the man called jakob tells you stories about his experiences

Who is Jakob?

Jakob studies Graphic Design at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague. He spends his first semester of his final year in Hong Kong.


During the first Semester of the 4th year, I want to be in Hong Kong for research and study. This will be done for my final project at the KABK.

I want to be in Hong Kong from September 2012 until January 2013, back in time to take part at the assessments.

During that time I will be student at the KABK. I will have contact with my teachers using New Media Technology like blog, e-mail and/or skype.

If possible, I will follow one course of “Culture, Society and New Technology” at the City University / School of Creative Media in Hong Kong as well.

Why going abroad?

I believe that experiencing a different cultural environment will enhance my awareness and understanding of my own culture and culture in general.

Furthermore, my personal variety of approaching problems in Graphic Design will be nourished by the approaches I will see and experience there. For sure, they will be different.

Why Hong Kong?

Hong Kong is a City with an incredibly interesting history and future. Its old Chinese roots may be even more visible than in modern Chinese Cities, because Hong Kong was spared from the Chinese Cultural revolution under Mao where many cultural treasures were destroyed. Hong Kong will not only be my bridge to China. Hong Kong was governed under the British for a more than 140 years. This of course left traces, and transformed Hong Kong into a true cultural melting pot, which was even exceeded when Hong Kong became part of China again. It owns a special status under the flag of “One Country – two systems”. This means, that Hong Kong is able to preserve its capitalist system, while being part of China.

Practically, it will be relatively easy for me to communicate and make connections in Hong Kong. English is a widespread language in Hong Kong. Not only the citizen of Hong Kong are widely able to talk english, but also the government is still bilingual. I had contact with several people already that live/lived in Hong Kong and I am certain, that language won't be a problem.

This would be a different story for other Asian Metropoles like Shanghai, Beijing, Seul, etc. Though I plan to visit China for several weeks, I don't want to be there for the whole time of stay. Hong Kong's relation with China is more interesting for me as a research point than China itself.

How I plan to spend my time there:

As I already mentioned, I want to stay in contact with my dutch teachers and be a student of the KABK. I will follow all courses that are needed and participate in the assignments. For this I made a plan already.

This is except for the course “Writing a business plan 'Art in Business'” which I already followed this year.

Ideas for my Thesis and final project:

(1) Hong Kongs uncertain future

There is written in the Hong Kong Basic law:

“The socialist system and policies shall not be practised in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, and the previous capitalist system and way of life shall remain unchanged for 50 years.”

What happens after that period, is never publicly stated. It seems interesting to me to find out how people feel about this uncertainty. Do they worry? Are there people who already plan to move? What are the possible scenarios? Does Hong Kong face a Chinese Socialist “overrun”?

In our western world there exists also an angst to be overrun by China. The Chinese are getting more and more powerful, especially after they came strengthened out of the mainly western financial crisis. Relations between the west and China are currently good and quite healthy, but this subliminal paranoid fear is somewhere in the western mind.

In Hong Kong was integrated a highly violent city for a long time. The “Walled City”. The Walled City was neither ruled by the Chinese, nor controlled by the British government. This way Chinese triads were in charge. Officially it belonged to the British, but they mostly left it alone. The city was demolished in the early 1990s by the Chinese Government. Of course, this a theory of pure exaggeration and fantasy, but what if Hong Kong followed the example of the Walled City after the time of immunity was over?

(2) Relation of Culture and Graphic Design

Graphic Design is deeply connected with culture. Being able to research Graphic Design in a different culture – especially asian culture -, could deliver fundamental understanding of how Graphic Design works and what it is in a way that would never be possible if I would stay here.

(3) Self perception of China

I would like to research how the Chinese see themselves, and how their perception of themselves in the world is different from ours. At the same time, I want to get to know how we (the west) are perceived in China.

In addition to this I want to connect to a project I started with a fellow student and research how Human Rights are treated in China.


