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Class 02 | 21 Feb 2020

  1. Studio activities
    1. Fictional Worlds
      1. Adventure Time
      2. The Alchemist
      3. Avatar
      4. Bird song
      5. Black Ops 2: Zombies
      6. Catan
      7. Children of the sea
      8. DK
      9. Eragon (Inheritance Cycle)
      10. The Expanse
      11. Google’s No Internet T-rex Runner game
      12. Gravity Falls
      13. Inside
      14. Love letter
      15. The Man in the High Castle
      16. Mind Game (Japanese: Maindo Gēmu)
      17. One Piece
      18. Pokémon
      19. The Science of Sleep ( French: La Science des rêves )
      20. Spirirted Away
      21. Top Gun
      22. Twin peaks
      23. WhatsApp
      24. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
    2. Exercises: Real world
      1. ⏰️5-minute exercise: Writing about your object
      2. ⏰️5-minute exercise: Writing about someone else’s object
      3. ⏰️10-minute exercise: Describing objects
      4. 💬️Discussion
    3. Exercise: Fictonal contents
    4. Presentation
  2. Assignments
    1. Designing a ritual
    2. Reading/watching before next class
      1. Grayson Perry: Rites of Passage
      2. Maurizio Ferraris: Social Objects
  3. Next class - date change!

Studio activities

Fictional Worlds

Last weeks’ assignment asked students to write about their favourite fictional worlds, and present them in class. Here are some of the worlds the class escape into, as well as some of the logic and rules the worlds follow (thanks to everyone who contributed):

Adventure Time

Created by Pendleton Ward Ran from April 5, 2010 – September 3, 2018 TV cartoon

Adventure Time takes place in a post-apocalyptic world called Ooo, and it is hinted several times that it is planet earth centuries after a nuclear holocaust called the ““Great Mushroom War.” It’s not explained directly, but somehow this nuclear event has brought magic back into the world, which is the biggest thing that someone viewing it for the first time needs to accept.

On the surface, Ooo is a cutesy, friendly candy land sort of place where our main characters Finn and Jake roam around doing “hero work” like saving princesses and defending citizens of the candy kingdom from the forces of evil. The more the show develops, the more you discover how connected everything is, focusing on telling individual truths within the whole. Every character, good or evil, has a fantastic but believable backstory, that really makes them important to you, even if you aren’t on their side.

Pure imagination come to life, the only thing grounding Adventure Time in reality is that it takes place on planet earth, in the English language. Spending time with Finn and Jake in the world of Ooo is just plain fun. The two feel like the goofy childhood friends that you remember fondly but aren’t quite sure ever even existed. Watching the show almost feels like revisiting memories of a simpler, carefree past, where your biggest concern was how high you could build your newest tree fort.

For the most part, our world sucks, and at times so does Ooo, but at least they have unicorns made out of rainbows on Ooo.

The Alchemist

Paulo Coelho, 1988, Book

The setting of the book is easy to imagine because it is based on real life. Although the time is not specific, it takes the reader back in time before technology, cars, tarred roads etc. The author creates very detailed descriptions of the different scenes and areas referred to in the book that one can easily imagine through personal experience of natural environments, natural elements and exposure to different climates.

The logic that drives this world, in my opinion, and the factor that drew me in was the way the author confronted or arose feelings, emotions, responses and ways of thinking through the characters journey. The journey, of course, being a metaphor of life and the trails and tribulations we all inevitably face. The author describes these tribulations and responses in a way that is easy to identify with and evoke feelings or emotions that most people would have experienced to some degree in their lives.

The main themes in the book are 1) A personal legend - a mission or purpose, 2) The unity of nature - man and nature and the natural cycles of life and change, 3) The danger of fear - fear appearing in different forms - material loss, following one’s heart, the fear of physical pain/death, failure.

