New Year's resolutions are often made to start the year afresh, imagining a 'better me' and leaving past fears, mistakes and embarrassing moments behind. However, to our disappointment, no 1st of January, no 'it's a new day tomorrow', can ever fully wipe out vivid, sometimes haunting, flashbacks and memories. They live within us, both the good and the bad and carry them around everywhere we go. Our previous actions don't only affect us, but leave traces in others, both people and spaces.
As we are progressing towards a more digitally based and controlled society, traces have become less analogue and tangible. Every day, our physical movements on the earth are transferred up high, into the clouds. However, at some point, these big data are unravelled by algorithms and, through layers and layers of infrastructure, find their way back to the world in the form of pouring asphalt to relieve congestion, planting trees to increase neighborhood liveability or genetically modified fields of produce. Digital traces once again become material, the cycle is complete. Thus, landscapes are in fact layers of traces, offering an infinite source of knowledge and inspiration.
This issue starts off with an intruiging local landscape close to home, the 'wall of fame' on the first floor of BK City. A true detective, Federico retraced its origin and symbolism in his article 'Writing on the Wall'. Head over to pages 4-8 to gain some clarity. Furthermore, within the editorial team we have been questing traces of our own. In our article 'A Decade of Bnieuws' (pages 14-18) Aimee has chronicled the past decade of Bnieuws publications. This has turned out to be as much constructive as inspirational, since we have re-introduced the "Streets of BK City", presenting opinions, thoughts and activities from students and staff in BK. You can find this month Streets of BK City on page 32: "Which object represents spolia for you?"
Spolia, another word associative to traces, which can be described as leftovers or 'spoils' of a building. The aging of buildings becomes visible through chronological inscriptions; the overlay of material traces etched by use, weather conditions, vandalism, even by war. In his article 'Traces of War' (pages 26-27) Jan discusses the roses of Sarajevo: red-resin filled craters from mortar damage which have become silent and small memorial sites of their own. In many ways material traces are imprints of the past, of memories, which through interpretation take on symbolic meaning, more than merely an ink stain on the cover of a magazine.
We wish you a memorable 2020,
The Bnieuws Editorial Team