Every August, the Assembly demoparty reminds us the scene is still around, and perhaps reaching larger numbers of people than ever as one can just go and watch demanding demos such as this years’ winner, Monolith by ASD, as streaming YouTube videos captured from the authors’ very high-end rigs, rather than downloading and having a hard time running an executable on an underpowered four-year old laptop such as your humble narrator’s.
Still, there is something that is lost in that ‘video-ization’ of demos: the notion that what one is watching is not pre-rendered CG, but realtime code — mathematics manifesting as audiovisual aesthetics as one watches. So take also a look at the winner of the 1KB Intro competion, BLCK4777* by p01/ribbon: that is one kilobyte of code - that is, 1024 bytes or roughly a quarter of a page of purely unformatted text — making all that stuff happen in your browser. Just wow.
Public Service Announcement: Visual design ain’t hard, people.
Very funny and very gross, here’s How to Make a Ferrero Rocher (hat tip to Heitor Alvelos). Looking at the HowToBasic YouTube channel’s millions of views, I don’t know how I could have missed this before.
Like the best jokes, their videos are very unconfortable to watch and I could feel nausea creeping up underneath my laughter (perhaps I am becoming like some of these older gentlemen?). There is something very uncanny about these videos, beyond the wanton waste of what seems like pretty good foodstuffs: even though GoPro videos are nothing new, the POV footage in these reminded me of Kathryn Bigelow’s Strange Days, and for all the kitchen dada antics I could really start to understand that film’s portrail of first-person recordings as a very addictive drug. Is that the most unnerving thing about these videos, that feeling it is us who made all that mess, like an implanted memory presenting evidence we had no control over what we did?
120 Years of Electronic Music is a very good history of electronic music and sonic art for the past two centuries. That’s Karlheinz Stockhausen at the WDR studios in the 1970s (wearing a robe?).
It’s also worth noting that the site was started in 1996; thus showing the perils of using relative timespans when naming things. The authors admit those 120 years are now closer to 140, plus another century of electronic music pre-history. Yes, the Web is now old enough for such embarrasments.
This Verge gallery of Casio watches presents a look at what The Future looked like in the 1990s: bold, complicated, and full of optimism and potential — and gadget batteries that actually lasted several years.
It’s been a long time, yet again: the blogging slippery slope. Firstly one remembers one hasn’t updated one’s blog in a couple of days. Then in a week. Then in two weeks. Then in a month. Then, that one han’t updated since Mad Men ended, an event that happened, as far as the Internet is concerned, sometime between the French Revolution and Napoleon Bonaparte’s rise.
I’ve been busy. I’ve been tired. Good busy and bad busy, good tired and bad tired. Some days, whenever there’s time to do something else, all I want is to do nothing, to retreat to some Pacific Ocean of the mind, sunglasses facing the setting sun, having a cold beer half a world away. I definitely do not think of blogging. Despite the ways it became nearly frictionless, despite having a computer in my pocket almost every waking hour, which I need to deliberately put away, silent, whenever I need to be truly present.
Blogging is the only activity in my life I have been doing more or less continuously for fifteen years!, fifteen at-times-embarrassing years, so much I embargoed much of my early blogging, and it is unvaluable to me. It’s my diary, a multimedia (quaint word nowadays) diary presented to a ghostly audience (not being the kind of person who writes intelligibly for his own later consumption, blogging exploits some loophole in my personality whence I can present stuff intelligibly for my own later consumption). I’ll continue to blog. Tomorrow, next Wednesday, or perhaps next year.
I’ll continue building. This past semester I had the privilege of teaching a Sound and Image Lab course at the Fine Arts Faculty of the University of Porto. Design students where challenged to build stuff from the most basic blocks of information and algorithms; I asked my students, mostly women, to play with digital and/or procedural Lego (in a metaphorical, not in a Minecraft sense). They did great. They inspired me. Retreating to the Pacific Ocean of the mind, I might want to build sandcastles. Sometimes I’ll blog.
It has been that kind of month in which blogging has dropped very low in my priorities. I must admit, lower than catching up with the last episodes of Mad Men, a TV series that I’ve always regarded as part serious Art for its awesome literary scope and its preocupation with how people are really like, part guilty pleasure for its soap opera-like dramatic twists and turns (isn’t Ken Cosgrove’s eyepatch a self-deprecating joke about that?). I’m sad to have watched the end of Don, Peggy, Joan, Roger, even Pete!, as characters that I’ve known for the past eight years, and that’s a testament to Matthew Weiner’s genius as a writer and showrunner.
Still, we’ll always have the memes. Such as Mad Men Integrated.
Noya and Bill Brandt with Self Portrait (Although They Were Watching This Picture Being Made), by David Hockney (1982). A fascinating pience on its own merits, discussed as metaphor in Frank Chimero’s great speech about responsive web design and technological determinism The Web’s Grain. Go read it, now.