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The roots of Changing Matter

Life and lessons leading up to this catalog

We humans are all ‘under con­struc­tion’… The Unknown is where the mag­ic is… Truth can be found in an inde­ter­mi­nate world with infi­nite pos­si­bil­i­ties…

Our stu­dio, PCH Inno­va­tions, emerged from my belief in inter­sect­ing explorato­ry curios­i­ty, rebel­lious deviance, and cre­ative inven­tion with incum­bent sys­tems across indus­tries, insti­tu­tions, and dis­ci­plines. I pret­ty much want­ed to turn every­thing around me upside down. This was an impulse that start­ed for me at the age of five (sor­ry mum, sor­ry dad, sor­ry sis­ters).

Back in 1996, when I had the hon­or to par­tic­i­pate in BMW’s icon­ic stealth project ‘Deep Blue’, some peo­ple in our crazy project team start­ed to real­ize that, in the age of per­ma­nent dis­rup­tion, it is not assets we need to lever­age any more (sor­ry BMW), but rather very infor­mal and high­ly dis­rup­tive, exper­i­men­tal net­works of peo­ple, insti­tu­tions, col­lec­tives, and orga­ni­za­tions. After months of research­ing, some emails (were still rare back in the time), let­ters, and phone calls, we start­ed our trav­els into the unknown, where we had the priv­i­lege to meet, vis­it, live, learn, and dream with and about a lot of unique com­pa­nies, insti­tu­tions, phe­nom­e­na, and peo­ple includ­ing:


Sei­ji Tsut­su­mi, founder of Muji


Tat­suhiko, founder (and back then, cre­ative direc­tor) of Medicom Toy


Honda’s robot­ic unit, which worked on the Asi­mo, which was shown to the pub­lic in 2000


Some many-gen­er­a­tions-old ceram­ic and met­al crafts­men fam­i­lies in Japan


Lar­ry Har­vey and John Law, founders of Burn­ing Man in San Fran­cis­co


Some for­mer team mem­bers from the orig­i­nal Skunkworks crew in LA


Some for­mer Mis­sion Con­trol mem­bers of Apol­lo 13 across the US


Pao­lo Soleri, the founder of Arcosan­ti in Ari­zona


Some astrologers and ‘Quan­tum Heal­ers’ in Sedona


Cliff Haven, a uncom­pro­mis­ing off-grid in-cave-liv­ing-com­mu­ni­ty in Utah


Lock­heed Mar­tin’s advanced research group


3M’s adhe­sive advanced research group


JPL’s research team, which focused on the search for life in and the nature and evo­lu­tion of the uni­verse


Tom & David Kel­ley, the founders of (back then, a fresh­ly formed) Ideo


Bar­ry Katz, one of the founders of the Stan­ford D‑School


Alche­my, the first auto­mo­tive dig­i­tal design stu­dio of its time


John Under­kof­fler, for­mer MIT Media Lab pro­fes­sor and CEO of Oblong Indus­tries

Syd Mead, an indus­tri­al design­er who was the ‘visu­al futur­ist’ for Blade Run­ner (1982), and some of his set builders

Charles Pel­ly, a genius design­er and pro­fes­sor at Pasade­na Art Cen­ter and the founder of Design­works (now BMW Group)


The Auto­mo­tive fac­ul­ty at Pasade­na Art Cen­ter


Var­i­ous Mate­r­i­al Sci­ence and Dig­i­tal Labs at MIT

Sev­er­al (most­ly ille­gal and some­times not so nice) street and drag rac­ing groups in LA, Mia­mi, and Atlanta


Theo Jan­son, the inven­tor of the famous ‘strand­beasts’


My all time hero, Burt Rutan


Any muse­ums and his­tor­i­cal sites in the US and Japan


and many more

Deep Blue Ranch, Malibu, 1996-1999
Deep Blue Ranch, Mal­ibu, 1996–1999
Dedication from Chris Bangle, Chief of Design, 1999
Ded­i­ca­tion from Chris Ban­gle, Chief of Design, 1999
Me during Deep Blue Scouting, Palm Springs, 1997
Me dur­ing Deep Blue Scout­ing, Palm Springs, 1997

We also got to work on an oil drilling rig in the mid­dle of the Pacif­ic, to spend a week with the Munich Phil­har­mon­ic orches­tra, to vis­it Cal­i­for­nia state prison San Quentin, and to learn from the tough pat­terns and drills of a Cedars-Sinai Hos­pi­tal surgery team. We ideat­ed under the star-sparkling skies of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, or in a house-sized wine bar­rel in Sono­ma, or in a hot-air bal­loon at 5am over the North­ern Cal­i­forn­ian vine­yards. We raced pro­to­types, con­cept and fan­ta­sy cars through Death Val­ley, on Wil­low Springs, Lagu­na Seca, and Atlanta Speed­way. We vis­it­ed Edwards Air Force Base, spent a pro­found week with Native Amer­i­cans in the Appalachi­an Moun­tains. And yes, for over 18 months we worked out of a Mal­ibu Beach House (where some of us slept in the bath tub) — thank you BMW and Deep Blue.

In this TED talk, Amer­i­can design­er Chris Ban­gle explains his phi­los­o­phy that car design is an art form in its own right, with an enter­tain­ing — and ulti­mate­ly mov­ing — account of the BMW Group’s Deep Blue project, intend­ed to cre­ate the SUV of the future.

Spark doc­u­ments the ori­gins, rise and mat­u­ra­tion of the Burn­ing Man fes­ti­val, its orga­niz­ers and its par­tic­i­pants:

BMW X Coupé Showcar, LA Auto Show 1999
BMW X Coupé Show­car, LA Auto Show 1999
BMW X Coupé Showcar, Test Drive, Mojave Desert 1999
BMW X Coupé Show­car, Test Dri­ve, Mojave Desert 1999
BMW X Coupé Showcar, Test Drive, Munich 1999
BMW X Coupé Show­car, Test Dri­ve, Munich 1999

Dur­ing this almost two-year-long project, search, quest, and pil­grim­age, we start­ed to rec­og­nize a pat­tern across all these bril­liant minds, teams, and col­lec­tives, sci­en­tists, entre­pre­neurs, engi­neers, design­ers, alter­na­tive solu­tion dream­ers, and out­laws: A lot of them worked and lived in total stealth mode, and reset their lives along the same set of some extreme prin­ci­ples, which impressed and con­fused me/ us at the same time: Some of the peo­ple I men­tioned above dropped every­thing they knew and had. They went off-grid and into almost asceti­cal­ly sus­tain­able modes — to broad­en their view­points to under­stand the full scope of future pos­si­bil­i­ties and to ded­i­cate them­selves to find­ing and devel­op­ing alter­na­tive solu­tions to fight the notice­able ris­ing cli­mate chal­lenges, the obvi­ous suf­fer­ings of cap­i­tal­ism, the soci­etal gaps, the decreas­ing qual­i­ty of life in grow­ing cities, the down­fall of val­ues in coop­er­a­tions and pol­i­tics, etc. On the oth­er hand, these peo­ple saw the impact of inven­tions like micro-proces­sors, soft­ware, com­put­ers, and oth­er tech­no­log­i­cal leapfrogs. And they strived to repair and lever­age up-and-com­ing phe­nom­e­na with­out any com­pro­mise. These peo­ple and col­lec­tives also left behind the estab­lished com­fort of a nor­mal home, access to avail­able ener­gy, health­care, and edu­ca­tion (they had to pay for). Beyond going off-grid, they turned to home-school­ing their kids, start­ed tin­ker­ing and putting the first solar cells togeth­er, drilled wells, cap­tured rain water, built their own hemp homes, herb gar­dens, grew veg­eta­bles and fruits, start­ed sol­der­ing togeth­er their first net­works fol­low­ing the foot­prints of Tim Bern­ers-Lee, Ari Luo­to­nen, and Hen­rik Frystyk Nielsen. They qui­et­ly con­nect­ed with one anoth­er to dis­cuss new futures, to explore new realms of con­scious­ness, and exper­i­ment­ed with psy­che­delics to open up new path­ways of thought.

