INSIGHTS 01/12 On an daily basis I annotate the reflections I have while conducting the different works of my project. These reflections are coming to me as epiphanies. I am not on the look out to reflect about my tracking practice but I am simply stroke out of the blue about a certain aspect of it often in relation to other social or cultural issues. I could the be bathing my youngest kid and might suddenly be surprised that I am conducting the life of a housewife but I can still survive both spiritually as well as intellectually. As soon as I am done bathing my kid and my hands are also dry I might annotate a reflection on how necessary it is to have natural responsibilty for meaning making. I might also reflect my conditions to that of enslaved people like the Greek fabulist Aesop or the nanny and life-archivist Vivian Maier. The beginning of this refelction might in fact start with the adjective "OPPRESSED" written in capital letters. In this respect each reflection is written on my smartphone as soon as it arises, and it is labeled with an adjective that symbolizes its content. These adjectives often repeat each other and can well visualize what I think of my project. This work then becomes the field study of an auto-ethnographer (Fig. Screenshot of one page of the insights I gathered throughout a month while accomplishing the various works of my project).
INSIGHTS 02/12 When writing these reflections I refers to himself as "the documenting subject". I therefore use the third person as almost if anyone undertaking a documentation project might in the end experience what I report in my observations. As an example, under the adjective COMPASSIONATE I write: "In my living the world like a pilgrim rather than o tourist, the documenting subject develops a full compassion for all humanity and their landscapes identifying the evil in only those who hinder this process of migration for the sake of power control." In another instance under the same adjective I write: "The documenting subject feels pity for other creatures and most of all for a solar nature that is left behind and his project can be seen as a poetic attempt to become that nature by being able to leave it although the documenting subject has had to go through the darkest of artifacts to learn how to do so while also envisioning to others a way out" (Fig. Screenshot of my phone in the process of writing an observation using a simple notepad application. As it can be seen just above the virtual keyboard suggestions are given to me as to what I should write. Given that "the documenting subject" is used rather often the word is automatically presented as soon as "the doc" is typed making it not too tedious for me to write every time the full length of the world).
INSIGHTS 03/12 The observations come as a sudden insight I get while in the midst of my practice. For example I can get one while it is still dark outside and I am in the attic of my girlfriend house in the Netherlands updating my project or while I am standing on a 6 meters ladder I use for the maintenance of the project museum in the alps. In this respect I am charged with some sort of an inspiration and if I wait too long to annotate it this inspiration is somewhat lost and only the concept is retained. For example in my girlfriend's attic I have my smartphone immediately at hand and I can write the observation down at the very moment I get it. Up on the ladder placed against the project museum I am likely to have my hands occupied for example welding a texture. In this case I have to make an effort to remember the observation and this can be done only if I am able to formulate it (Fig. Screenshot of my email account and specifically of an email I sent to myself in order to transfer the insights of a specific month to my laptop for editing. Ironically as the use of email started to be replaced by social media messaging and as I gave up my career to fully dedicate myself to my project and my family, I began to only receive these emails I send to myself. As with other annotations I make sure that they get deleted from my email account in order not to contribute to any form of data capitalism and dataveillance).
INSIGHTS 04/12 The form of writing I present in this work is the one for which I have been receiving much criticism during my years as a scholar. These annotations resembles the notes modern philosophers have also been taking in the course of a philosophizing that has not been a mere profession but rather a way of living. The Italian romantic poet Giacomo Leopardi was an early pioneer of reporting in a book he called the “Zibaldone” his most diverse observations. In Germany Friedrich Nietzsche first and later Walter Benjamin also experimented with such non official and more subjective and intense way of doing philosophy. Nonetheless the serious scholars have despised my spontaneous and inspirational way of coming up with new thoughts. In particular they did not tolerate that they were inspired by my, in their view non-objective practice. Much of the observations may seem redundant. Reading them however one gets a sense of the motivation behind my undertaking. A scholar might in fact dismiss all the theories about compulsive archiving and hoarding and self-tracking as a form of control they put up front in relation to my practice. This body of work as such could cast a great doubt on the very foundations of contemporary humanities (Fig. Screenshot showing how observations are pasted in a text document so as to remove the formatting of the actual email).
