A new season, a new intern

Almost exactly a year ago we started our search for two interns. And what result we had: one is now traveling the world as a successful producer of zeitgeist music, the other graduated cum laude from the University of Maastricht and is now an official Non-fictioner.

Today, we continue our search for a new intern.

— Read more ›

By Juha — Posted October 26, 2011 — 6,717 Comments

Shedding light on Sinop: images of a city that overlooks its own past

After three days in Sinop, a city on the Black Sea coast in Turkey where we are participating in an ‘urban academy’ to discuss the future of the city’s heritage, we are slowly untangling the complexities of this millennia-old urban center. Here are some first impressions, taking Sinop’s most famous ‘son’, the ancient philosopher Diogenes, as our spiritual guide.

What would Diogenes have asked the people of Sinop if he were to be alive today? The most illustrious of the Cynic philosophers, Diogenes of Sinope (c. 404-323 B.C.E.) serves as the template for the Cynic sage in antiquity. He became notorious for his philosophical stunts such as carrying a lamp in the daytime, claiming to be looking for an honest man. Where would his light guide us today, what will it reveal?

Can this run down and abandoned truck be considered to symbolize or sum up the fate of Sinop’s heritage? Madly photogenic, overloaded with history and poetically appealing, but currently abused and neglected and with no clear plan for rehabilitation in sight. For the last four decades it has been standing on the same spot, next to the main building of Sinop’s old and abandoned prison. Will it ever be able to escape the physical and mental walls of a heritage site in a city that is obsessed with its own past? How can you built a future on a crumbling past and a politicized present?

Built in 1935, as is vaguely indicated on the facade, these dwarf buildings are older than most of Sinop’s citizen’s and have superseded the current life expectancy in Turkey, which for years has been hovering around 72 years. They sit on one of the corners of the city’s main street, like old men on a bench. However, in spite of their respectable age and prime location in the heart of the city, the buildings aren’t treated with the same respect as Sinop’s senior citizens are. These 76 year-olds have to work all day, are continuously exposed to harsh conditions and receive no (physical) treatment. Who will take care of these old guys? Or who is brave enough to stop their suffering?

Kitsch or classy? Fake facades cover up generic architecture, resembling some parts of Disneyland and Las Vegas’ infamous Strip. Or is it a praiseworthy attempt to adjust new buildings to their historical surroundings? Either way, the visual effect is dazzling. Elements of ancient temples collide with medieval brickwork, while billboards advertise the latest fashion trends. Impregnable fortress, tourist trap or consumerist church? People don’t seem to care. They get their haircut, eat their dürüm, talk to their friends on the phone, dissolve in the here and now. The old city walls protected the citizens from external threats. Their fake copies open the gates to our inner lust for harmless comfort.

The city crawls up the hill in an unnoticeable, but unstoppable pace. Ignoring the proven quality of the historic center, with its layered and interwoven structure, new construction is venturing out into vast unspoiled sloping grasslands that offer stunning views of the Black Sea. Luckily, this devastating sprawl will come to a halt, stopped by the cliffs that dive down into the sea 200 meters below. Only the majestic hawks that circle high above the peninsula will manage to escape the flood of generic suburbanism. Sinopians should climb up the hill, to the abandoned NATO base where once the Americans had their eyes on the USSR, and they should look down on their ancient city and see and acknowledge the uncontrolled growth of it. Be their own Big Brother and stop the enemy within.

The skyline of Sinop is dotted with holes. Empty plots and one story buildings are tucked in between high apartment blocks, waiting for redevelopment while real estate development is pushed out of the city center up the surrounding hills. Sinop is an ancient city that is afraid to become a modern metropolis, preferring suburban sprawl and rural life over high density and mixed living. Who owns the underutilized land and the dwarf buildings that stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their giant neighbors? And who is preventing these plots from redevelopment? Does someone own the air above them, the right to have an unobstructed view? Big Brother on the hill should tell the little children in the city to grow up.

