Statement: How to write the future now? How to perform end speech? What is an insincere or false statement of intent? Is an insincere or false statement of intent that comes true a successful prophesy or failed speech? To what extent is a prediction a socio-political performative? What is an unutterable prognosis made public? How does prognosis socially construct the now? How do words change the world?

Each day Question Time hold a summit somewhere in Copenhagen- in cafes, street corners, domestic apartments, and train stations – after which a new statement of intent is produced towards an alternative declaration of the way forward on climate change.

Summit 20 December (Post COP15)
Attending: Rachel Lois Clapham and lots of other random passers-by
Location: Copenhagen Airport
minute taker Rachel Lois Clapham

On the 6th December, on my way into Copenhagen, I passed a poster. On it, an aged, grey haired President Sarkozy was pictured, looking apologetic, saying :

I’m sorry. We could have stopped catastrophic climate change dot dot dot  we didn’t’

sorry-sarkozy

A latent apology from a world leader and COP15 delegate predicting the failure of the conference and envisioning the attendant global catastrophe.

Back then, I read the doom-laden poster as a bold statement of hope, as the setting up of the horizon line for ‘Hopenhagen’, for COP15; the conference would dispel the sure and forthcoming global disaster. Success was imminent since the conference could not fail. Too much was at stake within our own lifetimes.

I’m on my way to the airport today, C0P15 having ended with no definable agreement other than to carry on trying to agree, and I just passed the same poster.

There is a lot to be considered between my initial reading of the poster and this one.


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Posted: December 20th, 2009 | Author: Rachel Lois Clapham | Filed under: Statement of Intent, Uncategorized | Tags: , | No Comments »

Statement: Twice lost gloves the finger

Each day Question Time hold a summit somewhere in Copenhagen- in cafes, street corners, domestic apartments, and train stations – after which a new statement of intent is produced towards an alternative declaration of the way forward on climate change.

Summit Date: 17/12/2009

Attending: David Berridge, Rachel Lois Clapham, Alex Eisenberg, Mary Paterson.

Location: Cafe Zusammen.

Minute taker: David Berridge

We are approaching agreement. An oppressive place. You should subscribe. Its spiral is a slow, continual gradation. The shape of potential. We have to agree dates. When did we first become aware of this climate change crisis our own existence in time? One of us proposes 1984. Another says 1989. But each has their agenda, wishing to sit in their birthday chair, covered in crepe paper.

Maybe these are bargaining positions, the real year two or three years before. I do not yet have a year for acquiring awareness. Is that why I keep the minutes? How can we achieve agreement? One of us had a boyfriend who had one testicle. One of us had a boyfriend, born with forceps that slipped and poked out one eye. Maybe there will be a deal at the last minute.

This is my birthday. But everyone is in the next room watching television. The writers group have abandoned the democratic process to go off on their own and write villanelles about lego. They fight over end words, equating their predicament to the fall of the Soviet Union. Stupid writers. Perhaps no deal is happening but then there is a late intervention: if we have birthmarks we will celebrate them as parts of our body. Everyone who sees our mark in its entirety – a baroque protestant drape over half the body – has given us a letter. The letters spell a phrase:

TWICE LOST GLOVES

The story of the performance by the man in the towel at the party at 3AM has been omitted from these minutes. All his work is about testicular cancer. We chased a convoy – was it Obama? – convinced our gloves were inside. We were reassured in our failure by a man who gave us fruit and tea and lowered our bicycle seat so we could ride under the convoys that were everywhere blocking free passage through the city. Everything was nice. We were all reassured by the unfamiliarly close proximity of our knees and chin.

The agreement takes shape: We wash our hair, and sort audio files, and lose some more gloves and insist the floor be mopped. We love mopping followed by a multi-bird roast. But this 10 bird monstrosity could be deal breaking so we must be more concrete:

(a) WHERE WE ARE NOW

The lack of gloves focusses delegates attentions on the hand. An argument is made for focussing solely on The Finger. The Finger is its own delegating bloc: it points where it wishes, appearing in photographs of climate change activists and world leaders alike. Nothing about COP15 must be without the finger.

