Three years on, the great 11/11/11 anniversary party

There are many reasons why to throw a party on the 11th of November: the opening of carnival (in some parts of the Netherlands and Germany), Women’s Day (in Belgium), Single’s Day (in China) and, of course, all around the world many people commemorate the end of World War I.

— Read more ›

By René Boer — Posted November 15, 2011 — 4,883 Comments

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

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 ( 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

Failed Architecture #3: black architecture

(Zwarte MadonnaPhoto taken from Presseurop)

FA #03: Amsterdam, The Hague, Belgrade, …

After the first edition with the American writer and urbanist Anthony M. Tung and the second edition with a panel of five speakers, who provided an international overview of cases of ‘failed architecture’, we are happy to have the following speakers as our guests during the upcoming (third) edition on Wednesday June 15th.

Arnold Reijndorp is an independent researcher at the cutting edge of urbanism/architecture and social and cultural developments in the urban field. He holds the Han Lammers Chair of Social-economic developments of new urban areas at the University of Amsterdam, and is associated with the International New Town Institute. With Maarten Hajer he published In Search of New Public Domain. Recent co-authored publications in Dutch are: Atlas of the Western Garden Cities of Amsterdam and Themed Communities: Living in a imaginated place. In his talk he will focus on the thin line between utopia and dystopia in new towns and themed communities.

Paul Groenendijk has been active as a writer specialized in (Dutch) architecture since 1984. He will talk about his encounters with a wide variety of ‘failed architecture’, focusing on his most recent book that describes the rise and fall of the Zwarte Madonna, or Black Madonna, arguably the most notorious social housing apartment block in the Netherlands. It was demolished in 2007 after years of fierce debate. The only people who protested against its demolition were a few of its inhabitants. At that point even the architect didn’t care anymore, saying: “I am glad it’s gone”.

Maja Popovic is an architect from Belgrade with an articulated interest in preservation of 20th century built heritage and the relationship between architecture, memory and storytelling. In her talk she will focus on Staro Sajmište. This was the site of Belgrade’s international fair before WWII. During the war, it was turned into a concetration camp by Germans. Today it’s mostly in ruins. The vast complex of buildings and smaller pavilions was supposed to kickstart the large scale development of New Belgrade in 1937, but during communist times the plans radically changed and Staro Sajmište became isolated and neglected. Although doomed to be forgotten it found a way to survive as a refuge for artists and outcasts. But how can you engage the public at large with this historically significant place, and how can it be rescued for generations to come?

The night is hosted by Michiel van Iersel with Tim Verlaan and Mark Minkjan.

Staro Sajmište during WWII (photo taken from Oldtajmeri)


Failed Architecture is a series of talkshows with presentations by various experts and public discussions that focus on buildings and urban environments that failed to stand the test of time and are neglected, abandoned or even vandalized or demolished, because of changing economic, social, political, cultural and/or physical circumstances.

Without a doubt the maxim ‘Failed Architecture’ raises questions. What and according to whom is architecture failed? Which criteria do we use when assessing architecture, e.g. the viewpoint of inhabitants and/or users, architects and/or planners? And how does the ‘Zeitgeist’ or ‘our’ contemporary taste and cultural differences influence our judgment of buildings and cities?

Follow Failed Architecture on Facebook and Twitter

Next Failed Architecture?
Failed Architecture will return after the summer. Check our website for updates.

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).

By Michiel — Posted June 2, 2011 — 6,220 Comments

Live stream of the World Minimal Music Festival


Today is the opening night of the World Minimal Music Festival. Five days of worldclass music from minimal composers and musicians from all over the world. One of the highlights is the presence of one of the key figures Steve Reich. The festival is supported by the local music scene of young electronic producers like Tom Trago, Aardvarck and Mamiko Motto, and experimentalists Machinefabriek, Thomas Ankersmit and Raphael Vanoli.

In collaboration with public network VPRO Dorst we are covering the festival in realtime on their live blog. This is a on-the-fly experiment to embed the Muziekgebouw via social networking tools like Tumblr, Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, Shazam, Ustream and WordPress. You can follow the festival below here as it unfolds.