Derelict buildings are everywhere, fragile wooden structures with shattered windows and metal plating, about to fall apart. But who owns them, who is using them, who is looking after them, is anyone even noticing theme? Cats have taken over. Gardens are savagely overgrown, starting to resemble an untouched Arcadia. Buildings stand idle, silent memory machines, cut off from the flow of daily life.  Elsewhere these buildings would have been listed, allowing them to start all over again as a private house, museum or monumental boutique hotel. In Sinop they’re orphans without a foster parents plan.

Ghosts from the past come out at night. Ruins that have been left to rot turn every street into a potential crime scene. Hardly visible, they seem to make a final attempt to catch our attention, one last breath before they drift away into dark oblivion. This coastal city needs urban divers and fishermen to rescue these structures from drowning, to lift them from the bottom of an ocean of generic architecture.

Read more about the project ‘Collecting the Future’.


By Michiel — Posted September 9, 2011 — 101 Comments

Non-fiction Diary: entry n.1

We have just started a new tradition. From time to time, hopefully on regular basis, we would like to release an update on what we are currently working on, fascinated by and preparing for. We will be experimenting with the format, but, now, we find small interviews as a suitable way how to share information with you. Short questions, which will be changing over time, should give you, and us, an idea of Non-fiction daily life. Here come the the first round of questions:

  • A warm up question: If you would have to sum up this week with one word, what would it be?
  • We had many interesting meetings this week. Which one was somehow special for you?
  • Are you leaving abroad this weekend? If so, where and why.
  • Song/poem/favorite Czech saying/novel describing this week?
  • Why have we just started Non-fiction Diary?


  • Sauna-on-the-sea.
  • There were a few, but I really enjoyed our final presentation with the Ives Ensemble: lots of energy and constructive ideas for the near and far future for one of my favourite ensembles. They play music for the future.
  • I am going to Linz today to give a presentation at Ars Electronica. It will be on how networked media are changing the way we experience cities, and how I use applications as Urbanode, Sonar and Forecast to read urban information.
  • New Kuedo album Severant is the best coming out this year. And King Rat by China Miéville was an incredible read.
  • We were busy reading BERG’s weeknotes… but here we are, see you next week, have a good weekend.


  • Thesis
  • Besides the first half of the week when I was in daily intensive contact with no one else but my thesis, I met on Thursday Radna with whom we spoke about possible collaboration on Capital A. Nonetheless, as it usually goes, we also managed to have girly talk, discuss rotten fruits or possibility of a new haircut.
  • No, staying in Amsterdam and hoping for some sun.
  • Since I am an expert on Czech sayings, I am happy you have asked this question. This week can be sum up by this saying: Komu se nelení, tomu se zelení./Who is not lazy has a green field.
  • There are so many great things going around us every day, this might be a way how to process them and share them.


(On Fridays, our non-Non-fiction, thus fictional, friend Boris van Hoytema, often joins our office. So here you can read a interview with our office guest from VPRO Dorst)

  • Retrospective
  • The week was dominated by my yearly meeting at the VPRO, looking back at a year’s wins and losses, and making the environment for me to function optimally for the next period I will be there.
  • No, I will stay in and work.
  • You cannot know the future without knowing the past
  • Everything moves to fast. Time capsules will give us the only possibility to remember where we where we were.

And, yes, Michiel is still Non-fiction, and you can read an interview with him soon too. You are also encouraged to ask your own questions, we might use them in the next diary post. Have a nice weekend and thanks for following us.

By René Boer — Posted September 3, 2011 — 3,359 Comments

De Verdieping and Tussen-ruimte-project in Dutch daily Het Parool.

Nice article on ‘urban imperfections’ in Dutch daily newspaper Het Parool, consisting of an interview with researcher Ellen Rutten and a list of places and projects in Amsterdam that play with the with the notion of imperfection.