These mav­er­icks switched their pri­or­i­ties because they could see that we might soon live in times of scarci­ty, apa­thy, and zero trust across all cul­tures and busi­ness­es. Out of this urge to change, they slow­ly found­ed a vul­ner­a­ble web of par­al­lel micro-soci­eties to rein­vent the ideals, prin­ci­ples, log­ics, and key mech­a­nisms behind our polit­i­cal, eco­nom­ic, eco­log­i­cal, and soci­etal sys­tems. The main trig­ger for them was the micro-com­put­ing rev­o­lu­tion in the 1970s, the fol­low­ing tech­no­log­i­cal dis­rup­tions, the impact of “Reaganomics” in the 1980s, and the first signs of a poi­soned cap­i­tal­is­tic world where the point of no return had already been sur­passed for a long time. And they obvi­ous­ly could already feel a sig­nif­i­cant soci­etal impact of all these cumu­lat­ing hype-cycles (the stages a tech­nol­o­gy goes through, from con­cep­tion, to matu­ri­ty, and wide­spread adop­tion; a brand­ed tool by Gart­ner) in their per­son­al lives.

They went on their very own hero-jour­neys and aban­doned the old patri­ar­chal pow­er rules, which were already deeply embed­ded in glob­al cul­tures and insti­tu­tions. They start­ed to tran­si­tion from the exist­ing hier­ar­chi­cal and con­di­tioned gov­er­nance to self-gov­erned mod­els; you could call those liq­uid and lib­er­at­ed demo­c­ra­t­ic models—to turn every­body into a ‘leader’, a mak­er, a cre­ator… which isn’t at all anar­chy, it’s quite the oppo­site. Tru­ly new orders, log­ics, and solu­tions are always and maybe only born in the shad­ows, in free-of-rules, infor­mal, or even in par­al­lel worlds (more on that lat­er). And often, peo­ple who par­tic­i­pate in counter-cul­tures are called rene­gades, eccentrics, or even out­laws, under­dogs, or mis­fits.

I was called a mis­fit since I was six years old, by my fam­i­ly, my friends, my teachers—even peo­ple I’ve nev­er real­ly known called me that or gave me that look. It was true, I didn’t quite fit in any giv­en insti­tu­tion­al frame­work. I felt squeezed, tor­tured, not heard, not seen, and also not felt (beside the fact that I couldn’t feel myself until quite late in my life). And I suf­fered under it, big time. I got slow­ly trau­ma­tized with­out know­ing (like many kids and adults do). But I slow­ly got out of this con­di­tion and view that I need­ed to be saved or res­cued from what was around me. I start­ed get­ting to know my own pow­er and also how to access it. But I need­ed a lot of teach­ers to do so. One of my best and also tough­est teach­ers (Chris Ban­gle, for­mer Chief of Design at BMW and my boss) once said: “If you ask me to describe Ste­fan I sim­ply do it with this sen­tence: “If you don’t red­line once in a while you can­not win the race”… Red­light­ing means step­ping out of the norm, run­ning away from the cops, break­ing the rules, etc.

And man, I red­light­ed the hell out of every­thing and every­body… and way more than any­one should… which hurts… bad­ly… your­self and your loved ones. And you grad­u­al­ly spi­ral down your vibra­tion into the low­est fre­quen­cies some­one can imag­ine. This dri­ves you into full iso­la­tion, even iso­la­tion with your­self, because you are entire­ly dis­con­nect­ed from your­self. You get aban­doned at least by every­one who is healthy, and for a good rea­son.

My vibra­tions and fre­quen­cies back in the time were so damn low. And the uni­verse is smart enough to respond to your fre­quen­cy. It doesn’t care about your per­son­al moti­va­tions, desires, wants, or needs. It only per­ceives and under­stands the fre­quen­cy at which you are oper­at­ing and vibrat­ing. I was vibrat­ing at fre­quen­cies of fear, guilt, and shame, and I was there­by attract­ing things at sim­i­lar vibra­tions to sup­port my fre­quen­cy. I cer­tain­ly didn’t get this whole fre­quen­cy and vibra­tion thing before I entered my for­ties, when I slow­ly start­ed see­ing and turn­ing my trau­mas and some­times very destruc­tive self-pity around into endurance, into pow­er, tru­ly into super-pow­ers (your super pow­er is your exis­tence), and there­fore into my very per­son­al val­ue propo­si­tion. That was the only way for me to sur­vive and for the peo­ple around me to accept me and work with me.

And I also thought (nar­cis­sis­ti­cal­ly) that soci­ety and espe­cial­ly com­pa­nies need us mis­fits and rene­gades to push them out of their com­fort zones (leav­ing com­fort zones = lev­el 1 of trans­for­ma­tion, which I was a mas­ter at)…but soon enough I got that you can only do that when you swift­ly turn your and their atten­tion and ener­gy to lev­el 2: think­ing eccen­tri­cal­ly as well as pas­sion­ate­ly cre­at­ing alter­na­tive meth­ods, tools, and ulti­mate­ly gen­er­at­ing sus­tain­able & bal­anced solu­tions (= lev­el 3, which can hard­ly be reached by any­one).

So I basi­cal­ly dis­cov­ered not only the need but espe­cial­ly the beau­ty of going against the grain of life… seek­ing the glitch­es in soci­ety and com­pa­nies, ignor­ing the dog­mat­ic morals of all gov­ern­ments, corporations/cooperations, even all reli­gions, and on top of it all, the stub­born­ness of incom­plete sci­ence. I decid­ed to place imag­i­na­tion and the impos­si­ble as my focus.

Now, as I look back at my last 53 years, I real­ize that many of the expe­ri­ences that made lit­tle sense to me at the time they occurred were sim­ply pre­req­ui­sites for what was to come lat­er. Let me share some life-shap­ing parts of my inter­nal and exter­nal jour­ney that oth­er­wise I would nev­er get out of my head and write down. Over the next few lines of writ­ing, I don’t want to focus so much on the career-relat­ed parts of my sto­ry (only some for con­text) — I’ll rather share a bit of what goes on inside a human being who is under­go­ing all these expe­ri­ences and what final­ly led to this cat­a­log you hope­ful­ly hold in your hand. So let me lay out first my own think­ing as an (unfor­tu­nate­ly still too busy to tru­ly, mean­ing­ful­ly cre­ate) engi­neer & design­er, an (always dis­sat­is­fied) inno­va­tion sci­en­tist, an entre­pre­neur (with the usu­al business‑, client- and project-relat­ed fears) — before I turn to being a lov­ing hus­band, father, pas­sion­ate dream­er and ide­al­ist, deal­ing with slow­ing myself down, get­ting less depen­dent on reas­sur­ances from my envi­ron­ment, keep­ing more silent and pri­vate places in my head, grad­u­al­ly drop­ping all my labeled cat­e­gories, and un-learn­ing my very well adopt­ed habits and pat­terns, un-con­di­tion­ing my con­di­tioned mind, drop­ping sug­ar as my favorite boost­er, and learn­ing to say “no” more often.

Me @ Love Life Nature, Malibu, 2004
Me @ Love Life Nature, Mal­ibu, 2004
Me & Jay Leno, Van Nuys, 2005
Me & Jay Leno, Van Nuys, 2005
Me @ Moonraker Ranch, Malibu, 2005 (picture by Daniel Josefsohn)
Me @ Moon­rak­er Ranch, Mal­ibu, 2005 (pic­ture by Daniel Josef­sohn)

I reached my most recent inflec­tion point sim­ply because I turned 50, my kids reached teenag­er and uni­ver­si­ty age respec­tive­ly, and I found the love of my life. I also reached a kind of peak and strict­ly pos­i­tive exhaus­tion point as an inno­va­tion sci­en­tist and entre­pre­neur when I could feel some­thing else com­ing. I didn’t know what it would be. But I could feel its pres­ence, and I knew that I need­ed to make space to seek for it, to find it, and to devel­op it into some­thing. I knew I need­ed to make space in all of its dimen­sions: in my mind, my heart, my job, my attitude…simply

in every­thing. That was my miss­ing piece… The part need­ed for my own (hero’s) jour­ney and in my life puzzle…to clear­ly see my pat­terns. This was also the con­nec­tion point that led me to this book. So, with hav­ing my last 27 years of rich and chal­leng­ing inno­va­tion work along with the many facets and prac­tices of per­son­al growth in my rearview, I faced my unde­ni­able inflec­tion point. At the same time, I was in total con­flict with my usu­al anx­i­eties over finan­cial secu­ri­ty, my exis­tence, and also my respon­si­bil­i­ty for others—to not turn­ing every­thing upside down and end­ing up with ‘noth­ing’. I knew I had to over­come these thoughts and fears, because this deci­sive moment was so clear­ly pre­sent­ed to me, it felt ‘big’. It felt impor­tant for my life, my mar­riage, for my father­hood, for my last 10–15 busi­ness years—but espe­cial­ly for the need to explore who I am, who I wan­na be and here­by maybe get­ting wayyyyy clos­er to myself!? I want­ed to (re-)define my being, my life, and what I’m gonna do with my next (and also last 30+) years with my loved ones here on Earth.

