Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Humble Indie Bundle 2

Five games. Pay what you want. You can't lose.
The bundle is available for this week only.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ghost Diagrams

If you click the 'random' button of this tile assembler repeatedly, you will be rewarded with moments of unique beauty. (Link.) I was pleasantly surprised to find out that its author also wrote the "Resynthesizer" texture synthesis script for the GIMP, which I've found tremendously useful in the past.

Also, this is fun to scribble on.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Pachinko and forgetting

This poetic film-excerpt about pachinko parlors reminds me of one of my favorite films, Sans Soleil. I have not seen the documentary this is from. I believe I might need to travel to Japan to be a kogichi for several years in order to master my art. Link. Via.
Also: This tour of Tokyo's electronics shops circulated a month or two ago. I found it really fascinating.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Meshes in Art History

A few of the more analytic artists of the Renaissance sometimes modeled with geometric meshes. Coincidentally, this is one of the fundamental techniques of computer graphics. Its appearance in the Renaissance shows a playful reductionism at work.

Here is a rudimentary primer on the concepts of mesh modeling. The challenge of this technique is managing your edge loops and poles.

Albrecht Durer
Paulo Uccello
Much of Paulo Uccello's work is bound up in the technical demonstration of mechanical perspective. This was before the technique of perspective became ossified and pedantic. A checkered torus sometimes appears in his murals and drawings as a show of technical mastery. They look like invaders from another plane of reality.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pure Data

Alex, I think you probably know about this already. But you really should if you don't, because it might be a useful addition to your musical work-flow:

Pure Data is a visual programming environment for (mainly) sound and music. It was the musical back-end to Spore. Visual programming, in itself, is really fascinating, but I've found it's never quite practical. The patch cable is the metaphor to which it seems best suited. Blender also utilizes the node-and-noodle processing scheme quite a lot, mainly for post-processing of rendered frames, but also for texture synthesis, and, experimentally, for parametric meshes. I first heard about Pure Data watching this python talk.

Below is the talking piano...

Ruminations on Brazil

A couple weeks ago, Thomas Gideon, of the Command Line Podcast, posted a thoughtful appreciation of Terry Gilliam's movie, from a programmer's point-of-view. -> Link.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Minecraft + Art Student = SUPERTRAIN

On BOINGBOING there are some other links to Minecraft and its creator as well. Just follow the link in the title of this post.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Tarrasque

... by American artist Leonard Baskin. It's not too often I run across an image of the Tarrasque, so I thought I'd post it. Baskin's drawings have the mixture of Expressionism and Surrealism that are also the seeds of the art of DeKooning, Gorky and Pollock. Another lesser known American Expressionist is Theodore Roszak, who was a Chicagoan, and whose cthonic sculpture below is dedicated to Louis Sullivan.

The Tarrasque image is from A Book of Dragons by Hosie and Leonard Baskin, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1985.
The Roszak sculpture is in the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Minecraft = Blockland + (The Shield Lands ÷ 3)

They've almost figured out what we've known for years...

Autodesk to users: "Screw you!"

If you read any EULA for a "industry standard" proprietary software package, that's what every sentence is, but in legalese. I feel somewhat dirty for being with Autodesk on this one, but I am. Either a license agreement is contractually binding or it is not. The GPL relies on the same legal mechanics. That's why it's brilliant, because it liberates users with the means that were developed to exploit them. (Link.)

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Evolution is great!

What's happening in the photograph is wickedly awesome. Zuggtmoy would be very proud. Read about it.

Pixel art landscapes

This is a set of landscapes by an artist who did all the background work for two of my favorite PC games from my youth: Loom and The Secret of Monkey Island. This set of pictures utilizes the runtime palette manipulations Activision used to make their dazzling Atari 2600 games. They are also HTML5 demos (and will therefore not work in Microsoft's web browser).
(Link.) (Via.) (Some explanation.)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Infographic: Inception

A graphic designer in NY created an amazing graphic based on the movie Inception, charting each character's perception of time vs. real time through the various levels of sleep.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Moral Panic!

I've been "using" brainwave entrainment, nearly everyday, for over a year. I thought my meditation program was pretty tame and relaxing. Little did I know that I am a threat to the moral bedrock of America! (Link.)(Via.)

(Above) William S. Burroughs with his Dream Machine.
Selected Reading: The Clinical Guide to Light and Sound. (PDF) (Via.)

Sunday, June 27, 2010

And I thought Clippy was annoying...

Simulated social interaction always seems hollow and insipid. Does it make anyone else nervous that this is a Microsoft project? "One of my programs has crashed and has lost your spreadsheet. I see by your expression that you are angry. Would you like to draw a fish?"

See also: Eliza, Little Computer People

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Mona Lisa Curse

Robert Hughes presents a survey of the rise of the contemporary art market, and its withering effects. (link) (via)

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Friday Afternoon Project

The Canon Hack Development Kit (CHDK) enables many Canon point-and-shoot models to do things like RAW image photography, bracketing, and remote capture for stop-motion animation or kite photography. I installed it this afternoon. Like most firmware hacks there is pain involved (using a hex editor, for instance). Ask me about this if you try to install it and get stuck.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

On Getting Creative Ideas

This is a good talk. I especially like the part about knocking yourself out of shallow ideas to find the deeper ones. This isn't moralizing or hippie mysticism. The most worthwhile ideas are those with the greatest number of implications and associations to explore.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

A quick tip

So the Amazon MP3 downloader binaries don't work on newer Linux distros because their dependencies are very outdated. Pymazon fits the bill, though. It's a good way to make sure you are clear of any DRM, real or imagined, as well.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Behold the computational power of my Text Editor.