Although the circumstances described are completely fictional and nothing I have personally experienced, the examples, doubts and feelings described are completely relatable in terms of the trials we face in our daily lives. For me, the most fascinating part of the book is the way the author contextualises these feelings of fear and describes how they can negatively impact our lives, hinder us from following our dreams and discovering beautiful places, people and the best parts of ourselves.

The author creates these ““bigger picture”” scenes and scenarios that encourages readers to open their minds to greater possibilities.

I enjoy spending time in this world because it has taught me lessons and opened up my ways of thinking about the real world and my own life. In many ways it has shaped my methods of coping or dealing with change and trials in my own life.

It is often easier to see and understand the bigger picture in a situation that is not your own, it is almost a way of escaping to gain insights and then pulling them back into your own life, often without knowing it.


James Cameron, 2009, Film

The world that you are drawn into is Pandora, a massive planet full of life, where human-like creatures (Na’vi) live in harmony with their natural environment.

The things that makes this world appeal to me are 1) it is one gigantic unexplored planet with novel ecosystems and an amazing biodiversity; 2) there is no exploitation of non-human / natural entities; 3) there are all these wonderful creatures I have never heard of and I want to know more about; and 4) you are able to communicate and bond with these creatures, and fly with them through this amazing place.

The fact that the Na’vi strongly resemble humans enables the audience to take the perspective of a Na’vi: they can be one of them.

By drawing a parallel to Earth, it shows the issues we face today: capitalism, militarism and the exploitation of the natural world for human short-term pleasures. If one had to choose between planet Earth or Pandora to live in, I think many of us would sign up for the latter.

Bird song

Florence Welch and Devonte Hynes July 2009

Florence Welch and Devonte Hynes made a dark fairy tale with a insterestingly narrtive lyrics and and very appropriate insturmuent music.

It be divided into five part, each part lyric is perfect fit in. the first part is presented the intro of the story in a gentle way, and when the beat come, the sotry goes to a dark direction. with the disapper of the beats, the song leads audience to a dreamy and a dizzy vibe. Then, the last part, whole expression turned to be a confesion, a bit holy, then the beats come in, strong than ever, untill the end with the voice and the lyric like the protagonist finally confesed her sin.

Black Ops 2: Zombies

Treyarch Video game company, 2012, Video Game

You just try to stay in game, either think of a strategy or enjoy the way how world is working. Your goal depends on map, most of the time you need to do this and that to get to next level. It is fun to play it with four people.


Klaus Teuber, 1995, board game

You have to build your own world using materials, that you get while throwing dices. You have to keep on developing otherwise you will loose materials and other player will overbuild their villages, cities, metropoles. Also, if there are certain complexity going on, then you get to negotiate real life things as well.

Children of the sea

Daisuke Igarashi, 2010, Film

Firstly comics, then it’s made into film last year. I prefer comics. This world aims to represent the relationship of the universe (and every thing in it) to human beings. It actually comes from the ancient philosophy of Taoism which are still within people’s daily life outside modernity. I personally feel very close to this world although it’s revealed in a story about the ocean, it’s the same in my childhood how people engage themselves with their natural environment in the mountainous region. What surprise me most is how this obscure philosophic thinking can be presented in anime - the remarkable comic drawing style builds up the atmosphere of this fantasy, which contains scientific knowledge of the ocean in the storyline at the sometime. It fits to the Taoist believe of inter-promoting relationship of existing.


Mounira Al Solh, ????, Fabric

The story fulfilled (a part of )audience’s exception of orientalism.(benefit form particle perspective)

Juxtaposed English (readable) with Persian(exotic, support text) to make people believe.

The fabric way of expression brings the culture texture. In a relevant social context.”

Eragon (Inheritance Cycle)

Christopher Paolini, 2003, Book, film

Alagaësia is a continent with different where animals, humans, elves, dragons, dwarves and other intelligent fictional characters (‘races’) live. The story of Eragon takes place in a medievalish time and setting, as modern technology seems to be lacking.