One of the most important reasons I want to go there, is: that I really really want to.

19 June 2012 10:00

This is the first page of the blog.

I created this blog to keep i touch with my teachers, but also tell the world what I am doing.

19 June 2012 12:10

Today I got my first reply for a room in Hong Kong. I know, its going to be tough to find a nice one, but it's a start!

19 June 2012 16:00

The project category is purely for the the project.

This is to differ from "blog" what is also of private nature.

19 June 2012 18:00

Why is the blog like it is?

Going from the Netherlands to Hong Kong is changing an incredibly horizontal environment to an extreme vertical one. So I thought my blog must go vertical as well. I build my content like a big skyscraper emerging from the ground. This is why you scroll up, in contrary to what you are used to: scrolling down.

On the left you have the Navigation, and also an overview over the visible elements. Beneath it you can toggle the visibility of these elements.

The background typography should express the emotional and cultural interpolation that I will hopefully experience.

30 June 2012 16:22

It's the last day in the Netherlands. The people around me seem not to notice. Everything around me looks like everyday and everyone behaves like it was everyday. But it is not everyday, it is the last day in the Netherlands. Tomorrow the whole environment - everything visible, touchable and experiencable - will be India.

This is also why you won't hear much of me until 15th of august. I will be in India. Then - Hong Kong. And this blog will be fulfilling its destiny.

30 June 2012 16:39

I decided, that I will definitely continue my dynamic letter morphing project in Hong Kong. There is so much I want to do with it.

Furthermore I think about my thesis. What do I want to contribute to the world of Graphic Design? Is there something I feel the need to be said or done? Will I be able to use a giant wheel on my final exam exhibition? Next to the reasons why I go to Hong Kong... what will be my purpose there?

4 Sep 2012 16:12

Finally! I am in Hong Kong.

Well, actually I'm already here for a while, but there was still a lot to do and I didn't find time to update this blog.

To bring you up to date:

(1) I do have a really nice and cozy room. I share it with a biology and a medical student. It's a little bit north from the center of Hong Kong in Tai Wai. For those who want to send me postcards or cash, this is the address: Jakob Schlötter, 13C, Block 2, 15 Tsuen Nam Road, Grandway Garden, Sha Tin, Hong Kong

(2) I got a Visa that allows me to work and study for one year here very easily. This is brilliant, and German people are one of the few who are allowed to get this. If I was e.g. Dutch, it would've been more complicated.

(3) I'm allowed to follow two courses at the City University of Hong Kong / School of Creative Media. This is also brilliant! I can get in touch with the people here, but I don't need to do tooo much. Because, I need to follow the courses in NL as well, right. Anyway, the courses are nice. 'Theory & History of New Media' and 'Programming for Animators'. So.. I'm looking forward to all this.

(4) I made a short video to introduce myself.

(5) It's extremely hot here, I understand now why the people like AC so much. I always thought it was just an enormous waste of energy.

So! That's it for now,

I hope to see you here quite frequently, and I'm excited.


5 Sep 2012 15:16

My first class in Hong Kong is called 'Theory and History of New Media'. It's a theoretical and practical class.

Today we tried to define what "Media Art" is... aparently it is a lot. The name is also quite misleading, because it implies that all Art that uses a medium is Media Art (kind of). But this would make not much sense, since every Art uses a medium in one or another way. Yes, it does. I do not believe in Art without a medium. Isn't an Artwork (any Artwork) always a medium itself between the creator/viewer and the material? Nevermind any physical stuff? Art needs to be a bridge between somewhere, otherwise it would be meaningless. So. What is meant with "Media" in Media Art? New Media? Media that are shaping our society? What needs an Artwork that you can call it Media Art? I think, in a way, Media Art is just Art that is happening now. Our lives are so deeply rooted in electronics, the internet, etc nowadays. Art that ignores this, cannot be of importance, can it?

