I had barely recovered from last weeks unexplained lurgy and then headed off to the Netherlands once again to The Hague to give a talk – this time at bordersessions. Here’s my Trip Report:
First observation, despite public transporting being incredible over there. The Hague is just that bit further away from everything. Previously it has seemed trivial to just hop cities whilst i’ve been staying. But hoping from The Hague to Rotterdam or up to Amsterdam for dinner etc is a bit more of a mission. I should also note that its more a little more of a mission to get to the airport if you miss the fast train. (Not that I wan’t to relive the trauma of my return journey which included nearly missing my flight on the pages of this blog)
Anyways. I’d never been to The Hague before. I learnt that like 60% of the people who live and work there work for the government. Like a souped up company town I suppose. It does have a lot of church bells, and thats lovely.
The first night of the festival was speakers drinks and the headlining interview with Paul Mason. He was talking about his newest book Clear Bright Future.
During the day the next day I attended the workshop ‘How to measure the ecological development of a zoöp?’ at Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam. the emerging project continuing from the Terrafiction workshops I took part in last year.
In the zoöp concept: an important role is played by the zoönomic instrument that helps indicate the
ecological development of the collective body of nonhumans within the zoöp.
I didn’t take any pictures during the workshop but I did tweet this:
It was good to see other folks there. Sjef, Klass, Theun, Ian etc. Also the folks who have commitments to start a zoöp. Let me tell you, wild speculative ecological conversations in Holland are a decade ahead of where they are in the UK.
I’ve spoken to Sjef and Theun about it a few times now. I suppose its partly around the Netherlands being a totally human managed environment. Landscape engineering is Just what you do with a decade. I dearly hope that when the opportunity arrises, I can some how be the conduit to segue all this important work and thinking into the UK.
Anyway, that evening I spoke on Solarpunk And The Great Unfolding: Building Keystones Of Continuity at the main festival night. The talk was quite well attended and I had some really interesting conversations afterwards at the bar.
I also saw some other fantastic talks, one about the burgeoning Kite energy sector, and another panel on the Zoop, which was all on more than human personhood. Many assumptions at the beginning of the panel, the audience nodded along with zero pushback – wouldn’t of happened in the UK for sure.
Friday, I had the day to myself. I was thinking about attending some of the other workshops as part of the festival but my social battery was below absolute zero so I took myself off to see James Turrell’s celestial vault and ‘The Sand Engine’. Took a fun long assed bus ride though the outskirts of The Hague to the coast.
I got to the coast and set about hiking to the vault. You crest a big hill and are greeted with the crater
You then enter via a tunnel wall and see the alter:
I spent about an hour in the vault. Laying on the alter looking up at the sky. Seeing the first sunshine that had been in the sky since arriving 2 days before hand, the sideways rain had stopped whilst I was on the bus there. It was an amazing experience to have such a long private time with the art work.
I went to see Hollands ‘Sand Engine’ that was further down the coast.
The sand engine (also called Sand Motor) is an experiment in the management of dynamic coastline. The first one was run off South Holland in the Netherlands. A sandcastle-shaped peninsula was created by humans; the surface is about 1 km². It is expected that this sand is then moved over the years by the action of waves, wind and currents along the coast. To protect the West of the Netherlands against the sea,Wikipedia
At this point. I was 90mins from the bus stop and about 2.5 hours from my hotel. I was also burning a little bit. Ill prepared for 23 degree heat with a rain coat stuffed into my travel pack.
In the evening i went for dinner with Theun Karelse and Ian Ingram in Amsterdam and I enjoyed their company a lot.
No podcast (see above)
Dipping the Stacks
The hour that I spent ‘charging up’ on the Alter was very impactful to me. I let my mind wander in a way that I only really do when doing Journeying practice outside of meditaiton.
Laying on the alter in the sun looking up at the sky i felt gears shift and engage, like a complicated pocket watch ticking back to life. I spent a lot of time thinking about what I am doing with my life, and experiencing a humbling.
Indeed, having a lot of free time to myself in a foreign country outside of festival commitments gave me a lot of opportunity to just consider.
Routes though and ways forward. Self reflection, hubris and resolve.
Still smashing though Warhammer books i’m afraid. Im sure you are not interested but I read 2 books last week. Vengeful Spirit + The Silent War.
I was listening to a lot of Sunn 0)))s life metal album. Thats about it.