INSIGHTS 05/12 Every month I write an average of 8 observations. The observations then only amount to 2 per week. In this respect I really try to seek for observations that are truly insightful. I try to give myself room to actually come up with some original insights. It could be easy to instruct my brain to come up with one observation after another as I am partially doing writing this very book. The idea with these observations is instead to forget that I am also following this project so that suddenly out of the blue I can get fresh insights about them. Purposely then I am not making it part of a more daily routine, a constant work such as the thoughts I record every time I am walking alone. As a matter of fact if I gets an insight when walking outdoor that might relate to my archival practice I gives the priority to turn such an insight into an actual thought to be spoken and recorded. The writing of observations then mostly occurs not when on the move but as said mostly when accomplishing more or less sedentary tasks specific to my project. Simply photographing a rusted knife when cutting a tomato grown by an old neighbour could in fact trigger a new inspiring analogy leading to an observation (Fig. As visible in the screenshot the observations are written using Consolas font 11 on a 21.59 by 35.56 centimeters layout with 2 centimeters borders all around it).
INSIGHTS 06/12 Most of the time the adjectives I use to bookmark each observation repeat themselves; it is very unlikely that I use an adjective that has never been used before. If I anyway did use an adjective that was never used before it is likely that this adjective is a synonim of one I used very frequently. The frequency of adjectives in this work gives way to the possibility of estimating what thoughts are more prominent in my mind with regards of my extensive and continuous documenting project. These most prominent adjectives might in fact be a surprise also to myself and could act as a mirror revealing my more subconscious type of motivations. These adjectives alone could be useful to depict the kind of solitary and daring man I am trying to be in experimenting a total narrative of time that is ultimately meant to generate a critical awareness of reality (Fig. World cloud generated early on in the project showing the most prominent adjectives I have been thinking on in relation to my documenting practice. Interestingly these adjective might present a very different picture from any thesis that might be brought forward using the ready-available academic theoretical frameworks. It is also true that these world clouds may in fact dramatically change over time or at least certain areas within each of the clouds I could conduct as X-rays periodically).
INSIGHTS 07/12 These observations are not the only way in which I relate about my project. In a way this very thesis is perhaps a further elaborations of these observations and the observations themselves become more of the notes from a field-work, the auto-ethnographic method that I have set up to make meaning of my practice beyond common people stereotypes and the stereotypes that dogmatic academic frameworks necessarily bring up in relation to my kind of practice. Other observations that I might bring forward about the project itself are in my journal, especially at the beginning of it when a style of strictly relating my day was not yet established. The documentaries I make about myself and my practice can also lead the viewers to a broader understanding of my practice beyond preconceived short-comings. Needless to say however this work alone is quite cold and does not establish with the reader the kind of emphaty the above mentioned works could establish. Perhaps neither of my work does so individually but it is in the gaps I leave in not bridging them together that emphaty could be established most importantly with him or herself (Fig. Screenshot of a British tabloid newspaper with comments about my practice as disclosed by a journalist. Pretty much all comments ridicule me, yet this ridiculing hinders people from actually being able to understand what it is really behind it).
INSIGHTS 08/12 Not only low-educated folk but also folk with some degree of education, if wanting to judge my practice they do so by claiming that they don't give a hell about my “life-shit”. It is too boring for them and they anyway did not even manage to go through all of it. Mostly they can be impressed that I could make a living with my shit. Perhaps only through an examination of the “boring” self-reflections that I make about my own practice some other observations might emerge from these folk who tries to relate it from the outside. Generally speaking it seems as if only myself is able to draw certain meaningful conclusions from my practice, thus defying the academic rule of objective distance; the documenting subject himself becomes the only subject able to examine his own practice, the object of observation. Nonetheless my objective lays in being a social outcast, I am in the unique position of examining social developments (Fig. Screenshot from an offensive article by Karl Thompson, a prolific blogger rapidly consuming my practice and posting it only for the sake of also having covered the issue without any particular in depth analysis. He was anyway obliged to keep it a 4 minutes read with less than 600 words, something obscene to try to relate a 36 years long project as try to comment on Tolstoy's War and Peace only after having reading the initial chapters).
