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May 20, 2005

A bit of press - the Institute of the Future

In a lecture at the Institute of the Future, John Thackara mentions the wonderful turn around that happened in our urban mapping workshop, Nomadic Banquet.
Here's the quote from the weblog of the Institute of the Future website.

Self-service > enable sharing. We all have needs to share stuff. Power drills are used for 10 minutes during their lifetime; cars are used for a few minutes a day; the result is huge inefficiencies in consumption. "The notion of sharing material resources is just exploding," particularly in Europe. People are designing sharing systems for space, equipment, time, services.

Sharing knowledge is also a big thing: Deborah Solomon's Nomadic Banquet (organized for Doors of Perception 8) gave people a chance to share inside knowledge about street food. They expected it to be a cellphone, Zagat's guide online kind of thing; but there are all kinds of social and cultural sensibilities surrounding street food that couldn't be accommodated by the technology. It turned out to involve issues natural resource allocation, distribution, packaging, storage, displays, streetscape, etc., etc..

Wonderful isn't it? Even though the IFTF spelled my name incorrectly.

Posted by debra at 10:17 PM | Comments (0)

May 06, 2005

Granola perfume

In Dutch we have a saying, doorheen bijten that means literally 'to bite through something'. We use this saying to describe the painful process of exploring unchartered territory. Think for just a moment about what could have motivated someone to invent such an idiom. Now, think about the circumstances that would have caused an entire culture to embrace this idiom enough to use it regularly!

The images above show the author about to take her first bite of paan without any idea what paan could possibly smell, taste or feel like. It is quite strange to try something with very little previous reference, and having never tried chewing tobacco paan was unchartered territory for me.

In a neat little kiosk by the side of the road the paan wallah prepared the leaf for me with all manner of goos, crystals, flakes, shavings and sprinkles - none of which seemed familiar. Although I would like to say that I bravely put the roll into my mouth and enthusiastically started chomping away, the photograph above reveals the utter lack of trust and relax I had in approaching this new foodstuff. You can also see how such an utter lack of trust and relax does not yield a particularly aesthetic portrait. Good news is that as I reported earlier, paan is delicious, something like eating granola perfume. And like the photograph that I keep of myself in the freezer to remind me of what I looked like in a bikini in 1998 (to avoid over-consumption of ice-cream), I have decided to keep this picture at hand to remind myself to be more trusting of new foods.

Posted by debra at 01:56 PM | Comments (0)