Archive for the ‘Research’ Category


stuck in the past but looking to the future



ben benieuwd… (i’m curious)





Reclamation is currently located in Hoorn for a residency at Hotel MariaKapel, an art organization housed inside a Medieval chapel at Korte Achterstraat 2A.  Hotel MariaKapel seeks to foster art projects that are ‘experimental’ and ‘context-based’. So, Reclamation wants to know if you would like to participate in art. Either way, you already have!  Thank you very much.






Oxford English dictionary to review

meaning of the word ‘fair’

By Spacey Oxford English dictionary to review meaning of the word ‘fair’  thumbnail

The Oxford English Dictionary is to carry out a thorough review of its entry for the word ‘Fair’ after its meaning has become confused following the government’s continuous use of the word to describe absolutely everything it does.



in thinking about bringing terrarium into a 16th century chapel

Flinging Open Those Stately Salon Doors


VERSAILLES, FRANCE — Two years ago, the Château de Versailles set off a predictable firestorm by displaying works by Jeff Koons in and outside its imposing buildings.

As the old saw goes, there is no such thing as bad publicity, and the Koons exhibition, organized under the directorship of Jean-Jacques Aillagon, the museum’s president, brought much that was useful to any cultural institution these days: attention and visitors. After a show last year by the French artist Xavier Veilhan, the next “guest,” starting in mid-September and running through mid-December, will be Takashi Murakami, a highly successful Japanese artist known among other things for his Manga-inspired works. The intention is to turn this into an annual event, alternating French and foreign artists. Mr. Aillagon is also planning to install some modern artistic chandeliers to replace mock-old lighting and various other decorative touches to what he sees as the more lugubrious parts of the château, as well as giving parts of the famous grounds some more recent touches. Contemporary gardeners!

The visiting contemporary art will predictably leave some people completely indifferent — after all, we are no longer necessarily surprised by unusual art turning up all over the place — and others very happy, or spluttering with rage over a “desecration” of the cultural past. This is of course the whole point of the game of contemporary art that goes Boum. We can be pretty sure that neither Mr. Koons nor Mr. Murakami shed any tears on the way to the bank no matter what is said about their work….


made to break


i once did a performance in which i convinced people to destroy some ‘work’ i was ‘presenting’ to them.  imagine a crit but the student being critiqued breaks down in tears and passes around her various crappy creations begging her classmates to crush them.  i pressured my peers to rip to shreds hand drawn animation stills i had spent hours and hours creating (i really can’t draw).  i even got a few people to smash some little sculptures of birds that i had made (i really can’t sculpt).  i had made the animation for a class, but i loved it.  i was quite proud of the drawings and grew very attached to them over the many months they took me to make.  the birds i had crafted from some easy bake clay the night before.  watching the kids in my class destroy everything was really fun.  one girl cried and left the room, and some people refused to participate- but a few of them had a ball!  really let loose…   at the start of the next lecture, our professor told them that they had all been a part of the ‘artwork’ that i now needed to present for crit.  the girl who had left told me that i had manipulated and brutalized her then dropped the class.  most people seemed surprised but unenthused.  one girl asked what ‘performance art’ was.  another girl became my new best friend. that was the first and last time i realized an idea just as i’d hoped to …

anyway, i’ve been thinking of how precious all our installations have been and how fragile.  i’ve been thinking of all the times we have had to ‘fix’ or ‘secure’ or ‘reinforce’ … those activities are not nearly as fun as breaking!  i poked around on the internet, looking at artworks and performances and products that defy or invite breaking.  i often break stuff so stuff that’s made to be broken could be quite convenient for me…

i think this thing is a bit over-designed (and over-priced!) but i like the idea behind it, the fact that it comes with its own pick axe, and that it reminds me of our planetarium projector.maybe we could be more open to breaking this time.  we don’t have to require it or pressure people to do it but we could keep it in mind as a (not-necessarily-negative) possibility.  i mean, we use broken things all the time.  and the things we make break.  maybe i’m just lazy and tired of fixing (not that i’ve done even half the fixing!) … maybe i just want a new way to break or a new way to make the break a part of the process … and not a part we have to deny, disguise, cover up or correct.


Busy Bees Use Flower Petals For Nest Wallpaper


in thinking about beauty and/in reuse, this article by Kathleen Masterson via npr:

When we think of bee nests, we often think of a giant hive, buzzing with social activity, worker bees and honey. But scientists recently discovered a rare, solitary type of bee that makes tiny nests by plastering together flower petals.


on group work


in prepping for terrarium…

By Jon Kelly
BBC News Magazine
Six would-be astronauts will this week begin a 520-day mock space voyage to simulate a mission to Mars. How will they cope with the huge psychological pressures?