As I wrote before, I was always a dar­ing and some­times an annoy­ing rebel… and I want­ed to trace and care­ful­ly under­stand this trait and its var­i­ous incar­na­tions: from off-slope ski­ing to rac­ing cars and bikes and fly­ing air­planes, solo rock climb­ing, sum­mit­ting a cou­ple of 4/5/6 thou­sand meter high moun­tains in Europe and the Himalayas, doing almost 2,000 bungee-jumps and hun­dreds of cliff dives, cross­ing the Alps on inline blades, prac­tic­ing Karate up to the first brown belt, play­ing the trum­pet in con­cert halls and church­es with a cou­ple of hun­dred peo­ple lis­ten­ing to it, etc., etc., etc. And hell yeah, with a lot of real­ly bad con­se­quences, which drove my par­ents and friends crazy because they were always so afraid and mad at me: I dam­aged a cou­ple of my dad’s quite expen­sive and always brand-new com­pa­ny cars (and didn’t tell him, but he fig­ured it out any­ways).

With my best school bud­dy Ing­mar (‘Eschek’) I totaled our neighbor’s Audi 200 at the age of 15 and cer­tain­ly with­out a dri­vers license.

Also with Ing­mar, dur­ing our epic Sahara bike desert tour back in 1987, I broke my spine three times and crushed all of my ribs when I jumped off the 42 meter (or 137 feet) high Cas­cades d’Ouzoud water­fall in Moroc­co.

I broke all of my 10 toes while solo climb­ing a 16-meter rock in Switzer­land, and two weeks lat­er crossed the Alps on inline blades with my friend Niko­laus (as the first peo­ple to have ever done so, and under the heav­i­est pain you can imag­ine).

I broke my right wrist because I want­ed to prove that there is a genius off-piste track all the way down from Zugspitze.

I broke my left wrist because I want­ed to per­form a one-hand­ed motocross ramp-jump.

There were a cou­ple more of these fun but also dev­as­tat­ing sto­ries… and I don’t regret a sin­gle sec­ond of it.

VW GX3 Showcar, Test Drive, Latigo Canyon, 2006
VW GX3 Show­car, Test Dri­ve, Lati­go Canyon, 2006
Me @ Cascade d’Ouzoud (120 ft), Marocco, August 16th 1987
Me @ Cas­cade d’Ouzoud (120 ft), Maroc­co, August 16th 1987
VW Jetta R GT Showcar (650 HP), LA Downtown, 2006
VW Jet­ta R GT Show­car (650 HP), LA Down­town, 2006
VW GX3 Showcar, Test Drive, Latigo Canyon, 2006
VW GX3 Show­car, Test Dri­ve, Lati­go Canyon, 2006

School was anoth­er (total­ly use­less) chal­lenge for me, one that made for tough rela­tion­ships with my teach­ers, my par­ents, and my class­mates. Pri­ma­ry school was kind of ok, but in high-school I reached 27 sus­pen­sions in sev­en years, they made me repeat two class­es, I got boot­ed out two times; it took my father quite some effort to con­vince the prin­ci­pals to allow me back in. I turned myself in at the local police sta­tion because I thought I deserved bet­ter, before I thought to break into the local gro­cery store to get some mon­ey and run away… thanks God that didn’t real­ly go as I was hop­ing, sim­ply because I didn’t man­age to break in… bum­mer. Then I thought I had a genius plan and signed myself out of school to become a pilot in the Ger­man army. But father was faster, and two days lat­er I sat back on the school bench. So ok, I gave in and found (lucky me) two teach­ers (Latin and his­to­ry) who some­how liked me and gave me all their sup­port to suc­cess­ful­ly grad­u­ate, although with real­ly mediocre grades (hon­est­ly, I nev­er ever need­ed grades again, because even in my lat­er high-pro­file job inter­views nobody ever asked me about my grades).

Moon­rak­er Alpha Jet, Mil­i­tary Base Gatow, 2004
Me @ Burning Man, 2005
Me @ Burn­ing Man, 2005
Moonraker Ranch, Malibu, 2005 (picture by Daniel Josefsohn)
Moon­rak­er Ranch, Mal­ibu, 2005 (pic­ture by Daniel Josef­sohn)

I some­how always made a bit of mon­ey: at the age of 15 I start­ed work­ing at McDonald’s (and learned a lot), I went on and assem­bled com­put­er cir­cuit boards, washed our neigh­bors’ cars (and totaled them) and then my dream job came around the cor­ner. Through my Karate-bud­dy Mikey, whose dad was the head of BMW’s pro­to­type test­ing depart­ment, I had access to BMW’s test and pro­to­type fleet of cars and motor­bikes. I mean, I had been dri­ving cars and rid­ing bikes with­out any license since I was 12; so as soon as I had my dri­vers license, we took Mikey’s par­ents’ cars and bikes to the woods, to the grav­el roads. Then we start­ed tak­ing pro­fes­sion­al dri­ving train­ing, and we learned fast. This made BMW’s chief instruc­tor of the dri­ver train­ing aware of us, he took notice of our real­ly wild but very pre­cise dri­ving skills. So we got the oppor­tu­ni­ty to take advanced class­es on Europe’s finest race tracks and in BMW’s finest cars. And we were admit­ted to become instruc­tors our­selves. We lever­aged that to the max… the best cars, on the best tracks, and the wildest trips. And with that offi­cial ‘batch’ we had an easy entry into the world of being test dri­vers. That basi­cal­ly means the auto­mo­tive com­pa­ny sends you to the loneli­est moun­tains, deserts, and race­tracks with their most capa­ble vehi­cles. So for years we trav­elled the world, test­ing cool cars and bikes; it was exhaust­ing some­times, because it is not only about dri­ving, you also have to test. And that means cycles, many cycles of dri­ving, data ana­lyt­ics, doc­u­men­ta­tion, fix­ing cars, tin­ker­ing when they break down. But this was a dream, and that is when I real­ly felt in love with machines.

Real­i­ty kicked back in when, after my bike trip to Africa and my dev­as­tat­ing water­fall acci­dent, I returned to Munich, Ger­many, and had a hard time find­ing entry into the world of uni­ver­si­ties. But my father had it already planned out: while I was in Africa he had signed me on for mechan­i­cal engi­neer­ing. After many dis­cus­sions I final­ly did it, and it very soon became tor­ture. We were 1,100 (most­ly male) stu­dents in the first semes­ter, I couldn’t find any inter­est­ing stuff in the lec­tures, it was crowd­ed and bor­ing. So my focus shift­ed again toward sports. I basi­cal­ly skipped uni­ver­si­ty and went ski­ing, I start­ed to take fenc­ing class­es, I test­ed cars, and got lost with­out any career plans. Then I came across an inter­est­ing small group of peo­ple: extreme skiers, climbers, paraglid­ers, and moun­tain lovers, who con­stant­ly tried out new adven­tures. And that’s how I became one of the first peo­ple in Europe to bungee jump. And to build my/ our own bungee cords. It was wild, because we start­ed with huge rope jumps from bridges, then we bought hun­dreds of meters of expander rub­ber in sport­ing good stores and duct taped them togeth­er, put huge rocks on them and threw them off bridges.

After a few tests it was clear that some­body had to jump, which was me because I was the light­est one. This is how we, as a group of eight peo­ple, start­ed to build a quite suc­cess­ful bungee and stunt com­pa­ny, which still exists today (I’m not part of it any­more). With­in two years, we had more than 150,000 peo­ple jump­ing our sys­tem, we were tech­ni­cal­ly and med­ical­ly cer­ti­fied, we sold 24 fran­chise com­pa­nies across Europe, built up a team of 250 peo­ple… and made real­ly good mon­ey, had end­less fun, and cre­at­ed some­thing the world hadn’t seen before. This was my fam­i­ly, my school, my uni­ver­si­ty, my bank, my life. I jumped from every high tow­er, build­ing, bridge, and crane that we could find and rent (because most of these jumps were offi­cial). I bungee jumped with a bike, motor bike, car, with 12 peo­ple on one bungee cord, I did the first tan­dem bungee jump in the world, and we as a crew held even a dozen world records.

