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Showing posts from 2006

Space Heads

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Sasquatch, UFO's, Bermuda Triangle, and now --Space Heads.



What am I talking about? Imagine that outer space is something like the ocean: mostly empty but "infected" with life. We don't expect to find something. We don't expect to get a cold. But we're not surprised when it happens. Probability says, it's going to happen, instinct says, not today.



Space Heads, the micro-plankton of the space: floating, primitive ...collectible.



An extra z here, a cos instead of a tan over there. Change the + to a ^ and you've got a new Space Head. Or just some new space.


Tiera-zon 2.7 parameter files (.zar) "spaceheads.zip"

There's fractals and then there's the other stuff, hard to categorize or describe: Floating; unconnected but associated; head-like. Space Heads.



They are primitive because they are basic and close to the trunk of the tree, unlike ourselves, complex creatures, who form the distant tip of a limb. It's no surprise to find them…

Flames over Tokyo

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It's never been my intention to talk about war and depressing stuff like that, but I like this image and all I can think of when I look at it is the B-29 fire-bombing campaign that took place over Japan in the spring of 1945.

I read the diary of an allied soldier who was a prisoner of the Japanese working in a coal mine in Japan during WW2. The entries were very routine and written every day without exception for the duration of the war from Dec. '41 to Aug. '45.

My Grandfather had been part of this group of 2,000 Canadian soldiers, just like the author of the diary had. They went to Hong Kong in November of '41 and fought from Dec. 8th until Dec. 25th when the British colony surrendered.

Although my Grandfather's been dead for almost 15 years, I joined a veteran's organization whose purpose is to comemorate their memory as well as look after the interests of those surviving Canadian veterans who fought in the Battle of Hong Kong. I wanted to get some understan…

The Varieties of Deadly Experience

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Forest of Knives

I remember back during the last few years of the Vietnam war, in the early 70s, reading an article in the magazine that came with the weekend edition of the newspaper, about the various booby-traps the enemy was using against US soldiers.

I was 7 or 8 at the time and living on the edge of a small pulp and paper town up in Northwestern Ontario (sparsley inhabited wilderness). Me and my brothers spent most of our time out in the bush making forts and hiking around, so we were fascinated with the eleborate mechanisms the NVA and VC were making with sticks and other natural materials.



Sharpened bamboo covered with pig manure was a common ingredient in most constructions, as was the occasional venomous snake tied to a stick. It was all pretty exotic for someone growing up in a world of spruce trees. The only threat to my well-being was having my favorite TV show pre-empted by a football game.

The magazine article was part of a series, and the next week featured the high-tec…

Visual Encryption

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Smashing with style


Digital Dynamite


Filter of Frenzy


Ripped-off beyond recognition and left for dead


"No, your Honour; I didn't do anything. I just took the dog for a walk until it was dead."


Together, me and the filter formed a third personality, which neither of us could talk any sense to.


Art grows out of the barrel of a photoshop filter.


The smaller they get, the more I see.


Every chop is different. And I try to choose the best one. But they all look good.


The author called it "Slice" which to me suggests something simple and restrained like the careful preparation of a sample for a microscope slide. Perhaps he never conceived of this "Feast of Knives" effect, or if he had, would have been unable to imagine anyone finding a use for something like that.


I keep thinking, just one more chop and we'll turn the corner; one more chop and the effect will take a quantum leap and start forming new wonders. Deep down in it's algorithmic DNA some gene, …

I stepped off on Saturn

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You know, post-processing can really mangle a decent, law-abiding fractal image and make it an almost unrecognizable, but strangely delightful, wreck. Some will never walk straight again.



But when you start with an image that is almost entirely a product of the program's filtering effect, and not quite a "fractal" image to start with, the results strain the already stretched categories of visual taxonomy, sowing the seeds of an impending visual collision, or shall we say, "Collisual" - intriguing arrangement of debris.

These were all originally made in Tierazon 2.7. Here's a clean one that hasn't had anything done to it. In fact it's the original image the above one was made from.

Download parameter file "shift06.zar"


Same one - Antialiased 4:1

They're alive. I should explain that.

This is rather Twilight-zonish, although I'm sure there's a scientific explanation: The images keep changing.

When you see something interesting and z…

Postcards from Shangri-La

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Would you expect this from someone named "Ilyich the Toad"?

Once again, I've dug up a new and amazing Photoshop filter and I want to share the wonder...

But it's got a dirty name.

I tried renaming it, but you can't do that with Photoshop filters. Or at least I don't know how. But everytime I go to use it, which is like 200 times a day, I click on Ilyich's favorite nic name for this filter.



At first it seemed evil. The Toad connection didn't help either. Now I'm just curious to know why he gave it such a name.

It's one of those chop-up/multi-lens distortion effects. It doesn't alter the color and has only two sliders, but it can be extremely creative.

After using it for a couple hours, you will have trouble readjusting to the non-chopped, real world. Unless you're a house fly. I think this is what the world looks like to a house fly.

The Missiles of Shangri-La



That's what I thought of the moment I made this... Can I still call it a f…

One more time...

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What is art?



There's an old black and white movie that spends two hours depicting a jury sitting around a table in a room, deliberating the verdict of a murder trial.

Now I could also be wrong about this too, but I think it all starts when Jimmy Stewart, who's the only one of the twelve jurors who hasn't quite made up his mind to sentence the young man on trial to death, decides he wants to go over things... one more time.



In doing so, everyone realizes that they're not looking at the facts of the case at all, but rather have made up their minds to punish the accused for no other reason than they're all just really angry at someone else in their personal lives who they can't punish.

With the question, "Can I just go through it one more time?" the neatly rolled up guilty verdict (and resulting death sentence) starts to unravel until it finally comes completely undone, and the whole jury agrees the man is innocent and they themselves are just "12 Angry…

Life is not

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Life is not for the rich and famous
for the successful applicant and the olympic few
Life is in the eye and the mind and the hand
It needs no permission,
or conditions
to be.



We can all be like Sindbad
and set off on voyages with nothing but today
We do not need to own the ocean
it is enough that we are here

"Better" than Pollock?

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Back twenty years ago in high school English class I read or studied, or something, Julius Caesar by George Bernard Shaw.

Shaw, as he is called by those who are familiar with him, was something new for us high school students. We were quite familiar with Shakespeare as the school curriculum included one of his plays every year, like some sort of literary vitamin pill.

There are a lot of great literary things to be found in Shakespeare. Like dill pickles, it's an aquired taste, and five plays in five years wasn't enough for me. I came to view Shakespeare's lofty reputation as an exaggeration, the "official playright" of an imperial nation wanting to present themselves as the possessors of an old and well established, and uniquely English, culture of arts and letters.



The year before Shaw's Julius Caesar, we had been chained to our desks and deprived of the necessities of life until we finished reading, or pretending to read, Anthony and Cleopatra by that great…

The Robot's Renaissance

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Although most labels in the art world have a number of interpretations, I define algorithmic art as artwork made with algorithms. An algorithm is a series of instructions.

Usually these instructions are computer commands and algorithmic art is made with computers. But it's the "mechanical" component that makes algorithmic art special and the machine doesn't necesarily have to be a computer.



Fractal art is a type of algorithimic art. The algorithms are primarily the fractal formulas but also the other programming components which contribute to appearance of the generated image.

Although purists would say true algorithmic art has no human modifications to it or any other human contibution (except creating the algorithm or operating the machine, of course), such a strict approach rarely works.



A small amount of human guidance yields enormous profits in the creation of algorithmic art. In fractal art this guidance comes in the form of adjusting coloring effects or ch…