By Juha — Posted March 30, 2011 — 5,034 Comments

Opening Sound Shuttle sound installation

We are happy to present the Dutch premiere of the sonic art installation Sound Shuttle, a collaboration between Max Hirsh and Michael Schiefel, in De Verdieping on Wednesday 23 March from 17:00 to 22:00. This work takes a playful approach to the acoustic dimensions of life on the go. Reconfiguring the noises produced for and by people in transit, the exhibition highlights the influential role that acoustics play in shaping our experience of the everyday urban environment. Traveling and commuting is the essential daily experience shared by many, from the MTR in Hong Kong, the Sherut, ‘shared taxi’ in Tel Aviv, Israel to the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, France. Around the world, transit spaces enable our movement across cities, countries and continents.

Sound Shuttle is an intersection of sound art with urban studies. The project has been ongoing for 4 years and was shown in Berlin, Hong Kong and Tel Aviv previously. The sounds are field recorded of commuting networks in various cities such as Berlin, New York, Tel Aviv, Ho Chi Minh City and Beijing with a special made electronic device designed by Max.

Max Hirsh
Originally from Berlin, Max is an urban and architecture theorist and is currently a PhD Candidate in Architecture at Harvard University. His dissertation – Airport Urbanism: The Urban Infrastructure of Global Mobility investigates the expansion of international air traffic and its implications for architecture and urban design in Amsterdam and Hong Kong. Max has been a visiting faculty member, guest lecturer, and design critic at Harvard University, Princeton University, Yale University, the University of Hong Kong, Chinese University of Hong Kong, and South China University of Technology. His writing were published in Log, History & Technology, The Next American City, and Informationen zur modernen Stadtgeschichte.

Michael Schiefel
Michael is a Berlin-based experimental/electronic jazz vocalist and Professor of Vocal Jazz at the Franz Liszt Conservatory in Weimar. Michael has recorded 15 albums over the past decade. His solo performances feature multilayered vocal loops that vary between grooves, soundscapes, and lyrics. Michael’s latest album, My Home is My Tent, was released in Fall 2010. Michael has been a visiting scholar at Harvard; and has given concerts and master classes in Europe, North America, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.

On the same night we will have the Rijksakademie Beamclub with Allard van Hoorn and Sarah van Sonsbeeck. More information at De Verdieping website. Join this event on Facebook.

By Juha — Posted March 16, 2011 — 68 Comments

Tim Hecker joins Ben Frost at Bimhuis

“Foreboding, abstract pieces in which static and sub-bass rumbles open up around slow moving notes and chords, like fissures in the earth waiting to swallow them whole.” The New York Times.

We are delighted to announce that Canadian-based musician and sound artist Tim Hecker will join Ben Frost for a live performance at Viral Radio at Bimhuis, on Sunday 1 May. Since 1996, Tim Hecker has produced a range of audio works for Kranky, Alien8, Mille Plateaux, Room40, Force Inc, Staalplaat, and Fat Cat. His works have been described as “structured ambient”, “tectonic color plates” and “cathedral electronic music”. More to the point, he has focused on exploring the intersection of noise, dissonance and melody, fostering an approach to songcraft which is both physical and emotive. His Harmony in Ultraviolet received critical acclaim, including being recognized by Pitchfork as a top recording of 2006. Radio Amor was also recognized as a key recording of 2003 by Wire magazine. His work has also included commissions for contemporary dance, sound-art installations, minimal techo works under the name ‘Jetone’, as well as various writings. Tim has presented his work in a live setting around the world, including performances at Sonar (Barcelona), Mutek (Montreal), Primavera Sound (Barcelona), Victoriaville (Quebec), Vancouver New Music Festival (Vancouver), and Transmediale (Berlin). He currently resides in Montreal.

Join the community on Facebook.

By Juha — Posted March 9, 2011 — 10,915 Comments

Urbanode call for collaboration

Yesterday I had the privilege to give a brief presentation of Urbanode at the Cognitive Cities Conference in Berlin. To give more background information, here is the full text on Urbanode as written by VURB co-founder Ben Cerveny:

The Urbanode project, a research partnership with Digitale Pioneers, begins the process of creating public system software by wrapping the controls for lighting control systems, such as those found in theaters and nightclubs, in a javascript programming framework.