The good thing about this whole bungee and stunt enter­prise was I learned so much for my life and I had enough money—to e.g. hire the best tutors, which prepped me for all my tests (after fail­ing my first two exams). So I bare­ly attend­ed my mechan­i­cal engi­neer­ing class­es. The only uni­ver­si­ty stuff I was real­ly into were my indus­tri­al design class­es.

The bad thing about that time was my lifestyle. We were lit­er­al­ly con­sum­ing every­thing that was around us. At the age of 24 (back in 1991), I spent 12,000 Deutsch Mark for my first cell­phone. I bought a BMW 530iX and a Jeep Wran­gler and paid in cash. We flew to New York, Busi­ness Class,

no lug­gage, no tooth brush, noth­ing, because we bought what we need­ed wher­ev­er we flew or drove. The suc­cess turned us into ass­holes. And pay­back time cer­tain­ly came around the cor­ner. After five years of this life I had a fight with my part­ner (over a woman). Also, my part­ner was a gang­ster in the sense that he didn’t let us fair­ly par­tic­i­pate in our joint suc­cess, he took all the cred­it of what we cre­at­ed togeth­er. So this all led to a painful but much need­ed end of this chap­ter. I lost every­thing, my team, my stunt fam­i­ly, my rep­u­ta­tion, my per­spec­tives (and my cars, my cell phone, my watch­es, my house… hon­est­ly, my par­ents had to bail me out at the bank). I had a break­down, a hard one; I even moved back into my par­ents’ house (who by then lived back again in South Africa) and I start­ed to go back to uni­ver­si­ty to fin­ish grad­u­a­tion. And for my mas­ter’s the­sis I reached out to BMW, and they gave me the great job to engi­neer gear­box­es, then invent math­e­mat­i­cal cor­re­la­tions to pre­dict qual­i­ty issues and war­ran­ty claims.

I slow­ly rebuilt a new life, I became a father of a beau­ti­ful son, which over­whelmed me. I got my pilot license, and I got a great job in the auto­mo­tive indus­try, which would form my next 27 years. I also dis­cov­ered my strength and applied it from that point (we are rough­ly in 1995 now) most­ly in my job and when I was with my son. I gave every­thing I had, stepped up the lad­der (still in a very uncon­ven­tion­al way), became a mem­ber of BMW’s most elite R&D team at its time, with direct access to the best knowl­edge, dar­ing sce­nar­ios, sol­id resources, newest skills and: the most rad­i­cal inno­va­tion projects. One of those was Deep Blue (described above), the next one was Pave White. There were lit­er­al­ly no lim­its (again) of what we want­ed to explore, and what we decid­ed to cre­ate, design, and engi­neer. We became the mis­fits with a clear pur­pose: the auto­mo­tive world in the mid 1990s was explod­ing, every quar­ter brought new mod­els, new vehi­cle seg­ments, new dig­i­tal tools, robots, ful­ly auto­mat­ed man­u­fac­tur­ing lines, access to expo­nen­tial tech­nolo­gies, etc. We made con­cept cars, pre­sent­ed them at Auto Shows, we invent­ed new body styles (check the BMW X- Coupe), we turned the usu­al mar­ket, prod­uct and man­u­fac­tur­ing strate­gies upside down. And we were the ones who had to find all that new shit, the best sup­pli­ers, labs, part­ners, tech­nolo­gies, soft­ware… But when you get to do all that, you’ll also have to deal with the fact that 50% of your col­leagues love that rad­i­cal stuff (because they believe in the need for change), and 50% hate you and make you feel that when­ev­er they can.

J @ Busch Studio, Malibu, 2010
J @ Busch Stu­dio, Mal­ibu, 2010
Me @ Busch Studio, Malibu, 2010
Me @ Busch Stu­dio, Mal­ibu, 2010
Me in Renault Alpine Race Car, Garmisch, 1971
Me in Renault Alpine Race Car, Garmisch, 1971

Even as a rebel in a big com­pa­ny, at a cer­tain point you start smelling hier­ar­chy and want it. So I reached for it and received a very clear instruc­tion: if you wan­na become a man­ag­er, you have to let the sexy projects go and do some­thing ‘real’. Which I did: they sent me to South Car­oli­na to clean up the usu­al mess that occurs when you ramp up a new man­u­fac­tur­ing plant. And I did great. They pro­mot­ed me to the qual­i­ty man­ag­er of the plant. But did I con­form? No. Because there were some weird things going on at the top man­age­ment lev­el, which I couldn’t over­see. I report­ed what I dis­cov­ered back to head­quar­ters, where they did not like what I made them see (but they should have, big time, in the sole inter­est of the com­pa­ny). This is how you make friends. Or not. And I learned that bring­ing the truth to the sur­face is a great feel­ing (still with­out know­ing my own truth), but some­how also a career dead-end. So they offered me an edu­ca­tion­al & qual­i­fy­ing next step, and I entered the world of man­age­ment & strat­e­gy con­sult­ing busi­ness. And quite swift­ly I became a part­ner at one of the most renowned Amer­i­can con­sult­ing firms. One of those places where you wear suits, and ironed shirts, and ties. No tie for me. I again went the uncon­ven­tion­al way, which was ok, and also devel­oped my sig­na­ture in the indus­try. And they even made me a part­ner, but I didn’t real­ly dig their busi­ness mod­el and habits, like every Mon­day morn­ing at 6am tak­ing the first flight to the client, being reach­able 24 / 7, and brown-nos­ing your clients’ shit­ty strate­gies and ideas. But the mon­ey was much bet­ter than in the auto­mo­tive indus­try. I bought a Land Rover Dis­cov­ery, my first Porsche 911, start­ed spend­ing the week­ends back on race tracks, and rent­ed a beau­ti­ful house in the Aus­tri­an moun­tains. I met my sec­ond wife, and thanks to her I start­ed explor­ing and embrac­ing the world of ecsta­sy and meta-amphet­a­mines, which gave me new insights about myself: I dis­cov­ered my feel­ings, new lev­els of inten­si­ty, I con­nect­ed with nature on a whole new lev­el (we most­ly took these sub­stances in nature), I start­ed to dance pas­sion­ate­ly, I start­ed to laugh and to breathe deeply.

Me @ Bungee Stunt Show, Essen, 1992
Me @ Bungee Stunt Show, Essen, 1992
Me @ Bungee Stunt Show, Muehlheim, 1991
Me @ Bungee Stunt Show, Muehlheim, 1991
Me @ Waterski Stunt Film Shooting, Berlin, 2008
Me @ Water­s­ki Stunt Film Shoot­ing, Berlin, 2008

And these very stim­u­lat­ing times made me also under­stand why I was always addict­ed to extreme expe­ri­ences (nowa­days it’s out-of-body-expe­ri­ences): in order to exit (my painful) real­i­ty. Because for a split moment while ski­ing, fly­ing, climb­ing, bungee jump­ing, cliff div­ing, or rac­ing, I don’t feel attached to any physics of space & time, to pain or any oth­er human bur­den or wor­ries. These expe­ri­ences forced me into only the present. The painful acci­dents I had, espe­cial­ly equipped me to cope well with all sorts of set-backs. With­out even real­iz­ing it, I became a mas­ter at part­ing the lay­ers of stress and fear from the present moment. With age (maybe in my for­ties) I found you can even do this at any time with a high­er under­stand­ing of self-awareness—easier said than done, of course.

I was stim­u­lat­ed by new begin­nings, and had more & more courage to present myself in busi­ness meet­ings in a more ‘me’, tru­ly authen­tic and auda­cious way, and it worked. My clients and col­leagues found it a bit weird, but my beliefs and atti­tudes res­onat­ed well with them and this helped me to invent my very own way of indus­tri­al con­sult­ing. I devel­oped my own meth­ods, my own tools, process­es, I start­ed scrib­bling and sketch­ing them out, and soon I had built my own inno­va­tion frame­work.

