The Hum of the Refrigerator
Utopia requires stories with different natures. Like the sound of the refrigerator requires the silence of the night and I miss Japan.
Another Sunday, Another Naive Weekly — Observations From The Internet Wilderness.
Yesterday Uno turned six months old. Now is the first time we count his age in years. Half a year. It feels so significant that I should add an exclamation mark. Half a year! It is hard to understand that it is already half a year ago we left the hospital with Uno in his car seat.
To prepare for Uno’s arrival I decided to leave out news from this newsletter. I was unsure if I’d have the energy or interest to follow what was happening outside our bubble. In hindsight, this has proven to be the right decision. Not because I don’t read the news, but because I enjoy writing a newsletter without news.
So in today’s letter I can affirm you that the lake is still there, the swan managed to escape, and our refrigerator is humming. I'm happy to hear what non-news you have to share.
The Cube Rule of Food. (Hey, food is pleasing)
Christoph Nagel is a dad, micro-baker, and senior director of international. Earlier in his life, Christoph was spinning vinyl in Brussels’ night clubs and running around in sneakers from his own brand. It sounds hectic, but like the eye of the hurricane, Christoph is the calmest human possible.
K: How would you describe your work to my grandparents?
Christoph: First of all, let me say that I love to imagine hanging out with your elders in a small cabin somewhere on a tiny island in Northern Denmark. Your grandad out picking logs for the fire, and your Bedstemor serving me delicious home-baked Danish sweet treats. We would have a debate on the ups and downs of the internet, GAFA and monopolistic platforms. I would tell them that this very same internet makes it possible for creatives all around the world to fund projects that are important to them, through the power of the crowd. And I’m very lucky to call this my work.
K: How do you archive your thoughts?
Christoph: To be honest I am bad at archiving my thoughts. I take notes, here and there, but I have a hard time reading them again or making sense of them. But with age, I’m getting better at accepting that I can’t process everything. I know there’s juicy wisdom I’m forgetting, but I also know the most important ideas will stick or find a way to get back to me.
K: What is the strangest being you have encountered while surfing?
Christoph: In normal times, I go surfing with a good friend at least once a year. I say surfing but it’s not like you’ll see us do snaps, bottom turns or barrels. It is more like two Belgian wannabe surfers in the water with a huge smile and no skills. I remember we were in San Sebastian, Spain and we both saw this huge set coming. I paddled out of the water, but my friend got caught in mother nature’s washing machine. When he came out, crawling up the beach, he resembled the leftover fries from yesterday’s party. It was the strangest encounter I had while surfing. (Maybe you meant surfing the internet?)
K: What is progress to you?
Christoph: Progress has become a dangerous notion. It has become an excuse to go fast, take shortcuts, and not think things through. Especially if you think about the darker impacts of technology, a topic I’m worried about these days. One could argue that Covid-19 is a thing because of “progress at all costs”. Argh, these are dark thoughts, so let me say this too: The times we’re living in right now has also forced many people to look at things differently. To question the basics, spend more time at home, cook, bake, do art, take hour-long baths and go check on their grandparents more. This is social progress that I hope will stick.
K: Where do you escape to when your internet is crashing?
Christoph: You’ll find me in my garage, which I recently turned into a micro-bakery. I started baking sourdough bread 6 years ago while living in London and never stopped. I took my hobby to the next level when lockdown hit. First I started to bake for my neighbors, then for my street. Have you ever tried putting both hands in lukewarm dough yet? It’s incredibly therapeutic, nearly meditative. I love the entire process of making naturally leavened bread. There’s no shortcut and so many variables. It is artisan work with so much science involved. I love it.
K: What was your first internet handle? Where did you use it?
Christoph: Not quite sure if that was my first but we did have quite a success with our myspace.com/belgiqueeletronique back in the days. That’s where we started uploading mixes under our WIRSPIELEN moniker (a DJ duo with my friend Benny). This eventually led to a residency at the famous Dirty Dancing parties here in Brussels, and the start of a fairly short but intense DJ career.
Seed Savers Club. (Actual seeds)
A New Leaf. (After summer comes fall)
Digital Love Languages. (Another way of browsing an archive)
Fridge Poet. (You don’t even need to buy any magnets)
Earth Calendars. (If you want to skip 2021)
I’m too young to remember Mondo 2000, so it was Claire L. Evans' byline that caught my attention. Claire has an unbeatable talent for uncovering the untold stories of the internet. If you want magazine nostalgia look no further. It also reads as a good companion with the next article.
Real Life Mag is going strong in 2021, so I recommend you to treat yourself with their archive. In the linked post, Jathan Sadowski argues why utopia and dystopia are like yin and yang, and recommends us to resist the singleminded version of utopia presented by the tech elite.
“I woke up one morning in June with the idea for Petal. It felt like a flash at the time but it was in fact months of different thoughts and conversations about design, websites, social media, the internet, finally coming together into a possibility for action. I don’t need to reach millions, thousands, or even hundreds of people online, I just need a place where I can be myself among friends. A virtual living room shielded from corporations and media hustlers. Petal would be a community blog with no agenda. Global in proximity but local in scale and mindset.”
— Petal’s Network.
Pixelr — Pixelate any image.
Image Scrubber — Remove metadata from photos.
Black Out — App to redact parts of an image.
Any other tool to add?
Hi, I’m Kristoffer and you have just read Naive Weekly — Observations from the Internet Wilderness.