Two of our projects are listed: De Verdieping, a temporary cultural project space in an abandoned printing plant which we started in 2009, and Tussen-ruimte (Remnant Spaces), an ongoing investigation with architect Jarrik Ouburg of the underutilized spaces (alleys, fire escapes, roof tops) in Amsterdam’s historic (and UNESCO protected) inner city that we want to re-activate with artistic and other interventions during Amsterdam’s year long celebration of the 400th anniversary of its canal area in 2013.



By Michiel — Posted September 3, 2011 — 5,830 Comments

Moon Life Concept Store: call for submissions Moon Life Soundtrack

Alicia Framis
Alicia Framis, ‘Lost Astronaut’ (2009)

Moon Life speculates on the possibility that humans will live in space in the future. With this thought in mind, the project is a stimulus for artists, architects and designers to create futuristic, radical, political but humane concepts for an extreme lunar environment.

The Moon Life Concept Store, part of the Moon Life Project, creates its own futuristic world in which visitors can explore and test or experience the products and concepts that represent future human life in space.

The Moon Life Concept Store is a pop up shop and art exhibition which will travel around the world, with larger contribution by the Moon Academy. 20 international professionals architects, designers, fashion designers and musicians are personally invited to propose a contribution to Moon Life.

For the Moon Life Concept Store, Non-fiction’s music node Viral Radio is creating a Moon Life Soundtrack, and we are actively looking for contributions. Musicians can submit their music to the Viral Radio dropbox on Soundcloud, or via WeTransfer. For questions please send us an e-mail at info@viralradio.net. For more information on Moon Life visit http://moon-life.org.

By Juha — Posted August 23, 2011 — 4,981 Comments

Collecting the Future: participants in urban forum in Turkish city of Sinop

We have been invited to participate in an international forum, focusing on the role of the arts and culture in urban development, in the Turkish city of Sinop from September 7 – 18. Poetically named ‘Collecting the Future‘, the project takes place in an abandoned prison complex and aims to raise the awareness for local heritage (preservation) in a rapidly changing city with a complex history. Foreign urbanists, curators and artists will share their expertise with local experts and residents in a series of lectures, public discussions, publications, workshops and art projects.

We are planning to do a mapping project and walkshop, inviting local participants to visually mark historically and/or personally significant locations within the city. Combining tags, mobile phones with cameras and written notes, we will make a map that draws attention to hidden locations and objects – a favorite view of the city, a crime scene, a secret passage – and present it online and in a small scale exhibition. We will keep you updated during our stay. In the meantime you can get more information on the Collecting the Future website.

This project  is the extension of the 3rd Sinop International Biennial which has been realised last year and is supported by the EU. Project partners are AltArt from Romania, Felix Meritis from Netherland and Collabor.at from Austria. Nuova Icona from Italy, City Council Youth Assembly of Sinop, Sinop Young Businessmen Association as well as the Romanian Cultural Institute are the associates of the project.

Sinop is situated on the northernmost point of the Black Sea coast of Turkey. The city has a population of 36,734 and dates from the 7th century BC. For thousands of years Sinop has been a strategic point in the cultural and trade systems of the Black Sea Region. The port of Sinop has been a host to many civilizations, including Bronze Age, Greek, Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine, Seljuk and Ottoman. Although the city was an important centre for shipbuilding during the Ottoman period, it lost its function during the transformation of the empire.

In 1887 the historical dockyards were converted into a prison complex. As a result, the shipbuilding and commercial centre of the past became a prison town and was left to poverty. The geographical position of Sinop, on a foreland with only a single entry point, also contributed to the isolation of the city.

Because of its strategic location, Sinop had a US military base which closed in 1992. The irony is that the Americans were looking at Russia from their Sinop base for intelligence during the Cold War era, but at the same time Sinop is known as a rather leftist city in Turkey. In the 1980s coupe d’etat in Turkey many educated leftist and cultural people were imprisoned in the infamous Sinop prison that is now a museum and site of Collecting the Future and the Sinop Biennal or Sinopale held by the Istanbul based European Culture Society since 2006.