Our Teacher, Hector Rodriguez, emphasized very much that an artist should not be defined as a 'user' of technology. New media shouldn't be used as a tool to create fancy stuff that wasn't possible before, but new media should be explored and explained by art. But not only the new media itself, but also its correlation with everything. I guess, this is what he meant. Maybe. My head is a bit blurry right now.

What I would like to write about, is how New Media behaves in societies. How is it used and understood. And why this must be differently in different countries. And I want to calculate the end of science. Not the time when we will know everything, but the time when we won't be able to understand anything any better. What is your personal end of science? In how far do you feel superior over people in the past, and in how far would you be able to teach them anything new? Are you the technology you use, or is the technology part of you, or maybe you just happened to meet each other - but you don't mean anything to each other. Wow. I touch the keys of my computer now with more respect.

5 Sep 2012 15:36

'Image' is a class I will follow in The Hague under Michel Hoogervorst.

I read the first assignment. Basically I understand that we should understand where our visual strength lies. We should explore this with the help of our own work, but also with the work of others. This is extremely important for a graduation project of course, where you want to present your strength in the best possible way. Before doing so, it's nice to know what it is.

4 Sep 2012 16:12

So... I added a comment function, so that every single one of you can say things about things you want to say something about.


13 Sep 2012 15:38


I wrote a small text about 3 ideas I had for the thesis and my project. Let's see how this looks like.


Thesis ideas:

Basically, in my thesis I want to explore what Graphic Design means and why it is important for our future.
         For this I have developed three thesis proposals. I am not sure yet, what field of Graphic Design interests me most and with which one ofmy proposals I want to proceed. I am aware, that for some of them I would leave the field of Graphic Design and make a more cultural study, and I am not yet sure if I want to do that. Though, I believe that all of them are of high interest for Graphic Design.


(1) How New Media Change Graphic Design – A study in Hong Kong: one of the most developing cities in the world

The definition of Graphic Design is old-fashioned and must be newly clarified. I want to inquire how new media and technology change the essence of Graphic Design and I want to search for a better definition.
         Since Graphic Design is remote communication, it needs to change according to the means of communication technology. New Media change the way we experience this technology. As a result, the role of Graphic Design in our culture is now played in grounds that are beyond being purely "graphic". This is in many ways interactive and can be an almost omnisensoral experience. Therefore, we must redefine what Graphic Design is to preserve its essential purpose. It must become something else and include more than it does now.
         This "more" can be studied by looking at New Media Art, since it explores the nature of new technologies. Like Graphic Design today, New Media Art lacks of a proper definition, since it is clearly happening and evolving now. New Media Art is right at the heartbeat of our age and culture. This convulsive place makes a steady definition impossible. Still, by looking at New Media Art and its invention, I could investigate the transformation of Graphic Designs definition.
In support of this I will create dynamic system of typography that is able to transform and adapt in a way that this new technologies deserve.


(2) The Future and Multilingual Typography - Hong Kong as a Bridge between China and the Western world

Graphic Design is deeply interconnected with culture. This is why investigating Graphic Design in a different culture is essential. Finding where our traditions of Graphic Design overlap might bring us closer to understand what Graphic Design essentially defines.
         Here, I will look at Hong Kong Graphic Design and especially typography. In Hong Kong three kinds of script are used: Traditional Chinese, English Alphabet and Written Cantonese.
         In contrary to expectations, the usage of Written Cantonese is fairly new and growing especially in the youth. This phenomenon is highly supported by new media technology. There are even typefaces that include the merging use of several systems.
         I want to research how the scripts interfere with each other and what the consequences for Graphic Design are and what its future might look like.
         Therefore I will play with typography and try to find out why some writing is preferred over others. My study will also include an analytical study about Chinese and English Writing.