Javascript is well on its way to being the default choice of lightweight scripting notations for all types of webservices. It has become common practice for any large-scale social networks, streaming media services, and informations systems to present a publicly accessible javascript application programming interface, or API, so that 3rd party developers can call on their functions or read their data in any program. In HTML5, the latest specification for web browser functionality, javascript takes on animation capabilities with the concept of a canvas that the application can draw to, as well as the more traditional mechanisms for creating dynamic applications by manipulating the Document Object Model. In Urbanode, we start to apply these same document-related scripting paradigms to space itself. How do you write applications in javascript that treat space as a canvas? What does the Spatial Object Model, or SOM, look like?

In thinking about designing for programmable spaces, it might be useful to consider a few user scenarios. In this first pass at understanding the design opportunities, lets look at use cases in 3 separate categories of interaction:

1) Direct Manipulation

2) Environmental Control

3) Ambient Information

Direct manipulation is perhaps the most straightforward example. A user might come into a danceclub or other venue and open their Urbanode browser on their mobile device. The Urbanode browser would query the local server and return a list of applications available in the space. In this scenario, let’s suppose there is only one called “Light Commander”. The user selects this application and the browser retrieves the appropriate web interface, which initially presents a schematic view of the lighting in the space, with each light color-coded to indicate whether it is under the control of the venue operator, another user, or available to be controlled. The user taps on an ‘open’ spotlight and is presented with a control interface with a color wheel, directional controls, sliders for focus and brightness, and light pattern icons. There might also be a timer counting down a short interval until the light reverts to ‘open’ and must be re-acquired.

Urbanode running from an Android Phone from VURB on Vimeo.

Environmental control is oriented around locations within the space, rather than specific pieces of controllable hardware. In the scenario we will consider here, let’s imagine a restaurant in which each table has network-accessible properties like “mood” or “energy level”. When the diners first sit, they can open the Urbanode browser and scan a a symbol on the table with their phone’s camera to log-in to that space. The application presented is a simple scrolling list of mood choices like “romantic”, “party”, and “family”. Each choice dynamically effects the table-specific lighting brightness, color, and variation over time. These mood choices might also reconfigure the music stream or other audio, and also be displayed to the staff on a separate monitor so they might choose to service tables differently depending on selected mood.

Ambient information applications serve as ways to map data from network sources [webservices data, mobile device polling, or sensor data] to attributes of environmental mediation like lighting or audio. Let’s suppose the spotlighting on an obelisk in a public square is programmable using Urbanode. A citizen with permission to control those lights could build an application that displayed realtime sporting information using abstract color patterns and sequences. As citizens entered the square, they could consult their mobile devices, open the Urbanode browser, choose the “SportsMonument” application, and learn what the color mappings represented [say a soccer match in which the team colors of the team in the lead would be displayed, brighter depending on how big the lead is].

These examples are by no means an exhaustive catalogue of possible uses of the Urbanode infrastructure. On the contrary, we hope this initial framework inspires a whole range of uses, many surprising to us. We plan to continue adding to the catalog of environmental services Urbanode can control, starting a broader range of lighting equipment and eventually audio hardware and projectors. This kickoff phase in collaboration with Digitale Pioneers marks a strong start to an ongoing investigation of how we will build and live in the public spaces of the future.

The VURB Foundation is looking for new partners and collaborators to start working on new prototypes and services. For more information, please send an e-mail to

By Juha — Posted February 27, 2011 — 5,413 Comments

Juha is contributing to Cognitive Cities Conference

I am delighted and honoured to have received an invitation to give a presentation at the Cognitive Cities Conference in Berlin this weekend. I will talk about my experiences with VURB and the no longer fictional dimension of the networked city. The line up of this conference is impressive, with Adam Greenfield (Urbanscale), Warren Ellis (author) and Matt Biddulph (data strategy Nokia) amongst many interesting people. It will be moderated by Wired Editor at Large Ben Hammersley.

My contribution will be the personal history of a heavy user of the city and its public spaces, and a visiting member of the different tribes of users of the built environment. I have been fortunate to have been hanging out with inspiring people that have been passing through Amsterdam in the past years. Combined with my own interest in how public spaces work and how people make decisions to go about the city, this should hopefully result in a gonzo-journalist portrayal of Amsterdam as an interactive city.

Many thanks to the organisation for this invitation, I look forward to seeing you all in Berlin this weekend.

By Juha — Posted February 22, 2011 — 2,735 Comments