30 October 2005

Kirsten

I know I'm a touch off the calendar this year, things have been busy. You've been on my mind this morning, and I just wanted to say thank you. And congratulations on the posthumous degree.

Here's to the all the good talks, walks, and cerebral adventures. We all still miss you very, very much. xoxo

Kirsten Leisl Breitkreutz (1979–2003)

27 October 2005

Consumers would pay less for more entertainment

This article on The Register about free and legal P2P is worth the read for anyone harbouring "moral issues" on file-sharing. (And as a sidenote, we already do this in Canada — we tax rewritable media so we don't need to throw 14-year-olds into the already over-burdened judicial maelstrom.) So I am sure our beautiful neighbours to the south of us can figure out how to implement it. This should really be looked at as inspiration in the face of any sort of problems that can arise socially and/or economically. We, as a race, really do have the capacity for remarkable problem solving. Thanks for the e-mail, Harley!
In the year 2000, the record labels earned $7 billion on retail sales of $13 billion. For the sake of argument, let's assume that in the first year 20 per cent of retail sales were lost to unlimited copying. That's $1.4 billion, although they'd save $210 million in manufacturing costs, and approximately $145 million in mechanical royalties. That brings the compensation to $1.045 billion for the recordings royalties and $138 million for songwriters, plus an amount for lost radio-related royalties.

For the movie industry, calculating the potential loss is extremely difficult. Firstly it's hard to estimate how much the industry earns now from DVD and VCR sales and rentals, and cable and satellite deals. And it's even harder to gauge the loss from file swapping. Even with the advent of Bitorrent, downloads are slow, and few have the patience or resources to find value in them compared to the availability on offer at plentiful late night retail outlets. Fisher reckons five per cent, rather than twenty per cent for the music business, of a $10 billion industry, or $479 million.

So combined, that's $1.677 billion to keep the RIAA and the MPAA happy.

But of course that's not all it would cost: the model requires an organization to calculate and distribute the royalties, performing the duties of ASCAP or BMI today. ASCAP reported that its 1998 administrative overhead was 16 per cent, so Fisher generously estimates 20 per cent. (It's pretty generous, as we'll see, because the digital overheads may actually be much lower). This takes - and bear with us, because it also generously throws in a 10 per cent charge for inflation between 2000 and 2004 - the net result to $2.306 billion.

So who pays?

If it was implemented as a regressive poll tax, with 87 million household filing IRS returns, each household would pay a mere $27 extra a year: a little over $2 a month, or 51 cents a week. That's half the price of a single iTunes Music Store song.

That's the most efficient way, with the lowest overheads.

…continue reading via The Register

…more on Professor William Fisher

Another Fuck you to the naysayers. Wow, two in one week! Here's to the little guys in the community, like (Edmonton's) Listen Records, Freecloud, Blackbyrd Myoozik, Megatunes, et cetera!

“Morning Light, Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet”

I am just enamoured with this fantastic photograph. See this award-winning shot, by Chris Atkinson, and more at the 2005 Banff Mountain Photography Competition. Thanks, Trina!
“Just prior to my first trip to Tibet, I reread Heinrich Harrer’s book Seven Years in Tibet. With images fresh in my mind, I set out early one morning to find the medical clinic he helped establish. I found only ruins but was rewarded with a beautiful sight of the morning light striking the Potala Palace. The smell of burning juniper and incense and the chanting of the devoted filled the air and made for a most memorable morning.”

What does magic “look” like?

Okay, so it's really difficult to tell people that most of this stuff doesn't look like anything. Anyone familiar with visualisations, trances, or deep meditation will explain that it is an internal vision which is sorta there, sorta not there. Especially if you can see this stuff with your eyes open and still interacting with the stimuli of the manifest world. But for those of you just not yet willing to take the time to develop a subjective sight of the sidereal or non-corporeal, this is similar to what I see when I am entrained upon what may be, in chaos magic, referred to as a chaosphere. And yes, my eyes are open — but no, I do not "see" this with them. I believe it has to do with the morphogenic similarity between the pineal gland and the eyeball:—


Perusing MoCo Loco today, I came across this ambient spirograph. It was designed by lost in space, for Addictive TV's Mixmasters Series.
download the .mov

When working with Qi or energy or whatever, control over such sensations can be associated to a viscous, cloudy static sensation (for me, at least). As your perception further focuses on the energies, one begins to notice "vibrational frequencies" or discernible layers to them as condensate. Differentiating through these layers, one can manipulate them with something akin to a willed coercion of geometric patterns or emotional keys, for lack of better terms.