(b) SOME CONTEXT

Individuals highlighted or obliterated by The Finger find me on the internet afterwards and write to complain. I explain it is a Writers Finger, “saying” more about me than about them, a way of saving time by laughing at my writing and my finger together, a confessional trumping-perspective moment. Usually they are reassured enough not to email me again.

(c) OUTSTANDING ISSUES TO BE RESOLVED

(1) I am learning the comic timing of The Finger.

(2) I think the agreement is fine but The Finger should be in bigger type.

(3) The Finger had its third night of terrible sleep.

(4) A shaman called Angelica from Peru.

(5) The Finger gave itself the excuse not to do anything because it was so tired

(6) Drawn there by the food? No, it was more ephemeral.

(7) A sinister finger presence. A device to distract finger people.

(8) The guilt of doing finger and the guilt of not doing finger.

(9) This is the finger for me ( fear of circles).

(10) You can’t repent you just live with The Finger.

(11) We’ll give you this meaningless finger.

(12) Re-define it once The Finger is here.


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Posted: December 19th, 2009 | Author: David Berridge | Filed under: Statement of Intent, Uncategorized | Tags: , | No Comments »

Statement: No Interviews

Each day Question Time hold a summit somewhere in Copenhagen- in cafes, street corners, domestic apartments, and train stations – after which a new statement of intent is produced towards an alternative declaration of the way forward on climate change.

Date: Thursday 17th December 2009, 5.30pm

Attendees: Alex Eisenberg, David Berridge, Rachel Lois Clapham, Mary Paterson

Location:
Minute Taker: Alex Eisenberg

Dictaphone runs out of battery.

Dictaphone SD card (memory) is full.

No interviews.

It is -4c and it snowed heavily last night – stay inside, spend the day writing.

Visit only two bookshop cafés on a walking trip between the cities multiple bookshop café’s.

Miss seeing any convoys leave the Scandia Hotel.

Fall off bike into snow. Get snow in shoe.

Laugh at your own jokes.

Loose gloves (for the second time).

Feel guilty about doing this.

Feel guilty about not doing this.

No interviews.


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Posted: December 19th, 2009 | Author: Alex Eisenberg | Filed under: Statement of Intent | Tags: , | No Comments »

Statement: Hit the Ground Running

Each day Question Time hold a summit somewhere in Copenhagen- in cafes, street corners, domestic apartments, and train stations – after which a new statement of intent is produced towards an alternative declaration of the way forward on climate change.

Date: Wednesday 16th December 2009, 5.30pm

Attendees: Alex Eisenberg, David Berridge, Rachel Lois Clapham, Mary Paterson

Location: Café Zusammen
Minute Taker: Mary Paterson

I wasn’t impressed by it at all today, actually. We could talk about what an interview marathon is, if nobody comes. It’s a beautiful space. I was very excited about that before I came but funnily enough, now I’m here, it doesn’t seem that important. The fact that nobody came doesn’t affect the actual gesture in time and space What is prohibition? I dunno.  I just find that an interesting moment. The rocking chair was particularly meditative.  – The rocking chair was beautiful.  Did you put your head on the rest and just go with it?  – Yeah. I could have stayed there forever. His silences were really good.  He was really struggling with the questions. She was into the big.  We were small.  So it was a total ideological separation. What are we asking of people? Is our project really antagonistic?  We’re sticking to our guns and asking people to answer these questions, even if they don’t want to. Even if you say oh you don’t have to, it’s totally loaded. Human beings want to please other human beings, right? It’s a fucking inconvenience. One person asked me today, how does it feel, approaching people?  Because you’re really out on a limb? I think it gives you a license to do things that are not commercial. It’s a negative economy.  And it’s not sustainable.  Somebody has paid, and that somebody has an agenda. I don’t think they’re fully succeeding.  I think they need to be more radical to approach this. I’m gutted, that I haven’t been in a domestic situation, to cook for people. In London, if you give your room to someone it’s not a political act. Before you came we talked about that a lot: what the frame of ‘the art project’ is. That’s no more hideous that any of the others.  -Yes it is.  It doesn’t have an obscurity built into it. There’s that whole going-with-the-moment thing, isn’t there? She was a ‘young person’ – I’ve got a real problem with that – boring the tits off me. But, it came from a really boring place.  I made it sound interesting by accident, but really it was banal. I don’t think it matters if someone answers the question wrong. I’m very particular with the people I interact with. This has been much more challenging, but much more raw.  Hit the ground running.  Hit the ground running.


