Brussels, 26 April 2002. Click on images to see enlarged version.
All photographs © 2002–2005, Detlev Fischer
We just had a review of the IMETIS project. This is what it was like inside and outside where they take down a french language theatre (can't recall the name). I would have liked to sit in the auditorium one first and last time.
I hope that none of my IMETIS project colleagues minds being portrayed here. IMETIS is not the real project acronym. The project deals with civil applications for spread-spectrum communication as invented by Hedi Lamarr and George Antheil - the basis of all the funny CDMA technology that is or will be used to transport your words through thin air to an ear you like or loathe or feel indifferent about. As to the military stuff, we can't do it all the time - I actually prefer working on civil applications for a change, its just more peaceful.
The interior photograph is perhaps one of the 'best' I ever chanced upon. It captures the moment just before the arrival of the project officer / reviewer who will be sitting there, centrally placed, having to listen to about 8 presentations in a row on the intricacies of spread-spectrum development, demonstration, user needs, best practices etc - the whole mantra. Everything will sound very familar, as if repeated the umpteenth time. He will be asking or not asking questions, more often not. Some will venture short clarifications - this is the time when seniority counts.
The position of power of the EU project officer will be communicated in an ineffable way in his behaviour, just in the way that he displays less vitality and tension than his environment; this is because the power of his role (thumbs-up - thumbs-down) props him up, invisibly but still noticeably. He can speak in a muted voice since everyone is sure to listen keenly to every sigh or throw-away remark.
In the opposition above, the images invite rather crude political readings along the lines of haves and have-nots, centre of power and marginal low-pay manual labour. Should this be reason enough not to post them in conjunction?
If the images MUST be compared, let me state that the horizontal location differs by about 100 meters. The vertical location differs by 6 floors: the Salle Degas is on the 6th floor of Crowne Plaza Hotel, place Rogier (?). The time differs by about 26 hrs, weather being broadly the same.
I'm aware that I'm crossing a boundary here, mixing work-work and art-work spheres. What will happen if this puncture results in complaints? Could it be like a sepsis spreading? Will it in the end cost my job or just give me a bad reputation? Or perhaps everyone is just flattered? Does this depend on some careful self-censure keeping writings on a supposedly safe or anonymous level?