Tag: borders

Synthesis of where I am in the process of my personal project

This year I am working mainly on the concept of borders and to find reflections tools to break borders.

During the first semester my goal was to create a tool to reflect on the physical and psychological borders. More generally, reflect on our place within our society, mankind and environment. Developing empathy was one of the avenue worth exploring. This semester I would like to reflect on the duty we have in this environment.

I will stay in he same topic : break the psychological border and the fact that we tend to stay in our confort zone, however, this time I would like to break the borders we constructed between us and the planet. And can we develop empathy toward the planet ?

I would like to foster reflections on the fact that we are part of a whole, on the long term consequences as well as the butterfly effect of our actions/inaction/behaviour, to raise awareness of our right, duty and power as an individual to act for a greater good and a better future. Our luck, and because we are lucky how other people are unlucky.

Why this topic : because we are at a turning point of what the earth can provide, if everyone was living like in western Europe we will need 2.5 planets, like in the us it would be 4.1 planet. Personally I am using 2.1 planets, which is pretty bad. And because I am using this much I am are responsible for the fact that 750 million people around the world lack access to safe water? It is just a fractions of very deep questions, worth a thought. The good thing is that we still have a choice to educate ourselves to act and behave in a more sustainable manner and for a equity world.

My goal would be to encourage people to find a harmonious and sustainable relationship with the planet and push reflection on our current relationship with it.

The first stage in my research process is a reflection on how we occupy our time nowadays, and the questions of our habits and routines… and find out if there is still time for reflection, and where are these in-between moments. My goal is not to  remove them, they are already rare and important to keep, the ideas is more how to create more. I created these little cards where people are asked for 2 consecutive days to colours their time line, and where they the action. For each day they can propose an alternative day. Asking the question at the end of the day what I would have done differently.

One of my surprise when I looked at the results I got so far is that most people doesn’t have any moment when they do nothing. Also the action of reading appear in what they wish to do, but almost anyone find the time to read anymore, or they favour another activity. I want to compare if the fact of asking an alternative day, influenced the second day.

In the comments, some people pointed out that it was interesting to get the opportunity to reflect and think about what we actually do in our days and that is it hard to change bad habits. Someone said that it is difficult to track what we do, but also remember. We are so much in the flow of our day that we don’t even realise what we do. The data I put at the back doesn’t seems to affect the alternative days, as I didn’t get any comment on that.

I will conduct a complete analyse of the results next week.

The second stage was to think about the jobs which involve a lot of waiting, with ‘fallow time’ period. How do they occupy their time, when there is ‘nothing’ to do ? Like taxi driver, lollypops lady… and lifeguard. I know this last one particularly  well as it was my student job for 8 years. In the mind of people, it is easy you just spend your days waiting. It is true for the last part, you wait a lot but it is not easy. Your body is in pause, but you have to fight to not put your mind in pause too, as you have to constantly be alert to detect if someone need help; the noise is also very tiring. Moreover, most of the interventions are preventives. It is like ‘Minority report’ you alert or even punish before something happen, trying to visualise what could happen in the future, preventing potential accident to happen. You might think: Ok, but what is the link with the topic.

As the Lifeguard do, should we all keep an eye, not on people swimming, but on the planet and prevent disaster ?  Could we all become PLANETguard. The question is how to get people to watch and prevent the disaster ?

earth_planet guard

What I have done so far is ask my college in France to answer 10 open questions, like I would have done in an interview, but by sending a form it allow me for a first stage to get more answer from more people, with taking little of their time instead of 1 hour.

The questions are around the way they invigilate the swimming pool, how they manage to stay focussed, if they choose to prevent or wait for a problem to happen, and how they detect that something bad could happen. Finally I ask if they needed a tool or an invention to help them to do a better job. In the answers I had so far, they insist a lot on the prevention, someone even say that it is a bit like being a voyeur. Concentration comes with experience because you can detect problem before they arrive, they develop a 6th sense.  One person told me that first she use prevention but if the person doesn’t care she wait for the problem to happen so the public take consciousness of the risk. To do your job well they recommend to move, be in action, fight agains monotony, and prevention is the key word. The would suggest camera under the water, give a better education to the people, and a good one is create bionics ears to detect calls for help.

I will conduct a complete analyse of the results and what I can gain from them next week.

chaise et cameraFinally I ask them to attach a camera to the chair from where they work to film their face, to analyse the face and the method form another point of view (not my internal one). I got a video, unfortunately I might not be able to do a good thing with it as they could instal it in one of the swimming pool where there is not a lot of people, I only have 2 persons, and you feel that there is no one to look after almost.

I still have no clue of what I will do, I will keep seeking.