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Posted: December 19th, 2009 | Author: Mary Paterson | Filed under: Statement of Intent | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Statement: Micro Minutes

Micro Minutes [over 4 pages – This is not allowed by the protocol laid out by the group that is named Question Time which stipulates that Statements should only be 1 page.]

Summit Date: 15 December 2009
Attending: Alex Eisenberg, David Berridge, Tord Andreassen, Rachel Lois Clapham, Neil Bennun, Mary Paterson
Location: Café Dyrehaven, Vestebro, Copenhagen
Minute Taker: Alex Eisenberg

2.1 Reflexive Interviewing

We [the interviewers] were interviewed [by us, the interviewers]. This took place at:

  1. The Greenish Cafe, Central Copenhagen
  2. On a wooden bench outside the People’s Climate Action building in Faelledvej 12, The Annex, 4th., DK-2200 Copenhagen N.

3.1 Obama Mania©

We think that it is coming.

We think that it pervades right down.

4.1 Oppositional Language

We think that there is a proliferation of oppositional language but not necessarily a productive place for this opposition to be reconciled.

4.2 Default Position

We have noticed a position.

We will be terming this ‘the DEFAULT POSITION’. This is a position at the very front of dialogue, which happens almost automatically and generally without the need for thought. This is the first stage of things. [and we all do it]

5.1 Perceived Hierarchy

Here is what I perceive the hierarchy to be here, for now [there is no truth in this]:

United Nations

COP15 [pink badge] delegates

Some huge gap,

then groups like:

5.1 Perceived Hierarchy [contd.]

NGO’s

Charaties

Activist organisations

Artists

Other Activists

Violent Activists

6.1 Generalisation

It’s so boring to generalise.

7.1 The Event

We walked past the district where there are the big hotels [SAS, Scandica, The Imperial etc.]. (Copenhagen appears to be deeply influenced by its historic relationship with Lego. I walked past a Lego shop and there were people in there staring at the boxes, not buying, just staring – a slight glaze over their eyes. The effect of this history of Lego might account for the city feeling, at times, like a model town – kind of perfect. It’s the sort of place where the erection of concrete barriers outside certain key buildings is therefore noticeably unusual). There are now concrete barriers blocking the roads off. Police and army officers stand on corners. And if you try to enter they say “STOP”.

“What’s all of this for?”

“What do you think?”

“COP 15?”

“Yes!”

“So is anyone special staying here?”

“What do you think?”

“Yes, any presidents?”

“Yes lots of VIP’s, that’s why the security is tight”.

We will keep asking:

WHERE IS THE EVENT?

8.1 Pushing Through [it can be rewarding]

We will start.

We will try not to judge how things are going.

We will try to stay in the process of what we are doing.

We will keep going.

We will PUSH THROUGH and emerge out the other side [of an interview].

And things, then, will have changed.

9.1 Yurt Conversation

We will enter a yurt.

We will appreciate that a yurt is warm, circular and low lit.

We will sit around the edge of a yurt.

We will begin conversation.

We will exit a yurt.

We will consider how our space affects what we are doing.

9.2 Christiania[1]

We interviewed in Christiania.

We wonder how interviewing in Christiania is different to not interviewing in Christiania?

10.1 Assurance – Eye Contact

We will try to make eye contact.

We will not stare and instead we will try and LISTEN with our eyes.

(Lost my gloves so had to go and buy some new ones. Found a great army surplus shop which had just the ones I wanted – the fingerless ones but which also double as mitts – perfect for my activities here. Whilst we were in the shop three things happened:

  1. I bought a new pair of gloves. (89kr)
  2. A man came in and asked for a gas mask because he said “the police are using tear gas”. The gas masks the shop has in stock were too expensive so he opted for ‘German goggles’ instead. One of the panes of glass on the goggles was cracked. The man asked for a discount. (129kr)
  3. I bought a number of clip on brooches in the shape and colour of a (white) human’s ear.) (15kr each)

We will wear our ear brooches – as a badge and emblem of all that we stand for, as a badge that says:

We will LISTEN to you WITH OUR EYES, give you space to say your bit. [Even if we think it's boring].

