Ars Electronica entry

…Somebody (or some automated process – it’s hard to distiguish in mails these days) send me a mail to invite me to enter the NKdeE in the NET VISION category of the Prix ARS Electronica 2005, which i did of course because the i don’t mind getting prices at all and who knows i might get lucky. i mention it here because it forced me to explicitly formulate some descriptive statements about myself and the Cathedral. i repeat those statements here because they might be informative and they are ontologically part of the NKdeE process by their very nature:

Title of submitted project: Neue Kathedrale des erotischen Elends
URL of the work:
Year the work was created: 2004 (started)
Hardware / Software: Marie’s Water Colours, Brico Boat Varnish, a pencil and a Windows XP workstation with Macromedia Flash MX 2004 Pro and Dreamweaver MX, Altova XMLSpy 2004,Adobe Photoshop CS, Electric Rain Swift 3D, Curious Labs Poser 5.0 and Maxon Cinema 4d 7.2. plus an Epson Scanner & a Sony Digital camera
Technical requirements for viewing: Browsers:MIE 6.0 or higher and
Mozilla Firefox 1.0 or higher are supported and checked (javascript should be enabled and later support for java as well)
Macromedia Flash Player 7.0 or higher required
Description of the work: The NKdeE is a process started in 2004 hoping to contribute to establish a usable cultural interface for efficient art production. It examinies the ways in which programming, media techniques and traditional art as processes can be interwoven with or opposed to the predominant processes in our world today.
Among other things, it takes the form of a website, a schema design for publishing multimedia, an application to publish multimedia and an online game. There’s more text about it in my biography and at the submitted url itself…

Further material entered: 6 A3 printouts of incorporated paintings and a cd/dvd rom with printable material. I would consider entering more material but i would need some garantuees as to their safe return, because some items like the NKdeE maquette as seen on the homepage are quite priceless

Artist biography:
Born and living in Belgium.
Studied Germanic Filology at the KUL (Louvain).

In 1979 i very much wanted to be a writer/ poet. I noticed i didn’t have much to write about that made any sense, so i quit. I had a great time working in bars and kitchens for about 10 years.

From 1989 onward i did have (or at least presumed to have) something to write about that made sense, so i started to learn how to write decently.

When i got to a stage that i thought my literary work had reached some maturity (let’s say 1996, the same year that i organised a small poetic manifestation in my hometown Louvain), i discovered that (trying to) publish(ing) it would render it meaningless in the fastest way possible. Instead i chose to make everything i wrote so far available on the internet, and started investing my spare time in researching ways to make text ‘work’ on screen. Gradually, partly because i thought the available techniques weren’t up to it yet but mostly out of economic necessity my interest in making IT work the artistic way faded and i endulged myself in the day to day practice of producing commercial websites and multimedia products.

Nowadays i’m still active as a professional web-designer/programmer, but i have to admit i’m basically and inevitably a (modest) poet/writer trying to find ways to contribute to (ok- hang on, here come the big words):
– establish a cultural interface that could bring writing/authoring/ making art back to life as a meaningfull process and not keep it ‘virtually’ (sic) alive as the consumable object it generally is today, a poor parody that struts and frets its hour (nanosecond) upon the media stage and then is heard no more
– what I would call a global body of reference ( functioning as a sub-individual authoring processor/ freely available software-to-make-art-with propably in a form much like the www as we know it now – what it lacks now is mostly global consciousness i.e. self awareness of what it’s doing as a process) for young artists to help them stop wasting time
– a process (urgently needed, like in ‘it should begin yesterday’) to rethink / critically evaluate the way we approach programming in a very practical and immediate way.


oop & pop (thinking out loud again)

Sprachgitter: Here’s part of another grid to put down on your visions. Or think of it as a fluid that you add to a digestive organ system to make the way it works visible on screen.

The time was now. We lived in a world of objects. Objects with properties and relations to each other and to ourselves as an object. that’s what we were taught, that’s how we programmed.
When representing sth we represented a collection of mutually interactive objects and produced a new object, the object of representation. That object could then become a part of other objects, so layer upon layer of objects a world was constructed.

The time is now. When we live our daily lives, the producing industry and its conglomerate of financed media tell us to choose our objects of preference and make them into desire objects. And we are continually…

Oh,oh wait: do come off it, what is this “producing industry with its blablabla”? Are you recreating some version of the 1960’s Military-Industrial complex here or what?
Well no, it’s simply us, all of us westerners and easterners, the way we live and force others to live (or die, cfr you know what)keeps it running and it keeps us running.

