Saturday, April 24, 2010

Demetrius May: Buffalo

I came across this on 'The Strange Attractor' blog. I like the almost monotone image combined with the one other bright colour, yellow highlighting the shiny bright brass. I also like the fact that the button are slightly misaligned. I don't like the red at the bottom of the image. I feel it ruins an otherwise interesting image.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Symphonie Diagnole by Viking Eggeling

I like the way the various shots cut suddenly between one another, in close succession. Gives quite a jerky feel, almost like stop frame.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Diana Photos

Diana cameras can be very unpredictable with the results they produce and this is part of their charm. With digital cameras there is the instant nature of being able to preview an image the second it has been taken which of course means setting can then be adjusted to create the perfect picture. Not knowing the results of a Diana camera until the film has been produced a good deal later means the intended results will very rarely be achieved. This element of leaving things to a certain extent to chance is part of the appeal.

For my personal project I plan to use a DIANA camera to capture the mood of certain spaces around the city. The atmospheric shots that can be produced using these analogue cameras is perfect for my project that seeks to capture the feeling of a space, but i am cautious not to use this camera as an excuse to project a fake feeling of nostalgia on to my subject.

The hands-on, manual nature of the camera means that the user has a number of variables to play with -aperture, exposure time, pin-hole setting, double exposure etc. When viewed on a small (intended output) there will be an interesting juxtaposition between the digital and analogue.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Documenting the making of a project

UVA: United Visual Artists

My project is largely an interactive project, both in the creation and final outcome. As this is the case I think it would be right to put a heavy emphasis on documenting the process in the form of high quality photography.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


The title says it: at the center of attention is the alphabet. In the sense of the single letters. Considered however as elements in and of themselves, gifted in some way with a true semantic individuality: the ideogram A - a hut, C - symbol of the moon ... this is how they were understood by Karel Teige: 1920's Czechoslovakian cultural radical, founder and principle theorist of the Devetsil collective, largest driving force of the local avantgard surrealists. Designer, student of architecture and visual art, Teige attacked with modern force in the exploration of the possiblity of an interweaving of verbal art and optical expression, industrial technology and mass media, inspired by the poem composed in 1923 by compatriot Vitezslav Nezval: at that time involved in Devetsil: Abeceda specifically. The same Nezval said on the subject of opera"It is intellectual exercise around the most elemental poetic object: the letters of the alphabet.". Language taken back to its minimal terminology, to the essence of spelling and fonetics of its building blocks in which derive the rhymeing quarters of every letter - 25 in total - of the latin alphabet. Ulterior developments of Abeceda made the ominous volume realized three years after Teige, that applied the notion of "poeticism" on the live body of Nezval's opera, that is, the symbiosis between visual and verbal signs which position the same fundamentals of Devetsil. In his words "The artistic fruit of Poetism is negligent, fantastic, exuberant, playful, anti-heroic and erotic.".
Conceived and built as a poetic dialogue between text and images, Abeceda manifests still now the real extraordinary expressive urgency. They are established elements, as well as the verses of Nezval, the photography of Karel Paspa that paints the suggested figuration from the original text on the dancer and choreographer Milca Mayerova (she also, like the same Paspa, adhered to the Devitsil movement). Factors combined from Teige with imprint photomontage techniques, "I have tried to create a photo-style of an exquistely abstract and poetic nature, translating in graphic form that which Nezval expressed in his verses as verbal poetry.", chiosava the author. Drawn into cultural oblivion following the annexation of Czechoslovakia by Nazi Germany, the memory of Abeceda has resurfaced only recently. In 2001, when the work was at the center of the exhibition Dreams and Disillusions - Karel Teige and the Czech Avant-garde at the Grey Art Gallery in New York (occasions in which were presented the video of the subject of the year before at Wolfsonian-Florida International University), and again in the last months, inserted in the basic theme of the exposition Modernism - Designing a New World (1914 - 1939) hosted by the London museum Victoria & Albert.
Teige and the other members of Devetsil would have certainly liked the ulterior declination of Abeceda built by Larsen. The Turinian group, active for more than ten years (a passage documented by six albums, the last and most recent being Seies), that communicate an eclectic and multi-disciplined approach to musical material. Specimen, in that sense, the work done years ago by Winsor McKay with his cartoons, put to music by Larsen under the wording of Cartoanimalettimatti (a project premiered in 2002 during the festival Rimusicazioni) and in general the stateless attitude with which the quartet measures the codes of rock, after the zeroing of the same rock provoked by punk, as such to make Larsen more appreciated abroad than in their own country. Reasons for which the artistic interlocutors of the Turinian group tend to place themselves beyond borders. American are both the labels - Young God and Important Records -- that have released their music so far, and many of their partners seen often by their side, Jamie Stewart (Xiu Xiu) - in the configuration called XXL, or Matmos and the ex-Swans Michael Gira and Jarboe. All icons of the independent music scene across the ocean.
Some of these accomplices will play with Larsen on Abeceda : David Tibet, brain of the british "apocalyptic" project Current 93, project that also involves Baby Dee, transgender cult icon from the Manhattan off scene, same underground the cello player Julia Kent, of Antony and The Johnsons, belongs to, whereas Johann Johannsson, musician and producer that has worked with Marc Almond and Barry Adamson, comes from Island. Also on stage with the band will be the russian performer and choreographer Snejanka Mihaylova; together with Larsen, and the visuals by the Bellissimo team inspired by Tiege's Abeceda, they will set up a concert/performance in 25 movements, one for each letter of the latin alphabet; elaborate and fascinating staging, exclusive worldwide preview for the Torino Settembre Musica festival and its audience.

