was launched in 1995 by Ward Cunningham. It was called the WikiWikiWeb, a version of it can still be found online. There's a lot to explore on there (including an idea about Extreme Programming or XP(!)) but what I like the most about it is that it somehow feels organic. You can kind of see how it's been built up over time, with layers and layers of people adding more topics, contributing to old ones and it being as Elliot said, "a bit more of a conversation".
My favourite part of the WikiWikiWeb is that the name stems from a shuttle bus that ferries passengers back and forth between airport terminals at Honolulu Airport. The bus is called the Wiki-Wiki Shuttle (wiki means "quick" in Hawaiian). Somehow now as I sit on this metro thats taking me between two cities after I've spent the morning swimming back and forth between two ends of a swimming pool, I feel the immersion rising up again.
So I wonder now, is perhaps to lurk to also be immersed? When I started writing this newsletter I thought that to immerse myself, I would need to imbed myself in something by being an active participant in it. Now I'm questioning that assumption. Can participation be simply a quick nod of the head to my swimming lane partner as I dive down into the water to continue on my way? It feels shallow, but perhaps with enough nods it becomes something more? I don't know.
If I return to active and passive modes of interacting with things, maybe the active part is still there, as I am writing about it now, I'm just not active in the way I thought (contributing, participating, posting). But somehow I still feel immersed, something doesn't add up. I write this "conclusion" the next morning in my house. I saw a pigeon in the tree so I took a photo to add here. I'm about to shuttle back and forth between my house and the studio. There is no real ending to this newsletter, just a pigeon in a tree.
As part of this weeks writing, I asked XPs to send me their past and present display/usernames. Whether an old MSN name, a gmail account, or a twitter handle, where did it come from and why:
“jb124127” is still sometimes in use for when a dry application warrants. A company I don’t really care for or don’t want to give them something too personal, even an alternative alias can seem too personal sometimes. “jb124127” was designated to me in Raynes Park High School so probably 18 years ago and yet I still remember it along with it’s password (which might still be in use in some remote spots of the internet so I won’t dish it out.) but that password seems like it was a personal one that I chose but I am pretty sure it was also designated, I remember the bit of paper it was written on in blue biro.
I remember when my sister made me a hotmail account, I was sitting on the bunkbed and she was on the computer and the pressure of being able to pick ANY NAME was too much so I went for “email@example.com” I remember thinking at the time that it felt like a serious thing that I would have for a long time so instead I reserved the silliness for the password “BigFatFart” (pretty sure my sister came up with this one).
“BackJardwell” a simple spoonerism but a good one because it has the word back in it. I first used this when I needed to name a track that I was sending in to the DO YOU breakfast show when Charlie Bones ran readers wavs on NTS. This nickname is now purely reserved for the NTS chat room and has since caused some confusion with shoutouts. What was also great about chatango (the chat room that NTS used to use) was that you could also be an “anon”, which became a whole clan of people with Discord this isn’t possible.
@k___s__ consists of my initials + 6 and 5 underscores replacing the rest of the letters in my name. It became my username I guess about 6 or 7 years ago, after @cmykip started to feel outdated (perhaps foreshadowing that I would soon develop a preference towards rgb). I like how it feels calm and spacious, and how it has become part of my –for a lack of a better word– "branding", along with the color #FFF8E7. The only problem is that it's not the easiest username to search for... (hyperlinks ftw)
I'm not sure where Yung Goose came from originally. It was sometime during the pandemic and we (GTBT) were doing a lot of radio and I started playing music on the radio and at the same time I went almost every day for a walk along the canal near our house that had a family of 5 or 6 white geese and I became obsessed by them. Yung Goose is now the name I use when I play music on the radio (or more recently in a club). It's stupid and I love it.