INSIGHTS 09/12 The insights I generate through this work might in fact provide somewhat of a feeling to what really my practice means and to what really I have been up to. They disclose my drive, my dedication and to some extent my sacrifice to collect a life at the end of human life, an end marked by new ways to automatically enslave not only the human body but also its very soul. My manual and human effort demonstrates the possibility of being able to expand human faculties without all these unnecessary add-ons; they make humanity overall more dull and under social-control without any self-control, the self-control that I very much show via my rather stoic practice. In a way then while the public conceive me as being part of such a cybernetic movement, I am providing the non-cybernetic alternative to keep human (Fig. Screenshot of yet another industrial proposition of an implant pairing human with artificial intelligence. While these forms of human augmentation may never come true, I increasingly see how one has to struggle with forms of A.I. in day to day life. In my view A.I. is adopted to remove the very effort that I am so much keen on. Ultimately my practice is a grand physical and mental human effort in a time in which humanity through technology is turning effortless and in this respect also more malleable).
INSIGHTS 10/12 Reexamining the observations I made on my own practice one might in fact at last get an image of a classic poet. Not so much a geek trying to track life 24/7 nor an artist trying to do something provocative only to be seen; what emerge is a poet plain and simple, a poet with his moments of solitude, with his life roaming a nature in search for his human nature, using the new media of digital technology yet maintaining a compositional rhythm, a scale and a colour scheme. Not only the nature of this poet comes forward as being very precarious but also the very poetry that provides him such a strong meaning to exist. Perhaps I have turned into an ancient type of philosopher, roaming with my dirty sandals the landscape and trying to connect more vertically to spiritually rather than wasting my life connecting horizontally to the social environment (Fig. Screenshot showing me exploring the Scandinavian landscape with my oldest son, transmitting him my love for nature and for being in nature while philosophizing about human nature. This however has occurred in a most greedy setting with urban expansion and a Scandinavian society becoming increasingly richer believing to be the example of civilization while stepping over poetical practices like that of anyone willing to simply be in constant dialog with nature rather than letting it being exploited for progress sake).
INSIGHTS 11/12 While I have been perhaps a pioneer in the field of artistic research, I have been always and vigorously pulling out myself from any attempt to institutionalize it. In the first place I generally find artistic research too literal for already established artists and too regimental for emerging artists. The latter have no time to fully develop their own way of philosophizing being immediately mentally set on ways they should do research without really having at last anything to produce but the research itself. As I see a great danger in the ways art academies are now placing their pupils to follow certain methods under a set of mainstream ideologies, I find it imperative then to pursue my on trajectory outside of these tighter frameworks of constant self-reflection about an artistic practice which at last become only an excuse to do the research (Fig. Cover of Jacek Smolicki's dissertation. Through the years of our friendship he has built his artistic practice using the artistic concepts I have been so engaged in developing. He latter got trapped in the academic work, with sophisticated theories and a good academic career ahead at the expense of my independent work. Smolicki is the Polish artist Wenceslas Steinbok; a Honoré de Balzac's character turning from a talented artist into a feeble critic. In this respect I have labeled the emphasis of research in art institution as the Steinbok syndrome).
INSIGHTS 12/12 In an ideal exhibition the insights should be presented in one wall of one of the six side rooms surrounding the main exhibition. As an adjective is given to label each observation, the very observations could be placed in alphabetic order and divided in 26 books, each corresponding to a letter of the English alphabet. The resulting work could then be resembling an encyclopedia presenting the many aspect of a fully immersive documentation practices. In this respect it can be seen as a counter encyclopedia, only focusing on one single practice yet this practice in its determination can be said to encompass all practices, present, past and even future ones (Fig. Rendering of the ideal exhibition with the location where the books should be presented highlighted in red. While the books could be placed in a long shelf with some distance from one another so that the viewer could eventually open a volume and read it on the same shelf, the background wall could present a large word cloud where the adjectives not only are increased in size based on their frequency but also correlate to one another based on the content they describe. For example the adjective PURE and the adjective SPIRITUAL should be somewhat close to one another. This operation could be in fact done manually by myself, not trusting the intelligence of computer beyond the actual frequency counting).