Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tonight and Tomorrow: Notes on a New Nature

I have a piece in an exhibition tonight by Nicholas O'Brien entitled "Notes on a New Nature." The theme of the exhibition is the effect of the Internet on contemporary depictions of landscapes. You can read more here, and Mr. O'Brien will be giving a streaming walkthrough at 3PM EST tomorrow here.I hope you take a look!

UPDATE: O'Brien recorded a Notes on a New Nature virtual "hike" through the exhibition at 319 Scholes: click here to watch. I had only seen a couple of these works before, was totally bowled over by the video and show overall.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

If I were a curator

A few ideas for digital art group shows/locations:

  • "Photo blankets" group show. Photo blankets are like $100-150 to have manufactured, so not a huge risk for participating artists. And you get a blanket!
  • Salon-style projections of GIFs covering walls. I'm thinking something like ITP's Big Screens projects but lots of little images. Horror vacui. Who was it that said GIFs are only good in groups?
  • No Computers Allowed: all physical artifacts of digital works. Artists must translate by any means necessary.
  • Icon Show: Group of artists makes physical work based off of their favorite computer icons. I'm imagining big butterfly collection-type displays.
  • Offline Store: Store that sells different mass-produced net art objects every month (like photo rugs, USB drives, etc.). Takes out the middleman - no need to copy the original when you can send the file to the manufacturer. Artists may not have say as to how their work is displayed.
  • Net art fashion? I think there's more up this vein than just what PBS tells you. Pepper from Scannerjammer has been making some cool shirts, and I know we have a few other merch pushers waiting in the wings.
  • Bigass lenticulars/holograms - one day, Joel!
  • OS: operating system-themed works. I have at least two large works planned for something like this, just need a wealthy, loving patron. Reach me at!

Thursday, September 8, 2011


New work online: let's start with Rotor 62, a scooting robot I built for the Minnesota Opera! More pics and a video here.

SUPERSTIJL - I took GIFs and still images from various sources and turned them into palette scrolling images. I then finally reduced the images to only five colors - red, yellow, blue, black and white. This is where the dumb art history reference comes in, but I liked the effect enough to group them on a page. Epileptics beware (as always).

Sliders 1 and 2. Maybe trying to be funny, maybe something about resizing algorithms? 2 holds my interest the most, but sometimes I've found myself opening 1, adjusting until I'm comfortable, and then leaving it open in a tab as I surf. Not sure what that means.

Finally, this isn't so much an art thing as a browser thing - LET'S ROLL. For bloggers or tumblr-rs that need cycling text-shadows on their non-IE-compliant pages. The code is commented.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Hypothete at Art Fag City: Ki[net]ic Reflections

  Well, I finally wrote that kinetic art post I was talking about! It's taken a few weeks and some great editing work (major kudos to Will Brand & Paddy Johnson) but now I think we're ready to start off the discussion. Take a look, and feel free to discuss over on the comments section at AFC.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Experimental Display Roundup

This is a roundup of experimental display technologies I've been exploring on Youtube. I shared some of these links on dump and facebook recently, but in order to better collect my thoughts in one place I thought it would be worth the time to compile them as a post.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Analog Process

One of my interests that I don't talk about a lot on the blog is human color vision. Cones, the cells that detect color, do not simply pick up red, green and blue. It's more like this:

thanks, Wikipedia
 ...where 700nm is pure red, and 400nm is deepest violet. Two things I find interesting about this are 1. we see that certain colors and combination of colors "peak" in perceived intensity, and 2. there is a high degree of redundancy between cones, that is your red cones pick up some orange, yellow, green etc. This redundancy gives humans an advantage over modern digital cameras when it comes to color vision: we can see a wide range of wavelengths, whereas cameras rely on the RGB color model. This means that certain color phenomena such as fluorescence cannot be photographed, only seen.

Guessing from my previously paragraph, you can probably see where I'm going: I've been working with highlighters fairly intensely for the past month, but they don't photograph well. I'm sharing anyway.

All of these drawings are fairly small. After recruiting some volunteers this afternoon (thanks frakbuddy and weh) I tried a larger drawing today, and I'm pleased with the result:

webcams, 36"x12", highlighters on gesso/MDF

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Be Thoughtful

 Thanks, Google. New pages:

I need to post some new writing soon! As those of you who follow my Twitter account might know, I recently discovered at the library some books detailing the history of kinetic art from this guy on. Seems to me that when the art world encountered the Duchamp situation in the 20s that there was some sort of schism, driving some artists towards meaning and and the object, and others toward a study of space-time. There seem to be a lot of gaps in the literature, so once I have a clearer picture I'll draft something.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

no surprises here

Monday, July 4, 2011


Tabbed browsing is pretty hot, too.
   ASK any young net artist today "what's hot on the net," and they will tell you "CHATROOMS." Remembered for their infamy and inanity in the days of AOL, chatrooms were a staple of the web until some unspecified date in the mid-2000s. The two places that you could go to share your thoughts in realtime with friends and complete strangers were either AOL Instant Messenger or the wild landscape of IRC, Internet Relay Chat. I personally hold fond memories of discussing videogame programming with teenagers from eastern Idaho at two in the morning, back in 2003. When the web made its big semantic jump from "me-specific" to "you-specific" back around the mid 2000s, we searched for truth in spite of our companions, and the chatroom fell from glory.