Deep in outer space, millions of miles from civilisation, they say no-one can hear you scream.

The same may not be true of a warehouse in Moscow’s suburbs. But here an audacious experiment is about to try to replicate the cramped, claustrophobic conditions of a voyage across the Solar System.

From 3 June, the Mars 500 project will send a “crew” of six on a simulated 520-day round trip to the Red Planet and back.

The cosmonauts – three Russians, a Chinese, a Frenchman and an Italian – will live and work as interplanetary travellers, spending eight hours a day working on maintenance and scientific experiments, eight hours at leisure and eight hours sleeping.

Organisers at the European Space Agency and Russia’s Institute of Biomedical Problems hope that the project will offer an insight into how such a mission would function. But above all, the most significant assessment they will make will be how it affects the subjects psychologically.

Any communication between the crew and mission control will be subject to 20-minute delay to simulate the time it would take for signals to reach Earth. Sending a message home and receiving a reply will take two days. Meanwhile, cameras will monitor them 24 hours a day.

With no access to telephones, internet or natural light, breathing only recycled air and showering once every 10 days, the men are certain to have both their individual mental states and group dynamics tested to the limits in the 550 cubic m simulator.

Dr Pete Hodkinson, secretary of the UK Space Biomedicine Association: The ultimate aim is to prepare for and support a successful mission to Mars, which will return with the whole crew in good, stable psychological and emotional health.

Looking to analogous situations, the isolation environments of Antarctic research bases and submariners suggest the top two psychiatric diagnoses are anxiety reactions and depression.

Preparations therefore need to include capacity to diagnose and manage these conditions as well as considering other rarer, but potentially more dangerous, psychiatric conditions such as an acute psychiatric episode.

Through appropriate selection, training and in-flight support it is likely the majority of crew members in both Mars 500 and any real mission will cope with the array of psychological challenges they face without any undue effects on themselves, other crew or the mission.

The scenario is one that already has deep resonance in popular culture. Stanley Kubrik’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, Andrei Tarkovsky’s Solaris, Duncan Jones’s 2009 award-winning sci-fi film Moon and, of course, A Space Oddity, the breakthrough single by Jones’s father David Bowie, all use the device of space travel to explore themes of alienation and loneliness.

But if art offers an ominous foretelling of the experiment, the scientists running it are confident that real life will be different.

Patrik Sundblad, head of life science at the Esa’s European Space Research and Technology Centre, says each of the crew members have been subject to careful vetting to ensure that all are both psychologically robust and sufficiently motivated enough to cope with their mission.

He also believes that the information it will generate will be of crucial importance not just to any future Mars voyage, but to the broader understanding of human psychology.

“The real value of this project is that we can obtain data that would be very difficult to obtain any other way,” he says. “We can monitor them 24/7 – that’s very difficult to do in any other setting.

“We can learn a lot about group dynamics and work out how to counteract any changes if they are not positive.”

Few would doubt that the conditions will put the crew under enormous pressure – not least given that one of the Russians, Alexei Sitev, 38, was married only four weeks before beginning the mock voyage.

And while Esa insisted that team spirit remained high during an earlier, 105-day simulation, the length of the mission means that the cosmonauts will be metaphorically flying into uncharted territory.

Prof Paddy O’Donnell, a social psychologist at Glasgow University, is intrigued by the experiment, having studied earlier research into the effects on individual and group psychology of space travel.

He says the most significant point may come around six to eight months into the mission when, studies of submariners and Antarctic research teams have suggested, any tensions are most likely to begin to flare.

The biggest dangers, he says, are boredom; crew members forging emotional bonds, positive and negative, which undermine their professionalism; and, worst of all, the group sub-dividing into social cliques.

The way to get round all this this, he says, is clear leadership, explicit divisions of labour and very strict routines.

“Routines and habits are very calming,” he adds. “You don’t have to think all that much.”

Prof O’Donnell acknowledges that separation from loved ones will be a huge psychological challenge for the cosmonauts.

But he believes two factors will count in their favour. One is that the crew members are scientists, who “tend to be relatively introverted and low on neuroticism – these are practical people and you’d expect them to work together”.

Another is that they know they are on camera. “When you’re visible, you’re more likely to follow the rules,” he adds.

What the six will not experience, however, is the impact of weightlessness or, indeed, the terror and euphoria that comes with real-life space travel.

