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ReportsTuesday, 7 August 2001
--> Copenhagen (DK) 1st day Another day with Søren was normal for me, as I arrived in Copenhagen last night and it would not be nice to say thank you and goodbye within 12 hours. It became an easy day at the offices of the Danish Radio en ended up with discussing new watch technologies at midnight...
After Danish croissants for breakfast with Søren, he took me to his work at the Danish Radio by bus, where he arranged me a computer where I could be online for as long as I wanted. It was really necessary as I had to update the latest London-reports. I will see Copenhagen later anyway.
In the afternoon Steve Wright had an interview with me, straight from BBC Radio 2 in London, which was a lot of fun. He was very surprised to hear that I was suddenly in Denmark an it was nice to speak to him personally, because his talks about my project made a lot of people in the United Kingdom invite me over for a day.
It occured to me that it was very quiet at Danish Radio and Søren worked on the departement where all the youth-production of radio, television and internet were put together in one big open and spacy room.
Most people were just working behind a pc, just as Søren did as the designer of the DR Skum website (Skum is Danish for foam and Skum is the name of the youth department). Some of them had headphones on and listened to their own music, but where people talked, they talked very quiet.
Don’t ever expect that in The Netherlands, where people are more running around, catching deadlines, making phonecalls or discussing about topics. Just don’t spill any coffee in all this rush.
But probably it had to do with the silly season. In September most programmes would start again and in this time of the year the editors all more working on their concepts than going for productions.
While I was there, Søren also allowed me to misuse the telephone at the desk I was sitting at. So I surprised my mum with a phone call and caught up with a lot of friends back home, all telling me that nothing interesting is happening in my hometown, but the summervacations will soon be over.
It was very pleasant to here all their voices again, it has been a long time ago since I last saw them all. Don’t ask me, because why should I feel homesick if I’d have the possibillity to travel the world for free? I am only very tired the last few days.
As time passed by I noticed that the complete office was deserted and it was already past 7 o’clock. As I didn’t mind this and Søren was working on a project, we stayed there all evening.
Around 9 am Søren went out to get pizzas which we ate in the cantine of the office, while watching the latest news on Danish television.
Danish people speak Danish and it’s quite a irregular language. For me it appears to be a reversed playback of the recording of an understandable tongue, it even is funny sometimes.
And as the Dutch language has some matches with the German language and Germany is south of Denmark, I could sometimes even hear familiar words but not understand the complete story. And I know some German too, so that might help me too.
After the pizzas Søren finished up and we left the building as the last person that night. A taxi brought us back to his apartment.
There we talked about life and I discovered that Søren has this fascination with time. He explained me that one of his hobbies was the creation of new watch displays, once inspired after reading Alan Lightman's "Einsteins Dreams".
Extract from the book: "Einstein is agonized. For if he makes the slightest alteration in anything, he may destroy the future ... he is forced to witness events without being part of them ... an inert gas, a ghost ... an exile of time."
Lightman's purpose is simply to study the different kinds of time in Einstein's mind, each with its own lucid consequences. People live for one day or eternity, and they respond intelligibly to each unique set of circumstances. Raindrops hang in the air in a place of frozen time; in another place everyone knows one year in advance exactly when the world will end, and acts accordingly."
Of course I got confused, because how can anybody create a new display for time? We already have the round clock and the digital digits.
But on his computer he showed me his ideas, where symbols were the most important elements of a watch.
One design I remember is the arm band watch. Image and arm band like a watch has, but without a watch. Somewhere on this arm band is a tag, which is now, this time. And than assume how that half of the arm band is black and the other half is white. As this works all digital, the the black and white parts move clockwise along the tag in a cycle of 24 hours. When the tag is in a black area, it’s night; when the tag is in the white, it’s daytime.
It’s a very strange way of thinking about time, and people who live by every minute would never use this sort of new watch. It can only be a cool thing to have.
But Søren explained me that it can be very useful for people with a learning disability, and to learn them the facts of time and the differents of day and night. When he was young, Søren himself had problems with time. Because the clock goes around for twelve hours and then keeps repeating that everytime again.
For me it was pretty easy to understand, but as Søren says, not everybody thinks like everybody else. “That’s why symbols can be used internationally and for any intelligence group.”
"For less intelligent groups (respectfully said) it can be used as a learning possibillity, while higher intelligent people can use it as a mind toy."
I got interested in it and asked him if he would do something with all his designs, there could easily be a company in the far East who might be interesting in the idea.
But Søren says that he just liked to think about it and design it, the rest will not be done by him. “Maybe I am lazy, but I can never really finish something personally, because I will already be working on other ideas.”
Afterwards anybody who had the same talks as I had this night, could think that Søren is either a Forrest Gump himself, or highly intelligent, and it's not up to me to conclude about other people. But I think he's very bright, because he already registered the domain name www.mindtoys.com. So something will be coming up there sometimes.
With all these new kinds of thinking methods (Søren showed me over twenty possibillities) I got to bed, a little confused.
Tomorrow I’d go to the DR office again, where I would meet my next host, but we couldn’t find a time to wake up yet – which was all right with me.
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