Alagaësia has mountains of 10 miles tall, mystic forests where the elves live, and of course dragons. Besides these features, what I particularly like about this world is that it follows strict and logical rules. Not everything is possible here. Eragon for example is possible to extend his consciousness to other animals and plants, but that goes with a cost: the further he extends his consciousness, the more energy (as in: calories) it costs him. He can train his skill though and grow, but he has to do an effort for it, and you as a reader are taken with him on his journey.

I would like to be in this world if I had a dragon to explore the mountains and forests and other continents, but only if there were no wars between the ‘races’ and there were a bit more modern conveniences, such as warm showers and fridges.

The Expanse

Book: James S. A. Corey & TV Show: Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby 2015 first episode (Book 2011), TV Show and Book.

The world is set a couple of hundred years into the future. Our species has colonized the solar system and three main colonies developped: Mars, Asteroid Belt (belters) and Earth. The show and the books start at a point when all three colonies are on the brink of war with one another. The author uses current trends and scientific findings to dictate how the world operates, which makes it easier for the viewer to slip right into the universe. Earth continued on its global unification and now is governed and represented by the UN. The first colony on Mars was sent by the army and thus are trained and proud colony that despises Earth for having it better (still not terraformed). Finally, the Belters are a colony of miners and because they lived their entire lives close to zero-g, their bones and muscles are weakened which prevents them from going to Earth or Mars.

Google’s No Internet T-rex Runner game

Google, Released September 2014, Game

Our protagonist, a lone t-rex, passes the time by exercising. Running through an infinite desert at gradually increasing speeds, dodging obstacles such as cacti and pterodactyls until eventually they get the best of him or her. At which point they have to start over.

The logic behind this world seems to be that once you start, there is no way of slowing down, going back, or even stopping. You also need to come to terms with the fact that pterodactyls are way bigger and more deadly than originally thought. Also that our t-rex has a crazy vertical.

In this terrifying and never-ending void, full of things that can kill you instantly (sometimes mid-air), there is no choice but to take what the world gives you, either dodging the obstacle, or dying an instant death. It is an allegory for life, taking what comes your way or suffering the consequences, and dealing with the metaphorical treadmill of our day to day.

Myself and many others engage with this world rather reluctantly, mainly when we’re waiting for the wifi to reconnect.

Gravity Falls

Jack Fitzgerald, 2012, Animation Tv Series

The atmosphere in gravity falls is mystery and highly weird. The way that comedy works in a silly way. It also reminds me myself with the characters and weirdness. The best thing about it is that, the world created is start with posh cuteness every episode but turns with a twist and gets dark at the end which it also always keeps me hanging on the screen to watch more. The audience for this TV series targeted to be kids however it does speak for all ages.


Playdead Studio, 2016, Game

The world in Inside is very depressing. The player has to control the boy to find a way out from this huge factory/lab, where scientists are doing experiments on people and control them. The players can immerse themselves in this world immediately, because the tense and scary atmosphere the game brings, and most importantly the connection to our real world that we have follow all kinds of rules in the society - we are being controlled all the time. So it’s an extreme version of reality in this game, and you can find details like those characters who are being controlled are labors, workers who comes from low class in society. And other details like sound track, light and shadow in the scene, the fog and the movement of the character are all well designed to help the player to engage with this world maximally. At the same time, it’s very playful as a game with attractive storyline, and you feel so eager to save this boy from the hunters that you cannot feel it is also you who are controlling him unless you find a secret version of ending where the boy plug out himself and the scene goes completely dark.

Love letter

Shunji Iwai / いわい しゅんじ, 1995, Film

Pure love is the most obvious and touched key element in this movie with a glace. Almost everybody can engage with this world because we have the ability to love or we are yearning for being loved.

It looks like a simple love story be narrated in a realistic way, but the director brilliantly took the advantage of memory, life and death to make it more like a surrealistic story to me. The light, the beautiful and clear set up, the realism way of filming even made it more surrealistic.

Somehow, the most unbelievable part is not the two heroines have same face, but the beautiful love story itself.”