Last week I finished a new website for the non-profit arts organization that I am running here in Berlin. I have finally managed to get around my own impatience and have learned a new language: XHTML/CSS. All of the code is hand written and is Strict XHTML with CSS style sheet, no Javascript or PHP used - even for the photo galleries. It is the first time that I have done any programming and digital design that I am not embarrassed of.

Take a look at the site, any tips or recommendations are welcome. We are still working on the content a bit.

The next programming bit that I will be tackling is integrating the PHP of the Wordpress event calender into the design of the main site.

w3schools has been incredibly helpful so far.

I am excited by the prospect of mentioning web development languages without having eyes glaze over and long blank stares, and since there has been some geeking out in that direction here of late . . .

Some of you might be interested in the project itself. As things develop further there could be an opportunity to show art with us in Berlin and/or do some sort of studio residency. After a period of about a year and a half of establishing ourselves we have been concentrating on professionalizing certain aspects of the project, hence my concentration on outside presentation of late. Major material improvements have been made recently to the main space, many artists are joining, we are taking over a second space around the corner for more studios, we will be receiving our first class of university students for a short workshop stint (from the U. of Northern Iowa), and we are starting to get grants from the city of Berlin for things like building an art network from the ground up in our neighborhood and administrating art festivals in the area.

So if any of you have some awesome art burning a hole in your storage space and you have time and funds to come out here, I am looking for quality work to exhibit.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Two Ians Talking

Python Resources

For the past few months my creative energies have been tied-up with Python.
At work, I am building a Django website, including a web-based project management application. I can't report how Django compares to other web frameworks, since I haven't used any others (like Turbo-Gears and Zope). From my minimal exposure to PHP, I can say I much prefer Python.
At home, I am about to start writing my own note-taking/ productivity application with the working title "Sally Forth!" (an Army of Darkness reference). I've been tracking my ideas and responsibilities in mind-maps for a few years, and that has proved problematic. It has been serviceable for work-related things, but when it comes to art and tinkering projects, it has fallen flat because none of my art or design ideas are little-boxes-inside-big-boxes, they are a confused knot of associations by their very nature. I have learned to accept this. "Sally Forth!" will be based on tagging and faceted search, inspired by a great talk I watched by the author of "Everything is Miscellaneous". (Link.) The application is going to use wxPython on the GUI side, and I haven't decided what to use yet on the database side.
Alex, you asked me a few months ago about Python resources that are out there. I've found a few since then that are definitely worth sharing:
  • MIT's introductory computer science course uses Python. All of the lectures, homework and tests are free to download. They're terrific. I've only worked through the eighth lecture, so far, but I plan on completing it sometime. The prof's stated goal for the course is to teach how to leverage computation to solve problems. I'm all for that! If you also wish to work through it, perhaps we could compare homework solutions. (Link.)
  • There are oodles of videos from the PyCon conference posted. They can be up to three hours long, and are very topical. But seeing a particular library or methodology demonstrated in great depth can be really valuable.(Link.)
  • PyWeek is a home-brew game programming challenge. Its site is a great resource because of the large volume of working code samples that are short enough to be digestable.(Link.)
  • ShowMeDo is also a good resource.(Link.)

Monday, March 22, 2010

A very horrible horror story...

...And by very horrible I mean very good; Not horrific in the instinctual sense, mind you, (If that's your game, here are two stories which might stick with you for a while) but a bit of very spry, very literate dark-fantasy.


...if you dare!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A piece of trivia

Apparently the co-scriptwriter for the original TRON was(or is) Alan "Smalltalk" Kay's wife. Mr. Kay popularized the idea of object oriented programming. I wonder how that idea impacted the writing of the film, given that the concept of object orientation involves solving a given task with multiple, independent intelligent agents.

source -> The Tron Wiki (see the bottom of the page)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

On Scientific Imagery

A lecture on the different attitudes the Science has had regarding the pictures it produced. The lecture was part of a symposium at MoMA that was held in relation to the superb exhibition Design and the Elastic Mind.

Link to MP3 (Right-click > Save As...)

Timecodes 4:00 >> 58:00

Saturday, January 02, 2010

The Dalai Lama on "All in the Mind"

Australian radio recently aired a fascinating three-part discussion with the Dalai Lama. The panel discusses neuro-plasticity, behaviorism, morality, and positive psychology. (Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3)

Duchamp on French TV

This is my favorite video I've seen on UbuWeb, so far. It is an hour long interview with Marcel Duchamp that aired on French TV in the early '60s. I visited the most important Duchamp collection last Tuesday, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The main Duchamp room was full Boy Scouts. They looked upset and confused. Later on I passed them and they were joking about how they would be doing the public a favor if they were to smash the art. (Link.)