Northern hemisphere, Western Europe, with a low sky and grey wetness alternating daily with strong wind for chapped faces. A group of people deliberately brought together, but with no choice as to whom they would be with. Soon making basic decisions about the nature of the place they were occupying. Effort expended to construct a large platform, a kind of galleried space overlooking a double or even triple height room. Mainly wood with steel uprights to keep it up there. A well-made stair system, with solid planks of wood leading up the right hand side. For the room had originally been designed with high windows, well lit, but impossible to see anything but sky. Now you can sit on the platform and look straight outside. And in the corner of the room, where there had been only plastered features, there is now a kitchen. You can meet up on the platform, and then descend later for food or coffee. Alternatively, you can start in the kitchen corner and then bring the results up to the platform. Eat and drink while watching the city move past the window.
In this room the people talked about exchange. They met every day for a week to discuss new ways to pass ideas between people. In a way they were considering art. They were looking at the nature of distribution. Focusing upon singular audiences, aiming precisely. Offering ideas pitched straight and controlled and to make it work, creating one person, a generic psychological portrait of a loose set of needs. The development of an image for a person, based upon the characteristics laid down by the group. A generator and recipient of potential stuff and services. A way to think about new conceptualization of production and reception.
A person called “Humle,” a word derived from hops, a brewing term, but also the name of someone’s niece. First consider travel. Humle needs places to go to. Remember the group creates Humle and offers Humle ideas. And travel is important for Humle, as it might be for others. Get a car to the north of Iceland. Maybe driving, just for the beauty, just for the steamy cold landscape. But there are possibilities closer to home, maybe a tour of the local attempts at building a better post-urban landscape. A tour of those sites, new models for living. No one was sure if these had worked, but the trip would be good. Like Nanni Moretti, in Dear Diary, riding his scooter, way out of Rome, to check out a public housing project, glancing for one second, turning to the camera and concluding it’s not so bad. A new urban model tour takes some thought, but could include a few places. Albertslund, Farum Midtpunkt, Melby. Nothing special, but not bad places to start the process. And after that, a trip to the Italian Communist Festivals that you find around Pisa in the fall, just to keep Italy in mind. Sounds pretentious or boring, but in fact the festivals are mixed, open and extreme. Late dancing and amazing food. The Lesbian and Gay film Festival in Copenhagen, or the Lesbian and Gay Film Festival anywhere. Better move Humle out of Europe, too. A place in Northern Brazil and then Brasilia. Even Papua New Guinea. Well these are the travel thoughts that came from under the platform.
But Humle must come from somewhere. A home is required. An A-shaped house. Something built of wood. A construction on stilts with a deck and a full window at each end. One of those homes that is all roof and no walls. No one could remember who invented them but they knew that Humle would like one. And to build it properly, a book of building regulations. The Danish one is good, but any one will do. The Carl F building directory, or any directory of building. The Barbour Building compendium used to be good. You could even buy those canopies from it that they rig up over sports stadia. A full guide to all new apartment complexes currently under construction. Take the information out of the hands of the Real Estate people and offer it all to Humle. But there are some other ideas. How to make a place where the view can constantly be changed without moving the building or the location. That will take some thinking about, but I’m sure Humle will appreciate the broad concept. Oh, and isolated homes, a guide to those places that are at least a day away from anywhere else. Someone said that a day away is the true sign of an isolated place. The only time you can really feel alone.
And Humle needs some entertainment. CDs in bulk, it doesn’t matter how many, probably more than a hundred per box. Bulk buying in general, or the surprise arrival of things in large quantities. Everyday objects, delivered simultaneously. Thick books with animals on the cover, or more precisely, thick books, each devoted to a different animal. Lion, dog, cougar, I suppose, they didn’t specify the kind of animals Humle might want. But the principle stands. Diverse maps, of detailed places. That’s it. Not much to go on. But it’s something. Maybe the question should be re-framed. What kind of pleasure does this person require? What objects make them happy? What do they not have and don’t yet know they need, in the style of Sony’s first breakthrough. Giving people tape players, and anticipating desire. At the beginning, Akio Morita and Masaru Ibuka, the founders of Sony, had to take their tape recorders around with them to show people why it might be good to register sounds. A big paperweight, really big. A red mohair sweater or two. Super-flat night lights. A bar for a car. An American car that is non-organic in form, more squared off than curvy. Those tent-like structures that people hang from the sides of mountains as they ascend a vertical face. Festo power tools, not Makita or Bosch. Delivery bikes designed in Christiania. A bicycle structure with a box on the front. Good for children and animals. The soft-core video series In the sign of the… Libran? The Danish theatre production of American Psycho, movie-type special effects designed for the stage.
On the Friday morning, they met in a hotel. Not just any place, but one designed by a famous architect. A large block with a restaurant at the top. The management preserves one bedroom in its original condition, but someone was still sleeping inside, so our group couldn’t take a look. Sitting now, around a large conference table the group looked out over the city. A final brainstorming, and a search for a statement. “We know where you live” came up. Rejected on the grounds that it sounded too threatening. Then “I know what you are thinking,” again too dark. “Hi, how are you?” Better. It will have to do for now. An opening phrase for a generic individual. “Hi Humle, how are you?” or, “Humle. Hi, how are you?” A few things are coming our way. No more generalized statements refined into specific production, but focused distribution that will deal with each of us, one by one.