10.2 Assurance – ‘Everything you say is correct’

We might say to the interviewee – ‘Everything you say is correct’

10.3 Crib Card

(As our memories get better at remembering what the questions are) We might abandon the crib card (on which all the questions have been written down). And so, we might be able to engage better with our interviewee.

10.4 Follow Up

There has to be follow up.

OR

Make sure you give someone the card that explains the project – after you have interviewed them.

11.0 Some (potentially additional) Questions

What is the agenda?

What is the concern?

What is the atmosphere?

What are we doing to the earth?

What on earth are we doing?

12.1 Bike

We will learn how to back break on the bike.

We will bike.

13.1 Somalian Delegate

We spoke to a Somalia delegate who has been refused entry to COP15 despite travelling all the way here from Somalia and thinking that she was going to be a part of the conference.

14.1 The Recycling Panopticon

[The Recycling Panopticon is in the centre of the building, the courtyard, we are living in – i.e an observer can observe (-opticon) you doing your recycling from all (pan-) the other flats in the building without you being able to tell whether they are being watched.]

We will, from now, separate our waste.


[1] Also known as Freetown Christiania (Danish: Fristaden Christiania) is a self-proclaimed autonomous neighbourhood of about 850 residents, covering 34 hectares (85 acres) in the borough of Christianshavn in the Danish capital Copenhagen.


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Posted: December 18th, 2009 | Author: Alex Eisenberg | Filed under: Statement of Intent | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Press Section

Press Releases

Each day of COP15 Question Time hold daily summits somewhere in Copenhagen. After each summit a new statement of intent is issued. To see our statements please click here.

Statement_0.0


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Posted: December 18th, 2009 | Author: Alex Eisenberg | Filed under: Press, Statement of Intent | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Statement: Room for Questions

Each day Question Time hold a summit somewhere in Copenhagen- in cafes, street corners, domestic apartments, and train stations – after which a new statement of intent is produced towards an alternative declaration of the way forward on climate change.

Summit Date: 14 December 2009
Attending: David Berridge, Rachel Lois Clapham, Alex Eisenberg, Neil Bennun, Mary Paterson
Location: Dyrehavn Cafe, Sonder Boulevard
Minute Taker: Rachel Lois Clapham


My last blog post had 16 words in it. It took two hours for me to write. I felt I had to make sure the words had the right sort of room. Enough room to move about in, perhaps freely is the wrong word, but the sort of space- and here I’m imaging a regular room with a roof, four walls and a door – that could be read or function on a variety of levels.

Such a room needs to have no clutter. No tripping over things on the way to the table or the coffee pot. This room is very difficult to write, language being entirely surplus by nature and unsuited to such a purpose. I also think that we – by which I mean writers –  delude ourselves as to the purpose of writing which is perhaps only ever a distraction – albeit a central one- in such a room.  The task in hand is  always the table or the coffee pot.

A statement of intent would have no such clutter. No such personal paraphernalia. It would be big but being inside it would be a tight fit, not much room to maneuver.

Our room here is small, minute even (is it just one room, or a warren of different little corridors, halls, or reception spaces on the same floor?) One thing is for sure, this room is made for more than one person. It is a small space into which big things fit, although sometimes you have to squeeze them through the door a bit.

It’s about Climate Change
It’s about COP15
It’s about Copenhagen
It’s about the home
It’s about a room
It’s about a table
It’s about a coffee pot

Only one person at a time

All furniture is carefully arranged

‘Room’ Video essay from rachellois on Vimeo.


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Posted: December 17th, 2009 | Author: Rachel Lois Clapham | Filed under: Statement of Intent | Tags: , | No Comments »

Statement: One of us/ Some of us

Each day Question Time hold a summit somewhere in Copenhagen- in cafes, street corners, domestic apartments, and train stations – after which a new statement of intent is produced towards an alternative declaration of the way forward on climate change.

