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Posts Tagged ‘art’

As you, my dear readers well know, I began this blog-diary with some comments on the Eruption beneath Eyjafjallajokull glacier. We Icelanders are not nearly as self-expressive as my writing might suggest, but the move westward to a new frontier does strange things to the psyche. Anyway, I would just like to remark that one of the great side-benefits of this side-activity is the serendipitous discovery of all sorts of things, often through the comments of other bloggers. Today, for example, I learned about the Jazz scene in Umbria. Just imagine visiting there, eating and drinking at an outdoor restaurant, listening to music late into the night! Much earlier, on a totally different note, I learned about Camille’s sketchbook, a thoroughly wonderful art blog replete with amazing doodles, some in their original state, others treated to colorful digital processing. I just visited her blog again. It is delightful and highly recommended. How on earth did I find it? By accident! I had written a short piece Geometry and politics which contained an image of an amoeba. A comment from Camille, who also finds amoebas fascinating, for reasons quite different from mine, led me to her page. There is much more waiting to be discovered!

HH

PS. If you think that the relation between politics and amoebas is a stretch, just take a look at those two pieces! [1] , [2]

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A small change in our algorithm, just a tweak to four similar and adjacent lines of code, has made what for us is a big esthetic improvement in the “pieces” produced by our app. The change was in fact an accident that was meant to apply to a small part of the art engine, but which affected everything that is drawn. Local versus global, as they say in politics, mathematics, and computer science!

We’ve taken the caption for the frame below from the name of jazz standard. There is a wonderful recording by the Bill Evans Trio. Now if we could just permission to have this recording play along with little show produced by our app! That would be ever so cool. Alas, it will never happen.

HH

Blue in Gree

Blue in Green

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A very dreary day here in Boston, and rather quiet. The local universities are closed because of the potential, largely unrealized, for heavy snow. But it makes for a welcome and unexpected holiday feeling.

screenshot2

Screen shot #2

To pass the time, I have been working with my friend on our as yet unnamed and undisclosed app. And he, I must say, is working from an undisclosed location. Better for concentration, he says. Anyway, we are supposed to meet with friends tonight at the local bar. It will be good to get out of the house after a day inside with the cat and the computer. And I must stay true to my vow: no coding after sundown!

Our aim with this app is (a) to have some fun, (b) to make beautiful images, (c) make a little money, in roughly that order. With (a) we have succeeded, and we think (b) is realistic. About (c) … well, um, if it pays for a few good books, that will be some satisfaction. A trip to warm place would be even better!

We will reveal the not so secret sauce that makes the app work at our forthcoming launch event. Suffice to say that an essential ingredient is a bit of mathematics. Rather simple mathematics, in fact. My friend and I argue about where the beauty in all this really lies. Let us stipulate, for the sake of argument, that this image, or some other image produced by the app, is a thing of beauty. Now the image depends on the code, and the code on the mathematics. So if beauty is in the image, is it not also in the code, and therefore also in the mathematics? This is clearly a deep philosophical question. Perhaps we can resolve it tonight at the bar in our weekly “symposium.” (Inside joke: my more learned friends tell me that a symposium is derived from Greek sym = together and pinein = to drink. Plato and his friends knew a good thing when they saw it!)

As for our product launch, I do hope that we manage to do it in the too far distant future. For me the perfect has always been the enemy of the good, or at least of the satisfactory. I am always driven to make the code as clean, elegant, even beautiful as I can, even though it will likely never be seen by more than two sets of eyes. Alas, I did spend a large part of today refactoring the code so as to achieve just these lofty aims. It makes no difference to the user, but somehow it makes me feel happier. I guess that is justification enough.

Well, I have produced more text than needed to frame the image, which was really the whole point. Time to do something different for a while!

HH

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Hello friends! Some of you have asked “Where’s Hakon? We don’t see him on wordpress these days, we don’t see him at the neighborhood bar, the laundromat, or even the pizza parlor.” Well, a few persistent souls have observed my comings and goings, but the truth is prosaic, even boring. I have been writing code. The bad news is that the coding for this software project has been exhausting, with the exhaustion prolonged by the kinds of things that always go wrong with a many-person effort (whose name and nature must legally, but also mercifully go unmentioned). The good news is that the project is finished! The final commit was made last Monday, and the suits have approved our work. May their names be praised!

Kinetic Art

I am now liberated, or at any rate well into the liberation the process. Spent the weekend cleaning the apartment and my mind, playing the piano, and, well, writing some code. But the latter is strictly for pleasure. A friend and I are doing a little kinetic art app for the iphone — see a one-frame screen shot on the left. Think of it as a kind of algorithmically created film in which the user/viewer can involve himself if he wishes — selecting parameters, shaping sequences, etc. It has been fun — a combination of art, mathematidcs, and coding. All of which are arts of course!!

I doubt our little app will make much money, but we are having a blast doing it. I will keep you posted. We hope to release it in the next month or two.

Speaking of film and art, my friend’s son, who was at one point interested in mathematics, has now switched to film. Below is his first YouTube post. Both live video and stop motion animation edited together. It is amazing what kids can do with the software tools available now. I remember the days when one of the main tools was a razor blade!

Time is never long to die

Well, time to get some sleep. Hope to spend more now time blogging and doing other things both significant and frivolous.

HH

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Arrival in the City

It was early morning when they arrived, Father and son. About six o’clock, shortly after sunrise, the hour when the guardians of the earth change stations. The protectors of the night fly to their dark sleeping places, while the great serpent awakes to greet the sun. Fearsome as he uncoils his muscular body, he is the gentlest of creatures, treating even those who tread upon the Prince’s flowers to little more than a cleaning with his forked tongue while the wrongdoers are held in a firm and scaly embrace.

Father and sun enter the city. They have a letter to deliver to the Prince.

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Bacterial I

A beautiful, sun-filled and tranquil Saturday morning, with time to enjoy several cups of coffee and further experimentation with Harmonious, the “procedural drawing” app for the iPad. I still haven’t figured out what procedural drawing is, though as a computer jock, I ought to be able to guess. As my finger traces out a path on the screen, a trail of shapes is left behind, rectangles, for example. As the finger slows or applies more pressure, the size of the rectangles changes. One axis of the rectangle is aligned with the direction (velocity vector) of the pressure track. Seems like a really upscale brush with magical properties, but if the Angry Robot Zombie Factory wants to dub it procedural, so be it. Of course, I am being (deliberately) dense, since there has to be plenty of code – procedures – to translate the pressure track of my finger into a trail of rectangles. But between procedural and magical, I will choose magical, at least on weekends!

Bacterial II

Since my last post on the Harmonius app, you will note that I have discovered color. What a thrill! Of course it was there all along, an option just waiting to be touched and brought into being. There is a gallery of drawings with Harmonius, and also a few web sites that discuss the app. So far I have just one criticism. One can save drawings to the iPad photo gallery, or upload them to the Harmonium gallery. But there doesn’t seem to be a way to save a drawing locally, come back to it later, then edit it and perhaps, when satisfied, upload it to the Harmonium galllery. Maybe I just haven’t found this feature. Time for another cup of coffee and to enjoy the sun!

HH

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Fish

Another find on facebook: this fish, who lives
here. Nice shapes and nice expressions, though I fear for one of the fish.

HH

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