The Man in the High Castle

Philip K. Dick 1962, adapted for TV in 2015. Book, TV Series

The show is set in an alternate reality where the Nazis claim victory in World-War II. In the aftermath, the United States is divided into two: the Pacific United States that has been taken over by the Japanese and the Nazi-controlled East Coast. The truth of this universe is conveyed behaviourally and visually, in the form of Nazi-fied versions of familiar cityscapes and a subtle but fully-realized depiction of everyday life in this world. The show delivers these big, staggering differences to the world as we know it, in a very matter-of-fact way. It captures a frozen moment in time, where the Nazi rule meant there was no Civil rights movement or Rock n’ roll. Paranoia permeates throughout the plot, exacerbated by a nuclear tipping point and multiple alternate realities introduced through forbidden film reels. The plot is packed with enough twists and turns to induce emotional whiplash. It uses the concept of alternate realities to ask uncomfortable questions about humanity.  

Mind Game (Japanese: Maindo Gēmu)

Masaaki Yuasa, 2004, Film

  • Your life is the result of your own decision (Every decisions trigger different storyline)
  • A series of disparate visual styles (have no logic and connections)
  • One continuous story ( base on narrative - not the purpose)
  • Many of the events don’t make logical sense

Watching this movie is like watching a waking dream, things that your waking mind can’s explain. Because of the animation style is never constant (chicken scratch / live action photos / 3D shaped faces / larger more real 3D models ), audience have no time to think except to focus on screen. The world is about living in the experience ( audience can not predict what happen the next moment and only can living in this moment).

One Piece

Eiichiro Oda, 1997, Manga, Anime

One Piece is an adventure-themed narrative that follows characters in their quest to find the titular treasure of One Piece. It draws from pirate lore and classical mythology to create a colourful world that doesn’t always abide by the same laws as ours ( like forbidden fruits granting the power of elastic limbs) but still feels very real and lived in. From the vast, scorching deserts to cold snowy mountains, One Piece takes you through an anthropological journey of different cultural influences. In its sixteen-year run, One piece has amassed a large and loyal fanbase. Unique, rememberable characters with immersive backstories and the element of surprise are what set this world apart. The regular cast of characters (The straw hat crew) inhabits an engaging world that functions independently of them. The audience is exposed to an established shonen format but must allow themselves to be amused by the interesting manner in which fate ties the characters together.


Satoshi Tajiri, 1995, (digital and analogue), anime, tv-series, movies, and probably more.

The world of Pokémon (or as it is called, the Pokémon universe) takes place in an Earth-like world with its own unique continents, inhabited by people and Pokémon (instead of animals). Each new game finds place in a new region (the regions ‘discovered’ so far are: Kanto, Johto, Hoenn, Sinnoh, Unova, Kalos, Alola and Galar), and each region has its own biodiversity of Pokémon. Sometimes Pokémon from already discovered worlds inhabit the new worlds as well (e.g. Rattata from Kanto also exists in Johto). How these worlds are connected is up for the player’s imagination, though someone made an interesting video on this:

The Pokémon resemble animals, thereby making the Pokémon universe seem so real and logical: a Caterpie behaves like a caterpillar and needs what a caterpillar needs, etc. Every human seems to have at least one Pokémon, which they caught with a Pokéball. Catching a wild Pokémon instantly domesticates the creature, turning them into a sort-of pet.

What sparked my obsession is that humans and Pokémon can communicate with each other. Pokémon seem to perfecly understand human language, however, they do not speak it themselves. Instead, they utter their own names in different tones to communicate their feelings.

Pokémon has a huge fan base, gathering offline and online on various websites, forums and social media. Even an entire Wikipedia catalogues exists, called There are artists actively contributing to the visuals, making ‘fan art’ (I attached some of my favourites).