The danger is that because you know you’re really in a hanger in Moscow, you start thinking: ‘I can’t be bothered’
Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock Space scientist

“Astronauts usually experience a great deal of stress on take-off,” he says. “But after a few days – once they’ve gone round the Moon, as it were – they report an enhanced sense of individual well-being and morale.

“They also tend to report a transcendental experience that comes from being in space and looking down on the planet – obviously, this experiment can’t allow for that.”

What is more, the fact that the mission is simulated is likely to have an effect of its own.

Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock, a space scientist with the satellite manufacturer EADS Astrium and a strong advocate of a manned mission to Mars, believes that the experiment will be extremely valuable – but expects that the main difference between a real and simulated voyage will be the difficulty for the crew in maintaining motivation.

“I think the main challenge for them will be trying to maintain motivation for a long period of time,” she says.

“It’s far less likely this would be a problem if you really were going to Mars. But the danger is that because you know you’re really in a hanger in Moscow, you start thinking: ‘I can’t be bothered’.”

Nonetheless, the crew members will know that, if a mission to the Red Planet ever does take place, they will have played a significant part in it.

And that alone may be enough to get them through all 520 days.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2010/06/01 09:32:40 GMT



Die Liedertafel


Die Lidertafel is a “weblog for singers, composers and poets” that my friend and colleague, Siobhan O’ Leary–a singer, writer, translator, and lover of cheese to boot–pointed me to.    It has poems and sketches and such.  Beyond that, I don’t know what anything means on the site because I don’t know German.  But at the same time, I feel like it’s cosmically linked to Reclamation’s website.  Perhaps this is me being totally naive.  If you know German, maybe you can prove me right or wrong.  Oh Babel…





1. How will we procure our materials?
a) a scavenger hunt in Hoorn/Amsterdam/elsewhere along the way (maybe in white suits, hey?)
b) a community exchange: a day/few days to invite the community into the space to learn about our project and trade, donate, or loan us plants and materials to foster

2. How will the three eco-systems in Triptych be different from one another?
a) (“original” idea) three climate zones represented (jungle, forest, desert)
More ideas –
b) three time periods represented (plants grown in the area during the time the church was built, now, and sometime in between OR this same idea but regarding the space where we met – Southern California, think wetlands, citrus, weeds – which would demonstrate the changes brought on by colonization and urbanization…)
c) three different growing methods – soil terrarium, hydroponic terrarium, air terrarium
d) three types of plants like Aquarium (food, carnivorous, water)

3. What will grow in the Window Gardens? Why?

4. How will all these systems be sustained/maintained?

a) irrigation system like Aquarium ?
b) ritual waterings ?
c) human powered lighting systems?
d) transportation/direction of sunlight?
e) ritual sunnings? I don’t even know what this means!

5. How is participation/interactivity encouraged? Is it necessary? It is a hindrance?
What happens if no one participates in/interacts with Terrarium?
Do we want people to participate/interact? Why?
Do we want to need them? Why?

6. What is our schedule of events? What kinds of workshops/performances/etc do we want to have?
c) Reclamation choir
d) Wilderness Boundary
e) terrarium construction / process workshops
f) seed/plant exchange
g) readings?
h) teach us? (workshops where we don’t teach!)
i) confessional?
j) lectures?
k) meditation? yoga? cardio-constellate!
l) debate or other forms of fancy fighting
m) dance party?
n) picnics?
o) naptime?
p) aiding and abetting criminals/allowing runaways a place of respite?
q) naked fashion show?
r) Eternal Telethon or other friend project/event/affair?
s) AA meetings?
t) Reclamation meetings
u) speed dating
v) theater
w) field trips for school kids
x) an outing for the elderly
y) historical society lecture about the history of the space, ensuring our insertion into that history
z) … ??? !!!

7. Do we have a life outside of the space?
How can we be More Social in our project?
Could we preach in town? Go on a mission? A pilgrimage? A search for a context? A search for family– Where are the other ‘earth churches’? Wait, is that even what we are making?

8. How do we PERFORM Reclamation once Terrarium is constructed?

9. How does our travel inform our project? Could we each document our pilgrimages?

10. Is there any way to start now?

11. What happens when we finish?
Do we disseminate the bits into the town? A giving back?
Do we smash them all and throw them into the trash, plants and all?
Do we bury them in the garden?
Do we donate them to the town, to a school or a home?
Do we burn them?
Do we abandon them on a corner?
Do we auction them?
Do we give them away to the first person who asks?