Although this animation is not exactly as I see, generally as I lose myself to the trance the dark energies begin to encompass most of my eyesight, as it does in the animation spreading from the centre out. The geometry isn't as discernible when I see it, but moreso when I am more immersed in a deeper state.

A good exercise, other than the chaosphere, for achieving this sort of entrance into this altered visual state is presented by Julius Evola and the UR Group in their excellent text on magic, Introduction to Magic (haha, also apparently "powerful and disturbing," according to that New Dawn link). The exercise put forth in that text is known as the "Caduceus and the Mirror."

Europe’s first pyramid discovered near Sarajevo

via the BBC
Bosnia's leading Muslim daily Dnevni Avaz writes excitedly about "a sensational discovery" of "the first European pyramid" in the central town of Visoko, just north of Sarajevo.

Excavations at a hill site above the town have been going on for several months and initial analyses "have confirmed the original claim that this is Europe's first pyramid and a monumental building, similar in dimensions to the Egyptian pyramids."

"The pyramid is 100 metres high and there is evidence that it contains rooms and a monumental causeway ... The plateau is built of stone blocks, which indicates the presence at the time of a highly developed civilisation," the daily explains.

"Archaeological excavations near the surface have uncovered a part of a wall and fragments of steps," it reveals.

"Visocica hill could not have been shaped like this by nature," geologist Nada Nukic tells the daily. "This is already far too more than we have anticipated, but we expect a lot more from further analysis," she concludes.

According to Dino Avdibegovic (via Kottke):—
Near the city of Visoko, 30 km north of Sarajevo, there is a stone pyramid of monumental size, claims the Bosnian archeologist Semir Osmanagić, who lives and works in the USA.

After several months of geological and archeological research, Mr. Osmanagić concluded that under the present hill of Visočica hides a stairs-like pyramid, about 12,000 years old. Osmanagić, who intensively researched on pyramids in Americas, Asia and Africa for the last 15 years and wrote several books on the subject, says he's quite sure he found the first pyramid in Europe, which is quite similar to ones in the Southern America.

He believes that the project would completely change Bosnia's significance in the world of archeology.

On the top of "Bosnian pyramid of Sun" was a temple, built by pre-Illyrians, people who lived, according to Osmanagić, 27,000 years ago.

Mr. Osmanagić thinks he will solve the "Bosnian pyramid of Sun" in the next five years, but also prove the existence of "Bosnian pyramid of Moon", lying under the neighboring hill of Križž.

NOTE — Two coworkers of mine, Danijel and Saša, grew up very close to Visoko and after learning of the discovery, will be visiting the site next year. Hopefully they can get more up-close photos as the excavation begins.

26 October 2005

Kiva, Loans that change lives

Reading over Seth Godin's blog this morning, I came across Kiva. As Seth calls it, it's a microlending system that allows all of us to make a difference elsewhere in the world. Instead of spending $25 on over-priced lattés and what not, you can instead lend some coin to help a farmer in a developing region buy some equipment or livestock. Then the farmer pays you back. Seth summed it up better than I can:
This is one of a number of cool ways to do first world wealth transfer. The challenge, as always, is in the execution. There's not a huge shortage of money for microlending operations--there's a shortage of great banks, great people to run those banks and access to the right sort of people to make the loans to.

It's easy to imagine that every culture is as crisp as ours when it comes to money. (and hey, we're not even that good at it... just look at credit card debt for an example). Most of the challenge of microbanking is in changing social systems, not in moving the $25. But like all things on the net, this is a great first step in opening up bottlenecks.

Again, I'd like to offer a hearty Fuck you to all the naysayers.

22 October 2005

Sculpture unveils fourth dimension

via Daily Science News
Artistic works traditionally carry significance beyond their physical beauty, but a new sculpture in the McAllister Building headquarters of the Penn State Department of Mathematics may carry that tradition to its limits. The stainless-steel work, a striking object of visual art, also is a mental portal to the fourth dimension, a teaching tool, a memorial to a graduate of the math department, and a reminder of the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001. The sculpture itself measures about six feet in every direction and is mounted on a granite base about three feet high in order to bring its center approximately to eye level.