With the rise of Chatroulette and in November 2009, the Internet was proven to be growing weary of the predictability of Web 2.0 and searching for a more meaningful social existence. Facebook and other social networking sites had demonstrated to the constituents of the web the gestalt nature of humans in conversation, and a need had arisen. The missing ingredient to this return to social existence was speed. People want to share and hear thoughts - in realtime!

But the tired forms and emoticons of old proved to be insufficient.Several services are now quickly growing that prompt not only new forms of discourse (such as the aforementioned sites, scannerjammer, tinychat, and turntable) but also allow for a person's login to grow a history and personality in the forms of logs, "likes," "DJ points," and "favs" - generally, a rewards system. This encourages the user, and prompts them to put more energy into the strength of their interactions. All in all, a community benefits everyone involved.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Pictures from BYOB

More under the cut!

Happy Customers

highlighter and white-out on paper

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Duh - Rotor 52

Also, totally forgot to post a video of my device for the show Saturday. Here it is:

Links Roundup - 6/23/11

Quite a run! Feelings were hurt, names were called, straw men depilated. Shows that the scene still has passion for all the running in place that we do. I love you guys!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

BYOB Minneapolis Preview

Saturday, June 25th / 9 p.m. / Free

Thorp Building
1620 Central Avenue NE

Details to follow on the project(or)!

Saturday, June 4, 2011


Saturday, May 28, 2011

New pages

I've had a bunch of pages sitting in my directories without links on the public pages. This is now fixed:

2011 misc. images 1 2 3 4

vectors page 3


folded 2


webcam self portrait

antenna 2

colors (click)


By the way, if you haven't seen I've made some edits to my homepage.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Current project - part 2

EDIT: Oh yeah, never posted part 1. Here's a hint:

Sunday, May 1, 2011

More inventing


Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Rotor 34 - HyperMolecules

If you haven't checked out the rotors yet, you should at least look at this one. Graphics by Tom Moody, programming by yours truly - I pitched the idea to Tom of collaborating on a rotor that generated forms similar to his collages. Tom worked on the spheres and pipes, and I wrote a simple javascript loop that would assemble and reassemble them like self-constructing molecules.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Mobius Printer Challenge

CHALLENGE: Get this to work

Email me your attempts:
I will post the pictures sent in.
I've heard of two failed attempts by independent parties so far. (thanks frakbuddy and lolumad)
Starting to suspect that this is impossible for some reason.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Rotors - further development

I've been posting links to lots of these rotors lately and just wanted to elaborate a bit. I started sketching ideas for these about two months ago and keep coming up with more. They're meant to be viewed within the context of a screen and ideally as a group, hence the landing page above. Where a GIF or video can provide motion and repetition, I'm looking for more complex loops and variable interactions with the rotors. Also they all look like hell in IE.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

3 pages

A note for viewers - in most browsers you can push F11 to see a webpage in fullscreen. A lot of these HTML pages look best that way. A tip for speeding up the animation if you have an older computer is to resize the browser window to be small. I use browser size-based positioning and scaling in pretty much everything I make to accommodate the many aspect ratios and resolutions I'm sure you all are using. Of course, you can't anticipate every resolution (if you're running three 1080p monitors or reading this off of a Gameboy you're out of luck).

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Graphics Interchange Format - Friday!

This Friday, I have some work in a show at Denison University in Ohio! Graphics Interchange Format is curated by Paddy Johnson, and you can read about it over at Art Fag City. The show truly demonstrates the breadth of animated GIFs as an artistic medium, and as I understand it Paddy has been compiling work for the show for well over a year.

My pieces in the show are the remixes I made of work by the late Brion Gysin. If you haven't read about this guy yet, you should. Oh those crazy Beats.

I'm tired and not very clever tonight, so I'll leave you with that.

Monday, February 14, 2011

I wrote this on the bus today - Defining art and programming in terms of information density


Through this short essay, I use the words "viewer" and "user" and also "viewer/user" interchangeably. These are not the words I want to use, because they have unintended implications. A "viewer" implies passivity, merely looking at an object. A "user" implies the use of an object, which further implies that an object is "useful." Art is not necessarily useful or to be passively consumed, and certainly interactive art requires active, experimental (as opposed to intentional) participation. The closest named behavior to the participation I am trying to describe is "play," but I'm not sure I feel comfortable describing art audiences as "players" just yet. I leave you with my awkward phrasing in the hope that further thought will be devoted to this difficulty in language.