Summit Date: 13 December 2009
Attending: David Berridge, Rachel Lois Clapham, Alex Eisenberg, Neil Bennun, Mary Paterson
Location: a bland café decorated c. 2002
Minute Taker: Mary Paterson

One of us lost all of his cards – the template for the score, and the prop for interaction. He left them somewhere. He realised he was losing something, but then he remembered that the score can be revisioned every day.

One of us realised that it is not a good idea to interview people in groups. It means they have an audience, which means they try to modify what they say to fit in with what their friends might want to hear.

Two of us have come to the conclusion that the score does not work well with young people. ‘Young people’ is a relative term.

Three of us said they like it when someone gets the game, or is open to the game, or is not open to the game but is somehow exposed through the process of questions. At least one of us said that she finds she does not enjoy asking questions all of the time. She wonders if this matters. She is open to the process changing her and her prejudices. Normally, this person is picky about the people with whom she interacts.

One of us had a boring day.

One of us said that Denmark is a good place to have babies.

One of us met some delegates – some real delegates – who have been at the Bella Centre. You could tell they were real delegates because this person had to be formally introduced. One woman who was interviewed found the process hard because she was in a targeted, negotiating space. She was throwing the questions back for reassurance.

Five of us said it’s about going to events.

One of use said that it is difficult to perform the score in environments that are not already discursive. Klima Forum is an ideal environment, but it is bustling with rhetoric and agitprop.

One of us said we should go into people’s homes. We should be like pizza delivery men, but we will not be delivering pizza. Five of us said we need a venue for a marathon by Tuesday.

One of us said that she loves the questions, but she’s the kind of person that she is. Three of us said it’s ok if the interviews are crap. They might get more interesting the next time you listen. One of us said she thought the whole point of this was to create an archive that we can treat at a later date. One of us said she doesn’t think she’ll have time for anything at a later date.

One of us said that he wonders about the relationships that are built around the score. Accumulatively, what do the relationships mean? What part does the score actually play in a conversation?

Four of us could not decide if this was about product or process.

One of us said he understands certain categories of response. Having identified them, it is now all a bit routine. How do we make something new?

One of us said she wants to carry out some more interviews. She said, ‘you have got interview fatigue, but I have only just arrived.’

Two of us wondered if we should get rid of the archive. It only shows that we’re failing, and it takes away the mystery of the project. Two of us thought it should stay. We always expected failure. The archive is just a tool for other peope to use. (The archive stays, for now.)

One of us said he has been romanced by the hopefulness of Copenhagen and New Life Copenhagen. Bigness is in the air.

One of us said it is always easier to leave a process, which is the reason why he thinks we should carry on.

One of us said we should make time to listen to the archive together. One of us said we could do that when we meet. One of us said, ‘no, nothing formal.’


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Posted: December 15th, 2009 | Author: Mary Paterson | Filed under: Statement of Intent | Tags: , | No Comments »

Statement 4: “Boring Rhetoric Your Question [STRIKETHROUGH]”

Each day Question Time hold a summit somewhere in Copenhagen- in cafes, street corners, domestic apartments, and train stations – after which a new statement of intent is produced towards an alternative declaration of the way forward on climate change.

DATE: 11/12/09

LOCATION: FotoKaffe

PRESENT: David Berridge, Rachel Lois Clapham, Alex Eisenberg, Sara Seerup Laursen, Sarah Wingate.

MINUTE TAKERS: David Berridge and Sarah Wingate.

STATEMENT 4: “Boring Rhetoric Your Question”

Boring rhetoric destroying the house of cards. Destroys questions. Destroys the room of space. Destroys music.

Boring rhetoric binds non-verbal actions. Boring rhetoric the action of now. Boring rhetoric not lived out yet.

Boring rhetoric can get weird. Boring rhetoric “with my mind.” Boring rhetoric pledge mimics boring rhetoric.

Boring rhetoric magic of choice. Boring rhetoric utopia becomes two statements: “Boring and “Rhetoric.” Begins with ending. Refuses to answer question. Boring rhetoric turn over. Let’s all jump up and down at the same time.

Boring rhetoric meets one person and everything changes. Boring rhetoric self publishing. Boring rhetoric more important than the interviewee. Boring rhetoric New York.

RIP UP BORING RHETORIC! EVERYONE! PLAYING! WITH! DECLAMATORY! STATEMENTS! BORING RHETORIC THROUGH ABSENT MINDEDNESS DESTROYED!

