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My eyes grew wide when I was confronted with Bear Grylls’ Ultimate Survival New Zealand – Southern Island episode. My partner who called me to the television had a questioning look on his face:

“Don’t you think this looks, uh, special?”

– “Well yes it does, we’ve been there!”

And have the footage to prove it. Watch this abstract of the show in which Bear follows a canyon to find civilisation:

Or skip immediately to 8.35 to compare with:

Big Nige drop.

And jump to 10:35 to compare with:

Big Nige abseil.

The New Zealand episode is from 8 July, 2011 and we visited in December 2010, so there’s no reasoning that Grylls was the first to discover the canyon at Lake Wanaka. Instead the tour organisation that facilitated our trip has probably helped him a little, removing the ropes for example.

Now skip back to the beginning of the clip and pause. The disclaimer reads:

“On some occasions, situations are presented to Bear so he can demonstrate survival techniques.”

We can be pretty sure he knew he was not risking his life when jumping down.

Take someone’s toy on a trip and photograph it with your analogue camera. That was the objective of the analogue summer project. The expo took place on a sunny autumn day in the very centre of Utrecht in a cellar under an ancient bridge. Pleasant extra: souvenirs and soundtracks on walkman accompanied you while admiring the results.

Picture taken from meetmeathome.com

The photographed objects.

Taking a stroll through Dorrigo national park started with a bang: The newly installed skywalk offered a special treat in the form of a pre-installed photo tripod. It enabled me to take a picture of me, the group I was with and the scenery even when there was no one else around to lend a hand.

The device at Dorrigo national park with simple instructions.

One could say that this photo gadget spoils the fun of finding a beautiful spot for a picture yourself, but in this case the location surely invites visitors to take a picture at that exact point anyway. A skywalk that ends in a platform high above the rainforest offers the perfect background to your group picture.

Although the so called fotopols can be found in more places this was my first one and the day was misty spoiling the view. Thus, the picture of the gadget ended up to be more interesting than the actual picture it helped us take.

Tonight at Setup, Mash Up The Battle took place. Debaters took place in a boxing ring to fight about actual media topics. From copyright laws (auteurswet), to the internet of things, to a round on a national filter against child porn.

The two debaters in this round were Daphne van der Kroft (Bits of Freedom) against Marleen de Pater (CDA). This resulted in a fierce discussion between Bits of Freedom’s argument that a filter would not have much effect and CDA’s vision that the Dutch deserved protection from this type of disgusting content.

A sneaky way to apply censorship? Why should we be protected from that what we never accidentaly meet online? Why not better hunt the ones who do search for it or place it online? Should we be afraid for a move towards a Chinese situation? Is this really necessary? Horrifying as the problem might be, my stance would be in favour of freedom.

Flyer of the Mash Up The battle event at Setup Utrecht.

This sense of a life free of surveillance came back, in a humorous way, in an article on a new art project in Utrecht on the website of Journalistiekfabriek. Foucault’s panopticum meets Hitchcocks birds in the panopticons. If I happen to see any of the spying birds in town, I will try to capture them on camera and place my own picture here. Hope they don’t catch me first!

Camera sea-gull comfortably sitting down to spy on us.

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