"We learned that being first is important, but should not be the only factor when determining the viability of a project. If you have an evolved approach to a preexisting concept, you are likely doing something original and the results have a good chance of being meaningful." So, in one sense, it's another physical mirror. But: I like this point, that sometimes, you have to do a thing for yourself to learn about it. And by learning about it, you might ultimately differentiate your own work. As long as you don't claim you were first, there is no shame in doing what other people do. How else do you learn things? Not by other people yelling "OLD!" at you, that's for sure.
"These three frameworks — objects as portals, objects as subjects, and objects as oracles — propose distinct (yet related) structures for thinking about how connected objects might begin to contain their own narratives, seek their own history, develop their own perspectives, and become storytellers in a multitude of ways." Nice article about the various perspectives on Connected Objects (which namechecks Hello Lamp Post).
"While collaborating with the geniuses at Bot & Dolly in beautiful San Francisco, Munkowitz was tasked to Design Direct a truly unique piece called BOX.. The piece was originally supposed to function as a Technology Demo, but Munkowitz and the team quickly realized it's visual potential and transformed it into a Design and Performance Piece… The resulting short film is a one-of-a-kind visual and technological achievement due to the very special combination of talent and gear behind the doors of the B&D facility…" Projection mapping and motion control all at once; very clever, sure. But it's the art direction of the whole performance (and the camera's dollybot is very much part of that) that really grabbed me – especially 'Escape'.
""Prisms" is fully algorithmic. There are no cuts, just one continuous generative animation. All decisions (camera work, movements, formations, etc…) are made by my system's interpretation of the audio track. My work was creating the system and then curating its output or, to put it another way, I just wrote a computer algorithm, and the computer did it all."
"Instead of using a dolphin model, we would, for example, use a colored rectangular solid or some tapered low-polygon basic shape. This plan would save us all a lot of headaches. Or it would have had I stuck to the plan. More on this later." This is a great post from Robert Hodgin about process, showing-everything, and how sometimes ambition leads to way more work, and is probably the right thing to do. Also: I'm still jealous of people who can think in 3D. That's part of my work for this year.
A great post on the detailed design of an iOS app; I particularly like the focus on animatics, and also on rearranging the screen rather than always swiping to a new one; it's a thing I've sketched before.
It’s been lovely to see Bus Tops finally emerge into the world. If you’re not aware: it’s a series of LED-matrix screens on the top of bus stops around London, displaying a curated programme of art that anyone can submit works to. It’s been beautiful to see it come to life so well: feels like a thing, has its own aesthetic, the public nature of it feels exciting and odd and transgressive.
I decided I ought to start making some things for it. I’m particularly interested in the screens as an animated medium. So far, I’ve submitted two works; one, an original, and the other, very much not, although it’s the kind of thing that needs to be on giant red LED matrixes.
Ripples has been selected for display, which is quite exciting! It’s a short animation that makes it look a little like it’s raining on top of the bus stop, even when it’s not. It was a nice exercise for me: making something attractive, graphical, in code (which is not my sweet spot of programming).
An hour or so with Processing later and I was getting somewhere, and it didn’t take much longer with the rather lovely gifAnimation library to spit out an animated gif to import into the Bus Tops editor.
The original animation that Ripples is based on can be viewed here. The source code for it is also on that site.
This feels like a good beginning, and I have a few more ideas for abstract moving works that would look good in red, black, and nighttime, from the top of a double-decker.
(And, as reference primarily for myself: the way you fixed “sad about not making things” is by just starting things, ideally small things, and before you know they’re done.)
Update: and here’s what it looks like on top of a bus stop. Static:
"Experience designers love a bit of Saarinen: “Always design a thing by considering it in its next larger context – a chair in a room, a room in a house, a house in an environment, an environment in a city plan.” That’s what’s wrong here, an RFID card is not considered within the context of a wallet, containing multiple competing RF field creating information and ID objects, and this new, electric wallet isn’t considered within the larger system of shops and the invisible RF world." Companies don't design for seams – and, as Chris points out, when they do, it's for seams between all their own products.
"As amazing as it was to find the disk, the file was corrupt and couldn’t be read; all attempts to view the now 20 year old animation failed. It was part one of a science fiction saga titled “Porth” that our friend Cory had made by stretching the animation tool to the absolute limits. To say the least it was worth putting some effort into saving this file." Data archaeology.
"His base is too good, and I don’t have the choke. He proceeds to take a more dominant position, scores points, and my body is burning from the effort. The choke he applies toward the end of the match is almost a formality, since I’m far too tired to do much more than hang on. Second place. Second place because I’m learning the triangle choke, not learning Jiu Jitsu. Chipp never wins tournaments." A fantastic piece of writing, about beat-em-ups and combat sports, and the mindset you get into as you play both. I'm not a combat sports man, but it nails some of the inside of your brain when you've played a lot of beat-em-ups, for sure.