Then I received an inter­est­ing call: the for­mer CEO of BMW became the CEO of the Volk­swa­gen Group — he reached out and want­ed me to bring some fresh wind into this mon­ster com­pa­ny. He offered me a per­fect foun­da­tion for play­ing out my entire inno­va­tion arse­nal and future-based knowl­edge. But under one con­di­tion: I’d have to take on a top-man­age­ment job, with four quite sub­stan­tial depart­ments and 120 peo­ple under my lead­er­ship, with the usu­al report­ing struc­tures, run­ning some high-lev­el deci­sion and strate­gic com­mit­tees. My ego said yes. I moved back to Berlin (where I was born and had my pri­ma­ry home) and into my new offices in Wolfs­burg (don’t google it, it’s not worth it, although it’s the head­quar­ters of one of the biggest com­pa­nies in the world). And they threw me in cold water; no mer­cy. I had to realign my depart­ments, run these com­mit­tees, come up with strik­ing strate­gies for new vehi­cles, new mar­kets, new mar­ket research meth­ods, etc. I was busy, but used my nights and week­ends to work on a big new inno­va­tion project, which would put all my pre­vi­ous inno­va­tion works under its shad­ow.

Project Moon­rak­er was born. (Please excuse that I can­not share more details about any of my past and present projects, they are all under heavy dis­clo­sures. But go ahead and google Deep Blue, Moon­rak­er, and you’ll find some hints and even one offi­cial TED-talk). And with Moon­rak­er I had my sec­ond office, my sec­ond home and life back in LA. Moon­rak­er was Deep Blue on ecsta­sy: big­ger bud­gets, more free­dom, tougher and a more tan­gi­ble assign­ment, and a way more dif­fi­cult team. A cou­ple of hun­dreds of VW employ­ees applied for this project. Basi­cal­ly all board mem­bers and divi­sion­al leads pitched in mon­ey for it. We trav­elled the world, we lived (again) in a Mal­ibu man­sion (this time on the bluffs), and we re-wrote Volkswagen’s strat­e­gy for the US mar­ket, redesigned two of their vol­ume vehi­cles, and cre­at­ed a beau­ti­ful 3‑wheeler show-car for the LA Autoshow, Jan­u­ary 2006. Over the first six months nobody at the Ger­man and US head­quar­ters real­ly knew what to expect. Slow­ly, some peo­ple woke up and could smell the begin­ning of a mobil­i­ty rev­o­lu­tion (explo­sion of new vehi­cle seg­ments, con­nec­tiv­i­ty, dig­i­tal ser­vices, etc.), because we ques­tioned and rethought every­thing. And not only in Amer­i­ca. We had Moon­rak­er mul­ti­plied in Spain, in Rus­sia, in India, and in Chi­na. This project was like a virus spread­ing across one of the most patri­ar­chal and top-down ruled cor­po­ra­tions in the world. We rode this wave to a point where some very pow­er­ful peo­ple got pissed off (remem­ber the 50 / 50% lovers and haters?). We had good pro­tec­tion from the CEO-lev­el, on a group-lev­el as well as brand-lev­el, but then things start­ed to tum­ble. My two top-lev­el pro­tec­tion­ists got ‘killed’ (by the way: these two guys have been heroes in the auto­mo­tive indus­try and were true cham­pi­ons), and with them the sec­ond line went down too. Thank God two very fair board mem­bers gave me ear­ly heads up, so I had enough time to come up with a plan B. And one of these guys said to me:

‘Why don’t you take all your unique inno­va­tion knowl­edge and expe­ri­ence and turn it into a busi­ness?’ Boom, there is was: the idea for my com­pa­ny. And I knew I was safe for anoth­er four months and could also keep the Mal­ibu house and infra­struc­ture run­ning. So it became obvi­ous to lever­age this time to lay out PCH Inno­va­tions. I got divorced, raced my last race at Wil­low Springs (and won it), and start­ed writ­ing the char­ter for PCH over veg­gie burg­ers and SOB Smooth­ies at John’s Gar­den (Mal­ibu Cross Creek). By August 2006 I had the sweet-spot of my new adven­ture clear­ly in front of me. I doc­u­ment­ed it in a time cap­sule (includ­ing the orig­i­nal PCH About text, a key to the Moon­rak­er house, and a Polaroid sun­set image tak­en that exact day) and buried it under the Moon­rak­er Pool House (it’s still there—I revis­it­ed that site last year at the onset of con­struct­ing this cat­a­log).

After 13 years as a cor­po­rate dude, three years as a con­sul­tant, five years as a bungee/ stunt man entre­pre­neur, hav­ing spent some time in Africa, ten years in the US (this is when LA became my sec­ond home), after two mar­riages, and with one gor­geous boy (I was always a more or less remote but I believe real­ly good dad)—I con­vert­ed all the great and painful lessons into my secret expo­nen­tial inno­va­tion potion. With fresh ener­gy and vision I moved back to Berlin for good (although I still spend about two months each year in LA) and got the com­pa­ny start­ed with some small inno­va­tion projects: invent­ing a first tru­ly dig­i­tal inter­face adhe­sive label in LA, devel­op­ing mate­r­i­al inno­va­tions around ceram­ics in Ger­many, and cre­at­ing vehi­cle inte­ri­or con­cepts for VW and Audi, etc., and PCH Inno­va­tions start­ed to grow. Begin­ning with three peo­ple dur­ing the first two years, we grew to ten after six years. My indus­try net­work opened doors, we got hired by BMW, Jaguar Land Rover, Siemens, Carti­er, Tiffany & Co., you name it. We quick­ly need­ed to spe­cial­ize in fields like HMI-devel­op­ment, UI / UX, soft­ware devel­op­ment; we start­ed devel­op­ing our own holo­graph­ic pro­jec­tion tech­nolo­gies, along with our own and patent­ed sur­face treat­ment method­olo­gies. The projects grew, com­pa­nies gave us their full trust to run sub­stan­tial inno­va­tion ini­tia­tives and pro­grams. We entered the fields of AR/ VR, robot­ics, machine and deep learn­ing, the world of AI /GANs (maybe the most com­plex field in AI), etc. We need­ed the best coders, design­ers, strate­gists, movie pro­duc­ers, eco-sys­tem mod­el­ers, engi­neers, hack­ers, and also writ­ers, sci­en­tists, philoso­phers, and dream­ers (which are very hard to find). I need­ed to find the best part­ner out there, and 24-year-old Adrien from Mar­seille came around in 2012, and became my part­ner last year (he’s the best proof that age doesn’t mat­ter).

At this point in the sto­ry, we are in 2018. And I’m very grate­ful for how my life’s jour­ney had unfold­ed, the peo­ple I came across, the learn­ings I had inte­grat­ed, and all that led up to this junc­ture. Also because I had recon­nect­ed with the city where I was born, and Berlin is also where I met Geza, who became my clos­est friend. And through Geza I met one of the lights in my life, my step­daugh­ter Car­la (and her mum, Simone, her uncle, Philipp, and grand­moth­er, Wal­traud). That con­stel­la­tion allowed me to build my very own patch­work fam­i­ly in the typ­i­cal Berlin way. I got set­tled and that was the only path­way to meet Mag­dale­na, the love of my life and my wife (since fall 2019), the most beau­ti­ful Hathor (google it!) the world has ever seen, for real. All of this is why I am a hap­py and ful­filled per­son now.

J on Trampolin, Berlin, 2007
J on Tram­polin, Berlin, 2007
J in our Gar­den, Aus­tria, 2001
J @ German Championship, Berlin, 2014
J @ Ger­man Cham­pi­onship, Berlin, 2014

But one who is nev­er sat­is­fied, obvi­ous­ly. I am still try­ing to answer per­sist­ing ques­tions, like: Does it makes sense what I / we do? Do I serve my pur­pose? Do I and my com­pa­ny real­ly work in the ser­vice of what the world needs right now? I don’t think so… And then: Who am I? What is my soul? What does ‘lov­ing myself’ mean? Have I entire­ly healed my past wounds? Because if you don’t heal what hurt you, you’ll still bleed on peo­ple who didn’t cut you. You can cer­tain­ly look back at your life and see noth­ing. Or, you can see noth­ing to hold you back. I guess that’s my take. But what­ev­er you want needs to be occu­pied men­tal­ly and vibra­tional­ly, almost like check­ing into a hotel room. Only after you check in do they bring your bags into the room so you can car­ry on ful­ly pre­pared.

