‘Unquiet Pasts’ arrived quietly at my door …

Unquiet Pasts’ is the new volume for ‘Risk Society, Lived Cultural Heritage, Re-designing Reflexivity’ edited by Stephanie Koerner and Ian Russel. It is a written challenge to the individual and the community’s thought upon the past and consequently upon the future, as it states: ‘diversity of the past for plurality of future conditions of possibilities’. Exploring the notion of social and cultural heritage – locally and globally, giving practical present examples, and evoking touching collective and personal memories, the volume raises awareness ‘that no process begins from scratch. To design is always to re-design, to experiment is always to revisit pasts that differ to the present and indeterminate futures. Re-designing and cautious experimentality may be an ‘antidote’ to (…) the search for absolute certainty, absolute beginnings, and radical departures’. Thank you Stephanie Koerner for inviting me to contribute to the volume!

Two great initiatives in one living room event

or Jenny Lane Performing in Johan Holthof’s Living Room

Johan Holthof is a young entrepreneur and owner of the newly opened – Het Hemelrijk B&B, Rotterdam. Jenny Lane is not only a rising star on the Dutch jazz scene but also a wonderful presence.

I had the pleasure to met Janny, her band and some of the international guests in Johan’s living room for an extraordinary (to be read as in out of ordinary) concert on Wednesday July the 7th.

The enabler of this event — Live in Your Living Room (LiYLR) is a professional house concert network in The Netherlands, Belgium and New York City.

The event made me think of the ‘blending trend’ or the ‘convergence of industries’ where the boundaries between public, business and private, artists, young entrepreneurs and spectators have all become blurry, disappearing in a newly created dynamic where all participants were eager to be entertainers and ready to be entertained.

The city of Rotterdam, as stage, continues to attract entrepreneurs, artists, organizers, tourists and is one of the places where trend-setters like to be. These people with their natural spontaneity and curiosity set the tone for new urban dynamics. And I continuously try to acknowledge the jazzy tunes of the nowadays urban culture.    

Feel free to check www.jennylanemusic.com for Jenny Lane CD’s and agenda. If you happen to be in New York during 10 – 19 September check the LiYLR NY Festival Agenda. Last but not by any means least, whenever you intend to spend few days in Rotterdam visiting or for business, do not hesitate to overnight and have a delicious breakfast in the wonderfully refurbished 19 century building, at the cozy B&B Het Hemelrijk.

Thank you Johan for hosting the event and for taking the photos!

Jazz Live in J. Holthof’s Living Room is postponed

 Live in Your Living Room house concert is postponed for Wednesday evening, July the 7th.  … This event knows how to create and rise expectation!!!

On Monday June, 27th Jazz Live in J.Holthof’s Living Room

Event: Live in your living livingroom 

Where: in the newly opened B&B –”het Hemelrijck”, Rotterdam

Host: Johan Holthof

Artist: Jenny Lane

Key words: public event, private space, hospitality, urbanism, jazz, lounge, bed&breakfast, guests, artists, living room, friends

I: …  cannot wait!!!

Cluj-Napoca versus New York?

“Cluj is loved almost as much as NY” – declared the Romanian newspaper “Adevarul” (The Thruth) on Friday February 19, 2010. The assumption is based on the on the facebook virtual community “I love Cluj”, which has around 3000 fans less than “I love NY”. “And this only 3 weeks after the launching” – the newspaper commented. While “I love NY” has 14.350 members, “I love Cluj” has 10.938. Of course the figures become even more interesting if one compares the population of the two urban areas: New York City has a population of 8.363.710, while Cluj-Napoca (including its outskirts) reaches 379.705 .

What is fascinating to me though is the way the facebook virtual community reflects Cluj vibrancy. The Transylvanian city’s image is captured by the hundreds of photos taken by the different fans; by the local cultural news posted each day, such as: The Annual Opera Ball, The Transylvanian International Film Festival; The Cluj Fashion Show; by the hilarious short movie showing the good old 70’s – “Restaurant for Women Only” (for the non-Romanian speakers still worth to watch the images showing Turkish coffee prepared on hot sand!!); by the fascinating pieces of local history with photos and drawings from the late 1800; by the thought challenging and very much needed topics posted on this site by the local radio: “What is your recommendation for the downtown (re)development?”; by the links related to European urban redevelopment projects . But even more important, the citiy’s fizz&buzz is reflected by the fans’ comments, ideas, and knowledge related to Cluj history and present culture. At the end of they day they contribute to the city’s present image. What a smart interactive urban branding tool “I love Cluj” is!

Last year I had the pleasure to (re)visit both cities. I won’t go into comparisons, but I would rather remind myself what they mean to me. As I grew up in a communist regime, traveling abroad was THE dream and New York THE ultimate (longed for) destination. And indeed NY undergoes a “continuous renewal” that is a lighthouse for travelers all over the world. If New York begs for the question: “Where do I want to go and what do I want to become?”, then Cluj-Napoca begs: “Where do I come from?” reflecting my roots and origins. Cluj is the resource and the inspiration I breathed from its streets, parks, architecture, and places of culture, knowledge, and spirituality during my formative years. But more than that, much more, it is the place of family and friends I grew up with. Cluj is home for my friends and me, and probably for many of “I love Cluj” fans whether they’ve spent all of their lives or just temporarily within its ever expanding limits. And a piece of Cluj stays with us wherever we go.

Between Wording, Planning & Reality – Barcelona, January ’10 – follow up

Photo taken by Nicoleta Popoviciu on January 28th, 2010.

Between Wording, Planning & Reality – Barcelona January ’10

Until now, the posts of this blog have referred to urban related objects, events & ideas that my friends and I appreciate. The same positive/refreshing meaning I had in my mind when I announced at the “upcoming events” section, the two current exhibitions in Barcelona: Cerdà and the Barcelona of the Future. Reality versus Plan. & The Malady of Writing. A project on text and speculative imagination. On Sunday, the 24th of January, leaving the Centre de Cultura Contemporania de Barcelona (where the “Cerdà and the Barcelona of the Future. Reality versus Plan” takes place) I was witnessing a fire in a building in the neighbourhood of Rambla. Words were hard to find on that very moment. The reality that such a horrific sight occurred in front of me still lingers somewhere in the back of my mind … “Should I post it? Should I igonore it? … Words suddenly feel a heavy task …” with these “after thoughts” buzzing in my mind I’ve decided to post the material without any aditional comment.