The sculpture, designed by Adrian Ocneanu, professor of mathematics at Penn State, presents a three-dimensional "shadow" of a four-dimensional solid object. Ocneanu's research involves mathematical models for quantum field theory based on symmetry. One aspect of his work is modeling regular solids, both mathematically and physically. In the three-dimensional world, there are five regular solids--tetrahedron, cube, octahedron, dodecahedron, and icosahedron--whose faces are composed of triangles, squares, or pentagons. In four dimensions, there are six regular solids, which can be built based on the symmetries of the three-dimensional solids. Unfortunately, humans cannot process information in four dimensions directly because we don't see the universe that way. Although mathematicians can work with a fourth dimension abstractly by adding a fourth coordinate to the three that we use to describe a point in space, a fourth spatial dimension is difficult to visualize. For that, we need models. "Four-dimensional models are useful for thinking about and finding new relationships and phenomena," says Ocneanu. "The process is actually quite simple--think in one dimension less." To explain this concept, he points to a map. While the Earth is a three-dimensional object, its surface can be represented on a flat two-dimensional map.

visit Penn State's site for more info
clck for an animation of the sculpture

21 October 2005

Arcosanti

via Invisible College II
In the midst of the Arizona desert in the U.S. stands a half-built town that has attracted architects from around the world for the past 35 years. Arcosanti is an experiment in ecological city design. There are no cars since the space is planned for pedestrians, and there are large, compact living structures built next to huge solar-heated greenhouses where the residents' food is grown. Electricity comes from wind and solar plants, and the water from the nearby river is carefully husbanded. Only 60 to 100 people live there now, well below the 5,000 that Paolo Soleri, the architect who founded Arcosanti, envisions. But since the project launched in 1970, 6,000 architectural students have come to help with the building and learn about its design, and the site attracts 50,000 visitors every year.

19 October 2005

Pixelfest, a sign of a collective visualisation

Pixelfest collaborative artwork, the brainchild of The Man in Blue, allows users to make a daily one-pixel adjustment to an online canvas. As individuals from around the world interpret the image, and make their small change to it, a collective creation comes about. The changes are recorded and you can watch an animation of the evolution of the canvas.

18 October 2005

Kelly Rude on the detriments of design

I just got back from the MADE in Edmonton lecture given this evening by Kelly Rude, the editorial director of Canadian Interiors and contributing editor to Azure (on top of a bunch of other quality design publications). I took a few things away from this, but two things of personal importance:—

One. Over the course of his lecture, Rude presented his conclusion that design is detrimental to the spiritual discovery that (should be) inherent in humans. Design has moved into the role of providing the emotional and thematic contexts for everyone. In today's world, over-saturated with the social embrace of design, we push manufactured expression and people lose the ability to see for themselves. While I agree with Rude on this, I must think back to a post I made on Pop Occulture about design also being able to incorporate a sort of Zen archon — essentially, a self-destructing context. One that forces the user to turn away from the designed notion of a product, service, or experience, and in turn creating their own.

Unfortunately, society seems to put the crunch on whenever individuals do this. I suppose street art is a good example of this in that it changes the engineered contexts of the ubran landscape into that of a canvas. This switches from the expressionism of design to a more empathic and subjective use of the space. A use of the space as was unintended.

I didn't bring it up publicly, but after I began to understand what he was getting at, I saw the opposite in what New Zealand artist Robin Hely was playing on with the experiment that is/was Neurocam International: an alternate reality game (ARG) set up in Melbourne, Australia, which invited persons to participate in… they didn't know what. They claimed to be nothing, but members that applied and were accepted were given various "assignments" to accomplish and in doing so, they were forced to actualise their own contexts for their actions. The threat of danger, mystery, and Neurocam's enigmatic existence let the mind do what it does best: make shit up. The individuals behind Neurocam would call the cops and orchestrate events for the "players" which would drive them to a panic or get them riled up. Something as simple as a cop driving by would hardly go noticed, but persons "on assignment" doing god-knows-what for Neurocam would avert cameras, police, and would enter into a personal myth (or engineered paranoia?).

From the Neurocam website:
Some of the most rewarding experiences we have come about through random circumstances of which we have no real understanding. It is sometimes important to commit to something we know very little about if the act of commitment in itself becomes part of an experience.