Supergijs. Apparently, as a kid I would not like being called nicknames and always respond: “nee, gewoon Gijs!” Just Gijs. Unfortunately I could never use just my name as a username. Gijs de Boer is pretty common, or at least there is one Gijs de Boer who is really into being the first one to claim email addresses, handles, accounts and domain names. ‘gijsdeboer’ is never available when I show up on a new platform.
But why the ‘super’? I think my relation to nicknames changed, or rather I found a way of dealing with them while in Design Academy. I was doing a project related to posing, which I often tried to avoid on photos because it felt dishonest and I’m a very serious person, until I faced the fact that not posing – looking ‘neutral’ – is also a pose. The only honest way out was to pose in a way that makes it clear that I’m posing. For instance through exaggeration. So, how to make an online brand for yourself that reveals what it’s trying to do? Supergijs.
I usually love coming up with fun names for projects and events, but I’m a very boring user-namer, sorry.. I just use my first name and some sort of abbreviation of my last name 🤷♂️ Maybe because throughout all of primary and secondary school there was another Emma in my class, so I was known as Emma V. But more likely because username possibilities are so endless and my creative brain feeds on restrictions 🤷♂️
📻 Internet Radio Launch: 1st April 18:00 – 21:00, Kiosk, Voorburgstraat 207
Hello fellow bell ringers, silent listeners and chatroomers,
Saturday 1st April 18:00–21:00 — We will gather Kiosk Rotterdam for the first and long anticipated inaugural connection of the internet radio prototype.
Please join at 18:00 for drinks, pizza, live broadcast and riso printing. Tune in at www.goodtimesbadtimes.club
Keep it locked,
💅🏻 ThemeWork?: - 21st April 17:00 – 19:00, Extra Practice, Zwaanshals 209
We love themed party’s, we love teamwork. Why not get work done IN a team, and WITH a theme?! ThemeWork is a series of themed co-working events I am organising at XP throughout this year. Every session will have a different theme and will be open to anyone that would like to get some (boring) tasks done in an exciting environment.
Since the tax-rerturn-retreat got some great reviews, and Q1 tax-deadline is slowly approaching, the second ThemeWork session will again be a tax-edition. This time, come get them done in a nail-salon!
🗂 Live from the Studio
- Kirsten has been spending time with her How To Save Time project. Soending time with her late grandpa's scanned agenda's that meticulously document the everyday. Next week she'll be walking along Lungotevere with a sound recorder and her grandpa's Fujica 8EE
- Jack will launch his Internet Radio Prototype at Kiosk on the 1st of April, visit Kiosk or tune in via goodtimesbadtimes.club
- Gijs is learning to make mosaics, with glass. Quite satisfying, also the 40min cycle through the polders to get to the place.
- Ben opened a duo exhibition at the beginning of March and has been conducting satellite listening workshops with enthusiastic members of the public. The last one will happen in April, you can sign up for it here.
- Emma isn't so present in XP these days, she took a temporary graphic design gig but will return soon with 9-5 energy to work on collaborative videoprojects like 'Papaya'.
- Ben hosted a research day for the KABK Design in the Deep Future Research Group at Varia all about what it means to code in situ
- Gijs is working on two websites, the first gijs.garden collects research on human-plant relations and the second will be a educational resource from his teaching at the Critical Inquiry Lab.
- Jack was interviewed by APRIA about his School within the School project, you can read it here!
- All XP members have been thinking about money through a series of Moneyfesting workshops, maybe something will pop into the public soon
- Ben is working on the digital infrastructure of XP. Soon it will be self-hosted and even messier with thanks to Lukas Engelhardt et al's guide: how-to.computer
- Gijs is revisiting his graduation project on money and trust design. He was recently interviewed for DAMN magazine and has just given a talk at the Sandberg Research & Journalism department.
- Emma has started another 5-week United Mental States workshop with a group of teens supported by Jeugdzorg.
- Gijs is continuing to teach at the Critical Inquiry Lab, guiding second years on their grad projects and workshopping with both years.
Thanks for reading all the way to here :) See you next month!
Lots of Love, Ben