Defining art and programming in terms of information density

The successful work of art implies a depth of content that supersedes the conscious intent of the artist. Knowledge of formal qualities of a medium assist an artist in implying depth. Programming is the art of feeding a computer a small amount of information that gives the computer the potential to  produce a large amount of information. An artist working on a physical artwork, like a painting, experiences a near-equal balance of physical effort and physical result. A good programmer disguises their effort by reducing the size of their code - this is called "elegance." Programming techniques can generate high informational density.

Where art and programming meet, the artist is confronted with the nature of code as a formal quality. This means that the artist must use programming techniques and theory in order to create a work with implied depth. The artist must realize that their actions yield potential (a function) rather than direct result (a brushstroke).

Another formal quality of programming is control over the hardware/software running the code. This means that to some extent the artist or programmer has control over the agency of the viewer/user.  The first medium that explicitly "controlled" viewers was video, which directs focus and therefore consciousness. Programming extends this control to offering the user the appearance of free will. The flip side of this is that the user can now contest the control of the artist. Often software requires user input within a set of parameters. The artist must take note of this - how far can this artwork be distorted? How much control should the viewer/user have over the final output? To some extent, the user contests the artist. However, the artist gave the user that ability in how they defined the interactivity of the work. Thus programming in an artwork allows for an artist to create a framework of thought in which viewers/users can test the boundaries of a concept.

When artists work from source material, the natural tendency is to abstract the work by means of reduction to select components. This can be done literally or figuratively. All interpretation leads to a reduction of information in the source; humans and machines prioritize details. However, adding interactivity to the equation allows for the viewer/user to bring their own experiences and preferences (new information) to the artwork.

From these factors, we can infer that interactive digital art is a balancing act of conceptual structure, code and its limitations, and the input of the viewer/user. Because of this complexity, many artworks mimic familiar interactive structures, such as websites, programs and video games. These forms give the artist a framework to develop, and viewers/users know how to approach the interface. Otherwise the viewer/user must be cued and taught how to interact with a work; too much freedom scares away potential audiences and prompts a chorus of "I don't get it" from the bleachers. The interactive artwork must entice and lead viewer/user behavior to some extent. The artist's role becomes one of anticipating and shaping potential experience.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Two options

Monday, February 7, 2011


new HTML experiment - Circle

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Keeping Busy

Marker Grid - based on a drawing by ohahalicia

Believe it or not, this is a vector image. This weekend I've been keeping busy with projects like the above -a foray into vector filters. Still adding to page 2, so check out new work and image sources there.

New web drawings:
Lastly, a reminder: SELF PORTRAIT

Friday, January 28, 2011

Self Portrait - New collaborative project on Human Kibble

I'm looking for participants on a new project investigating online identity. I'm very excited about this one and will probably whip up an entry myself. The guidelines are pretty loose (I'm not even requiring submissions to be image files), as opposed to the Catalog in November, so I'm hoping to see some really creative entries.

Oh yeah, while we're talking Human Kibble stuff, I recently added a project listing to the front page.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


thanks to mirrroring for the title!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Blue Links

Dumpers Mirroring, Noisia and I began building last week a repository of our high concept / jokey art historical work called "Too Much Concept." We're taking submissions, so if you get it and have work you'd like to submit, don't hesitate.

I twote about this site earlier - Webjam, an art collective that (from my vantage point) looks like it's been the net-art-world radar for a while. I've worked with Fabien and Carlo from the site before, and they produce very clever work. Go check them out.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

More reductions

More vector reductions on my vectors page. Still very ambivalent about this technique. I find the forms produced to be very seductive and energetic - like colored oil in a 60's light show - but it seems too easy, like I should be making things more difficult. I tried working together both unaltered and altered vectors as reduced-palette gifs today, and was reasonably pleased with the result.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Site Update: Design Work

I should have made this a long time ago... Highlights of my professional work for interested parties.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Accomplishments of the Now

My laptop toasted itself late Wednesday night, so my routine is a bit thrown off. Thankfully, I was able to salvage the hard drive (it's now an external on my girlfriend's desktop PC), which held all of my vector source files and music. Whew! The upside to this situation is that I have an excuse to shop around for a new computer, and my routine is thrown off.

Recent work: Corpus, Artwork for Neighbors, TIWIDMCA, and the above, which I just finished. The image was made from a  heavily manipulated raster image of random noise, run through a tracing filter in Inkscape. I then adjusted layer colors & added gradients until things seemed right. The tracing algorithm leaves very dynamic outlines, and I like being able to separate a flat image into layers by color or value. Will be investigating this further.

I can't stop thinking about science fiction these days. I've been perusing Orion's Arm, the best work of collaborative worldbuilding on the net. You can't find articles on transapients and art movements of the next 8000 years just anywhere. I dig the 90's-esque superclean 3D renderings for ironic purposes.

Also not helping this obsession was my visit to the Walker on Thursday to view an exhibition of work by Yves Klein. His work is postmodern, precambrian, and anticipatory of life in space. If you look at Klein's sketches, you can tell that he didn't care for science in the same way the Cubists embraced relativity. (air roofs, Klein? really?) Klein was more interested in the spaces and existences than the mechanics.

Monday, January 10, 2011

IKEA Plant