"But to my eye, GIF is the most popular animation and short film format that's ever existed. It works on smartphones in millions of people's pockets, on giant displays in museums, in web browsers on a newspaper website. It finds liberation in constraints, in the same way that fewer characters in our tweets and texts freed us to communicate more liberally with one another. And it invites participation, in a medium that's both fun and accessible, as the pop music of moving images, giving us animations that are totally disposable and completely timeless."
"My wife and I talk about this. We talk about the protocol of the fertility clinic. We talk about her support group, and failure to produce. We talk about adoption, which is expensive and ambiguous. We talk about giving up on the process and living our lives without the ghosts of unconceived children (the most adorable ghosts there are). We talk, and talk, and wait." Powerful, sad, brave writing from Paul Ford. Sometimes, you wish things were nice for the good people in the world.
"I needed to get up to speed with doing recursive node structures so I coded up a project that would put a dot on the screen. When you tapped this dot, it would create a bunch of orbiting child-dots. These children could also be tapped, creating even more child nodes. This prototype took less than a day to create and I naively thought we would be done with the whole thing in a week, max. Silly me."
Marvellous, dense post from Robert on designing Planetary: lots of show-everything, material exploration, and plussing. What detail looks like.
"In this scenario one sunny day you're working on low-level NoSQL projects at the Gootch or wherever, and you get an email from Facebook and you go for the interview and Zuckerberg is talking about scaling PHP and suddenly pauses, gets this look in his eye, pulls his hoodie over his head and says “You have sixty seconds. You should be running.” Because engineers, as we are often reminded, are the ultimate prey."
"A problem with the human mind – your human mind – is that it's a horrific kludge that will fail when you most need it not to. The Ugh Field failure mode is one of those really annoying failures. The idea is simple: if a person receives constant negative conditioning via unhappy thoughts whenever their mind goes into a certain zone of thought, they will begin to develop a psychological flinch mechanism around the thought. The "Unhappy Thing" – the source of negative thoughts – is typically some part of your model of the world that relates to bad things being likely to happen to you."
"Designers get handed a tool kit that has as many tools as a good swiss army knife, and the maps reflect these tools. Millions of people use them to make appointments across town, find restaurants, and drive home for the holidays.
But what if, instead of a swiss army knife, we used a box of crayons? Or charcoal and newsprint? Or play-doh? What would those maps look like? What could they tell us about the world?"
"One thing that I learned during the launch of the original Macintosh in 1984 was that the press usually oversimplifies everything, and it can't deal with the reality that there are many people playing critical roles on significant projects. A few people always get too much credit, while most people get too little, that's just the way it has always worked. But luckily, it's 2011 and I can use the service that I helped to create to clarify things." This is Good And Proper. (Also it's good management).
'"The expectation is slightly weird here, that you can do this stuff without killing yourself," added McNamara. "Well, you can't, whether it's in London or New York or wherever; you're competing against the best people in the world at what they do, and you just have to be prepared to do what you have to do to compete against those people."'
This is what McNamara considers responding to controversy. I'm furious that men like this are allowed to manage other human beings.
"This is an atlas, then, made by that other nature, seen through other eyes. But those eyes have been following me, unseen and without permission, and thus I consider provoking breach a necessary act." This is good.
"Synapse is an app for Mac and Windows that allows you to easily use your Kinect to control Ableton Live, Quartz Composer, Max/MSP, and any other application that can receive OSC events. It sends joint positions and hit events via OSC, and also sends the depth image into Quartz Composer. In a way, this allows you to use your whole body as an instrument." Oooh. OSC into anything; really nice, dead simple, and exactly the sort of thing I've been considering poking.
"The jQuery Cycle Plugin is a slideshow plugin that supports many different types of transition effects. It supports pause-on-hover, auto-stop, auto-fit, before/after callbacks, click triggers and much more." It's efficient and well-documented, too. Thumbs up.
"Over on a forum called teamliquid, a user by the name of Lomilar posted a fairly long thread about a program he had written that optimized build orders for the zerg race in starcraft. He eventually cleaned up his code and posted the code to googlecode. The program is called EvolutionChamber (a clever name, as it’s the name of one of the buildings in the game), and it uses genetic algorithms to find build orders. This I had to see." Great analysis of EvolutionChamber. Super-interesting, too, as a concept.
"We access that history with tools that were, almost entirely, the props of science fiction my parents might have encountered – if they read it. My phone is my sonic screwdriver, the internet my TARDIS; these are the tools with which I unlock and manipulate time."