This shall definitely come into play as Sheri and I begin to form out design co-op over the coming weeks. On this note, out of pride (actually, more out of a reminder to myself), I think that what Jason Baumle wrote of me this morning really might strike a further chord with what I want to accomplish over the next years with my design pursuits:
You know after watching you with our students and listening to their feedback about the class that you facilitated for them, I think that you should seriously consider marketing yourself as a designer and marketing advisor (if that is the right term) to 20–40 years old entrepreneurs and business leaders. You speak very well to that demographic and you ideas, information and drive to express not only yourself but other people's ideas will be very helpful to others (as it has been awesome for Susanne and I). I could see you doing very well with your own design business that is the marketing voice for younger more hip and dynamic business people. It seems like you give a big player voice to a small and sincere speaker through your work.

Not only is that encouraging, but it invokes me in a sort of honour and gladitorial sense that I might be able to fight to bring about a level of communication and self-worth on the level of community by helping the little guys out. This is more appealing to me than chasing after the trophy clients like most designers seek to do.

Second. The gorgeous U of A design student sat next to me at the lecture. I saw her at an industrial design exhibit back in July, and she burned into my memory for some reason. I am generally good with faces, however not names. I did see her again at Lush Halo and asked her name, but I was also drunk and ugly that time. Perhaps one day I'll see her sober. (I was drunk at the exhibit in July, too. Oops.) Out of the small audience that showed up to see Kelly Rude, at least her attendence implies she has a desire to learn her craft further, on her own. That makes her even sexier.

On this note, I have Eros and the Mysteries of Love: The Metaphysics of Sex, by Julius Evola, and Erotism: Death and Sensuality, by Georges Bataille. Remind me to read them. Soon.

17 October 2005

Switzerland’s fractal supermarket cabbages

via Mark Bourne à la Boing Boing
Nearly exact self-similar fractal forms occur do in nature, but I'd never seen such a beautiful and perfect example until, some time after moving to Switzerland, I came across a chou Romanesco like the one above in a grocery store. This is so visually stunning an object that on first encounter it's hard to imagine you're looking at a garden vegetable rather than an alien artefact created with molecular nanotechnology. But of course, then you realise that vegetables are created with molecular nanotechnology, albeit the product of earthly evolution, not extraterrestrial engineering.

http://www.fourmilab.ch/images/Romanesco/

16 October 2005

Jesus Loves Everything

This just made my day! It's even better than the smoked salmon & cream cheese omelette I had for brunch at Café Select earlier on. And I like cream cheese.

Jesus Loves Everything is the new favourite site of Geoff and I, and it provided us with countless minutes of gut-wrenching joy as we explored the hobbies and interests of the writers' profiles, searched the internet for images of abortions, discussed via MSN the neurophysiological development of the foetus, and then went back to this favourite piece of internet pr0n cinema, known simply as braces.wmv. After perusing the site, apparently Jesus loves everything except all the sinners and evil fuckwads that don't hunt, convert, and attend mass regularly. And who don't write anti-abortion poetry.

Jesus Loves Everything is apparently run by:—
Nathaniel:
I am a good, born-again Christian man, who came to the Lord 12 years ago. I attend Church every Sunday and afterwards my friends and I go hunting -- if not for animals, then lost souls.

Interests: Praying, bible study, hunting, converting

Dr JD Parnell
I was born again in Christ when I was seven years old, during one of my mandatory bible lessons. I was recieving several repeated whippings for questioning my teachings. After that ordeal was over, and the blood was mopped up, I new I was saved. I learned never to question righteous Christian authority again.

Interests: Preaching, Ministering, Evangelisizing, Teaching, Judging, Punishing, Condemning, Excommunicating

Some highlights from this past month include:

The Jesus Loves Everything Superstore
Those of us that are not taken up to Heaven during the Rapture will be left behind to redeem ourselves in the eyes of the Lord. One of the many miseries we will have to face is the inability to trade without first getting the Mark of the Beast. It is important, then, to act now and establish a network Christian stores that can be taken underground when the Antichrist comes. So I propose that good Christians everywhere unite to start our very own Christian Wal-Mart…

Science Is Evil
What happened? How did we go from a small town country, where we waived to each other on the street, worshipped together, and didn't have to worry about our children being led into sin, into this cesspool? I think I've found the answer, and it lays in our daughters' breasts. Science. …

Exclusively Christian Public Schools
Children shall receive their daily lessons, pursuant to the strictest interpretations of the Bible. There will be a policy of zero tolerance for the questioning of one’s teachings, as this may well rise to the level of willful and premeditated blaspheme. The expression of independent thought or philosophy will not be tolerated under any circumstances. Laughing, joking, games of chance, speaking out of turn, stepping out of line, sleeping, slouching, horseplay, shenanigans, and all other forms of tomfoolery are strictly prohibited both in the schoolhouse and out on the schoolyard, and are not to be tolerated under any circumstances.