Is there something wrong with that, you selfindulgent pessimumbler? Well that depends. It’s a system. Systems can be adequate, efficient or superfluous and self-destructive. If you look at it from our point of view, it certainly isn’t superfluous. If you look at it from the point of view from your average Central African citizen, it’s painfully inefficient. If you look at it from the point of view of the planet it’s rather disastrously inadequate (it hasn’t killed us yet)and it has a bad smell of self destruction.
Systems can also be stable or unstable in relation to the scale with which you’re looking at it. The solar system is a pretty stable system in relation to our scale of viewing things. Ask a star and she’ll tell you a totally different story. Our system is definitely unstable, even if you look at it in terms of a human lifespan. It’s predecessors like say the roman empire or the chinese Ming Dynasty were much more stable, although history tends to smooth things out, depending on the outcome it wants to fabricate.

Systems like these are mostly thought of as processes. What are the characteristics of processes? Here are a few, for starters:

1.Processes can be described and analysed and then influenced in some way, by adding or subtracting any number of stimuli that have a deductible effect upon the process.
Mostly however, the final effect is not 100% predictable because
2. in general we do not know the outcome of a process if indeed any there is. We ussually think we know the final outcome but actually we haven’t the slightest clue. You would say that the inevitable outcome of human life as a process is death, but saying death is just putting a patch of meaninglessness on a clear case of ignorance. You would oppose that the process of eating and digesting food is that the body gains strength, but that simply boils down to limiting the actual process to a parameter of effectivenesss that is easily described.
3. In effect every process is by it’s nature of being a process linked to and influenced by and influencing other processes. Processes, in opposition to objects, are not self-contained. In general you can’t identify any central part in a process and say, rip it out and replace it with another, better core part in order to improve the process while it’s running. In general, doing such a thing would kill the process alltogether, or at least damage it to great extend. You almost certainly would have to shut down the process somehow or at least seriously slow down part of it, replace the part you think is due for replacement, and then somehow restart the process. That’s how we handle heart transplants for instance, and indeed medicine is one of the area’s of human knowledge where we have done exceedingly well in handling processes. But let’s get back to our beautiful world of objects, now.

…and in our contempary state we are now continually edged into personalising the objects of our choice: the car of model x will become your car if you add these and these properties of buyer customisation options. For every desirable object we are presented with a basic object, an empty box, that we should fill with the properties of our choosing. The object itself is on the brink of disappearing alltogether.

It is now reduced to a meticulously predesigned biforcation program leading to an economically optimised end-product. I would use the word process but in fact it’s not a process: the outcome may be non-existent or unpredictable at start but it can be calculated and compatibility is maintained throughout. Processes bring about change in itself and in other processes and any real change cannot be allowed because that would lead to impredictable profit figures.
a simple example:you can blog what you want, you can give your pages the look and content you want them to be, but you are not allowed to produce anything that could potentially endanger the system and/or its profit calculations.

Ofcourse we do not like to be driven to choices in this way all the time. So we react and try to escape.
‘Real’ change and how we look for it: the obsession with serial killers in late 20th century media deals with the fascination for people who make those ‘real’ choices, by maniacally refusing the precut templates and taking a different destructive hack at the system, making their victims into objects and assigning them non-survivable properties. I’ve always found this obsession rather pathetic, but that’s not the right attitude perhaps: it is a clear sign that we are running out of objects to choose from, we are only allowed access to properties and methods. We are running out of objects because their pre-existence to our desires is being banned. We are obliged to communicate our desires and then those desires will be translated in our dream-car, our dream-house, our favourite cup with our name and social security number branded into it.

Consider television. For anyone from my generation a television set was and is a very desirable object. Having a colour television at home was next to being part of paradise. In a few years time television sets will not exist anymore. They will be replaced by generic flatscreens designed to fit in whatever surroundings and capable of doing anything from reading out the contents of your fridge to watching a football game with a 30 second delay from across the globe from a dynamic point of view of your choosing. You cannot desire such a screen, you will not even be able to buy one, you will only have that number of modular screen objects that your bank balance can afford.

Or nature. Why do we like nature that much, why do pictures of people going out to places where human pollution is minimal sell so many tickets to another set of global options that we call our holiday destination? We definitly do not like ‘raw’ nature with all it’s nasty side effects like cold or extreme heat or musquito’s or those horrible people that don’t understand you when you ask them how much the cola costs. We like raw nature like we like pictures abourt serial killers: because nature is not conceived as customisable, because it is a potential (imagined in most cases, except when there’s a disaster like the Tsunami)threat to our system of picking properties from predifined biforking menu’s. Because we have learned from our interaction with computers that anything we compose does not really exist, existence itself is drained off from real objects. Exotic destinations become infected with this virus of desintegration and loose their fashionability, till the one place to go to on holiday if you really want to get out is an empty room in an empty house.

