PINC.10: ‘Bringing the world closer to you’
By Rupert Parker Brady, strategist BBK/Stronger Through Friendship
What does a person do if he is in dire need of positive energy? The best remedy is a dose of PINC! Body and soul are guaranteed to be refreshed. Just ask any one of the 500 participating experts from the 10th congress. Tuesday 12 May stood unintentionally in the sphere of three universal lessons in wisdom: Let everything go, learn to listen, and dare to do things that others deem impossible.
Most people have difficulty in shedding previously acquired knowledge and to think afresh with an open mind. We are preconditioned to follow fixed patterns. In that context we can learn from crows and from speaker Joshua Klein. For 10 years, the self-appointed ‘hacker extraordinary’ studied the behaviour of this bird who proves to be as intelligent as a chimpanzee. It transpired that the chance of teaching crows new tricks is infinitely larger than the chance that we encounter life from outer space. Although astronomer Seth Shostak was convinced that his computers, currently exploring the universe for signals, will find E.T. one day. Fellow scientist Patrick van der Smagt reacted sceptically. The inventor of the robot arm explained that in spite of the rapid growth of technology, robots still cannot climb stairs, let alone give an inspiring speech at PINC or discover life on Mars. It is more a matter of coincidence than calculations.
PINC stands for both pleasure and passion. The Swiss Ueli Bellwald radiated both. With the enthusiasm of a little boy, he is reintroducing steam locomotion to the desert of Jordan. Also Bas Heijne let us share his wonder for Johannes Vermeer’s View of Delft, stimulating us to view the painting with our own eyes at the Mauritshuis in The Hague. “It reveals a higher, more meaningful reality of everyday life”. James Elkins put the question to us why we no longer (wish to) look at things that we assume we are familiar with. Such as the sunset and cracks in the asphalt.
Through practise, letting go can become less of an effort. Jean-Louis Mechali is living proof of this. After his life as a jazz drummer began to affect his health, the French musician launched himself into a new career as a composer. His inspiration lay in the garbage of Paris. The reuse of rubbish resulted in unique musical instruments and sounds that form a musical symbiosis between high and low culture.
The sanctity of music gave way to the stimulating thought that everyone can play music in harmony. To experience this, you don’t have to go to a music school or concert hall. If Mohammed doesn’t come to the mountain, then the mountain will come to Mohammed. Jochem van Eeghen, director of the Princess Christina Concours, proved that young people can be stimulated to become interested in classical music. The Classic Express is the only mobile concert hall in the world that visits schools. The driving force behind it is to create enjoyment of learning.
The holy mountain of fine art was brought down from its lofty position at PINC. Poet George Quasha is a self-appointed rock-on-rock artist. A new art form that centres on coincidence. He encouraged the audience to try and let go of the urge to achieve perfection and to let coincidence into their lives to be embraced. The piling up of rocks as an art form is for him a metaphor for the search for freedom and to let things happen. He said something memorable: “You have to listen with your hands”. Almost as striking as the statement from Ben Underwood, the blind boy at PINC.9 who said: “You guys see visually, but I can see through my ears”. PINC.10 stood still for a few minutes in memory of the recent death of Ben. The lust for life that the ‘Echo-Locator’ radiated is, for me, one of the high points in the 10 years of PINC.
Learning to listen with open eyes acquired a new dimension with the solo piano recital of 14-year-old Valentina Toth. Her perfect performance of the familiar Chopin’s Fantasy-impromptu by the prizewinner of the Princess Christina Concours 2009 was not only musically refined, but her petite posture behind the grand piano radiated passion. Very moving.
Also the stories that the congenial Martin Heylen had collected from his journeys to make the television series Man Bites Dog struck a chord. The power of coincidence plays a leading role in his programme. Spending a lot of formative years listening to people in his mother’s café in Flanders, Heylen acquired a taste for appreciating the stories of ordinary people about their everyday life and a nose to find them in their inconspicuous homes. His patience and perseverance resulted in memorable insights into the lives of ordinary people in Europe, the United States and Russia.
Individuals with passion can achieve more than management teams or companies using money and making rules. Take the citizen’s initiative Let’s Do It World which tackles the problem of illegal dumping, a little-known environmental and health hazard in many countries. With much power of persuasion, Google Earth, and with a logistical exercise managed with military precision, the problem is being eradicated by citizens all over the world who want to live in a clean environment. This is no utopia, but reality. On 3 May 2008, Tiina Urm and four other students motivated 50,000 volunteers in Estonia to rid their small country of 10,000 tons of illegally-dumped garbage. The clean-up action was so successful that it stimulated the other Baltic states to follow their example. The ambition of Let’s Do It World to change the attitudes of people knows no borders. I call that vision.
Essentially, a creative vision begins by setting an example and the power to convince. And the desire to take paths that others before you have not trodden. “Developing ideas naked” was how puppetry master Michael Curry described this. Funnily enough, host Peter van Lindonk, who deals in unique stories, has the vision to connect the small recognisable world of Vermeer to the big world, according to Bas Heijne. How else could the Master of Ceremonies have been able, for 10 years running, to bring together the most remarkable people from all corners of the world and mix them in this unique PINC cocktail? One after the other, you hear people talking, playing, reciting, singing or dancing. There is magic on the podium. After a day of looking and listening you return home lightly intoxicated, your head buzzing with impressions and ideas. And therein lies the secret of PINC. Take the video virtuoso Rogier Wieland. What he did nine years ago when he graduated as an audiovisual designer, he is still doing: cutting frames and sticking images on paper and cardboard to give his unique signature to films. It looks like magic what he does with animation design, but nothing could be less true. It is 100% craft.
Peter van Lindonk is also a craftsman who attracts hundreds of people every year to Hotel Figi in Zeist. He is the 21st-century equivalent of the Pied Piper of Hamelen. He frees all present from their daily routines for a magical day. Next year PINC.11. Let yourself be seduced by Peter, Nelleke, Ingrid and Fenna.
SIMON SCHUBERT (GER) (Artist) Visual Sensations
MIKAEL KROGERUS (FI) & ROMAN TSCHÄPPELER (CH) (Journalist & Founder and CEO Guzo) Kaospilots
*subject to change
Join the conference, you won't forget it!
Het laatste interview met Peter van Lindonk op 14 januari 2013
Watch it here
TEDxAmsterdam-talk: Peter van Lindonk
Watch it here