|Report PINC.8 Conference (22 May 2007), by Rupert Parker Brady, media entrepreneur (translation: Ken Wilkie)
“With tenderness, persistence and precision, you can achieve more than with sporadic noise. Communication is sex!”
These thought-provoking words from Erik van Muiswinkel, no doubt born of experience, opened PINC.8 on Tuesday 22 May. It was a rainy day. But full of light. It began with an enormous Japanese gong, which the cabaret artist brought to life with tenderness and persistence to a climax. The day ended with a performance by two mime artists who combined the best traditions of circus and variety theatre. From 9 to 9, for the eighth time in Hotel Figi, Zeist, host Peter van Lindonk and his team unpacked one inspiring gift after another. The gifts varied in form and content but they all had one thing in common -- the DNA of PINC: People, Ideas, Nature and Creativity.
Journey of discovery
As always, the program ensured there was something for everyone. Visitors shared favorite moments during breaks, lunch and dinner. Everyone had his or her preferences and opinions. PINC remains unique. There is suspense, as you do not know what you are going to get. It holds fast to spiritual father Peter’s principal of a journey of discovery. His motto is: “I am not searching, but I am finding”. To quote the writer and speaker A.L. Snijders: “You are a salesman in: how is that possible?”
At PINC there is one constant element in the program. And that is the legendary late cabaret artist Toon Hermans, Peter’s spiritual teacher. “Who thinks in pink or green? The world is grey. But my song is blue”, he sang to the PINC audience in a video clip.
Irrespective of your background, opinions or position, PINC offers a unique cocktail of inspiration, passion and practicality. I will give you a bird’s-eye-view of the day, with a little emphasis on my personal highlights. I invite all visitors to add their favorite speakers.
Everyone was glad they were present for the spark of inspiration that ignited the day: world-famous designer Stefan Sagmeister on Things I have learned in my life so far. These were 21 personal statements that he had noted down since 2000. It resulted in him being commissioned by different organizations to visualize his words. Which he did in a stunningly original way in different parts of the world. A few examples, you may identify with:
“Trying to look good limits my life”
“Keeping a diary supports personal development”
“Complaning is silly, either act or forget.”
“Worrying solves nothing.”
He set these statements in every imaginable form of media. The result was a highly original aesthetic and thought-provoking experience. Words here cannot do it justice.
Can beauty be determined scientifically? No. Psychologist Chris McManus reminded us that Charles Darwin concluded in 1838 “Beauty is instinctive feeling.” Or to quote the philosopher George Santanaya: “To find beauty is a better thing than to understand how we come to feel it.” A.L. Snijders let us enjoy the beauty of his Very Short Stories, described by him as “little things”. “Noone can explain them and everyone has an opinion about them.” Here is a fine parallel with the speech by Jan Wolff (director of the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ) on how to appreciate new music that belongs to no genre. In Wolff’s experience, ‘a music lover’ does not exist. “He or she is a ‘music recognizer’. And if he or she does not recognize the music, it is dismissed. The music industry feeds the recognition factor. But you can listen without identifying music.” The Japanese pianist Tomoko Mukaiyama played a new composition and the audience listened with open minds.
Our attention was also totally captured by the energetic talk from Temple Grandin, professor of Animal Science in Colorado, who is living proof that Asperger Syndrome is no hindrance for people to excel. On the contrary. Her eye for detail, and capacity to think visually like animals, has resulted in more humane methods of animal husbandry. Ever heard of the McDonald’s Audit? Grandin would like to ban the words “properly”, “adequate” and “sufficient” which are meaninglessly banded about by politicians and managers to circumnavigate real issues.
Why is it that biologists make such good speakers? There cannot be a better example than Willem Beekman who stood in at the last moment and delivered a spellbinding story based on the Nautilus shell. He left us with the thought that we should never loose touch with our essence in life.
PINC also stands behind people who use their power of imagination to realize concrete projects. Dare to dream. The Swiss duo architect Marc Cathomen and IT specialist Arthur Loretz are making their fantasy become fact by building the world’s longest lift in the heart of the Alps. Their project links up with the longest underground tunnel in the world, the Alp Transit Tunnel that is under construction between Zurich and Milan. The 800-metre Porta Alpina lift, will be located in the heart of the 56-kilometre-long tunnel at a specially constructed station. It will take lift passengers two minutes to surface. They do not know yet if they will succeed but are well on the way.
For Swedish entrepreneur Mikael Genberg, nothing is impossible. In 2012, he plans to build a wooden house on the moon. His Luna Resort project looks like it may attract the capital to be realized. It is the result of an abstract longing that Genberg has had since childhood and has already resulted in hotels in trees and under the sea.
The American John Wood is a giant step further for mankind. He knows why he is on the planet Earth. In 1999, at the age of 35, the top executive of Microsoft set up a non-profit organization to give the world’s deprived children a chance to learn. His aim is to help a minimum of 10 million children get a good education. After seven years, his organization is active in countries like Nepal, Thailand and South Africa and has already reached 1.2 million schoolchildren. He runs the business as if it was Starbucks, a well-oiled machine with an aggressive expansion strategy. Every 60 hours, a reading room with books is opened for poor children somewhere in the world. Both companies and individuals support Wood’s project. I don’t think I am exaggerating if I say that John’s story about Room to Read was one of the highlights of PINC.8 for most visitors. What passion, what energy, what a spirit.
To conclude, PINC.9 will take place on Tuesday 20 May 2008. It is many times more valuable than the registration fee. It must be seen as a day to free your brain from daily business. A stimulating ground for ideas and inspiration. Essential food for mind and spirit in a fast-moving world.
Rupert Parker Brady