Sinop entered 20th century as an isolated place from the world. The isolation of the city created other problems such as economic recession, unemployment and migration of young people from the city. The main employment facility of its citizens was the NATO base. After the collapse of the eastern bloc there has been no need for the NATO base in Sinop, which made the economy even worse and the main employment area was closed. After a long period of isolation, Sinop is now in the opening up process.

Read more about the history and current situation of Sinop on Wikipedia

By Michiel — Posted August 21, 2011 — 5,206 Comments

Member of Stad-Forum: discussing the future of Amsterdam

Michiel van Iersel, co-founder of Non-fiction, was asked (and happily agreed) to join the so-called Stad-Forum, which was recently established by the City of Amsterdam as an advisory board, think tank and platform for debate focusing on urban developments and planning issues within the Amsterdam metropolitan area.

The Stad-Forum consists of three key members and a circle of twelve additional members, each with a different background, ranging from entrepreneurs and property developers to scholars, curators and artists. Michiel will focus on such topics as urban regeneration and temporary use of vacant spaces, the role of new and mobile media in the way we perceive and shape our cities and heritage and innovation.

The key members are Karin Laglas (Dean of the Faculty of Architecture at Delft University of Technology), Liesbeth Jansen (Advisor on Redevelopment, Cultural Heritage and Creative Economy) and Wouter Veldhuis (urban designer/architect & partner with MUST).

The aim of Stad-Forum is to identify the most pressing issues and developments that shape the future (appearance) of Amsterdam, facilitate a dialogue between the various stakeholders, and advise the City Council and college of Aldermen on future policy.


Stad-Forum is linked to The Department of Physical Planning (Dienst Ruimtelijke Ordening, or DRO), one of the City of Amsterdam’s centralized services that focuses on the organization and design of an attractive and spatially coherent city.

From September onwards Stad-Forum will actively address issues of contemporary urban life through public and interdisciplinary programs. Its goal is the exploration of new and innovative ideas, public engagement, and ultimately the creation of progressive solutions for life in Amsterdam.

The first public appearance of Stad-Forum will be at PICNIC Festival 2011.

Visit the website of Stad-Forum for more information (in Dutch only)

You can follow Stad-Forum on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.


By Michiel — Posted August 15, 2011 — 6,837 Comments

Capital A: a new yearly visual arts festival in Amsterdam

Amsterdam offers a unique concentration of top artist residences, renowned art organizations and museums, and combines this with a fierce underground scene. Capital A is a new initiative that aims to open up the city’s contemporary art scene to an (inter)national audience. The climax of the initiative is the yearly 3 Days of A. Non-fiction is responsible for the programme and the (online) communication.

 Capital A will be omnipresent (image taken from brand concept Capital A © Vandejong, 29 juli 2011)

The first 3 Days of A takes place from 25–27 November 2011, at various locations throughout the city, all in walking distance. The the website (www.cap-a.nl)is currently being developed and will include an extensive (visual) arts agenda. Throughout the year this website is also the central meeting place for everyone with an interest in contemporary art.

3 Days of A takes place simultaneously with the Open Studios of artists at the Rijksakademie and De Ateliers, as an integral part of the weekend. Prominent Amsterdam galleries, art institutions and museums present themselves for an entire weekend with exhibitions, artist performances and lectures of well known artists and curators, all in an exciting and unconventional way.

Capital A is a joint initiative of the Rijksakademie, Gallery Fons Welters and Gallery Martin van Zomeren and three Dutch private collectors. Fons Hof, co-founder of the international contemporary art fair Art Rotterdam has been appointed director and creative communications agency Vandejong will develop the on- and offline campaign that will play with the letter ‘A’.