Matthieu Ricard & altruism

Inspiring reflection on happiness – altruism – sustainability

  • potentiel for goodness & do bad – build/destroy depending on our motivation
  • foster an altruistic motivation is better than a selfish one
  • many challenges in our time – we are the major impact on our earth

“5 years ago we were at the edge of a precipice, today we do a big step forward – this edge is the planet boundaries – with this boundaries, there is a number of factors we can still prosper – choose the simplicity”

First thought for a new project

Initial project

Scope: empathy, encouraging not to be selfish/ egocentric
– borders between people
– fear of difference
– zone of comfort
– blind / ignorance of what is happening around you
Outcome: reflect on our place within our society, mankind and environment
– break physical  and psychological  borders
– open to others
– break the feeling of ultra-powerfulness : we can’t see it all

Next project: widening scope / look at another aspect

I push people to reflect on personal questions (borders in mind, or where a single persons  is allowed to go…) Now reflection on the fact we are part of a whole (Analogy with childhood/teenage hood when you gradually increase you awareness of the world around you)
– consequences of our actions/inaction/behaviour
– butterfly effect, long term consequences
– looking a bigger picture
– larger scale
– longer term

I came across this idea after looking at a new TED talk by Matthieu Ricard (see dedicated post and video)
He is saying that we are on “the edge of the planet” and this edge is the boundaries of the planet




My context would be his video, to raise awareness of our right, duty and power as an individual to act for a greater good and a better future:

We are at a turning point / point of no return of what the earth can provide
– We have a choice and duty to educate ourselves to act and behave in a more sustainable manner.
– Encouraging people to feel the harmony of our ideal sustainable relationship with earth and the disharmony of our current relationship with it.
– Break the borders we constructed between us and the planet


Create an instillation of turntables representing the different continents, one turntable=one continent.  On each a vinyl playing instrument(s) symbol of this continent. They all turn at different speed: speed = energy consumption of the continent (if we were all living like we do in Europe, we would need 2.5 planets to sustain, it would be worth in US… so for us the speed  will be x2.5). Then you would have cursor to answer simple question to calculate how many planet we would need if the rest of the world population was living like ourself. It would modify the speed of these disc. The goal would be to try to make the planet be in harmony (all the disc turning at the same speed to hear the music). 

Tutorial notes

Should look at

  • Sahra Sharma / re-calibration
  • nuclear clock
  • Tom Schoflieldart.com / neurotic armagedon indicator
  • entretags – timebots – family clock
  • Miyajima tatsuo – work with time
  • Sophie Calle – work with memories

The first proposal might be too consensual. We all will never have the same right, same way of living. Do we want a homogene society, like we all are clones ? But in the same time it is not right that some have the ability to consume in 1 hour what other will in a month or more ? How can we find a balance between equality (the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, or opportunities) and equity (the quality of being fair and impartial: equity of treatment.)


Equity, as we have seen, involves trying to understand and give people what they need to enjoy full, healthy lives.  Equality, in contrast, aims to ensure that everyone gets the same things in order to enjoy full, healthy lives. Like equity, equality aims to promote fairness and justice, but it can only work if everyone starts from the same place and needs the same things.

It is worth looking at this video of Hans Rosling about energy consumption and the inequality in the world.

We all live with different temporality as well.


Is fast wrong ? (slow food ≠ fast food)

harmony is difficult to define – it is not only fast and slow

Time and territory
When you look linear you miss direction and possibilities
Always in a narrative structure
How to find synchronicity
Try to find a moment where it is possible to detect synchronicity – can be very brief – loss of a moment = tension

I should look at some granularity – detail – personal detail – build a personal reflection

Think about the setting of my research:

  • empirical knowledge
  • interrogate the system
  • give to an test group something to study them
  • think about ethic
  • provocation ?

Other ideas after the tutorial

  • IMG_0193IMG_0195make a record with our own data -> global identification
  • 1 needle become a person – multiple needle on the same record how to find equity to make harmony ?
  • Cut a record to create our own (how a record is made) maybe it is one circle

My Map app

I created a new app called Mymap,  working on the concept to expend our territories and encourage to reflect on all the place we will have to discover in our life, as well as the one we will never see.

De Certeau argues that the act of walking selects and fragments the space traversed; it skips over links and whole parts that is omits. Moreover it can “be traced on city maps in such a way as to transcribe their paths and their trajectories. But these thick or thin curves only refer, like words, to the absence of what has passed by. A spacial order organises an ensemble of possibilities and interdictions, then the walker actualises some of these possibilities. In that way, he makes them exists as well as emerge.” [3]. It is what the app is doing: revealing the choices taken, the places visited or the path used, while the rest is hidden behind a white layer.

This is the mockup of my idea.

In my head it was quite a simple idea (coming from a person who don’t have any experience in coding yet) but in application it has been quite difficult and several iteration of the app had been necessary.