I would without doubt swap the real world for the Pokémon if I could (I can’t even count the times I tried to use pure mental power to ‘think Pokémon real’). “

The Science of Sleep ( French: La Science des rêves )

Michel Gondry, 2006, Film

  • The intersection of reality and dreams (dreams are related to reality but different versions of reality )
  • A child-like protagonist always made troubles in real life and he could control the situation in his dream.
  • The protagonist cannot distinguish between reality and dreams.
  • Inventive & crafty with practical effects and production design to describe the dream world (Hand-made and low budget aesthetic, stop-motion Animation)

When I watched the film, I have the same sensation as the protagonist because the narrate of this simple story ( a child-like person who can not integrate into the real world but can make changes in his dream, and fell in love with a girl who is creative and artistic like him ). The inventive and crafty production design makes a fantasy world let me immerse in character’s spiritual space.

Spirirted Away

Studio Ghibli, 2001, Anime

The best part of the movie for me to feel calm through the movie and felt like meditated at the end. events unfold in the movie in a very absurd way and you always feel an uncertainness. Spirited away have a big fan community through all around the globe. The style that they chosen to show in the movie always makes you feel something. Every time I watch this movie I feel like I did accomplish something in myself that makes me a whole again.

Top Gun

Director - Tony Scott, 1986, Film (Inspired by magazine article “Top Guns” and there is a book.)

This world takes you back in time to 1980’s. The film was filmed in the 80’s during the cold war and it takes the viewer right into that time frame using language (catch phrases), clothing (leather jackets, aviator sunglasses), hair styles, music (Take My Breath Away and Danger Zone) and the specific scenes and settings (in the aeroplane, hangers, offices, smokey bars and the beach).

The film deals with some heavy topics such as death, loss, love, war and general daily life. It does so through events in the film and by tapping into the emotional responses of the characters but maintains a light hearted and fun undertone throughout.

What draws me into this world is the cool, calm and collected attitudes, the fun and light hearted nature of the characters in the face of danger and threat. It seems as if life had a less serious and more fun-loving spirit in the time (of course it’s a movie - everything looks better than real life).

But it draws you in and keeps you on the edge of your seat during the fighter pilot scenes, you feel as if you’re right there in the plane and you can almost feel the tension and fear - the sounds (heavy breathing and talking into the microphone) make you feel as if you are the co-pilot sitting behind Maverick and in other scenes you can’t help but giggle and smile and the absolute joy and fun being had by the characters. The Movie takes you on a journey of fun, sadness and fear.

Twin peaks

David Lynch, Mark Frost, Harley Peyton, 1 and 2 season (1990-1991), 3rd season 2017, film

it is the horror village.she is killed.Laura Palmer is killed.FBI agent is looking for the murderer.killer is everywhere.everyone seems as the killer.killer exists in everyone.killer is FBI agent.Killer is Laura’s father.Killer is Lauras boyfriend.Killer always come in a FBI agent the dream is a reality?is the realilty is a dream?wind come into the trees.Red room.Red room is a dream that the agent speaks whith killer.where is the red room.who is the killer


Brian Acton, Jan Koum, 2009, mobile application

Ring Ring  
Who are you?  
I am your mom  
tik tik (typing)  
I am in class mom,call you later  
calling mom  
Hi mom
are you at home
you are in my room
I can see the sunshine from the window
I can see the flowers behind my room's window
Who are you?
I am your boyfriend
finger touch somthing green
I can see his smiling
I can see his face
can you play music for me?
I can see him while playing music

here in this black mirror I can show you your home.your family.your friends.maybe in the future you would be able to take their hands or eat your mom cooking through me.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Developper: CD Projekt Red & Author: Andrzej Sapkowski, 2015 (1993 for the first book) Video Game, Book, TV Show, Comic, Board Game Video Game

The world is set in a fictional reality where humans inhabit the earth alongside monsters and creatures of all sorts (good and bad). The main character (a Witcher), is a genetically modified killing machine for hire whose goal is to protect good folks from monsters (both human and non-human). What draws players to the game are the characters. Their personalities are unique and the writing of the dialogue is witty, funny, light-hearted, and even deep and thought-provoking at times. The world feels real because the player is constantly faced with having to make decisions that have actual consequences on the people and the environment around him. The world is filled to the brim with meaningful side-quests given by common folks and lords, and you just get fully drawn into it.