C @ Formula I Car, Berlin, 2010
C @ For­mu­la I Car, Berlin, 2010
C into the unknown, Berlin, 2011
C into the unknown, Berlin, 2011
C in pancake, Berlin 2011
C in pan­cake, Berlin 2011

My check-in was back in 2009 in Tulum, where I met Bob­by Klein, one of the four spir­i­tu­al teach­ers I have trust­ed in my life. There, for the first time in my life, I expe­ri­enced astral med­i­ta­tion, I trav­elled across my past beings, met past and future souls, and con­nect­ed with high­er dimen­sions of con­scious­ness. I learned about indi­vid­ual and col­lec­tive con­scious­ness, and alche­my, which became my new pas­sions. In 2010 I met Mari, my sec­ond teacher, who taught me how to con­nect with source. In 2016 I was intro­duced to astrol­o­gy and the works of Kay­pacha Tom Lech­er, whose week­ly Pele Reports uni­fied in com­pan­ion­ship with Bob­by Klein’s week­ly I Ching read­ings. Also in 2016, I was intro­duced to the world of ancient mantras and chant­i­ngs, indige­nous tools, and plant med­i­cine. Ayahuas­ca (a brew made from the leaves of the Psy­cho­tria viridis shrub along with the stalks of the Ban­is­te­ri­op­sis caapi vine) allowed me to not only expe­ri­ence the quan­tum world (which I have stud­ied in the last years, most­ly to under­stand the sci­ence), but to momen­tar­i­ly exist in a world where all that is exists on a quan­tum lev­el. Ibo­gaine (a peren­ni­al rain­for­est shrub native to West Africa) helped me to phys­i­cal­ly dis-inte­grate not so help­ful habits and beliefs out of myself and to (re)integrate bet­ter knowl­edge and pat­terns into my body.

When you open Pandora’s box, you bet­ter be ready for some new chem­istry and vibra­tions, to shift lit­er­al­ly every­thing you are. And when you begin inte­grat­ing (which is the hard part after expe­ri­enc­ing, and where I am a begin­ner) these learn­ings, teach­ings, divine infor­ma­tion, and ‘true source code’, you open a whole new chap­ter. And you can’t just keep going as you have been, nei­ther in pri­vate nor busi­ness-relat­ed mat­ters. Because you feel the urge and the abil­i­ty to ‘change mat­ter’; in this case mean­ing your atti­tudes, your habits, your beliefs, your expec­ta­tions toward your­self, fam­i­ly, friends, and col­leagues.

All was so good in this new begin­ning, but nev­er­the­less I felt a wave com­ing again —this feel­ing for anoth­er new chap­ter, and this time a major shift across all my being. Why? Because I and maybe most of us, we can­not only see but feel the man-made and very prob­lem­at­ic influ­ence on our envi­ron­ment and oth­er species. What you might some­times even feel on an indi­vid­ual lev­el is but a reflec­tion of the world as a whole. Things in the world are great­ly out of bal­ance. The Hopi word Koy­aanisqat­si means ‘world out of bal­ance’; it is a state that requires change in our way of being and an open­ing to a new way of think­ing. This requires rad­i­cal­ly new but robust man- (and maybe also machine-)made solu­tions. Because we as humankind, me as myself, and also my com­pa­ny as a busi­ness enti­ty have cre­at­ed and con­tributed to soci­etal and envi­ron­men­tal prob­lems, we need to fix those prob­lems too.

I looked deep­er and it imme­di­ate­ly sur­faced: the increas­ing frus­tra­tion with the pre­vail­ing polit­i­cal, eco­nom­ic, and cor­po­rate mind­sets and their pri­or­i­ties. I felt sick of main­ly incre­men­tal and prof­it-dri­ven inno­va­tion. I saw that most indus­try lead­ers are not will­ing to take the nec­es­sary risks, to go out­side their com­fort zones and to dis­cov­er the total­ly new world we urgent­ly need. And at the same time, I rec­og­nized that too many are only com­plain­ing and van­ish­ing into apa­thy. So the impor­tance of a pos­i­tive out­look, per­spec­tive, world­view, and of find­ing and gen­er­at­ing proofs for a pos­i­tive future became obvi­ous to me.

And what was the next log­i­cal step? I want­ed to (care­ful­ly) bring some aspects of my per­son­al jour­ney into our stu­dio, and back in 2017 ini­ti­at­ed that we free up two peo­ple from project work, to first ana­lyze and envi­sion the world and human­i­ty between now and approx. 2035, sec­ond to explore and devel­op entire­ly new and rad­i­cal frame­works —to rein­vent inno­va­tion or what­ev­er this prac­tice has to be in the future. We decod­ed our times, all the chaos around us, we ana­lyzed how we got here, we start­ed explor­ing new sci­en­tif­ic fields (such as noet­ic sci­ence, panpsy­chism, epi­gen­tics, etc.), we even looked into the cre­ation of tools for mak­ing high­er realms of aware­ness and

C in wind tunnel, Berlin 2018
C in wind tun­nel, Berlin 2018
J at 12.500 ft, Camarillo, 2018
J at 12.500 ft, Camar­il­lo, 2018
Me at 12.500 ft, Camarillo, 2018
Me at 12.500 ft, Camar­il­lo, 2018

con­scious­ness acces­si­ble for our­selves, and even coop­er­a­tions, and also applic­a­ble in the field of innovation—because we as a stu­dio decid­ed to slow­ly tran­si­tion our­self toward repair­ing some of the dam­age con­tin­u­ing to occur through­out our Anthro­pocene era (that describes the dis­pro­por­tion­ate & dis­as­trous influ­ence of human activ­i­ty on the plan­et).

Imag­in­ing our very own cur­rent future out­look became the cen­tral idea for Chang­ing Mat­ter— pur­su­ing our path of advanc­ing to a state of being in which all peo­ple can live on this plan­et with what we need and with­out exploita­tion or injus­tice. Expand­ing our capac­i­ty, reach­ing and access­ing the abil­i­ty to self-heal and to repair the fab­ric of life—at the high­est lev­el we can now imag­ine tran­scen­dent solu­tions like: acti­vat­ing high­er con­scious­ness, adjust­ing our fre­quen­cies and vibra­tions accord­ing­ly, chang­ing mat­ter with our minds, and even warp­ing space-time at will. Our quest and oblig­a­tion is to con­sid­er the tools, mech­a­nisms, and mindset(s) that will pro­vide the foun­da­tion for this type of tran­scen­dent change.

This was already baked into the notion of the orig­i­nal Whole Earth Cat­a­log 50+ years ago in fall 1968, which served us as an hon­or­able lega­cy and inspi­ra­tion for our Chang­ing Mat­ter: Whole Inno­va­tion Cat­a­log. We humbly took inspi­ra­tion from that orig­i­nal com­pendi­um of tools, think­ing, archi­tec­ture, prod­ucts, ser­vices, expe­ri­ences, and most of all a brand new view of our plan­et (it was the first time a com­pos­ite col­or image of plan­et Earth tak­en from space was pub­lished for the pub­lic). Our cat­a­log is a call to action, a motif of the end of some­thing mak­ing way for the begin­ning of some­thing else, and the impor­tance of access­ing inno­v­a­tive tools. We, as inno­va­tion prac­ti­tion­ers, togeth­er need to raise the bar and the stakes, we need to grap­ple with the hard truths and big chal­lenges in front of us. Or as Sean Car­roll asked in his fore­word to Ori­gins of the Uni­verse, “Why do our indi­vid­ual lives mat­ter if we are such a small part of such a big uni­verse, and exist in such a small time peri­od amid the 14 bil­lion years of our uni­verse?” The answers you may find us search­ing for in this cat­a­log may remain beyond us at the time of writ­ing and read­ing, yet we can still pur­sue the rever­ber­a­tions and impli­ca­tions of our ques­tions, lever­age the tools we have, and con­tin­ue to build toward work­ing out the right answers. Our past two years of work on Chang­ing Mat­ter also con­front­ed us every day with how lit­tle we know, and how great­ly we are com­pelled to learn… Ever into the Unknown.