(That’s your basic Deleuzian machine at work there and you can analyse that in several ways, one of which is the Deleuzian schyzoanalysis.)
When we build screen contents from data we think of datastructuring first, cutting all data that we want to show into managable objects. Nobody ever did anything else nor felt the need to do so. The post-renaissance portraitist didn’t think of his portrait otherwise: he assembled his portrait from predifined sets of rules leading to a balanced collection of objects… (untsoweiter this is all very predictable so you can fill it in yourself, you’re propably x-times faster at it. i take a fresh start below)

The society we live in gets the kind of programming it deserves. We’re all stuck with object oriented designs (Object Oriented programming has been the de-facto standard of programming technique for years now and will continue to be for many years to come).
The hardest step for me to take when learning how to program was the very first one, a real conceptual leap for me (i told you before that i have a very slow mind, so it’s comedy time coming up): it was for me to understand that the objects i created were just that: object that i created. I thought of programming very childishly as building rules to manipulate existing objects. It took me ages to finally grasp that you can only manipulate things if you first make them into manipulated things, that if say here’s my object ‘circle’ with a property of 4 as a radius it wasn’t referring to anything else then just that: a circle object with radius of 4. My god, what a shock, i’m still very sympathetic to people who believe Bill Gates is an alien, because this sure was very alien to me. Saying something and oopedeefloop it’s real, where did i read that before?

So ok ; objects were hard on me, does this mean i think they’re bad or that oop is a bad technique. Surely not. Like any system you only need to make it selfreferential and instantaneously agree that the object oop is a very good object indeed. Just look at where you’re reading this from, it was only possible thanks to oop techniques and their ways of being managable, predictable and sellable.
Like any system, oop has its limitations and system limitations are mostly visible in a dramatic way in the shortcomings systems have for artistic expression at a given moment in history.
Perhaps if i suffer from another sl&yawn;eepless night i will tell you all about the artistic craving not being able to be satisfied oop-wise and hence the necessity of inevitability of a next generation way of programming with its hardly original but very deep and meaningful name of POP.

Honey, could you rescedule the kid-processes to have their waking-up subroutines a bit later tomorrow and Dear MetaTag Of Non-Existence could you please take care that the mother-in-law driving to our home process meets with a fatal uncaught process-interuption instance like running out of gas, no gas supplying conflux inside the visual reception floatgrid?
Thanx & goodnight,

you can’t dream it or it’s there: here’s some links to stuff emerging (found through googling ‘Process oriented’):

1/(Mertins K., Heisig P., Alwert K.) Process-oriented Knowledge Structuring

2/ Process-oriented Consistency-based Diagnosis

lots of related stuff emerging in AI as well, mostly having to do with disappointments with existing semantic web tech visavis diagostics çause ze time factor iz left out of ze picture, my dear zey only talk of dolphins that are mammals that can swim but heve ya ever seen 1 dolphin that is a mammal zat can swim?
we need Flippers, no swimming mammies!

DIE EWIGKEIT hält sich in Grenzen:
leicht, in ihren
gewaltigen Meß-Tentakeln,
rotiert die von Finger-
nägeln durchleuchtbare



now here’s some great photography that comes close to visualising some of my key structural concepts. Folds are of course body-related, how could they not be?
James McKenna @


to game or nottogame

not much of a question is it. i’ve started building the game mode of the NKdeE yesterday. there’s no way out of it, no matter how much you think things through: any cultural interface that has any meaning will somehow resemble Simms, tombraider and the like.

no use in waiting for the next step, either

because of my cultural background with it’s fixation on the ultimate value of high standard, elite art -yes, i’m still very much a working class hero i suppose- i always postponed this moment, searching for alternatives in every direction, but all roads do lead there. one of the reasons i put it off has always been that authoring soft wasn’t up to the job in the one-person-doing-it-all way, it still isn’t, but i feel it’s the time to start doing it anyway, because you cán get some results that are usable in a here’s my new revolutionary 100 mhz super pc way. Ok it’s gonna be food for history footnotes to footnotes in an automatically generated footnote file to a discarded page in the compendium to the history of early 21 century dev, so what?


Groeischeut oranje.

Groeischeut oranje.

[song for europe 2004]

Je zoekt in vliezen, op het lillen van een tong

(of waar je van de puntje puntje puntjes

uitschuift in een oordeelsvorm) een parallelle

noodbezweerder (nood, nood, nood),

die met de moed & wanhoop der waanzinnigen

in de ongekuiste hoekjes van de kamers

die je platwoont spiegelschilfers los wil weken, vuur

bouwen, zee stoken & goud brouwen.

