REZONANSBODEN #1: How slow communication needs to become a thing / Before you go travel, write a letter / Why I don’t understand apologies anymore.

Hello Edgeryders community,
It’s been a while since the last exchange. I’m really sad that I missed the Open Village Festival but got lost in life for a while and still having to struggle to keep my head above water. But I come here with some new insights and concepts that I would like to share with you all. I call it Rezonansboden, because it’s a beautiful German word that can be literally translated to resonance board. This thinking exercise is meant to open a dialogue and at the same time assort my own ideas.

Slow communication
I’ve always been fascinated by the romanticized idea of corresponding with philosophers from everywhere in the world through long and elaborated letters like Passolini and Calvino, Nietzsche and Wagner or Steinbeck. It’s often witty, sometimes moving and always honest. It’s a form of communication that has been lost through time mostly in favour of fast communication like facebook messenger or whatsapp. Don’t worry I will not start a tirade about how it was better in the old times and now Facebook corrupted the youth and nobody is thinking anymore. I’m 28 year old, am a decade on Facebook and before that almost 5 years on MSN and Myspace. I’m a product of this time.

But what made me thinking were the recent outlets of the inventor of the like button about the unstable society Facebook is creating throughout its medium (Figaro, Usbek&Rita). I don’t want to quite facebook immediately (I have no idea where to start), but I want to make it obsolete to use so I’m trying to fight the urge of communicating 24/7 through it by finding new (or old) communication methods. I already try to bring my most prolific messenger buddies to use telegram and try to have all work related discussions outside of the facebook bubble.

But now came the idea to bring the slow food principles to our way of communicating. Last week I started this by writing a long letter to a friend of my living in Zurich. We talk a lot through messenger but have that tendency to talk sporadically because of both our hectic lives. I turned the tables and proposed to her to start writing long letters and take the time for it:

‘’This exchange is meant to get its own flow, take your time, don’t rush into things like we all do at the moment in life. It’s meant do get more grounded with ourselves and the people that surround us. Use it as your ‘rezonansboden’.’’
Today I did the same but with a stranger. For a long time now I dream to write a book about the reason why the Iranian movies are so powerful in a cinematographic way. So what I did is just sending out a mail to a visual artist to open the discussion through correspondence and who knows in maybe ten or fifteen years I could write something interesting about it. These exchanges will be much more rewarding I think then the likes I get when I publish something, because they will be crafted by time and not be volatile.

Before you go to travel write a letter

That brings me to another dilemma I was fighting with in the last couple of months: my constantly itching urge to travel but my incapacity to slow travel at the moment. Slow travel means for me having a low as possible impact as a tourist on your destination and traveling the most green as possible. But in a world where flight tickets to Barcelona are cheaper than train ticket to the Belgian coast it is quite difficult to not fall for those opportunities.

Yes, we all are cosmopolite people that are conscious enough to not fall into tourist traps. I even gave myself the rule to give every travel a purpose: meet interesting entrepreneurs, discover new products for the shop, take part as a volunteer at a festival or exchange ideas with local writers. But there was still no real reason other than, hmm this look like a cool city, in the first place.

So when writing my first couple of correspondences I found myself in an interesting thought bubble. When creating long lasting trust relationships with people from around the globe a travel can become so much more meaningful at the moment you ‘consume’ it. This seems for me the only ethical possibility to still travel by plane if in all mean necessary. Doing it by train or other public transport and taking your time is of course still the best option.

Why I don’t understand apologies anymore

Finally a little side note around apologies. In the last couple of years I rewired some of my thinking reflexes to be more in line with the common principles. I try to bring every time something to the table without expecting anything else in return and if I don’t feel useful anymore or can’t be useful I take a step aside from the decision board.

Now lately I found myself in a conflict situation where apologies where asked and didn’t found it to be fair that apologies should be unilateral. First thing that popped in my head was: “He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone at her.” But this is in fact a wrong premise, blocking anybody to take a step forward. I didn’t want to use this to justify my wrongdoing; I just wanted a way where you learn more then only admitting the fact that you were wrong. You don’t build anything further but a fragile equilibrium between power struggles. Why don’t we change that in: “let’s acknowledge our own sin to learn together for a brighter future”?

With this I mean that any wrongdoing can only be remedied in a setting of forgiveness (thank you Hannah Arendt and The Truth And Reconciliation commission) This would make it possible to grow having a creation of dialogue instead of a one way apology that only creates a power struggle. We all sin so why don’t we make it a collective learning experience?
Voila these where my ruff ideas of the moment that I would love to share with you. I choose Edgeryders as the community to share it on because I find the exchanges on these pages always enriching. The final thing I would love is have the energy back to do my morning coffee routine. Anybody up for it in Brussels? One (or two coffees) ,between 8h30 and 10h, in the city center, a good topic and a nice exchange conversation.

Kind regard,


Great to hear back from you, @yannick!

I used to be a fairly good snailmail correspondent. I kept up several letter-based friendships (and loves) for years. One of them is ongoing – I don’t write long letters to Mike anymore, but we are still in touch after over 30 years, of which maybe one spent living in the same country.

These days, what I like is what we are doing right here, right now. This is no Facebooking. It’s what @johncoate calls “going deep”: relatively long-form written conversations, not so unlike my paper letters of the olden days but without the hassle of going out and looking for stamps. One super-important difference: it’s no longer one-to-one communication. You and I are just talking here, but it’s like we are doing it in a busy café, where others are encouraged to overhear us and jump right in if they are interested.

I applaud your idea of associating traveling with letters. Traveling is a way to make new friends, and for old friends to celebrate their friendship yet again. And writing letters is the way the friendship develops over time, despite the distance. By writing, you will connect much more firmly these distant friends to your everyday life in Brussels.

And about our fair city, I am up for the coffee routine. How about Tuesday 19th? Or Thursday 21st?


Hey Alberto, thanks for the reply. Yes I find edgeryders a perfect example of what slow communication is. It has such a organic feel having the possibility to participate to any part of the conversation. And the 'ew design of the website describes that very well.

21/12 , 8h30 at yuka?


in so many ways

Thank you for sharing here.

I love that it’s taking time for us to meet face to face - almost makes me want to keep it that way and share in our movements of thought through slow food recipes or morse code or co-hosted pirate radio slots on other sides of the city…

At the same time the connections that resonate for me in what you write abound, and energy reverberates across my mind and body and outside it, and this gathers and creates movement and force and pace and before I know it I’m reading this hungrily while multitasking other (“urgent”) activities and breathing fast and anxiety rises but I’m inspired and excited and nourished and we’re relating and so … ?!

Indeed this is the threshold on which I live. An edge of sorts if you will. The space between vital propulsion and a witholding to behold. I’ll repeat that slowly…


This is uncomfortable. This tension between human life force and the unfathomable slowness at which all life also evolves. The tension between the power we are given in life and the urgent grasping to survive. Much of my life practice is about tending to the discomfort that comes with our needing to control this space. In my opinion, mechanisms to control it have emerged in politics, religion, patriarchy, colonisation, technological determination, and so on. Biopolitics - of which Arendt could be called the mother and Foucault the father - at it’s most simplest is about the mechanisms of power created to control life.

And so I’m interested in biopolitical compositions - responsive, emergent, collective, creative and rhythmic forms that sustain life.

For a couple of years before I joined Edgeryders I was working with a research network that spans process philosophy, politics and relational art (SenseLab) and there one of the key things we explore is how to “study” together. In this way, one of my favourite and simplest things we ever did was a little conference technique of Brian Massumi, myself and others called “bench talks,” where attendees picked numbers out of a hat and then for one hour the next day went to a bench we had allocated a number in Montreal, and simply had a conversation, and then we all came together and shared what arose. Slow food of a kind I think…

Anyway, there are many more conversations emerging in my mind in relation to this (I participated in the Australian slow food movement back in 2012 for example, and typically only travel overland - spent 4 days on buses in a two week voyage just this last month in fact…); but alas I’m amidst a delicate practice of holding so very much work to do and
… breathing.

It’s one of the things I’m most grateful for here at Edgeryders. That we’re in the deep end - we throw ourselves there and we’re among others who continue to throw us - and at the same time we’re supported and witnessed in how to swim and breathe anew. I’m not interested in being stressed. And as someone that experiences daily anxiety, as someone that thinks in fast moving constellations and attracts people who think akin and connect across “resonance boards” of these complex systems that we thrive in … well yes, slow is vital. And thank you for foregrounding that Yannick.

Ps. Coffee or morse code after this grant app yes please :radio:
Pps. You may like to look into affect theory if you haven’t already, as for me it speaks in some ways to your concept of the resonance board.



what a greatfull reply :slight_smile:
There are so many of your sentences that resonates in my mind at the moment, awesome, It brings me back to an earlier post also (here) where i explain the overwelmness of feelings while preparing for the open village festival where i paradoxaly couldn’t make it because of overwelmness.
Finding the right balance between urgency (a feeling that i think is something everybody needs to learn to care about in any movement, project or idea) and slowness is something i’m starting grasp. I have had years of panic attacks that gave me a lot of thrive at the moment but made me crash on the long term. something that i still have to learn each day to balance between those two feelings.

I find it so cool that you mention Foucault as a great analyst of power structures / mechanics from a for me antropological perspective. But i want to add a (funny) oncle in the family, Roland Barthes, the man that could make out every day objects the center of a philosophical principles. Just take Mythologies opener about wrestling and his disertation about chopsticks in L’empire des signes. We need his naive vision to make live also beautiful.

And again, while writing this, after a long, chaotic, day i have a feeling of wholeness. Writing helps me ground, even if at this moment it is not easy to shape my idea, i had the urgency to respond because it was simply a wonderfull reply.

Lets just use these two contrasts: slowness and urgency to mould the ideal moment to continue this conversation.


PS: reading your links tomorrow


Where’s yuka?

City center near la bourse

8.30 is too early, though. 9.00?

Ok For 9 :slight_smile:

Hey Anique,

i took the time to read more about SenseLab, that i think came across when i was in Montreal discussing with Sensorica. It looks really interesting, would love to look deeper into it and follow it up. The Affect Theory is new to me but it speaks to me through it’s rational way of analysing affects that are difficult to grasp.

I love this part

For if it is clear that this networked world without enemies cannot really
ease the loneliness of the office cubicle or writer’s garret, affect theory may
help us fight the limited range of subjective states available in the contemporary
workplace, and in doing so, help us identify and denounce the distribution
of winners and losers in contemporary society.

If you have the time you need to look at this project also: The School it has the same vibe as Senselab and has some great people behind it.

Hey @yannick

On the slow communication idea I think you might find the work of Ivan Illich in Beyond Economics and Ecology interesting. Basically, it is a collection of long articles that try to address the ideas of Language and how it is shaped by the markets/communities it develops in and how certain communities put more value in certain forms of language (Do you know a friend who writes grant proposals ;)) than others and how this investment in language sort of erodes the natural and spontaneous language that was existent and still is where language is left to develop on its own and not artificially fed to children.

Another of his articles deals with the concept of velocity and speed and how speed defines the movement of those commuting at that speed, discussing the risks and expenses of having faster commuting at the expense of more slow travel, also how as society gradually ups it’s speed it becomes necessary to indulge in high speed commuting as well in order to keep up thus leading to the increase in speed leading to an increase in the welfare of those who are commuting , it actually leads to a decrease in the welfare of those who are now forced to commute longer to reach further distances to do their day to day routines and life. He also argued that above a certain speed (around bike speed), the process of commuting actually had a negative effect, while highlighting the entirely different experience of slow travel.

There is also a nice book called The Shallows by Micheal Carr, where he discusses the effects of social media and computers and devotes a section looking into the effect of the reading and writing medium on the reader and writer and their brains, which in turn leads to changes in the content that users read/write as an effect of adopting the new medium(s).


This post has been among my bookmarks for a month :frowning: Talk about slowness…

Did you write to an Iranian visual artist? Btw, the Iranian fest in Leuven a couple of months ago was great, very cosy.

You know “pen friend” is one of the first words we were taught in primary school at the English language class. Have rarely heard it since. I too find slowness something we need more of, particularly in our domain of work where everyone networks non stop. Its why I rarely attend events. Something we tried with the festival last year was slow cooking in terms of preparations: we were having non-actionable conversations for months ahead with @gehan and @woodbinehealth. It built us a better program and drew even more diverse people than usual, I would say. I would be keen to repeat the experience.

Plain socially, I would add to slow communication: slow relationships. I found some of my most valuable friendships to be those that passed the first drunkenness together (you know that feeling when its like you’ve met you soul/intellectual mates and it only took 2 hrs!)… and new shades get unveiled with just passage of time and mutual learning about the other based on how their lives unfold, as opposed to based on what they say about themselves. There is something about the function of time though which helps this… Oh, the perfect movie for this is Mary & Max (2009) if you havent seen it yet!

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thank you a lot for sharing this knowledge, will get into that later :slight_smile:

Hey @noemi i love Mary & Max, one of my all time favorite animation movies. We used it in a dutch book i co-wrote ‘de zachte revolutie’ as an action: een mary&max’ke doen (writing to a random person from another continent as naively as Mary does with max)

Yeah slow food is at the moment becoming one of my thinking structures, instead of going for an alternative that creates direct change but isn’t maybe interesting on a long term ( strict veganism or vegeterianism where nuts and advocado are imported from far away) try creating a much shorter circuit, where you are conscient about every single bite you take.

At the shop i’m looking at the moment at an old book about the history of our classic dishes, those that you just put on a low heat and with simle ingridients, time does the rest. Looking at how to incorporate it in the daily routine of the shop.

To come back to how slow cooking can also be done in an organisational way, is to become conscious about every step much more in advance, it’s taking all the knowledge of the years before, and instead of rushing in the new challenge, take the time to ‘ferment’ that knowledge to create subtle changes in the next one. That is why i’m not rushing into the bigger picture project discussed in the reaf topic at the moment. I’m still learning from the past experiences and not all ingridients are there yet. it’s heating up, but more time is needed…

Hello @Ali, I don’t think we have met yet – be welcome here!

One of those communities would be that around science. You could probably talk about, I don’t know, Markov chains in “natural and spontaneous language”, but that would be crippingly slow. I used “crippingly” in full awareness: science makes progress by consolidating earlier, more basic intuitions into handy concepts (like “Markov chain”) that can be reused as building blocks for the next level of complexity up. That includes inventing specialized language. If you did not do that, you could not move beyond concepts two or three levels up the very simplest ones. An engineering equivalent is: requiring people to build any device starting only from a block of metal and an energy source, instead of assembling pre-components such as microchips and then re-using them into phones or cars or musical instruments.

I am aware that some specialized languages are only connotative (“I use these words, therefore you can trust me to be a certain kind of person”). But others are denotative. By the way, kids being spontaneous use plenty of connotation: “it’s cool, bro” and similar.

Disclaimer: people I respect speak highly of Illich. I have not read him myself.