Saturday, March 3, 2012

Life, in the Low Lands:

Life in Amsterdam continues to move forward and each day I become more comfortable in my own skin, and with the decisions that I make on a daily basis–(hopefully) leading me in the right direction, for the future. I love thinking about my future; it seems that every time my life gets overtly exciting (for me at least), something even more fun or with just a bit more opportunity, comes along. Like the lovely lampposts in Amsterdam: with 20 in view, which to pick? Which subject in life to focus on? So many events occurring in the world excite me, but very few ignite me. I will continue to unravel and re-twine my language–my ways of interacting with the tangible and intangible worlds around me. As I grow, my interests and passions become more defined as I take in more visuals, more words, more experiences, more 'history'; solidifying my deep and ever increasing interested in the world of design. My known medium of printed matter and words are in decline–but books and magazines will continue their pace if not slowed; and if not to spread information, for their beauty, their stories, and their ability to pull us within their pages, and lead us through another world. To quote Linda Tischler, 'No one really knows what design is! Is it a verb? Is it a noun? What is it!?' But that's just it–it's everything.

Everything in the human world around us has been designed. And design is more than just a chair. Someone, somewhere, has given thought to just about everything we hear, see, touch, and taste (and in some instances smell). That pen, those shoes, that building, those cars; once gardens become designed, it becomes a design of nature. We are learning to 'stop pestering Mother Earth', says Li Edelkoort–to live in harmony with nature, and not control and rebel against it. Perhaps some of the human world's creations were designed–or made–with little thought, while others were, and less frequently are, impeccably conceived and executed. It's the latter I'm interested in. The beautiful, the detailed, the stunningly crafted. And when there is trace of the human hand, it's even better. No matter what we can design, with all of the world's technology, for better or wore, all of those designs still have to be made by human hands. So much in the world is thrust out into it with little thought for what happens next. What is it that we're all doing–day in and day out–while shuffling around our cities, our streets, our houses? What are we giving back and taking from the world around us, and what is it that we want those who live centuries from now, to know about us? And what will we leave of importance to them? Even today, video, photos, and even books from, the not too distant 1920s or 1980s look... dated. Yet they continue to inspire us now. Will the current popular culture of nostalgia continue? Or will we dream up and create our new future, our new cities? In which ways will the digital revolution's impacts continue to evolve? Will our societies become further transparent? And will we further align with, and look toward, nature for our inspiration in our own built environments, social structures, and popular cultures?

I have been thinking quite a bit as of late, as to what it is I want to do in the world, what it is that I want to thrust into it, and who it is that I'll collaborate with along the way. I feel as at this moment in time, I'm in the perfect place for me. It's a wonderful feeling to wake up everyday and know that that day, I'll be doing what I love to do, again! I enjoy that and treasure it. But who knew that my obsession with books and magazines would so poignantly direct my continent-hopping path? Not me, certainly. But then again, I set into motion everything that lead to me living here, in Amsterdam. Debbie Millman's wonderfully satisfying 'Design Matters' podcasts have been traveling out my (new!) iPhone and into my white earbud headphones, on repeat, these days. I must say, I've listened to all of them–though I keep returning to a few, for their witty intellect, sharp insights, big picture viewsnappy dialogue, take on media, editorial experience, connection to nature, 'stranger' point-of-view (that I have at times often related to)... And, for the simple fact that they make me happy. I might have also started digging through the archives–whoops. Each offers something useful, and quite often, a lens onto another way of taking in the world around me. I quite like that.