Een wonderlijke wens, ik zie de bui al bloeden.

Nu ja, geschiedenis verzwijgt het heden & de eik

hierbuiten herfst nu ook al wel een maand

voor ik het zag & zie: in de bewogen stilstand

van ons aller ondergang is er volop iteratie

aan de gang, & waar je van de kruisen

stukjes lijk afpulkt, is zo weer plaats

voor waarheid, vrijheid, moord

& hoogbeknepen lijdenssdrang.

28/10/04 – 13/12/04


More pictures at:

ViLT – Nederlandstalige literatuur


click on the title to hear the poem read
There’s an english translation here

Ligbeeld met bloedlip

[haakzang in traandichterssteek]


Waarom niet op een zaterdag: een sjokkende speedboot
knikt & knipt het vijverwater door waarachter
de vaalzwart berubberde, de meerman in paradetenue
voor zijn beparelmoerde paradetje de plakjes grijs de lucht
inscheurt, zijn goudhuid meesterlijk ontplooit
& schreeuwt & hebbetrots zijn stralen laat
éénbenig langs de einder stromen.

Hoe grieks niet & glad, hoe niet azuurblauw doorspekt
het vlijmen, de gletscherschilfers, de mesbladen gespuwd
hoe heldhaftig ik likkende
aan mijn lippen lig, – net nog & nu al
op het vlies te dun rond een knelpunt
gespannen het gat in. Knak.
Wie kan er anders? Zelf
doe ik niets.


Haar oog in ben ik oog in oog in haar
& samen vult dat wel je monitor
maar is het al bij al wel beter?

De woorden paren al:
venusbuik – spierkransverrukking,
wimpertrilling – aanbouwvergunning,
halsvleugeltinten ach foutmelding:
welke paljas gaan in dit hoogst verfijnde
lijnenspel straks je glijbenen nog
in zinsverstrengelingen knechten?
wie wordt er dan tot roerloos op vingermassa’s
drijvend lijk geslagen bij je afdronk, tot
de huidige heer zwemmer van marmer? Ha!

wasemt ze treiterend inhaalbaar
het ingedrongene in kauwbrokjes
uit, integer & katterig de nieuwste
wondertwijgjes in diepten beroerende:

(de tijd moet je weten is bij stilstand een ware
boerenpsalm op de bühne, linkskop, rechtskop,
alles einfach, recht op de blos af
rond de slaande wonde die die neus is die
hevig om zich heen slaande die in die
vijver zwaant als zwaan
zwaan zwaan zwaan)

niemand treft blaam.


Tegen de vlakte
ja leg maar de korstlip,
de zweerdij, de krampvoet, het ijlhoofd &
hak steunbeen hak voor het nakende
laag na laag afknagende



NKdeEBlog (Schrijf- & plakfabriek)


Van goddelijke dementie oorzaak en gevolg

Dat ene oog van je is bij herhaling

voor het nachtmassief geschapen,

& vermoedelijk een eindeloze rij

is het heelal daarin,

van 1 op 1 geplakt dezelfde

onaflijnbaar duistere vormen,

met de kleinste uitsparing

weerspannig behouden

voor de schemerige pluimage

van de gierig zwijgende

merel op het natte gras

& de wolken met kerkplein


Ik hou je handje vast

tot er wordt geknikkebold

& onze afvallige hoofdjes

wegglibberen, smosjes groen

& grijs & donker bij het groen

in de groenbak.

Er komt niks meer in

verder, elke tel

is als een spiegel

ondoordringbaar & van dit kijken

een gevolg.


Deze entries zijn dubbels van dv’s ‘echte’ NKdeE blog op ViLTNET


Neue Kathedrale des Erotisches Elends


Een boom in dit huis, uit de vloer vorkt een stam, de daksponten kraken. Je wordt het salon uitgesleurd, men duwt je het bad in, een gezichtsloze vrouw haalt in een oogwenk met een glasscherf van je beide armen de slagaders open. Een gordijn van blauwgrijze lianen wordt over je hoofd getrokken. De scene verwildert. Handen slaan, duwen, hakken. Donker kloppende zuigpompen sleuren je benen omlaag. Dit is verdrinken : je stem die nog uithaalt met een mondvol water, je tong als een lamme prop in je keel, het barsten van de tijd in je hoofd. Op je laatste moment zie je de twee syllaben drijven in het midden van de inmiddels woest kolkende stroom. Twee schelpen van water, eivormige vliezen met hun scherpste ronding in elkaar gehaakt. Anna.