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Just came home from my parents, a bike ride away. Halfway between Nieuwegein and Utrecht it started raining. Once home, still raining, I decided to browse the internet. Came across this blog post on bicycle routes in Utrecht: the road I just took!

Once the sun is shining and these plans are realised, the route will be even better in the future…

Click on the picture to see the whole 30 minute bike ride by Urban Trajectories.

Click on the picture to see the whole 30 minute bike ride by Urban Trajectories.

The project Urban Trajectories by Aorta Architectuurcentrum (center for architecture) is researching the bike routes people take on their commute from and to Utrecht.

Video about the project by Urban Trajectories(in Dutch):


I read that there is an exhibition about the project at Architectuurcentrum Aorta until 27 September. Seems well worth a visit.

Going into town to shop for a present I could not have asked for more. A market with homemade stuff, right there for me on Utrecht’s Mariaplaats! Smiling from top to toe, I browsed all the stalls. The regular gift shops just could not compete! I bought a bright sushi necklace for my friend and some other presents just for me.

Picture taken by me.

Button hair clips by Drops of Art and map envelopes.

I met initiator Sanne Bloem at her booth who told me all about how she set up this Zelfgemaakte markt. Next market days are 29 September and 15 December 2012 on the Mariaplaats.

Today’s catch:

Picture taken from

Sushi necklace by Minininja.

Highlight of my cultural Sunday were the personal songs of Mondo Leone. Playing on his guitar he treated us with his short stories and trivial insights in his thoughts. Turning the small things of everyday life into preciously wrapped secrets with his humour.

One secret I dare reveal, so you’ll know why the news will one day mention inexplicable wearing of the rails between Utrecht and Den Bosch:

Hendrix Huisje from Mondoleone.nl.

Lots of other secrets are to be found on Leone’s website! With his songs in front of this small crowd, this performance was like a gathering around a bard who shared his oral knowledge gathered during his travels.

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Photo’s from Cultural Sunday photo gallery.

Other must haves that attracted attention by touring the city were:

  • the silent band (Stille Fanfare), who could have been more silent if they had eliminated the rhythm of their marching
  • the exuberant urban safari with their large trail of sightseeing tourists running to follow in their wake

An afternoon of strolling through the park to see the work that had been done on the new overpass at the 24 Oktoberplein in Utrecht.

Picture by Ramon Mosterd, taken from dnu.nu.

Streets without cars at the overpass increased the eerie atmosphere. (This spirit was captured on camera by Ramon Mosterd from De Nieuwe Utrechter).

Not the most relaxed of activities as we were followed around by zombies. Leading to frantic checking of my phone and being startled by its vibrations. The zombies were part of the game Zombie, Run.

Picture taken from Google Play website.

The red zombies are the ones to watch out for, they are on to you!

Although they were not too fast (I set them to a calm 2mph to match the weekend spirit, and they listened), or smart (not attempting to close in on us as we admired the construction work), they got me in the end.

One of them was waiting on the street just before our house. No chance to escape as it is bordered by water on two sides.

It ate my brains…

Some great detective work done for me. Resulting in the picture at the bottom I was too lazy to take while biking past.

Or how this:

Screenshot from Twitter

"The ice is melting, but you can still stand on it at #munt to remove graffiti from cay walls #ooginal"

Resulted into this:

Screenshot from Twitter

"@lotte_harmsen Why did you remove graffiti? #munt #ooginal"

Screenshot from Twitter

"Hi Lotte, look at my tweet of 14.45... ;-)"

Screenshot from Twitter

"The ice master is doing some measurements, and we quickly remove some freshly added graffiti's #030"

This accommodation in the series on outstanding places to sleep was not spotted by me, but by a user of the website Map Your Mind. The tree house in Groenekan, The Netherlands:

Picture taken from website Tussen Hemel en Aarde.

Tree house at camp site Tussen Hemel en Aarde.

This accommodation can be rented at camp site Tussen Hemel en Aarde.

Discover special places in Utrecht on http://www.mapyourmind.nl/. Or create a map to share your own.

Screenshot from Map Your Mind website.

Users post their personal collage maps of Utrecht.

This personal mapping was popular by the Situationist International in the 1960’s.

Initiator of the website Sanne Kwak, however, has been inspired by urban planner Kevin Lynch‘s ‘mental maps’. His book “The image of the city” (1960) inspired people to regard cities in a more personal way.

The visual inspiration, she writes, comes from the drawings of Dutch artist Jan Rothuizen:

Drawing by Jan Rothuizen.

Leaf through the drawings of "The soft atlas" on Jan Rothuizen's homepage.

Guaranteed slave free fashion by i-did in Utrecht.

Picture from i-did.nl

Stone necklace from the i-did webshop

The clothes label is featured in an article by De Pers.

This laser artwork was part of the Trajectum Lumen project that lights up the Utrecht city centre untill 2018.

Picture taken by Jeroen Bosman at flickr.com

Media scholar Lev Manovich visited Setup today to present his new research project of cultural analytics for which he uses computer power and screen capacity to analyse large amounts of visual data. The advantage being, he argued, that no longer this work had to carried out by quantitative researchers who would only use a small selection of the rich amount of data. Examples: Capturing the first and last frame of each shot in a film, shot length, amount of movement in a shot and displaying them chronologically. Or taking screenshots of a play session of a computer game every three seconds and displaying a composition of their vertical middle lines. No data will be lost anymore.

Admittedly, the images looked very interesting from the beginning. But my mind started to wonder when Manovich presented graph after graph of the same media text. This indicated to me that the same text had to be analysed repeatedly to highlight different aspects of it. Perspectives that could not be presented at the same time on the enormous screens designed for the task. But much worse: perspectives that analysed only a part of the text. Because how can a collection of samples of the original ever be as good research material as the original itself?

Display wall visualising analysis of fifty thousand Manga pages.

Not to say that Manovich did not have a point. The new techniques provide a way to actually process all the data a text contains. However, I cannot agree that this solves the problem that qualitative and quantitative research methods face. Every way you approach it, researchers still have to take decisions of what intervals to measure, and thereby bias their research. This was illustrated best with Manovich own example of motion. Moving his hands in an inimitable sequence, he stated that different types of movement are hard to compare. Tracking the speed and reach of movement enables this, as he said, forgetting that it loses the richness of the aesthetics which incorporates many more features. Virtually uncountable ones.

It was very unlucky that I could not stay until the end to witness the questions from the audience. Reading this new media & digital culture master blog (in Dutch), tells me that a question in the line of my critique was in fact posed by one of the present professors that organised Manovich’s visit (see Skip Intro). And it looks like Manovich had no concrete answer.

A researcher who has put my fears in clear words is William Gaver, who writes:

  • “Asking unambiguous questions tends to give you what you already know, at least to the extent of reifying the ontology behind the questions. Posing open or absurd tasks, in contrast, ensures that the results will be surprising.
  • Summarizing returns tends to produce an ‘average’ picture that may not reflect any individual well, and that filters out the unusual items that can be most inspiring.
  • Analyses are often used as mediating representations for raw data: they blunt the contact that designers can have with users” (p. 7)

Gaver, William W. et al. “Cultural Probes and the Value of Uncertainty”.

More discussion on Manovich’s lecture (also in Dutch) can be read on the website of Setup.

Tweets (Dutch and English)