LA MOSTRA DELL PIPI. 05/2012  |   THE LIFE OF PEE. 02/2012  |   ...AND WE'RE OFF! 01/2012 


Mike and myself travelled to Spain in February, coinciding with the urine and saliva collection period for the project. All samples gathered during our stay in the peninsula, needed to be transported back to the Netherlands frozen, yet on the day of our return we were denied access on the flight due to the irregularity of our hand luggage. Diplomatically fighting our way throughout the numerous bureaucratic procedures, we finally succeeded and returned to the Netherlands with the samples intact and frozen. The bottles did not explode, nor did the 200mL gel packs from the isothermal bag cause any major hazard throughout the duration of the flight. The reluctance encountered on behalf of Ryanair, had been firmly grounded on the possible consequences of probable events, such as fear for the explosion of the frozen bottles. The incident could have formed part of a scene from Jean Luc Godard´s Alphaville, where logical science rules over an emotionless society.

The linearity of socioeconomic systems reinforces the desire for stable and static societal structures. When slight deviations from the norm result in similar disturbances, the structural staleness of our services is highlighted. This links to our recent thoughts on the notion of healthy dynamics found within complex, natural systems. Social desire for static-ness might well be the antithesis of natural systems, where biological equilibrium, or a steady state, means death. As Jan van der Greef highlighted during our recent Aqua Vita group meeting, we are regulated by irregularity as a building block of life. Our heart thrives from various cardiac dynamical regimes and steadiness in its rhythm, would denote our death.

As we seek to integrate principles from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as parameters for metabolic patterns, we come across the concept of chaos as health. Citing Arnold Mandell :

“Is it possible that mathematical pathology, i.e. chaos, is health? And that mathematical health, which is the predictability and differentiability of this kind of a structure, is disease?”

This approach highlights a conceptual problem found within the dualistic relationship of Western thought and TCM. The idea of chaos, or continuous instability, proclaims changing boundaries, or basins of attraction. This dynamic and oscillating ability is an adaptability to change. In this respect, abrupt changes in behaviour and non-linearity result in feedback processes within dynamic systems, which allow regulation and control. In our recent discussion with Yan Schöen, Margriet Hendriks and the new addition to the Aqua Vita team, Dave Young, the Yin Yang patterns of TCM were defined as analogous to bifurcation points: both states are found within themselves, branching indefinitely as fractal physical structures, and can only coexist in relation to one another. Adopting methods from non-linear dynamics, we hope to visualise how changes in one parameter can push a system into a qualitatively new behaviour, recognising the body as a place of motion.