Now, in case you jumped some lines, (which I’d do too),
here is what I would like to final­ly leave you with:

I tru­ly believe in plac­ing empha­sis on and widen­ing accep­tance of the inter­ac­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion between estab­lished insti­tu­tions and infor­mal / shad­ow com­mu­ni­ties (where alter­na­tive and con­struc­tive action resides) to fur­ther the research into and devel­op­ment of new amal­ga­ma­tions of social, cul­tur­al, tech­no­log­i­cal, and orga­ni­za­tion­al struc­tures. We have to fos­ter the con­stant destruc­tion and recre­ation of insti­tu­tions and exper­i­men­tal cultures—cultures in which new forms of gov­er­nance are test­ed and exper­i­ment­ed with. Such new systems—in dis­trib­uted and col­lec­tive syn­the­sis between humans, machines, cre­ation as a whole and in full acknowl­edg­ment of our col­lec­tive consciousness—will pave the way for anoth­er future, where our ‘super­con­scious & extend­ed intel­li­gence’ can pro­duce col­lec­tives and indi­vid­u­als capa­ble of freely and smooth­ly surf­ing between mul­ti-dimen­sion­al cul­tur­al, mate­r­i­al, and con­cep­tu­al lay­ers of exis­tence. And this will be a col­lab­o­ra­tive process, a cyber­net­ic, con­scious, bal­anced, and lov­ing fusion of diverse, uni­ver­sal mis­fits: part human, part machine, part program—only moti­vat­ed by a love for each oth­er that is deeply root­ed in all our hearts. I mean, look, there are rough­ly 6,500 lan­guages in the world. The heart you’ve had since birth speaks them all. Noth­ing else mat­ters more than our hearts—and if we learn to real­ly lis­ten to our hearts, all our dream-worlds may come true.

My per­son­al jour­ney and the one of Chang­ing Mat­ter is to envi­sion a new Earth where we all live in har­mo­ny and in con­nec­tion of real and vir­tu­al communities—a world where ideas and solu­tions are shared and not put in the store­house of greed to bring prof­it to an indi­vid­ual, a com­pa­ny, or a geo­graph­i­cal loca­tion. Envi­sion a world where love is not bartered, but giv­en open­ly and freely with no con­di­tions or expec­ta­tions.

For me this is just the begin­ning. The next step is to de-attach and to re-con­nect to all there is. Because we all are what there will ever be in our universe(s). I want to become absolute­ly relent­less and crazy in the pur­suit of what makes my stu­dio crew, my fam­i­ly, my friends and part­ners, my won­der­ful kids Jonas and Car­la, my beloved wife Mag­dale­na and myself con­scious, tru­ly hap­py, and feel alive. At this point I’m remind­ed of a quote by Aar­avin­d­ha Himadra, “If you tru­ly want free­dom; enter the main­stream of truth-con­scious­ness, not the main­stream of soci­ety.”

Don’t blame your­self for any­thing, detach from the both­ers of life, and start float­ing on the uni­verse. (I didn’t want to blunt­ly say: Live the moment). And take notice that there is no cos­mic coin­ci­dence, syn­chronic­i­ty is more than coin­ci­dence; numer­i­cal pat­terns and syn­chro­nized events are impor­tant for (y)our soul jour­ney. Pay atten­tion to synchronicity—it total­ly exists. Keep look­ing for repeat­ing num­bers, let­ters or words in books, news­pa­pers, on your phone, in your notes, license plates, bill­boards, screens, etc…certain ‘signs’ and deja vus will keep show­ing up in the strangest places and times. And at cer­tain points in your jour­ney you will see or expe­ri­ence some­thing where all these sequences of signs, num­bers, let­ters or words emerge into a new know­ing, an insight you need, a teach­ing you may receive.

Thank you for receiv­ing Chang­ing Mat­ter, for hold­ing and open­ing it. My belief is that just the ‘hav­ing’ and ‘hold­ing’ it will already con­vey the fre­quen­cies that are behind its ini­tial impulse, its intense two year research and year of writ­ing.

Here’s to Chang­ing Mat­ter! (& Cheers to Alche­my)

Ste­fan aka Shogun­s­ki Liske

Magdalena under Apollo Rocks, Delos, 2018
Mag­dale­na under Apol­lo Rocks, Delos, 2018
Me under Apollo Rocks, Delos, 2018
Me under Apol­lo Rocks, Delos, 2018
Our wedding day at Tiger’s Nest, Bhutan, 2019
Our wed­ding day at Tiger’s Nest, Bhutan, 2019

This cat­a­log is a work from and ded­i­cat­ed to the heart.

Grat­i­tude to all my teach­ers and to those who inspired this cat­a­log (and will nev­er read it). Espe­cial­ly with­out the peo­ple who gen­tly guid­ed me into con­scious­ness, I wouldn’t have been able to find my soul and to access my heart. Bless­ings to Mari Nil, Bob­by Klein, Kay­pacha Lech­er, Adam Gains­burg, and Chan­dra Devi. Grat­i­tude to my Mom & Dad. Your sup­port (as well the trau­mas & men­tal health issues you gave me) and the end­less strength I obvi­ous­ly gained from your genet­ic mate­ri­als made all of this pos­si­ble.

Grat­i­tude to my for­mer employ­ers and col­leagues at BMW, Volk­swa­gen, and Arthur D. Lit­tle, who taught me my engi­neer­ing, design, and strat­e­gy skills. They lit­er­al­ly allowed me (and gave me 2‑digit mil­lion euro bud­gets) to turn their coop­er­a­tions into my play­grounds, dream­scapes, and into the fer­tile grounds I lever­aged into my stu­dio and my pas­sion. Thank you Chris Ban­gle, Klaus Bücherl, Burkhard Göschel, Hel­mut Panke, Wolf­gang Reit­zle, Joachim Mil­berg, Bernd Pis­chet­srieder, Wolf­gang Bern­hard, Hans-Joachim Rothen­piel­er. Thank you Deep Blue, Pave White, Moon­rak­er, Swan­lake, Palo­mar 5, Apex, L’Oiseau Libéré, Moon­riv­er, Blend­ed Dri­ve, Prism, Radi­ance, Res­o­nance, Wind, M, 21 Grams, Bay­max, Colum­bus, and all oth­er crazy inno­va­tion projects I / my crew par­tic­i­pat­ed in.

All this would not be pos­si­ble with­out our clients, all the project lead­ers, and project teams we have been and will be work­ing with. Thank you Siemens, Carti­er, Tiffany, MAN Truck & Bus, MAN+Hummel, Villeroy & Boch, VW, Audi, Porsche, Mer­cedes, DPDHL, StreetScoot­er, Ford, Richemont, Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Zalan­do, Style­bop, Viess­mann, Jaguar Land Rover, Hino, BMW, Mini, Nike, Telekom, T‑Systems, Tegel Air­port, DDB, McCann, City of Berlin, IAV, Den­so, SAIC, Scha­ef­fler, Jolie-Pitt Foun­da­tion, Envi­sion Ener­gy, Red Bull, Solarkiosk, and FC Barcelona (that was a spe­cial expe­ri­ence…).

We are only as smart as our part­ners, who gen­er­ous­ly share their insights, views, tech­nolo­gies, code, and empa­thy with us. Thank you MIT Media Lab, MIT Self-Assem­bly Lab, Har­vard Wyss Insti­tute, Stand­ford School of Design think­ing, HPI, FEV, Roland Berg­er, Vir­gin Galac­tic, Apple, Google, Graft Archi­tects & Brand­lab, Onfor­ma­tive, Waltz Binaire, Dou­ble Stan­dards, Kon­struk­tiv, Trig­ger Hap­py, Ralf Schmer­berg, Xcor, Scaled Com­pos­ites, Fraun­hofer IPK, Micro PSI, HRL Labs, NASA, DFKI, MIT CSAIL Lab, Berlin Insti­tute of Tech­nol­o­gy, USCD BCI Lab, UCLA Mixed Real­i­ty Lab, EPFL Lau­sanne, Mil­len­ni­um Seed Bank, Car­bon War Room, Future Lab­o­ra­to­ry, art+com, and more…

Grat­i­tude to my team and part­ners at PCH (or Blank), who some­times didn’t know how to deal with my ideas and men­tal excur­sions.

Espe­cial­ly thanks to my LA Broth­er and our Sto­ry­teller, Louis, and to our Philoso­pher, Conor, who both had the hon­or & tor­ture to take frac­tions of my crazy thoughts to a whole dif­fer­ent lev­el and here­by made this cat­a­log a bril­liant and beau­ti­ful real­i­ty.