© Vandejong

Participants are a.o.: artists, De Rijksakademie, De Ateliers, Stedelijk Museum, Foam, Manifesta, De Appel, Smart Project Space, NIMK, Kunstverein, Salon/Magazijn, Galerie Fons Welters, Galerie Paul Andriesse, Diana Stigter, GRIMM Gallery, Slewe, Van Zoetendaal, Jeanine Hofland Contemporary Art, Ron Mandos, Gerhard Hofland, Vous Etes Ici, Van Krimpen, Juliette Jongma, Annet Gelink Gallery, Martin van Zomeren.

The central hub of this weekend is Tommy Hilfiger’s People’s Place at the Stadhouderskade. On show an exceedingly strong programme, with the highlights of Amsterdam art. The theme is: The Future of Art. Curators of this programme are the founders of Non-fiction Michiel van Iersel and Juha van ‘t Zelfde.

The complete program will be launched here in September 2011.

© Vandejong

By Michiel — Posted August 8, 2011 — 3,402 Comments

Playlist week 26

Five recordings we have been listening to this week:

1. Skuli Sverisson – Seria II
Latest album from New York bases Icelandic bass guitar player that was recommended to us by the equally talented Raphael Vanoli of Knalpot.

2. Zomby – Witch Hunt
From the new album ‘Dedication’ by English producer Zomby who together with Hudson Mohawke and Rustie took out and liquidated dubstep in 2008.

3. Morton Feldman – For Aaron Copland
We have started working with the Ives Ensemble, who have collaborated with one of our favourite composers of the 20th century Morton Feldman.


4. Kuedo – Oh
New ep on Planet Mu by one half of refrigerated post-dystopia steppers Vex’d and Viral Radio friend Jamie Teasdale who roams the world under his anime pseudonym Kuedo.

5. Grouper – You Never Came
The sound you would hear if you were to shred a digital copy of ‘Do Cyborgs Dream of Electric Sheep’.

By Juha — Posted July 4, 2011 — 43 Comments

Cognitive City Salon at De Verdieping/TrouwAmsterdam

Cognitive City Salon
The synthesis of architecture and network technologies.

Thursday June 30 De Verdieping will host two events on the Future City. One of them is the Cognitive City Salon (CSS). In the CCS the synthesis between architecture, urban environments and network technology (smart-phones, AR technology, data-visualization and ubiquitous computing) is presented. How will (online) media and network technology change the way we understand, build, and inhabit our cities? You’re welcome to join the conversation.

The evening will be moderated by Juha van ‘t Zelfde, host of De Verdieping‘s lecture series Visible Cities and co-founder of Non-fiction, Office for Cultural Innovation.

James Burke – interaction designer, user experience architect and co-founder of VURB
Katalin Galayas – Policy Advisor to the City of Amsterdam
Kars Alfrink – ‘Chief Agent’ of Hubbub
Edwin Gardner – VOLUME Magazine

The four of them will present their thoughts on urbanity, technology and how we live in the middle of this all. But the Salons are not intended to give the stage to just the speakers. While sometimes it is important to only receive curated information, we are very much hoping for a lively debate at the event. Be challenged by the speakers, but also do your best to challenge them.

A special call for participation for the next IoT workshop by Volume and VURB will be delivered by Vincent Schippers, Alexander Zeh and Caro van Dijk. The workshop is for architects, planners, coders and others interested in prototyping applications for a more writeable city.

Date: 30th of June
Location: De Verdieping, Club Area (http://verdieping.org/)
Address: Wibautstraat 127, Amsterdam
Begin: 19:00 (start at 19:30)
End: 22:30
Entrance fee: 10 Euros

Please visit the Cognitive Cities website for more information

Visible Cities
Volume Magazine
De Verdieping

De Verdieping is the cultural fringe programme and project space of TrouwAmsterdam and is kindly supported by the Amsterdam Fund for the Arts (AFK) and the Netherlands Architecture Fund (SfA).

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By Michiel — Posted June 30, 2011 — 1,451 Comments