Exercises: Real world

This week we’ll be thinking about objects – things that are meaningful to us, the worlds they come from, and how they are presented. Please note, we will be dealing with objects that carry meaning for other people. Please be respectful of their objects, and treat them with care.

You were asked to bring an object into class. Please take it out of your bag and put it on the table. Don’t talk about your objects.

Please note: in the following exercises, the writing is just a tool to help you think – please write in whatever language or medium helps you think the best. If it’s useful to use something like a voice memo app instead of writing, please do!

⏰️5-minute exercise: Writing about your object

Describe the object in front of you. What does it mean to you? Why did you bring it in today? Think about the world it comes from; how you first acquired it; the places you’ve been with it. Where does it normally live? How would you feel if you lost it?

⏰️5-minute exercise: Writing about someone else’s object

Move around the table one place. You now have someone else’s object in front of you. Describe it as fully as you can. What is it? What is it made from? How large is it? What does it do? Why do you think it’s significant?

⏰️10-minute exercise: Describing objects

Please describe your partner’s object to them in objective terms. What is it?

You are only allowed to describe your partner’s object. Do not tell your partner what the significance of your object is.

Whilst you are describing the object, observe their reaction. How objectively do you think they see the object? What significance does it have to them?

How does it feel to have your meaningful object described to you?


How does it feel to have your object described to you?

Exercise: Fictonal contents

Place your object in an envelope, and take a cue card.

Cue cards have the following messages:

  • This object is sacred.
  • This is the LAST ONE in the world. Treat it with care.
  • The thing in this envelope can control people, but nobody can know.
  • This is totally illegal. Keep it hidden.
  • This envelope contains critical evidence in a murder case.
  • If this object goes below shoulder height, it will explode.

You must follow the instructions on the cue card, and give the envelope to someone else. You cannot reveal what is on the card. How do you give them the envelope?

When you receive an envelope, how did you know its significance? Did its contents meet your expectations? How could you have made the back-story more believable?


Finally, present your objects to the class. We’ll have a small discussion about what they are, and why they have significance.


There is one assignment for next class:

Designing a ritual

By next class, you must design and document a ritual around an object. The ritual can be real or imagined, and take place anywhere. The only constraints are that the documentation must be entirely non-verbal. You can make a film, take photos, draw, perform – any medium you see fit.

Upload your film 👉️HERE before Thursday evening!

Reading/watching before next class

Grayson Perry: Rites of Passage

In 2018 the British artist Grayson Perry made a series of films about defining new rituals for a secular era. His working process is highly reactive to peoples’ opinions and needs, and his work shows true compassion to the people he’s working with. This film is the only episode I can find online that works in the Netherlands, but if you can find a way to watch the entire series I’d recommend it:

The series on Channel 4 (British)

Maurizio Ferraris: Social Objects

We will be looking at the concept of documentality in the next class – an idea about how we come to believe in institutions, ceremonies, legal systems, corporations, etc. Ferraris defines this idea in more detail in his book Manifesto of New Materialism, but this text is a playful lecture in which he spells out a lot of the key concepts. The text is 15 pages, but 6 are images. Documentality/social objects

If you want the whole book, it’s: Maurizio Ferraris, Sarah De Sanctis, and Graham Harman. Manifesto of New Realism. SUNY Series in Contemporary Italian Philosophy. Albany: SUNY Press, State University of New York Press, 2014.

If you want to get ahead of the crowd, also research artists who are interestd in creating legal documentation or ritualistic processes. Some names to start: Paolo Cirio (Loophole 4 All!), The Umma Chroma (currently on display in Rotterdam), Heath Bunting (The Status Project), Mark Lombardi, Isaac Julien.

Next class - date change!

The next class will be on the 13th April.

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