Sunday, 25 October 2015

mind over matter, or perhaps the other way 'round

yesterday a couple of friends and I attended the BRAINWASH festival in Amsterdam; an entire day (from 1 pm to 1 am) dedicated to philosophy,
OMG and whew and wow!
We heard Michael Sandel - from Harvard University no less, and partook in a Socratic discussion on what is just, on what is the right thing to do, some more than others as there were 1600 of us in the audience! Anthrophologist/journalist Joris Luyendijk, whose most recent book Dit kan niet waar zijn about the London bankers world is a bestseller, which I too happened to have read making me feel worthy at being present; Laura van Dolron, theatre maker/performer, philosopher Marli Huijer, who spoke to us about Hannah Arendt's 'inter esse' and how there is always an in-between-space which defines what we think, see, hear, feel, are......Brooklyn based Guardian journalist Oliver Burkeman, who pleaded passionately in favour of inefficiency, I wholeheartedly concur; Farid Tabarki, who was introduced as one of the most
 influential persons on our planet*, although to be honest I had never heard of him, which probably says more about me; he is a trend watcher who has been travelling the globe observing and predicting where we're heading! His main claim is that in our so-called modern, fluid society what we need to do is LISTEN to each other, amen to that. Joep Schrijvers, author of international ever seller Hoe word ik een rat? or How do I become a rat? joined a discussion on the future of capitalism and a couple more whose names I can't recall.   
fortunately the talks were situated in various locations, so we were not just sitting and absorbing, we got to walk and talk a bit as well; en route from one theatre to the next we stumbled upon this cute book stall, I have never seen these in Amsterdam before, they always remind me of Paris....so romantic


and here in the Theatre 'De Brakke grond', yet another bookshop: with an incredible selection of second-hand books and exclusive limited editions; I simply couldn't resist and bought three slim volumes to rinse my grey matter after such an enervating day



I am attracted by book covers, so the choice was made with my eyes rather than my mind:
the first I feel speaks for itself, or rather Herself: 'a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write' the one and only Virginia Woolf 

the second is an interview with the German author Rainald Goetz an unknown to me, the bookseller told me Goetz, during a televised literary tournament in 1983 said 'Ich schneide ein Loch in meinem Kopf' and adding action to words, he slit his own forehead with a razor blade and as the blood ran down his face he continued reading until finished, I became intrigued; the title suggests a passionate nature as it translates into "Anger = Energy' 

Book number three by 
Jean Cocteau, visual and word-artist, took me back to a framed poster of this exact same image we had in our family home, so this was my madeleine for the day and as the title refers to children, albeit terrible ones, quite fitting I think. 


* I exaggerate a petit peu



meanwhile back at the studio, tiny stitches connect dike to water

7 comments:

Mo Crow said...

Gosh you have a fine mind Saskia taking in such an intense day of philosophy... I tried reading the work of the great philosophers when I was young but it went in one eye and out the other sort of bypassing my brain!

Nancy said...

Even if I could have understood and therefore processed the information, I'm sure I would have been wiped out for days! Ha! Please do tell us of the books once you read them. I love the way of these tiny stitches :)

Ms. said...

A full day of nourishing those little grey cells! Fabulous choices (at least 1 and 3--not so sure about the Anger = Energy guy, but one is never in actual danger so long as the razor stays in the book :->)

deemallon said...

such energizing doings! and thinkings! now you need a room of your own just to take it all in? two things stick out and will come with me today -- celebrating inefficiency and our need to LISTEN to each other. Ahhhhhhhhh. PS what did you study at university?

grace Forrest~Maestas said...

glad, so glad to be back to coming by here, hearing your doings....
LOVE that sweater you are wearing a ways back with your hat and
reading glasses...
I wish i could still feel like reading. I don't know why i don't??????
a mystery

Saskia van Herwaarden said...

well Mo, I cannot claim to be a philosopher, as I haven't officially studied philosophy; I didn't used to think that mattered, however a philosophy tutor who happened to be living in the same students' digs I lived in for a while, explained how I could lay no claims to the title 'philosopher' as I wasn't a philosophy student....hahaha, I wasn't laughing at the time, but now I do, what a pompous prick.
The entire day was exhilarating and as these things go, I keep returning to certain trains of thought, like Dee commented, how I LIVE inefficiently and embrace that (my masochistic trait), also the importance of listening. I serendipitously received an invitation in my mailbox from my old university, so in a couple of weeks time I'll be attending a workshop about listening, and different so-called 'listeners' profiles' .
In answer to your question Dee: I read law in university and also attended art college. I am incredibly fortunate in that I do have such a room: my wonderful studio, inefficient and imperfect as it is, I love being here!
Oh Nancy, I'm sure you too would have picked up a seedling or two, which you would have nurtured into full growth! Have faith in yourself:-)
Of course, I did hesitate for a second Michelle, however a long time ago (in my art school days) I learned a very valuable lesson from one of the other art students: don't look away from that which frightens you, or is alien to you, instead examine why you have such feelings and try and see if you can't learn something new from the other....I will be reporting on the reading, although that may take a while....
have missed you too Grace, happy and glad you're back! I have noticed my reading has slowed down, something to do with aging.....but still I surround self with books and continue to read albeit less than I used to.

Katherine Dunn said...

I studied in Oslo years ago, and got to travel to Amsterdam and other places. It is so fun to see these images. i will be back!