We Are Thoughtful: Tate campaign

On Monday and Tuesday (22 & 23) of this week I went down to London for the 4Designers conference in Leicester Square. Some very interesting thoughts from the designers who spoke, most notably Mark Depsey and Thoughtful.

But above I have posted an image from Thoughtful's portfolio because of it's relevance to my current personal project. They used a QR code as a poster for Tate Liverpool's summer (2009) Colour Chart: Reinventing Colour, 1950 to Today. I was interested to see that one can still incorporate colour into the code and a phone will still recognize it.

Thoughtful's approach to the code is different to mine though. They have used them as posters and have used the aesthetic of the code as a means in itself, more of a design feature as an entity in itself. For my project it is not the aesthetic i am interested in but the it's the potential they have to communicate information.

When someone points their camera-phone at the image they are redirected to images of the artworks in the exhibition. For me this seems like a bit of an afterthought and is almost just there to justify using the code aesthetic.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Carry A Poem: an Edinburgh based project

Carry a Poem is a joint venture between Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust, the Scottish Poetry Library and City of Edinburgh public libraries, but it couldn’t happen without the help of dozens of partners across the Scottish capital.

Initially set up to celebrate Edinburgh being a UNESCO city of literature. A way for people to share the poems that mean something to them. The campaign asks people to share the way they carry their poem and what that poem means to them.

The thing about this project i liked the most was the collection of poems people left in Saint Andrews Square. Suspended and attached to a series of small plants were the poems that people had left to share either with people they loved (coinciding with Valentines Day) or the passing public in general.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Generative typography: Processing Tutorials

Yellow Arrow Projects

Yellow Arrow is fundamentally a new way of exploring cities. A harbinger of the "geospatial web," Yellow Arrow began in 2004 as a street art project on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Since then, Yellow Arrow has grown to over 35 countries and 380 cities globally and become a way to experience and publish ideas and stories via text messaging on your mobile phone and interactive maps online. In October, 2008, this groundbreaking experiment was wrapped-up and all the content generated internationally by hundreds of contributors has been archived in the public domain here in Flickr.

The project is built around the general philosophy that every place is distinct and engaging if seen from a unique perspective. With this foundation, Yellow Arrow enables every place to become an attraction. Stories are always tied to unique details such as back-alley murals or unique street markers, as well as classic locations like the Empire State Building in New York or the Reichstag in Berlin. Overall, the aim is for Yellow Arrow to provide a frame and platform to see the world in a new way.

When the project was first introduced in 2004, renowned Stanford archaeologist and cultural theorist Michael Shanks wrote that Yellow Arrow was an example of "deep mapping cultural experience - a cartography of the intimate, the everyday, the monumental, the ephemeral, the epochal."


Participants place uniquely-coded Yellow Arrow stickers to draw attention to different locations and objects - a favorite view of the city, an odd fire hydrant, the local bar. By sending an SMS from a mobile phone to the Yellow Arrow number beginning with the arrow's unique code, Yellow Arrow authors connect a story to the location where they place their sticker. Messages range from short poetic fragments to personal stories to game-like prompts to action. When another person encounters the Yellow Arrow, he or she sends its code to the Yellow Arrow number and immediately receives the message on their mobile phone. The website extends this location-based exchange, by allowing participants to annotate their arrows with photos and maps in the online gallery of Yellow Arrows placed throughout the world.