First I thought it would have been possible to make a reverse heat map: instead of having colours appearing on a layer on top of the map, it would make transparent the white layer. In practice what was possible is to draw a white layer on google maps by giving the points clockwise then removing polygons from this layer by giving the point anticlockwise. It created a lot of different issues: closing the route every time we created a new point: drawing the territory and not the route; superposed polygons resulting on re-masking the map…


The solution came up with the discovery of hulljs. Using a complex algorithm, it draws around the GPS points the route.

The app uses phone gap, a free and open source framework that allows you to create mobile apps using standardized web APIs for web platforms as well as mobile app with the same code. The language is Java Script. To store the routs (even is it not possible yet with the current version) HTML5 Local Storage will be use. Google maps API, Cordova plugin geolocation and the GPS of the phone are used as well.

I am already thinking about a future version of the app. I would like to make the map appearing in different shade of colours: for example the area you use all the time (’your territory’: going to work and back home for example) would be tinted in red, whereas the one you visited only once would be blue. it would allow a better understanding of the territory.

For complementary informations about the app (interface, calculus of the opacity), or more references have a look to the slides of my presentation and my research.

Revealing map (project proposal)

For this idea I also looked into the concepts of ‘creating your own border’ and ‘staying in your confort zone’, however, this time on ow to expend our territories and encourage to reflect on all the place we will have to discover in our life.

For that, I want to create a mobile app: it will be a white page when you start using it for the first time, then the map will reveal itself when you went somewhere physically.
I tried to make a visualisation of my idea in this short animation:

In my head it is quite a simple idea (coming from a person who don’t have any experience in coding yet 🙂 but we already told me that it is not as simple and I am worked I will not be able to make it on time for the 13th of december.
One way I think it might be possible is to make a reverse heat map: instead of having colours appearing on a layer on top of the map, it would make transparent the white layer.

The second stage of this project (depending how difficult it is to do the ‘simple’ idea), would be to make the map appearing in different shade of colours: for exemple the area you use all the time (’your territory’: going to work and back home for example) would be tinted in red, whereas the one you visited only once would be blue.

Scott Sona Snibbe – Boundary functions

Scott Snibbe is a pioneering digital artist and entrepreneur whose work includes apps, video, and interactive installations.

His statement

The purpose of my work is to bring meaning and joy to people’s lives. My work is frequently interactive, requiring viewers to physically engage with diverse media that include mobile devices, digital projections, and electromechanical sculpture. By using interactivity, I hope to promote an understanding of the world as interdependent; destroying the illusion that each of us, or any phenomenon, exists in isolation from the rest of reality.

Humans often think of themselves as embodied beings acting separately from their environment and other people. However, when we examine the object most of us take to be “me”—the body—we find it composed entirely of non-self elements: skin, cells, our parents’ genes, food, water, atoms originating from ancient stellar explosions, and these, as far as we know today, made up of pure energy. Furthermore, our bodies’ parts are in constant exchange with our environment and with others’ bodies through eating, respiration, immunology, and genetics. Similarly, the contents of our human minds are dependent: language, thoughts, memories, and preferences only emerge from our interactions with others. Even while alone, the imprints of our lifetime’s interactions propel our thoughts and memories. Such a view of interdependence has long been central to Buddhist philosophy, and has recently gained widespread validation from neuroscientists, social psychologists, and philosophers of emergence, chaos, and complexity theories.

Boundary Functions

We think of personal space as something that belongs entirely to ourselves. However, Boundary Functions shows us that personal space exists only in relation to others and changes without our control.

Boundary Functions is a set of lines projected from overhead onto the floor, dividing people in the gallery from one another. When there is one person on its floor, there is no response. When two are present, a single line cuts between them bisecting the floor, and dynamically changing as they move. With more than two people, the floor divides into cellular regions, each with the quality that all space within it is closer to the person inside than any one else.

The regions surrounding each person are referred to as Voronoi diagrams. These diagrams are widely used in diverse fields and spontaneously occur at all scales of nature. In anthropology and geography they describe patterns of human settlement; in biology, the patterns of animal dominance and plant competition; in chemistry the packing of atoms into crystals; in astronomy the influence of gravity on stars; in marketing the strategic placement of chain stores; in robotics path planning; and in computer science the solution to closest-point problems. The diagrams represent as strong a connection between mathematics and nature as the constants e or pi.

By projecting the diagram, the invisible relationships between individuals and the space between them become visible and dynamic. The intangible notion of personal space and the line that always exists between you and another becomes concrete. The installation doesn’t function at all with one person, as it requires a physical relationship to someone else. In this way Boundary Functions is a reversal of the lonely self-reflection of virtual reality, or the frustration of virtual communities: here is a virtual space that can only exist with more than one person, and in physical space.