And then there is our favourite, Nathaniel's touching anti-abortion poem, "The Scraping," for you in its entirety cuz it's so freakin' awesome!—
Her belly is bursting,
and Satan is thirsting,
To the doctor she goes
for a scraping.

A scraping
A scraping
The fetus'
head is gaping.

Up on a wall,
symbol of our fall,
are babies in a jar,
products of a scraping.

A scraping
A scraping
The fetus'
head is gaping.

Imagine Jesus' sorrow
and pray for tomorrow,
that He withholds His wrath
for all of our scraping.

Our scraping
Our scraping
The fetuses'
heads are gaping.

I encourage everyone to send their support to Nathaniel and JD, as their work is important and I hope to see it continue. Perhaps in time it'll flourish, and with the End of Days imminent, Jesus will hire them into His marketing division. I know I'd love to apply for that job.

David Suzuki graffiti

Yes, only in Canada.
http://www.myspace.com/davidsuzuki

Art Gallery of Alberta

The news has already done its rounds, but it's been really tickling my imagination at what power architecture has over its community. Edmonton, my home, is not exactly a hotbed of design (of any sort, really), and this hotly debated re-design of the Edmonton Art Gallery hasn't gone unnoticed internationally.

Los Angeles-based Randall Stout Architects won the competition for the above-pictured design. The Edmonton Journal stated, "Where Will Alsop, the designer of that bold and colourful bag clearly despised us, where Zaha Hadid, the London superstar, couldn't even bother to set foot in the gallery, Stout really seems to have grasped the Zeitgeist of this quirky place, to have given us a museum that doesn't mock or condescend, but which promises to welcome us all in."

And now the gallery is being renamed the Art Gallery of Alberta, or AGA, in honour of the Government of Alberta who dropped some coin on the project.

On a total side note but in celebration of our humble city, I managed to get my hands on the new Hömewrekers' album today. It's not out till Halloween, but they just returned from tour, picked up the new CDs from Vancouver on their way back, and one of the girls was kind enough to hook me up a couple weeks early. Check them out if you like that old school NYC punk. But with hawt chicks.

13 October 2005

Sorry

I just realised that in Internet Explorer the layout along the right side of this page was fux0red by the width of the interview JPEG. This I was not aware of, as I do not use IE. Sorry to anyone who cares. I fixed it.

Libertarian business models

http://www.openbusiness.cc/
I find it fascinating how the same thing, but two different names, can evoke such contradictory reactions from people. It's as though people often confuse the spirit of the word with the word itself.

OpenBusiness is a creative commons site dedicated to exploring and cataloguing all the different sources of business models structured around "free" services, such as Google, Flickr, Blogger, and all the smaller ones coming about. I know I've been trying to dig away at how these companies sustain themselves.

And even though I've heard first-hand from political science students that libertarianism is the devil's party, and how it's so feared in the west (it's essentially anarchy) — I'd like to point out the very similar natures of creative commons, open business models, and anarchy. While those that criticise are out there regurgitating what their prof told them, and what their prof before them taught those profs, leave it to commerce and the internet to make inroads into establishing a healthy, diverse, and intelligent way to do honourable business.

To all the naysayers, perhaps you should stop fearing the world and get your hands dirty and make it better. Or get a better education, perhaps. To all the real punks from the '70s and '80s, here's to the burgeoning anarchy for the masses!

Oh, and I'd like to remind everyone that it's of very little use fighting the system from outside. That is, in fact, more of a subjective, personal battle you've chosen on your own and serves no one but yourself. Of course, this is just my opinion…

12 October 2005

Oh those gosh darned Jehovah's Witnesses

Oh those crazy JWs!
Mark's recent post about a Christian children's coloring book from 1954 pales in comparison to the horrific images of placidly smiling Jehovah's Witnesses standing before a burning world. (I grew up a JW — what a mind job!) Many of these images are from books not primarily aimed at children, but children would be exposed to all these images — as I was — since they study right along with the adults at their endless meetings.

via Mike Pence à la Boing Boing


EDIT — If I paid more attention to what I did, I would have realised this was for Jehovah's Witnesses. Not Mormons. Changes have been applied.