(3) A Study of Self Perception - The Asian world in a mirror

I would like to research how the Chinese see themselves, and how their perception of themselves in the world is different from ours. At the same time, I want to get to know how we (the west) are perceived in China.
         It is frightening how little it is critically thought about the media we let inform us. It got clear to me, when I watched a movie in a Chinese Museum about the relationship between the Britons in the last few hundred years and the Handover of Hong Kong to China. I was surprised how different their view of the events was to ours. And maybe they may claim the same interest in interpreting history than we do. Just because I am western myself I tend to believe what my own country says. But I have no prove. Someone Chinese might watch the British version of the events and feel - like me - sorry for the "brainwashed" other side.
         Of course, the decisions of interpreting and modelling history in favour of your own country are not made by Graphic Designers mainly. But they are more widespread than we realize. With the tools of Graphic Design we can identify manipulation and propaganda tricks. Usually it is easier to spot these tricks in a different culture. Here we are not biased by national feelings or education. Comparing the way information is presented might help to spot the same systematics in an environment where we are biased.
         This is probably a topic for which I would leave the field of Graphic Design for most of the times. I would try to explore how our self-perception is created. I would probably need to take interviews and dig deep into cultural studies. I hope the result to be informational and shocking. Though this understanding might be essential for Graphic Designs ethical sense, it is not a Graphic Design topic per se. I am convinced that it is absolutely worth it to make this survey. Nevertheless I am not yet sure if my final project is the one to do it. Still, somehow there's an urge for it.

13 Sep 2012 16:55

This is Design 2, a class that I take in NL from Frits Deys.

I have to think about how I will be present in the Netherlands. I cannot rely on a quick Internetconnection.

I must find a solution for this as soon as possible. The meaning of "presence" is changed nowadays anyway. So, let's investigate!

13 Sep 2012 17:02

This is Design 3, a class that I take in NL from Ewoud Traast.

For him, I will need to make a process book (everything) and a leporello (selected & presented work) where I document what I do. I kind of do the same thing with the blog here already.

I think, it is important for him, that I document not only what I create myself, but also my inspirations.

13 Sep 2012 16:55

This is Typography.
It is still a bit blurry to me, what will happen here.

13 Sep 2012 17:00


Today I had a nice talk with one one Hong Kong citizen here.

I always thought that Hong Kong does not really want to be Chinese, but independent. He told me, that he has no problem with being Chinese. He is proud to be Chinese. The problem is the communist party. The communist party does not differ between themselves and China. So everything you say against the communist party is "against China".

For example in the debate about the "National Education"-class: the communist party arguments that Hong Kong should accept being Chinese and thusly accept the class. But, as I understand now, the protests that are now going on against the class in Hong Kong, are not at all directed against Hong Kong being part of China. They are against potential communist brainwashing alone. As the one I spoke with told me, Hong Kong citizen are proud of being Chinese. They are just no fans of the communist party.


15 Sep 2012 19:21

The first experiment I did for this class is about digital decay. I wanted to know what happens when you save a jpeg 1001 times. The best way to get to know these things is by just doing them. So, I did.

The result is that the jpeg slowly rots. Just like moms sandwich in the lunchpack of an average 13 year old pupil who rather buys french fries at the cafeteria and then forgets about the sandwich for a week or two. Just like that.

click here for 'Image' experiment 01

15 Sep 2012 17:00

Damnit. It seems like the navigation of this site is too confusing for people who don't want to spend a day searching. I have to change it. Why don't you want to spend a day searching?


edit: Seems like I overreacted. I got many replies that the navigation would be quite clear for them. So.... let's see what I got time for.

15 Sep 2012 17:00

Today, I realized that there is a pattern of average looking women in their mid 50s to wear t-shirts with very strange messages on them.

In the last weeks I saw three of these ladies. They resembled themselves in statue, groomy character and strangeness. I was too slow to take pictures, but here is what they looked like:

25 Sep 2012 23:56

Yesterday and today I was on the AGI Open 2012 in Hong Kong. For these who do not know what it is: it's an international conference for designers. The AGI itself is like an elite-club and they will have an internal meeting now for a week. René Knip told me that this will feel like friends exploring a city. Though they have a schedule and pay for the membership of course.