The title, Boundary Functions, refers to Theodore Kaczynski’s 1967 University of Michigan PhD thesis. Better known as the Unabomber, Kaczynski is a pathological example of the conflict between the individual and society: engaging with an imperfect world versus an individual solitude uncompromised by the presence of others. The thesis itself is an example of the implicit antisocial quality of some scientific discourse, mired in language and symbols that are impenetrable to the vast majority of society. In this installation, a mathematical abstraction is made instantly knowable by dynamic visual representation.


The Berlin Wall Is Going Back Up


“When the Berlin Wall was built back in 1961, it literally went up overnight. Constructed first out of just barbed wire, then supplemented with concrete walls, landmines, and watch towers, the mauer split Berlin in half for nearly 30 years, until it one of the biggest bureaucratic gaffes of all time caused the wall to come down earlier than expected in 1989. To mark the anniversary of the fall of the wall, Berlin will once again cut the city in half starting in the middle of the night on November 7. But this time, it won’t be done with barbed wire–it’ll be done with balloons full of light.

Designed by light artist Christopher Bauder and film maker Marc Bauder, Lichtgrenze is a nearly 10-mile installation which will feature around 8,000 glowing white orbs, marking the original path of the Berlin Wall through the city. For two whole days, the German capital will once again be split between East and West, at least metaphorically.

Situated at six key locations along the path, Lichtgrenze will display historical footage of what was life in those areas while the wall was up. In addition, every 500 feet along the wall, visitors will be able to find personal anecdotes, memories, and stories–100 in total–from people who lived on both sides of the Wall, or whose lives were affected by it in some way.

The Lightgrenze will stay erected until November 9 at 7 p.m., at which point thousands of volunteers (called balloon patrons) will attach personal messages to the balloons and then disconnect their strings, sending the lit balloons streaking into the sky. But no need to worry about the environmental impact here: the balloons have been specially designed for the event by researchers at the University of Hannover to make sure that they are completely biodegradable.”  From Fastcodesign

The photo that sums up our world



As African would-be migrants try to scale a triple-strength 7m (23ft) border fence that separates the Spanish enclave of Melilla from Morocco, golfers continue to play their round.

This photo was taken by local humanitarian group Prodein, which earlier this month released a video supposedly showing Spanish police carrying an unconscious man from Spanish territory to Morocco.

Commenting on the video, in which a 23-year-old Cameroonian man named Danny is removed, Human Rights Watch’s Judith Sunderland said: “Spain needs to call an immediate halt to these abusive returns, and the public prosecutor’s office needs to investigate this horrific case. Until the case has been fully investigated, the Guardia Civil should remove these officers from border duties.”

Spain claims that 28,000 migrants have entered the enclaves of Melilla and Ceuta in the last decade, with 36 attempts upon the fence this year alone.

From i100 Independent and Rue 89

My thoughts


Please give me your feedback on my ideas, and if you have any thoughts how I could develop them or in which direction I should go. Any comments are welcome. (see the pages with the mind map My thoughts)


The different themes I am looking at for the moment are:


on 2 different aspects: 
– inequality between people: because you are born in x or y country you can’t move freely (visa, border…) Why do I have some right than other people doesn’t have? How this is right ? Also, by doing that, is not increasing the desire to see what is forbiden? When you are not allow to do something you might try harder to make it possible.
– creating your own border by staying in your confort zone. It can result to refuse to see in the other side of the road how people are living or even your neighbour ? and I am not talking (yet) about situations in other country or continent, where it can be so far from the reference framework that it is difficult to identify to the situation or living condition.
My feeling is that it is very easy to stay on a routine, ‘bury ours head in the sand’. It allows us to not called into question our behaviours and the impact of our actions in the society.
Is developing empathie, be open to others would help to create a better word ? Experience, relate and understand others could help to be more open on the world surrounding us (on different scale) and try to ‘be in the shoes of someone else’. In a sense brake the borders we create.


To experience, relate, understand others, and reconnect with the self, I believe that it is important to be able to ‘disconnect’: from the technology, from the consumer society, from ‘always more’ and ‘always faster’.


I am a bit obsess with this idea that we are all human, all made of 70% of water, all the same in a way. In contrast there is this huge inequality on the planet where world’s richest 1% own 40% of the world’s wealth. it is related with the first idea developed in ‘border’.
Maybe equality between people could maybe take place in the ‘between’ places, passage, connections, non spaces.


This is the big question: How to have a good life? Is happiness living well and doing well? Should it be our goal in life and how to get there? Yet, my position on these questions is that to have a good life you should act in coherence with the values you are believing in. You should go out of the confort zone to live new experiences, and learn from it what is essential for you and bring something positive out of it. It can be as simple as coming back from work by another route, try to observe the word with open mind and a sense of detail…