With mobile technology we are now able to integrate the social potential of networked experience with the immediacy and relevance of the physical world. As Jean Baudrillard writes in response to student strikes in France of May 1968:

"The real revolutionary media were the walls and their speech, the silk-screen posters and the handpainted notices, the street where speech began and was exchanged - everything that was an immediate inscription, given and turned, spoken and answered, mobile in the same space and time, reciprocal and antagonistic. The street is, in this sense, the alternative and subversive form of the mass media, since it isn't, like the latter, an objectified support for answerless messages, a transmission system at a distance. It is the frayed space of the symbolic exchange of speech - ephemeral, mortal."

In a networked age, different communities across the globe have very different access to technology, but mobile phones have become widely available across all social classes. By perceiving a network as something that is inherently a combination of physical, social, and technological components, the project hopes to bring these elements together under a paradigm that honors the type of vibrant exchange Baudrillard found so inspiring.

Greyworld: artwork in public spaces

Trace, Hampton Court Gardens

Trace is a permanent sound installation for the historic maze at Hampton Court Palace. As visitors pass through the maze they trigger a series of sounds that capture the intrigue and mystery of the maze's rich heritage.

Visitors to the installation space are requested to think of a word. Any word at all. They are handed a white cube, which they hold. As they speak their word in to the box, the box begins to glow with a gentle blue light.

They are then invited to explore what appears to be a large empty space, delineated by a red line around its edges. As they wander off in to this area they realise that in fact, invisible to the eye, there is a rich sonic environment to explore, full of words that are nestling amongst trees, flitting around pools of water, or hiding out in caves.

Some of these words live here permanently, and some have been dropped by people walking through the space. If the visitor wants to do this, they simply tip over their box, the light drains away, and their word falls out, living in that area for several hours, for others to discover.. When they are done, they return the box, to be filled by another word.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Cascade on Wheels

Cascade on Wheels is a visualization project that intends to express the quantity of cars we live with in big cities nowadays. The data set we worked on is the daily average of cars passing by streets, over a year. In this case, a section of the Madrid city center, during 2006. The averages are grouped down into four categories of car types. Light vehicles, taxis, trucks, and buses.

We made two different visualizations of the same data set. We intended not just to visualize the data in a readable way, but also to express its meaning, with the use of metaphors. In the Walls Map piece, car counts are represented by 3D vertical columns emerging from the streets map, like walls. The Traffic Mixer piece, where noise is the metaphor, is an hybrid of a visualization and a sound toy. The first piece focuses more on showing the data in a readable and functional way, while the latter focuses more on expressing the meaning of the data and immersing the user into these numbers. Both pieces try to complete each other.

Cascade on Wheels: Traffic Mixer from steph thirion on Vimeo.


  • Both pieces were built in Processing. The Walls Map makes use of the geomerative and OCD libraries. The Traffic Mixer uses the minim library.
  • Data scrapping and handling was done in Ruby, with a blend of builder, hpricot and rexml.
  • The editor to draw the polygons on the map and link them with the data set was built in Macromedia Flash.

'The Clock Clock' by Humans Since 1982

'The Clock Clock' is Swedish designers humans since 1982 latest project. The wall clock is a prototype that consists of 24 manual alarm clocks
that show the time in a digital manner. They also developed a typefont on this basis.

'The Clock Clock' will be shown at rhosska design museum in gothenburg from
june to mid august 2009.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


WEBOMETRIC THOUGHTS - good information on QR codes - Simon Biggs is a research professor at Edinburgh College of Art into digital media. This lead could be extremely helpful for my experiments with generative typography which he has worked with.

Panoramio - programme for geo-tagging photos onto Google maps

iO9- interesting ideas on how we relate to the environment

Processing is an open source programming language and environment for people who want to program images, animation, and interactions. - Geomerative is a library for Processing. It extends 2D geometry operations to facilitate generative geometry. Includes a TrueType font and an SVG interpreters. This library exposes the shapes (such as vector drawings or typographies) in a more approchable way. Geomerative makes it easy to access the paths, the handles and the points, making it easy to develop generative typography and geometry pieces in Processing.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Anthony Gormley Sketches

Mapping Movement

Crackology: Mayhem’s Crackology focuses on the creation of relationships between infrastructural flows and architectural space, generating an alternative ground condition. In Sao Paulo, the optimisation of infrastructure provides the opportunity to create public spaces on the leftover sites, but on Mayhem’s site, an urban park, this has led to its isolation and disuse. The surrounding programme, as well as the car, bus and pedestrian flows, inform the proposed infrastructure to blend public and private space, creating a fluid and differentiated urban massing of overlapping parks, office towers, residential areas and the relocation of an existing bus station.

From Digital Hinterlands website.

Fascinating images of movement visualised. I'm very interested in this idea of making something that is usually invisible, visible. For example once someone has walked past you in the street, you do not know where they have travelled from except that they have walked down the same road as you. Only they know the exact route they took.