Anyway... the speakers went on the stage one by one. each stood there for 20 minutes and threw presentations at the audience. Just very few threw the presentations upside down or backside forward or in the wrong direction. Most of the presentations were really interesting.

These are some of my thoughts:

yesterday i realized that i do not have any business-cards. and then i realized that i wouldn't have time to print nice ones. so i made myself business-sticks instead. it's still a prototype, but it works quite nicely. the nice thing about them is, that i hand out a single one. if you want to use them for eating, you need to meet me again. also, when you have two, you can read the hidden text, that is either "yummy" or "yeah" or "very good"

26 Sep 2012 18:03

In the last class from Ewoud I took part via skype. That was so nice! I got presentations by Mary and Anton about their projects. Then, because it was getting too late, I prepared my own presentation on video and uploaded it. So you can see it as well! Cool, isn't it?

15 Aug 2012 13:45

for those of you who like to get some quick


- jakob (me) is in hong kong now

- new adress: 13C, Block2, Grandway Garden, 15 Tsuen Nam Road, Tai Wai, Sha Tin, Hong Kong

- i will take courses at the City University / School of Creative Media in Hong Kong

- I am a graphic design student at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague

- I'll come back in January 2013

17 Sep 2012 10:23

Today i read Heideggers essay "The Age of the World Picture". And wrote a little bit about it. Interesting also how a person with this intellect can associate with mad inhuman ideologies based on pseudoscience. Whatever, here was something I could learn from him.

20 Sep 2012 18:32

So, for starting up everything neatly I have to think about what I actually want to do.

the dynamic typeface should get these functions:

- merge fonts into each other seamlessly

- add parameters as liked, like random, shear, scale, rotate, etc

- able to animate transform the text statically (for a book maybe)

- output in video and as a pdf

but first, very important: what libraries am i building up on? and am i even allowed to use them?

I checked all this today, made a nice table and found out:

it's just a little bit re-writing then i have a clear west, and can even sell the programm if i liked. nice?

27 Sep 2012 18:23

my task for today was to find out how fonts are build-up. basically they are just xml-tables with many many numbers. yes. but, what do the numbers mean? what is the code of their appearance? can i parse them into my program directly without having to awkwardly build fonts myself with layers in illustrator? i think i can, i just have to find out this: h o w

did i succeed for today? hmm... yeeeaaaah, i realized it's easiest to read ttf's. But how exactly i'll do it is written in the future.

frightening idea by the way, that everything that will happen already happened. only we don't have the privilege to experience it. doesn't sound frightening - i know - but it is.

28 Sep 2012 12:45

why aphex twin is an image-maker:

thougts about the image-maker

02 Oct 2012 10:23

It's time to pic my topic! No, I cannot write three theses. So... I try to combine all three of them together and cut off everything I do not need.


The next thing that ever happened to typography

what am i going to do here? I will analyse the Chinese writing system, and the Latin one. Then I compare them and try to learn something about writing systems in general. Then I will read the relationship between media and writing systems and make a prophecy for the future.

04 Oct 2012 19:43

uuuuuuhh... freetype, why do you hate me? hmm... or is it me that hates freetype? no, i don't. i just can't make it work.

10 Oct 2012 11:43

from michel i got the assignment to make a publication about my inspirations and a reflection of my own work so far.

this is what i made:

jakob is inspired

11 Oct 2012 18:43

success!!! well, partly. my goal was to load ttf's in my shiny program. and i can do it now tweaking an inbuilt feature of openFrameworks. but when i want to manipulate the shapes, i can't access the original points yet in a nice way. ywah.. anyway. good working today. is there anyone to clap on my shoulder? hello?

