Archive for July, 2007

5000 Icons at Once

Monday, July 16th, 2007

The Tiny Icon factory, viewed in a 30 inch Apple display.

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When the page loads, it looks like the icons are racing towards their final positions in the grid.
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If an Icon was alive, what would it like to have for breakfast, clicks?
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Just a Question

Saturday, July 14th, 2007

Are you really thinking for yourself, or is it someone else thinking for you?

PictureXS 3000

Thursday, July 12th, 2007

The next batch of 1000 pictures was collected from June 6th to July 12th. More or less one month plus one week. Around 8.3 pictures every day. And as usual, you never know what you’re going to get.

This is picture number 3000, collected last night some time after midnight: Familia Cabrero Figueras, I wonder who you are.

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picturexs3000.jpg

Next is the graph of visits from Google Analytics (April 15th-June 12th). Maximum visits in one day 70, Minimum of 2.
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These are a few Sparklines, also from Google Analytics, that show some global statistics of the site’s usage. It is interesting to observe the difference between visits and pageviews. In May 21st the Maximums for both visits and pageviews were reached, with a count of 70 for the visits and a count of 1367 for the pageviews. This means an average of 20 pictures were looked at by every visitor that day. I should make my own graphics to track down picture submissions, censorship activity, tag contributions, and whatever else I can think about.
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I sometimes feel like I am looking at a digital child growing, when I examine the statistics of the data collecting websites I have made. All the visits and pageviews seem as tangible as the pictures, and I have the illusion that they have been stored like cupcakes in a fridge or books in a bookshelf, but not even the pictures are from this world. They are all bits of information encoded in a way that can be translated into something we can understand. In the digital world, pictures and words have as much weigth as interactions; a collection of mouseclicks can hold more useful information about a particular subject than the cover of the New York Times, and a digital picture’s materiality is not much different from the same collection of mouseclicks, even though it might seem events don’t exist as matter and images do. In the capitalist world, all that can be measured can be attributted value, and this might be the reason why stock markets in the 21st century trade and speculate with mouseclicks as they do with oil, cheese and soap.

Richard Baily and Spore

Monday, July 2nd, 2007

“you can create great things despite ANY existing circumstances”, Richard Baily, 1953-2006

[Quick update note: I just noticed today (August 15th 07) that ImageSavant (Baily’s gallery website) is back online]

Last night I stayed in the lab until 2:23 am, working on OpenGL stuff with Kyle. Vertex programs, shaders, and all this other things I can’t quite grasp yet. But something about the black limbo traditionally used in an empty NSopenGL view and the digital color nature of my primitive OpenGL scenes somehow started reminding me of a few related Computer Graphics references I have collected from the web over the years. I don’t remember when I first read about Computer Graphics pioneer Richard Baily and Spore, perhaps searching the web for renderings of attractors, but I remember very well the awe I felt when I first browsed through the galleries in his website ImageSavant (I know, it’s down). I think I remember the Spore source code available for download there, but I’m not sure. When I clicked on my bookmark this morning to pay a visit, I found a dead link, and after 20 more seconds of google search, I realized Baily died a little more than 1 year ago, following after his mentor Jules Engel (1915-2003), who died 4 years ago. A generous man that offered full resolution snapshots and movies of his work in his website, he was regarded by some as one of the few that could remain an artist true to themselves, and still conduct a fruitful relationship with the Hollywood media machine.

One of those people I was looking forward to meet one day.

The Center for Visual Music Payed him a tribute here, and this is a link to an article the futurist filmmaker Rene Daalder wrote about him.

These are some pictures of his work with Spore. You should try to imagine them in motion, as if you were a solar system scale creature, surfing through the star clouds in spacetime. A good example of his work in motion is his depiction of the synaptic planet Solaris, featured in the 2002 unfortunate remake of Andrei Tarkovsky’s (1932-1986) science fiction classic from 1972, based on the book written in 1961 by recently deceased polish cult writer Stanislav Lem (1921-2006).

spore_0.jpgspore_1.jpgspore_4.jpgspore_7.jpg

…drawing with canvas

Monday, July 2nd, 2007

For Safari 3, Webkit, or Firefox

In a very experimental mode, I started writing a drawing tool in html canvas and javascript from scratch. I hooked up the mouse events to the drawing loop and figured out how to keep track of the mouse coordinates when resizing the browser window.

The sketch is here to play with, much in the spirit of my early Processing experiments, and the following are a bunch of screenshots from when I was messing with the style parameters as I was fixing bugs in the event handler and the calls to draw.

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The next are screenshots of a modification I made to Rafael Robayna’s Painter tool. He has implemented a nice Widget class for canvas that anyone could extend, and a playback control that lets you sit and see how you made your drawing. An interesting exercise in memorization that is relevant to my concerns about virtual representations of time.

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