15. September 2007

The Power of Nightmares – Behind the Scenes of the Politics of Fear

I recently finished watching a fascinating series of documentaries by Adam Curtis for the BBC, which is available as a free download: The Power of Nightmares

It explains in three parts how politicians (especially in the USA and Great Britain ) use the fears of people to ensure their power. It also tells the history of islamic terror groups. A short trailer explains it the best:

» read on!

Keywords: documentaryfearislamistspoliticsterrorUSA

14. September 2007

Lichtfaktor – Animated Light Paintings

Combine long exposure time and bright objects and you get beautiful images. You can find plenty of examples spread over the internet.

What is very uncommon, though, are animated light paintings. Lichtfaktor creates such beautiful animations. His myspace-profile contains various beautiful light paintings and this video:

Fascinating. :)

(via pasQualle via Nerdcore)

Keywords: artexposurelightphoto

12. September 2007

Inversion – A House Installation


In 2005, the american sculptors Dan Havel and Dean Ruck built some kind of vortex into two houses. They called the resulting artwork, which lead like a tunnel through the house, “Inversion”.

Unfortunately, this weird construction had only a very short life span. The two houses were scheduled for destruction just a few months later – and most likely, the schedule was kept.

» original press release
» more pictures
» even more pictures

(via Kreativrauschen via pasQualle via Wooster Collective via designverb via hemmy)

Update 19.7.2008

Dan Havel pointed to a short video documentary about Inversion. It includes moments from the construction, interviews with Dan Havel and Dean ruck and also the final destruction of the installation.

Keywords: arthouseinstallationweird

5. September 2007

Thomas Briggs’ Physically Abstract Art

“Torch #66? von Thomas Briggs

Thomas Briggs creates images by the use of mathematical functions. The results are beautiful and abstract artworks which remind me a little of fractal art (although they work differently).

My methods resemble physical simulation and data visualization from the sciences, but I turn them to my own uses. I feel that I have more complete control over what comes out of my methods than by using algorithmic or fractal mathematics. I am emulating natural forces that create patterning in the real world, such as alluvial flows, turbulation and the like. I consciously manipulate the process in ways which force the results into accumulated gestures, which at least potentially, could come from my own hand. (Thomas Briggs)

The dimensions of Thomas Briggs’ works are impressive. To show the images on the internet, he reduces the resolution by 99%. On paper – where he sells them as unicums – they are at least 1x1m big.

[..] the actual line weight is equivalent to that of a 0.2 – 0.3 millimeter pen nib, yet the large scale structure holds up when seen from a distance. This disparity of scale is an essential element of the experience of the works.

» Thomas Briggs’ Website

Keywords: abstractartsimulation

1. September 2007

Critical Metrics – A collective of music reviews for finding new music (and listening to it for free)

Critical Metrics

Searching for new music is still a tricky business. In Discover New Music That’s Perfect for You, I once presented a few recommendation systems which adopted to the personal taste of the user.

Critical Metrics walks a different path. It systematically spiders through music reviews in various media. The collected recommendations are then presented at the website. This way, you do not find music recommendations which are selected for you personally, but good music in general. Filtering the music to your personal taste remains your job.

You can listen to the music suggestions directly at the site (for free of course). All recommended songs are provided via a flash player in good quality and full length. You can’t download the songs, but there are links to various online shops where you can buy the music if you like it.

You can search the musical repertoire of Critical Metrics in different ways. Right at the top of each page is a menu where you can choose different sources for recommendations. You can also choose how up-to-dateness. Besides that, there are search functions and browsing by the providing source (like iTunes). There seems to be functionality for organizing play lists, but I didn’t test it.

Personally, I’m having difficulties finding the right music for me at Critical Metrics. This might be the fault of my weird musical taste. :) Nevertheless, I like the idea of this platform.

» Critical Metrics

Keywords: internetmusicrecommendationsreviews

30. August 2007

Volume: Bright, audiovisual and interactive installation


The audiovisual and interactive installation Volume consists of numerous shining columns, which are installed at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The columns change their optical textures when visitors walk between them. Probably, the sound of the installation changes as well – but that is not described anywhere.

Volume is a cooperation between United Visual Artists (UVA) and Robert Del Naja (also known as “3D” from Massive Attack), as well as Neil Davidge from one point six.

I think this installation is pretty cool – although you probably only know the real coolness when you are standing right within Volume. The video at the project website is by all means impressively atmospheric.

» Volume at the V&A

If you’re interested in interactive installations, please also take a look at Dave – The interactive music video installation. (Sorry for the shameless self-marketing *g*)

(via we make money not art)

Keywords: artinstallationinteractivesound

Iran does not want to wipe Israel off the map

“Israel must be wiped off the map”

This is a famous quote of Iran’s President Ahmadinejad that is used over and over to show how dangerous Iran allegedly is. Considering the publicity of this quote, it is quite surprising that almost noone knows that this is a mistranslation and crudely taken out of context.

In an article titles “WIPED OFF THE MAP” – The Rumor of the Century, Arash Norouzi shows the errors in the translation, and the history of this twisted quote.

The correct translation would be:

The Imam said this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time.

Arash also explains the context of this quote in great detail, so make sure you take a look at his article if you really want to understand what Ahmadinejad was saying, read the linked article. Here’s a very short excerpt describing a part of the quote’s context.

Ahmadinejad acknowledges that the removal of America’s powerful grip on the region via the Zionists may seem unimaginable to some, but reminds the audience that, as Khomeini predicted, other seemingly invincible empires have disappeared and now only exist in history books.

Note that the speech also does not contain any announcement to actively cause this “vanishing” of the regime. Another article (Putting Words in Ahmadinejad’s Mouth) nicely concludes the meaning of the quoted phrase:

His message was, in essence, “This too shall pass.”

Keywords: IranIsraelpoliticspropagandatranslation

15. August 2007

Automatic Scaling in Ren’Py

Ren’Py is an authoring system for visual novels. Last semester, I was involved in the creation of such a novel („Felix, Gaijin“ – German only, sorry) together with several fellow students. We stumbled upon a „little problem“: Out of the box, images in Ren’Py can only be of one size, but we wanted to use the maximum possible resolution. This article describes how I extended our story with an automatic scaling system.

» read on!

Keywords: codingpythonRenPyscaling

3. August 2007

Fighting Procrastination with Firewalls

Computers and Addiction

The Internet is the perfect tool for procrastination. It is way too easy to get lost in the endless flow of information. You can virtually surf the net forever and you will always find some interesting new thing. Abstaining from the net is hard, but many of us already have a handy tool installed which can help: Personal Firewalls.

» read on!

8. June 2007

DivX Pro for free

DivX, a video codec, is usually available in a free basic version and a pro version for 19,99€. At the moment, the pro version is also available for free.

The DivX website doesn’t tell for how long the offer will be available. It only says “for a limited time”. The catch is that one has to enter an e-mail address upon registration.

Personally, I prefer the free open source alternative XviD anyway. :)

» DivX Pro für Windows
» DivX Pro für Mac
» XviD

(via Golem.de via Kreativrauschen)

Keywords: DivXfreevideo

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