Rest in Haste – No One Regifts Liquor

December 17th, 2013

My friends from Rest in Haste just released a two-track 7 inch vinyl record featuring an illustration I made for them in the cover. My friend Filip from Capital Grey describes them as “Sounds like Queens of the Stone Age”. I am not sure I agree with Filip’s assessment in full, but I do wish they sang in Czech more often. In any case, you should buy their record. It’s pretty cool, and there are only five hundred of those covers out there.

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As a finishing note, let me give you access to a giant resolution version of the cover art, in case you feel like printing it the size of your bedroom. You are welcome.

Black Magic Pocket

November 28th, 2013

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I just obtained my own Black Magic Pocket Cinema Camera from Black Magic Design. What a beauty. In spite of all it’s limitations, and how difficult it might seem to achieve The Perfect Shot with it, I have been completely seduced by the detail and depth of RAW video, and what it does in combination with hardcore professional optics.

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In addition to this, I learned that Black Magic Design offers a free version of DaVinci Resolve, their state of the art color correction software. This has kept me awake more than a few nights lately, and I suspect it will continue to do so.

I can’t help but find it fascinating that extremely sophisticated digital technologies like RAW video and high end color correction software have already become available to the average consumer. This is nothing new; in the past ten years it’s happened all around us in all aspects of industry, but I still stand in awe every time a new digital milestone has been reached. Coming from a background in film, and having personally struggled with digital post production technologies through the nineties, I sometimes find it hard to believe that I can sit in a coffee shop and run software like DaVinci Resolve in my little laptop while I enjoy my espresso.

I will be uploading Black Magic Experiments to my flickr feed on a regular basis.

Propagación de Ficciones

October 20th, 2013

colombia

Maria Paula Lorgia y AnaDK me invitaron a participar con una plática en el Seminario Transmedia y Narrativas Audiovisuales 2013 en Bogotá, Colombia. Después de mucho deliberar, AnaDK y yo decidimos expresarnos en forma conjunta, y combinar nuestros pontos de vista con el objeto de discutir los populares conceptos de Transmedia y World Building:

Los términos importados World Building, originado en la ciencia ficción estadounidense para describir la construcción de escenarios capaces de albergar mitologías y épicas completas, y Narrativa Transmedia, originado en discusiones académicas recientes de teoría crítica para describir métodos de propagación de historias o superhistorias a través de plataformas múltiples, describen en si mismos técnicas de construcción narrativa que aprovechan al máximo los recursos de comunicación característicos del medio digital.

Esta charla busca despejar el aura esotérica que rodea ambos términos al examinar conceptos paralelos y ejemplos que aprovechan técnicas similares para crear sistemas narrativos abiertos, y establecer, de una u otra manera, un espacio de agencia creativa y participación para el público que los consume.

La charla completa se encuentra disponible en YouTube para quienes puedan estar interesados:

En el ámbito del evento tuve el privilegio de conocer y convivir con fascinantes personajes en la impresionante ciudad de Bogotá. Entre ellos cabe mencionar a nuestro viejo amigo vVvA y su paisano/tocayo Andrés Burbano, que hablaron de Modos y Logicas Transmedia, y Arqueología de la Ficcion, respectivamente (y fueron condensados en el mismo video, a pesar de hablar por separado), y el artista metamático digital Pablo Colapinto, quien nos habló de los laberintos en su cabeza.

La ciudad de Bogotá respira profundidad, color e historia. Una vez más, estar de visita en América Latina me hizo revivir lo familiar, todas las cosas que me han hecho falta durante mi exilio Norteamericano, incluso viviendo en una ciudad invadida por mexicanos como es Los Ángeles. Aquí hay unas imágenes que jalé del Instagram:

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Pappy Tracker Icon

September 30th, 2013

I just finished the icon for Pappy Tracker, a new iOS app by Buzamoto that tracks all sightings and appearances of the extremely desired and almost impossible to find bourbon Pappy Van Winkle across instagram and twitter. To put it in Buzamoto’s words (from the description in iTunes):

By constantly monitoring Twitter and Instagram for up-to-date information about where others are finding this prized bourbon, you get a leg up on the competition. When it comes to tracking down this bourbon, knowledge is everything. The PappyTracker helps you find the information you need, and notifies you when new information surfaces.

After many trials and a lot of deliberation with Buza, we settled for a flat and simple style following the iOS 7 new graphic direction, and we chose to peg a location icon on the shoulder of a bottle to represent the action of tracking the Pappy. I am VERY satisfied with the result.

pappy

Has this happened to you?

August 21st, 2013

I recently rediscovered a video recording iPhone app called 8mm. Evidently, it makes your mobile video look like an old movie filmed with an eight millimeter camera.

Every time I go for a walk I take my phone out to record locations, landscapes, moments, or anything else that calls my attention. Last Wednesday I was walking back to the office when I saw these two guys asking the mailman to take a picture of them using a picturesque Venice wall as a background. I walked right in the middle of their interaction and recorded them as I walked by. The mailman took off in my direction and the other two guys just walked away into Rose Ave.

Then yesterday while browsing through my Tumblr dashboard I stumble upon the picture taken by the mailman in some Hip Hop blog I follow. The original post is here. The blog I follow and the original item were separated by a long list of intermediaries (more than 20).

This is the first time I find myself experiencing a moment where the following two conditions are satisfied:

1. This moment is recorded by me and by at least one stranger.
2. The stranger’s recording of this moment finds it’s way to me through an online social network.

This might already happen to a lot of people, and I am expecting it to happen a lot more frequently in the future. For now, I am just going to upload my movie somewhere and somehow connect it to that picture.

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Hello Microsoft Research

August 13th, 2013

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I just came back from giving a talk in Microsoft Research about Art and Digital Technology. Andrés Monroy-Hernandez from MS Fuse Labs was kind enough to invite me, and they already have a webpage with a video from my talk. I know I say “like” too often (sigh), but the idea still comes across strong. Let me know what you think!

Here is the draft I put together as an intro to the talk:

In a little more than three decades, digital technology has reshaped human communication, causing a profound impact in all aspects of culture, where new modes of creation, dissemination and consumption of cultural value have already created and erased whole industries. I will use the subject of art to explain what happened during the 20th century, and I will show how electronic and digital media played a key role shaping a new set of “Contemporary Art” principles. Furthermore, I will show how these principles find a perfect match in the digital medium itself, where objects are replaced by systems and processes, and contemplation is replaced by interaction and participation. Inspired by these principles, I will describe a series of software pieces that deal with issues of creativity, audience participation and cultural value.

Learning AngularJS

June 20th, 2013

We just got a contract job at WemoLab to develop a mobile web app for a sports betting startup called Joust, and after a week or so of deliberations we decided to build the whole thing using an AngularJS-NodeJS-MongoDB combo, pure javascript from end to end.

I have to say AngularJS hasn’t been exactly easy, but there have been several times where I have been surprised finding extremely simple ways to set up certain things, especially when binding event triggered method chains across completely separate scopes. It’s kind of great, even though all those directives are driving me crazy and the learning curve has been steep as hell.

Programming languages are used to create functional worlds. In these worlds, new languages are created to create new worlds within the older ones. They are like stories within stories within stories, except in the case of software all these stories have a life of their own. It is natural to fantasize about a esperanto of programming, or a universal language that could be used to program anything. Today, this language is a dream, but at least in the web, javascript is as close as it gets to being the language of god, and AngularJS, together with NodeJS and a document/json based database solution like MongoDB, are a good reason why.