Met up with qn old university friend yesterday evening. We hadn’t seen eachother in over 20 years, and effortlessly talked for over 4 hours straight about our lives.

Enjoying the last rays of sun while waiting for a friend to arrive

A lovely day today in Rotterdam. Meeting up with my niece A, coffee at her place, lunch in the beautiful Market Hall which is just steps away, and visiting the Blijdorp Zoo together. Train to and from Rotterdam, metro within Rotterdam, Y proudly using her own public transport pass. Back home the first dinner outside in the garden this season to top it off.

Rotterdam skyline with the cube houses in front, De Rotterdam and South Tower building in the background to the left, the Pencil on the right.

During our visit to the Neues Museum in Neuremberg last week, this mind map stood out to me. Art collector, dealer and curator René Block (1942) made it as a sort of work autobiography for the period 1964-2014.

It stood out to me because it shows the evolution of his work, the connections between major phases and individual projects.

I have a list of a few ‘big themes’ I’ve been interested in, and have worked on. (in that order, as most often my work came out of a side interest during a previous phase, also when I was employed), and over time I’ve recognised the overall topic that carries them all, a fascination with the affordances of digital technology for our agency and how it impacts how we live, learn, work and organise.

In any given moment I can think that most of my activities are a coincidence, that I happened across them on my generally undirected path, but my blog archive has often shown me that I already mentioned topics and ideas much earlier.
There’s an evolution to them, and since I’ve spotted the ‘carrier theme’ I trust that evolution.

I’m sure I can make a mind map like the one above with the different client projects, activities and key events of the past 26 years. Maybe everyone should make such a map for themselves at times, if only to spot the adjacent paths within one’s reach in the evolutionary plane of possibilities. It seems Block made this at the end of his working life when he was 72. What might it have told him if he had drawn or redrawn it at earlier times?

While in Nürnberg this week, the three of us visited the Neues Museum. I’m not entirely sure what the Neues Museum wants to be. The building is a massive architectural statement, sitting right inside of the medieval city walls. Their collection is a mix of general design history and German modern art, and the current temporary exhibition was about novel materials that are either circular, fully recyclable, or climate neutral. It made me want to have a Steel Case Flex Perch stool. They’re made from recycled electronic waste, usually unrecyclable, and are fully recyclable themselves. Very Waste Tide, and as a former electronic engineering student it appeals to me. I mailed a Dutch office project firm today, who carry the brand. We explored, saw some interesting things, some old tropes as well, had fun.

E and Y, walking on Klarissenplatz, along the facade of the Neues Museum towards the old city wall. (E and I were there 19 years ago)

E and Y in the Neues Museum. Y had the use of an old hand held camera from E, and was snapping pictures, sometimes from slightly unconventional positions…

We spent a few days in Nürnberg this week. Our hotel was in walking distance from the old innercity. In the mornings we walked down the street towards the looming medieval tower of the Frauentor, and had breakfast at the Literaturhaus, a literary cafe and restaurant just across the street from Neues Museum. E had scouted it out as a likely breakfast place before our arrival, as the breakfast surcharge in our hotel was quite a princely sum. It was a pleasant and calm place, with friendly staff that remembered us immediately after our first visit, and picked up on our preferences and habits instantly (like knowing our tea preference for breakfast, and that I took a double espresso shortly after our extended breakfast).

Looking over the posters with the names of the authors that had recently presented there or were slated to do so in the near future, was a good way to explore some new names (to me) in German language literature. Added some to my reading list.

The Literaturhaus Nürnberg on Luitpoldstraße.