Voynich 2.0: Endurance of the inadequate
A handful of people gathered in the Vondelpark house. The glass window doors are open and it welcomes the sunny/windy weather in, together with sounds that come from the crowded park.
The people drink from what is served: water mixed with several herbs and vegetables. One mix is for example with slices radish, another with slices of lime and lemon.
Most of the people gather on the balcony. I am uncertain if they reckon the work of Elke that is on display. Gentle details are brought upon the several paintings in the living room. They are…twirls…made as if they are…I need to find the right words for it.
Doodles. That’s what they look like. The gentle black additives to the paintings look like doodles, but also a bit like the drawings that express feelings in comic stories. There is an exclamation mark put on a painting of an old woman.
On the cocktail table (now I noticed now there was also gin and vodka to add) lies a program for today. There will be two speakers apparently. One talking on magicians, the other on the human visual system.
The doorbell keeps ringing. More people come in and do their Sunday chatter with people they seem to know well. I’m hoping they wont see Elke’s work right away and will be surprised with it. Well at least I am surprised, because new doodles keep popping up which I didn’t notice right away.
The sound of a spoon on glass. Host Tirza welcomes us. She introduces us to Ruben van Bergen, who will right after talk to us. He’s connecting his laptop to a television. He’s exiting to speak to an “eclectic audience”.
His talk is called “A Waking Dream”. The powerpoint features a painting of Plato’s cave in the background.
The talk is interactive. Ruben questions our knowledge of the human eye. Something about retina and it’s rods and cones, colour and dark. Day vision and night vision. Some seem to know about it.
Ruben tells us people see in different colours, but that our perception is the same.
Women are less colour blind than men. Some superwomen can even see infrared. (But you can’t really tell what somebody else is experiencing).
Someone from the audience says he sees more blue with his left eye, more red with his right eye. Host Marek says Ruben should take a sample of him.
The Flemish painter Brueghel lends himself well to explain us that the eye always focuses on a detail, and can never percept the image as whole.
(Cat “Toekie” behind Ruben sleeps right trough the lecture, but all the others are here with full focus). The cortex part in the brain allows us human to think intellectually and abstractly. It’s as big as “six business cards stacked together”. It’s all folded, otherwise it would never fit inside our skulls.
Pretty abstract level of talking on sight and responding neurons to sight now. Some in Rubens audience stare, others keep following.
He tests our perception with this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubNF9QNEQLA. “It’s just a matter of observation”. The audience is laughing at their own unnoticeability. Ruben is tricking our eyes and brains with several more tricks alike.
He’s ending with a note that doesn’t fit entirely on the tv screen “ife is but a dream…” (a reference to the movie Inception). Life is choreographed by our eyes he means.
Rubens talk complements Elke’s work and vice versa. I’m wondering if people still maybe not recognize the work she’s been doing in the house.
The talk finishes while people find different or better spots like host Marek told us too. Food is apparently served in the kitchen while a new speaker “Pieter Hijma” switches his laptop with Rubens.
Elke shares me her thoughts at the buffet dinner table. She says she wouldn’t have thought people don’t see the stuff she did to the house. She says, “People did go to an art occasion, so…”.
Sound of a spoon on glass again. Pieter kicks off. He’s originally a musician, but later switched to computer science. He will talk to us on programming. A form of art to him, because of the algorithm.
Pieter talks about the abstract language of binary codes.
To Pieter the computer is a really stupid machine, who doesn’t know anything. The binary code needs to be pretty precise to make the computer do anything. Pieter presents this to us in life programming. People laugh at the dumbness of the computer. Pieter doesn’t see what’s funny actually. Well the people laugh because they’re smarter than the computer, but then Pieter tells us that the computer can go pretty far in abstraction in levels we just can’t reach.
He talks on the droste effect and the Fibonacci sequence, recursions that arrange a lot in the world around us. Like sunflower seeds for example. He’s making his laptop compute the numbers of the Fibonacci sequence.
He gets to a level of abstraction similar to that of Rubens talk.
Pieter concludes his “small talk”. His old computer from 2012 he gave to his girlfriend is more slow than the smart phone he has in his pocket. “The sky is the limit. Especially nowadays. […] It’s a poetry […] I hope you understand us nerds now”.
No human programmer can understand how far the codes of coding are of today.
Host Marek reminds Pieter of the old days they were still studying together. Programming was definitely not hot back then. Being a nerd is totally fine now. It’s almost cool. Programming is the new writing. Everyone will have to learn it.
Applause for Pieter. People walk back to the buffet dinner table. The events are wrapped up, but the food is not finished yet. There are still some leftovers of humus, bread and gazpacho. Some people hang, others leave.
When I want to walk away, my eye catches a stack of books on a table in the corner. They are Elke’s. Among them are comic books, and books in Ethiopian language. These are the languages she has been reading to make it work.
The above are unedited fieldnotes that Jip van Steenis wrote during Voynich 2.0: Endurance of the inadequate.
Fieldnotes are a method of description cultural anthropologists use to describe things that occur while observing phenomena.
The above are unedited snapshots that Polarlicht took during Voynich 2.0: Endurance of the inadequate.
Applying the same method as Jip (but in snapshots), Polarlicht also captured moments, details and unexceptional registrations. Both observations were made from a personal perspective and matched up afterwards by their time stamps. The space between the two observations — that occurs especially then the observations are out of sync — create a field of possible interpretation. For you, the visitor that couldn't attend the event, to take place in.