Thanks to the entire PCH crew for con­tribut­ing with end­less images, poems, arti­cles, mantras, and mind snip­pets.

Pea­cock, you will always be in my heart for visu­al­ly uplift­ing lit­er­al­ly every dirty con­cept or thought that crossed my mind.

Thanks Van­ny for orches­trat­ing the lay­out process with Stu­dio Bens (Jens & Louise), for rein­stat­ing our essen­tial oils, and for float­ing with me on con­scious­ness and oth­er sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly unproven phe­nom­e­na.

And a big thank you to Adrien, my dear friend and part­ner in crime, who has the unmet pow­er to lis­ten to me, to ques­tion and to then ground me in reality—but you always allow me and us to trav­el into the next dimen­sion. Side note: you still owe me a joint 4‑hydroxy DMT (also known as psilo­cy­bin) jour­ney. And Adrien, please allow me to quote and amend Dr. Joe Dis­pen­za at this point: We should nev­er wait for sci­ence to give us per­mis­sion to do the uncom­mon; if we do, then we are turn­ing sci­ence into anoth­er reli­gion or dog­ma.

Burt Rutan Turbine Blade by Alex Earle, 2004
Burt Rutan Tur­bine Blade by Alex Ear­le, 2004
Me at Stahl House No. 22, LA, 2012
Me at Stahl House No. 22, LA, 2012

My life as it is right now, my con­tin­u­ous­ly widen­ing hori­zons, my open­ing heart and grow­ing love would not be pos­si­ble with­out the love on my side, my wife, Mag­dale­na. With you I have found my twin flame, you showed me how love should feel and what love should be; you help me main­tain my inner & out­er peace every day. And joint­ly we nav­i­gate in full syn­chronic­i­ty, end­less love, mutu­al respect, and in true har­mo­ny. I can­not in words express my feel­ings and won­der for you and for your bound­less integri­ty. Please let’s keep danc­ing, laugh­ing, and singing every day.

  1. PCH Web­site

  1. Sei­ji Tsut­su­mi was a Japan­ese busi­nessper­son, author and poet, also known by the pen names Takashi Tsu­jii and Ikuo Yokose.

    Sei­ji Tsut­su­mi, A Crit­i­cal Mar­keter in Japan: His Phi­los­o­phy and Mar­ket­ing Activ­i­ties

  2. Tat­suhiko Akashi, founder and pres­i­dent of MediCom, devel­oped the basic Kubrick with a for­mer employ­ee of LEGO. The first Kubrick fig­ures were rep­re­sen­ta­tions of char­ac­ters from the man­ga and ani­me series Neon Gen­e­sis Evan­ge­lion, released in 2000. Since then, hun­dreds of Kubricks have been pro­duced.

    Tat­suhiko ‘Ryu’ Akashi knows you’re nev­er too old to play

  3. Lar­ry Har­vey was an Amer­i­can artist, phil­an­thropist and activist. He was the main co-founder of the Burn­ing Man event, along with his friend Jer­ry James.

  4. John Law is an Amer­i­can artist, cul­ture-jam­mer, and co-founder of the Cacoph­o­ny Soci­ety and a mem­ber of the Sui­cide Club. He is also a co-founder of Burn­ing Man which evolved out of the spir­it of the Cacoph­o­ny Soci­ety when a pre­cur­sor sol­stice par­ty was banned from San Fran­cis­co’s Bak­er Beach and merged with anoth­er Cacoph­o­ny event on the Black Rock desert in Neva­da.

  5. Apol­lo 13 was the sev­enth crewed mis­sion in the Apol­lo space pro­gram and the third meant to land on the Moon. The craft was launched from Kennedy Space Cen­ter on April 11, 1970, but the lunar land­ing was abort­ed after an oxy­gen tank in the ser­vice mod­ule ℠ failed two days into the mis­sion. The crew instead looped around the Moon, and returned safe­ly to Earth on April 17.

  6. Pao­lo Soleri was an Ital­ian archi­tect. He estab­lished the edu­ca­tion­al Cosan­ti Foun­da­tion and Arcosan­ti.

  7. Arcosan­ti is a pro­ject­ed exper­i­men­tal town with a molten bronze bell cast­ing busi­ness in Yava­pai Coun­ty, cen­tral Ari­zona, 70 mi north of Phoenix, at an ele­va­tion of 3,732 feet. Its arcol­o­gy con­cept was pro­posed by the Ital­ian-Amer­i­can archi­tect Pao­lo Soleri.

  8. Lock­heed Mar­tin Cor­po­ra­tion is an Amer­i­can aero­space, defense, arms, secu­ri­ty, and advanced tech­nolo­gies com­pa­ny with world­wide inter­ests. It was formed by the merg­er of Lock­heed Cor­po­ra­tion with Mar­tin Mari­et­ta in March 1995. It is head­quar­tered in North Bethes­da, Mary­land, in the Wash­ing­ton, D.C., area.

  9. The Jet Propul­sion Lab­o­ra­to­ry is a fed­er­al­ly fund­ed research and devel­op­ment cen­ter and NASA field cen­ter in the city of La Caña­da Flintridge with a Pasade­na mail­ing address, with­in the state of Cal­i­for­nia, Unit­ed States.

  10. IDEO is a design and con­sult­ing firm with offices in the U.S., Eng­land, Ger­many, Japan, and Chi­na. It was found­ed in Palo Alto, Cal­i­for­nia, in 1991. The com­pa­ny uses the design think­ing approach to design prod­ucts, ser­vices, envi­ron­ments, and dig­i­tal expe­ri­ences.

  11. Bar­ry Katz is a design his­to­ri­an based in the Design Group, Depart­ment of Mechan­i­cal Engi­neer­ing. He is at the same time Pro­fes­sor of Indus­tri­al and Inter­ac­tion Design at the Cal­i­for­nia Col­lege of the Arts and Fel­low of IDEO, Inc., the glob­al design and inno­va­tion con­sul­tan­cy.

  12. John Under­kof­fler is Founder and CEO of Oblong Indus­tries, devel­op­er of the gspeak Spa­tial Oper­at­ing Envi­ron­ment and the Mez­za­nine sys­tem for immer­sive visu­al col­lab­o­ra­tion across the enter­prise. Oblong’s tech­no­log­i­cal tra­jec­to­ries build on fif­teen years of foun­da­tion­al work at the MIT Media Lab, where Under­kof­fler was respon­si­ble for inno­va­tions in real-time com­put­er graph­ics sys­tems, large-scale visu­al­iza­tion tech­niques, and the I/O Bulb and Lumi­nous Room sys­tems. Under­kof­fler was a sci­ence advi­sor to films includ­ing Minor­i­ty Report, The Hulk (Ang Lee), and Iron Man.

  13. Oblong Indus­tries is a design-dri­ven soft­ware and hard­ware com­pa­ny whose mis­sion is to put a new user inter­face on every com­put­er in the world. Oblong’s tech­nol­o­gy has roots in more than two decades of research at the MIT Media Lab and was the direct basis for the com­put­ers depict­ed in the film “Minor­i­ty Report”.

  14. Syd­ney Jay Mead was an Amer­i­can indus­tri­al design­er and neo-futur­ist con­cept artist, wide­ly known for his designs for sci­ence-fic­tion films such as Blade Run­ner, Aliens and Tro

  15. Charles W. Pel­ly, com­mon­ly Chuck Pel­ly, is an Amer­i­can indus­tri­al design­er. Pel­ly is best known for found­ing the glob­al design con­sul­tan­cy Design­work­sUSA. He has spent most of his life in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia. He attend­ed the Art Cen­ter Col­lege of Design in Pasade­na, Cal­i­for­nia and stud­ied for his Mas­ter’s degree.

  16. Theodor­us Ger­ar­dus Jozef “Theo” Jansen is a Dutch artist. In 1990, he began build­ing large mech­a­nisms out of PVC that are able to move on their own and, col­lec­tive­ly, are enti­tled, Strand­beest. The kinet­ic sculp­tures appear to walk. His ani­mat­ed works are intend­ed to be a fusion of art and engi­neer­ing

  17. Elbert Lean­der “Burt” Rutan is a retired Amer­i­can aero­space engi­neer and entre­pre­neur not­ed for his orig­i­nal­i­ty in design­ing light, strong, unusu­al-look­ing, ener­gy-effi­cient air­craft.