18 Oct 2012 19:03

today want to optimize how i manipulate the font. still not getting the original points. well, i do. i know where they hide, these bastards (sorry for the rude language, but though they are tiny tiny dots, they have a lot of power. and they decided to make it not easy for me to get this power. but i want it. i need it. i seriously do.).

so what do i do now? i located their home, so i take this and rebuild it how i want it at my place. the points will not even know what happened.

22 Oct 2012 16:02

beijing! so nice!

25 Oct 2012 14:42

ever heard of ofxPoints? well. i have.

08 Nov 2012 10:23

Very important. I am making three-dimensional sculptures. Where do the dimensions come from, you might ask. And the question is good, because dimensions can be swapped and interchanged. This is exactly what I am doing.

I have a two-dimensional object - a chinese character. But for a sculpture I need three dimensions. I don't just want to make one up. Lucky for me there is time. I can transpose time into the third dimension of space, and - voila.

look at my sketch here

13 Nov 2012 17:23

what is my plan for the future? do i even have a future? what will happen to me, and how can i influence this? how do i want to influence this?

i started writing this down in a small text for kees van drongelen

It's not finished yet, but soon will be

15 Nov 2012 19:43

still busy with optimizing the ttf-readability. it's a lot of work!

20 Nov 2012 18:02

I went to the chinese ambassy today to collect the visa. when i went back i chatted with a pakistani businessman. he lived here in hong kong for 15 years, and was curious about my religious situation. he was very surprised that i don't believe in a religion. he tried to convince me that there was a god. 'look around you, the world is so complex and beautiful. someone must have made it.' he tried to apply to my profession as a designer, that the world must have been designed. hmmm... but i don't think so. i really don't. and somehow i felt that i don't really care. i don't care if there's a god. i believe that if i behave like my inner moral code tells me, then i am a good person. what else is there? does it make me better person if i follow rules i don't believe in, just to please someone i do or do not believe in? ah.. this is difficult to put in a clear way on this blog. i just leave it like this for now

21 Nov 2012 16:00

Today I decided to eliminate the comment-function from the blog. and i feel bad about it. but i hade no choice, it was spammed incredibly.

I'll try to make it available as soon as possible again, but for now it's off. sorry.

22 Nov 2012 17:40

wow! i had a revelation. remember that i told you about that bar in a hong kong skyscraper? that one on the 27th floor, well it has a great view when you stand in front of the pissoir, and look to left. the whole wall is made of glass and you see the city beneath you, parted by the sea. then you relax, let everything flow and realize how you can speed up the programm by 300%. I wasn't sure if it worked until i tried it today. and the nice thing is, it worked. yes. it did. so, much quicker typing now.

27 Nov 2012 3:45

marvin and i decided to make presentations together. how is this going to happen? we'll see! today we let show our first presentation to the teachers. marvin is going to send me their responses, curious how this will be.

08 Dec 2012 17:23

hmm... how do i want to present my portfolio? or my cv?

15 Dec 2012 10:23

my moving image sculpture in real space, projection-mapped.

17 Dec 2012 10:23

Future inevitably is.

The past.

Wow, such a nice poem. Here is the essay that surrounds it:

the next thing that ever happens (by jakob schlötter)

10 Jan 2013 19:23

Well, this is my first post back in Holland.

More posts will follow soon, since many many interesting things are waiting in the back of my head to be finally told to you.

But for now only this. These are some of the notes that I took during the class History and Theory of New Media in Hong Kong by Hector Rodriguez. His lectures were aaaaaamazing, so I couldn't always take notes. Most of it I either didn't write down quickly enough or I forgot my laptop and I'm not in the mood to scan all the rest now.

Do you know Prof. Dr. Abdul Nachtigaller? He's a professor from Walter Moers' Captain Bluebear Novels. During his lectures the students would have the crazy illusion to actually experience what he was talking about. Meanwhile, little wisdom-particles will fill the air to be absorbed by the students. They will be entertained and get smart just by sitting there. Hectors lectures reminded me of that. Anyway, here there are the pdf's: