Mastermundo and the art of nowness.
By Marc Boumeester

This year’s edition of Mastermundo had taken some elements of a flash mob, some elements of a
school trip and some of a spiritual session. Seemingly unnoticeable the heterogeneous group of
exactly 100 participants grew closer literally every mile of the journey, which is in itself not
surprisingly. But why was its shape so important for the build-up of the day? After taking one look at
the list of asked participants, one was already convinced this day would contribute immensely to
ones self-development, so why go through the trouble of schlepping around this large group from
city to city, from museum to train, city council, public- bars en squares? Or was this just another way
of polishing up a dull conference by adding something strange?

No, it was not. And this is why.

In the age of intertwining media, where the post-modern notion of cross-media is rapidly losing its
validation and the discourse on “media 3.0” is beginning to consist of hollow phrases, the new
content driven participant takes the lead in redefining the several media and communication-maps.
Within the dying remains of the allocution based communication systems, the new participant freely
floats in and out new forms of multilateral communication. The new participant is no longer going
through the mental process of accepting the changes and opportunities given by the never ending
waves of media revolution, like the vast majority of the current generation of communication
professionals has had to do. The new participant has acquired the ability to accept not only the
possibilities of “media 3.0 and on”, but has also the understanding that all related knowledge will
become obsolete at any given moment. But the new participant is not worried by that at all. By
having been brought up in and with these systems and primarily being driven by content, he has
shifted his learning- and comfort-zone towards the unstable, as opposed to the stable like his
predecessors had. Motion has become the standard, the hypothesis zero. Therefore all definitions of
space and time are now being reevaluated and redefined. It is no longer useful to look at the here
and the there, it is no longer useful to look at the past and the future. Instead the new participant
will constantly rename the here and the now. Finally it will become possible to dismiss the archaic
notion of history being a set of events all resulting in the present. Instead the new participant will
regard the now as being somewhere on the shape we call time, where every traveler has equal
opportunity to make a difference. No longer is he trapped in a fixed grid of space-time, he has finally
become a vectorist, purely existing of direction and energy.

And this is exactly what Mastermundo 2008 showed us. Traveling on the existing infra-structure, but
not being part of it, constantly changing the sets of perspective given to us by the “participants who
knew they could say something” (notice how I carefully avoid using the term speakers, that word
dates from the ancient regime as we now know), fluently drawing its own speedlines along the way,
constantly creating its own context. All this in combination with the absence of the twittertwatter
one normally encounters on such occasions (no added flavours, colours or preservatives), gave this
day a very strong sensation of nowness. For this day we all became the new participant, for this day
the answer to the question “Where are you?” would have been “I am now”.

Music by Max Richter,

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