WE SAY: THE BORING RHETORIC EMERGENCY COULD BE A BORING RHETORIC CRISIS! RHET YOUR CONFIDENT BOR AND TOR AND IC AND ING!I CAN’T MAKE OUT IF YOU’RE HAVING A TERRIBLE TIME. IS EVERYTHING OKAY?

WE SAY: BORING RHETORIC THE MOST CRYSTALLISED! TAKE A PHOTOGRAPH! DESTROY! BORING RHETORIC WHAT PEOPLE TAKE IT AS! WE SAY:


BORING RHETORIC WHAT IS YOUR QUESTION?


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Posted: December 12th, 2009 | Author: David Berridge | Filed under: Statement of Intent | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Statement 3: We are Strangers

Each day Question Time hold a summit somewhere in Copenhagen- in cafes, street corners, domestic apartments, and train stations – after which a new statement of intent is produced towards an alternative declaration of the way forward on climate change.

Summit Date: 10 December 2009
Attending: David Berridge, Rachel Lois Clapham, Alex Eisenberg, Neil Bennun, Christian Skovbjerg Jensen,
Location: Bang and Jensen Cafe
Minute Taker: Alex Eisenberg

We meet. (In a café and we buy coffee and I get a coffee and a water).

We sit round this table.

And [0.1] we talk.

We will ALWAYS make changes to the questions that we will ask people. (L said to me that what she likes about what we are doing is that it’s about the PROCESS)

We will attempt to explore what it means to be a STRANGER in this place. (Feeling comfortable taking the metro [M] and the train [S] around the city, despite almost getting fined for accidentally not buying a ticket. Feeling comfortable finding my way back to where we are staying – but still this feeling of being stranger or do you just call it being a tourist?)

We (who are strangers) will place ourselves in RELATION to other strangers.

AND [0.2]

We will find out what happens when two strangers meet.(FCCC/KP/CMP/2009/2; FCCC/KP/CMP/2009/3; FCCC/KP/CMP/2009/4; FCCC/KP/CMP/2009/5; FCCC/KP/CMP/2009/6; FCCC/KP/CMP/2009/7; FCCC/KP/CMP/2009/8; FCCC/KP/CMP/2009/9; FCCC/KP/CMP/2009/10; FCCC/KP/CMP/2009/11; FCCC/KP/CMP/2009/12; FCCC/KP/CMP/2009/13)

We recognise that FEAR might be present.

IF [0.1]

We acknowledge that there is a PARTICULAR NORDIC SENSIBILITY. (Sitting on the train (S) and realise that we had accidentally not bought a ticket. Discuss the possibilities – there are quite a few. Notice the ticket inspectors coming down the carriage and decide to be honest. Tell the ticket inspector that you have been buying tickets for all your other journeys but that you had just run onto the train without one. Be told that you are going to be fined 750 Kroner (£90approx). Plead. Be asked if you are ‘with the conference’. Answer that YOU ARE. Leave the train without paying the fine.)

THEN [0.1]

We acknowledge that the Danes are HOSPITABLE. (This guy called Henrick has this empy flat in one of the smart districts of the city. We meet him there are 2pm. He shows us round in about 5 minutes. The flat is totally empty. We take the flat.)

AND [0.3]

We will move beyond the borders of hospitality through empowering VOICES. Through asking questions from the (in)side, attempting a way in(to).[Agenda item 5]
(FCCC/KP/CMP/2009/2; FCCC/KP/CMP/2009/3; FCCC/KP/CMP/2009/4; FCCC/KP/CMP/2009/5; FCCC/KP/CMP/2009/6; FCCC/KP/CMP/2009/7; FCCC/KP/CMP/2009/8; FCCC/KP/CMP/2009/9; FCCC/KP/CMP/2009/10; FCCC/KP/CMP/2009/11; FCCC/KP/CMP/2009/12; FCCC/KP/CMP/2009/13)

And someone asks:

What is the NEED?

What is the FUNCTION?

What is the ROLE?

OF ALL THIS…


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Posted: December 12th, 2009 | Author: Alex Eisenberg | Filed under: Statement of Intent | Tags: , | No Comments »