Above we can see movement being mapped. In terms of psychogeography and a person's movement within a space there is a difference between the flight paths and the route which the London taxis take:

- the pilots path is predetermined
- the taxi driver's is (to a degree) chosen by them based on what's happening around them.

We can see that many of the taxis turn off down backstreets where the traffic is less busy, away from the main roads.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Social Constellation: online community application

Jamie Thompson

Just found this whilst researching for my competition brief. The theme and what Jamie Thompson has to say about online communities is very similar to my observations and the visualization of the subject similar to what i was proposing earlier in the brief.

Here's what he says:

"I am looking at how the feeling of loneliness or the disconnection between social groups in a city could be relieved if only slightly by an online community visualisation that presents no information about any of its users.

When something universally humorous happens in a public space, it momentarily changes your relationship to strangers around you, relieving the feeling of disconnection if only for a moment. However, your anonymity remains intact.

I am focussing on the romance tied up within the idea of particular cities and how this visualisation could utilise that romantic value in order to relieve disconnection. London is an ideal example of a city with a high romantic value to utilise.

Despite being surrounded by isolated examples of a busy city as we walk down the street or travel in a bus, we are never able to visualise it in its entirety. We certainly experience the feeling less when sitting in an office all day.

You log on when you wake up and keep it open on your desktop throughout the day. The idea is that you do not have to contribute anything other than logging on. However, there will be the option to contribute, but this will perhaps be limited to drawing within tight parameters to avoid any offensive misuse. The theme for the llustration could change periodically like google illustrations. For example it could be an ecosystem representation or an organic lifeform constructed of many particles represented by each user just as much as it could be the initial constellation metaphor used in this example.

The image above left is a still moment from a hacked version of an ecosystem application by Annie Spinster. I have been looking at how physical inputs can be incorporated into such an application using for example the light sensors in the user's Mac Book Pro which may isolate a particular type of user within the community.

The image above right is an early IP address mapping ecosystem that I was concepting with W Blutt. Here, the ecosystem substrate is the IP address activity, the mapped location of each dot is based upon the four sets of numbers present in an IP address. The growth of the ecosystem is dependent on the quantity of IP addresses which would act as substrate at the bottom level of growth. Therefore, parameters control the extent, but the ecosystem itself is organic which creates the interest, in a similar way to looking into a fish tank".

James Thompson

Blogging with bar graphs
Limited Edition Poster

A series of daily blog posts that explored the visual language of self–documentation. It was part of a larger project about the contrast between individual and group intentions on the internet and the rise of both the monologue and the conversation in the form of blogs and group applications respectively.

It was also an attempt to reduce my textual output into the blogosphere. The system for deciding the theme of the blog was such that I could decide at a whim in the same way that any blog author would.

Mapping time by experience: 1 earpiece = 4.5 minutes The day I found it more appropriate to describe my London Underground journeys by focussing on an aspect that I felt defined my experience during that time. I recorded the number of songs it took to get from one station to another.

24 hours of colour: A photograph taken every nine minutes
throughout my day


The day I noticed that I often take the colours of my surroundings for granted during the winter months as the daylight is often grey and muted. I visually documented the colours of my day by taking a photograph every nine minutes of what I considered to represent the average colour of my surroundings. I obtained an average colour for each photograph by rescaling it to 1 pixel in width.

The following list documents the reasons for the changes in the
colour of my surroundings on a sunday in April:

01. Battle with the snooze button.
02. Reply to email. Preparatory work for photoshoot. Procrastinate on Facebook.
03. Wait outside to be picked up with equipment. Text ex–girlfriend to arrange when I can pick up belongings.
04. Drive to Pitfield street. Receive angry text from ex–girlfriend.
Continue my conversation with the driver as if I had not.
05. Walk to red brick tenament blocks on Arnold Circus.
06. Reach location. Begin to set up.
07. Catch bus to ex–girlfriend’s house. She is not in.
08. Continue the shoot behind Columbia road flower market.
09. Lunch in cafe close to Arnold Circus.
10. Walk back to car on Pitfield street.
11. Catch bus back to Camberwell.
12. Work at the flat in natural light.
13. Realise it has suddenly become dark and turn on light. Wonder if many other people find themselves accidentally working all seven days of the week. Quickly realise that the
answer to this is yes. Continue working.

Generative Typography

Results from the "generative typography" course, summer term 2008 at the FH Mainz. Led by Philipp Pape and Florian Jenett.

All projects were built using Processing and Geomerative.

Generative typography using Java Script.

Above are a few examples I found on flickr of generative typography that was created using the website and programme

Generative typography by Lisa Reimann.