Short-listed in Russia for a TaMga

This is kinda neat: I've been short-listed past the first round of judging for a Russian TaMga logo design award. It's advertised annually via the International Council of Graphic Design Associations (Icograda). And funny enough, it's between two logomarks that were vetoed by the clients in favour of their own "design" decisions. In order to input a typeface and unnecessary elements that they simply liked, that served no purpose, I had to butcher well-done work (at least in my opinion). In one case, the client actually went against certain design parameters set up initially by him just because he liked the aesthetics of certain colours and type… the resultant mark has absolutely nothing to do with the overall brand of the business.

I refuse to claim the actual purchased marks in my portfolio as my own work.

I doubt I'll win. I'm up against a lot of Russian and European designers, but it's nice to have my tummy rubbed from afar, as such.

EDIT — Is it just me, or does the TaMga award itself bear an uncanny resemblance to Constantin Brâncuşi's famous sculpture, Bird in Space?

11 October 2005

A Metaphysics of Human Interface

This was a portion of what I was working on for Stanford d.school’s magazine, Ambidextrous. Unfortunately, late time constraints and busy work schedule kept me from re-writing it to incorporate the upcoming theme of the issue. (This version takes an overly broad interpretation of the issue’s theme of interface.) I'll keep my eyes open and perhaps write for them under the auspice of a different theme.

It was toned down from a few pages of notes, so it's going to be a very brief intro to the concept of sigila. Also, you can click on the above image to view the full sketchy illustration.
“A Metaphysics of Human Interface”
by Don Eglinski

We define metaphysics as the philosophy that examines the nature of reality, the connection of mind and matter, of “being” (ontology). Interface, as the aggregate of means by which users interact with a complex system, device, or tool. User input allows control of the system, while system output provides the users of the results, also called feedback. System feedback may be regulated by cybernetics. From cybernetics’ point of view, it is possible to consider the whole universe in terms of data and data processing. Here, I propose a simple experiment from the field of contemporary esotericism: a simple request made by a user in order to accrue a procedural knowledge of phenomenon, with which the experimenter can further explore to her or his delight.

In his essay “Sigils, Servitors, and Godforms,” Mark Defrates speaks of artist and magus Austin Osman Spare (1886–1956) and his original approach to establishing communication with the universe via a subconscious interface. Spare explores the concept of a complex system, referred to here simply as “energy,” that humans may interface with:
Spare stated unequivocally that the … force that interpenetrates all phenomena is non-human. Moreover, Spare required the [user], in order to avail himself of this force, to renounce his human belief systems, his dualistic mind, to achieve a state of consciousness that, as much as possible, mimicked the primordial.
Spare wrote that such input could acquiesce in desirable feedback by designing commands in “the reduction of [their] properties to simplicity,” beyond human precept. For the sake of a result that you will be able to recognize, I want to illustrate a basic request for affirmation—that there is, indeed, feedback correlating to the initial input.

Defrates goes on to posit that “Spare believed that it was essential to base [a process of input] in a state of … simplicity and pure self. This is a state where, however briefly, the mind has ceased its chattering, its continual discourse, and is in a state that can most easily be achieved by exhaustion, but may also be a result of sex, alcohol, or today, even watching television until the mind has become numb and mute.” Let’s suppose that a small personal phenomenon will make for a satisfactory piece of output datum. In this, the input must be devoid of affects of the ego in order to integrate with the id—our interface.

I COMMAND THE UNIVERSE TO PROVIDE ME WITH A SHOCKING EXPLOSION

Of course, this is fairly vague and can be interpreted subjectively in any number of ways. The simpler the request, the easier it may be for the user to learn the interface and resultant output. Feel free to change it to involve seeing a woman (or man) in a red dress, or a flurry of balloons if you so wish. Make it personal. But start it out with “I COMMAND” or “IT IS MY WILL” or “I DESIRE,” some sort of control function.

To input the command, we must translate it into a symbol in order to “as much as possible, mimic the primordial.” This symbol, called a sigil, will retain the subjective notion of the command, but eschews the human formalities of linguistics and semantics.

Remove all of the vowels and any repeating letter after the first instance of it:—

I COMMAND THE UNIVERSE TO PROVIDE ME WITH A SHOCKING EXPLOSION

becomes

C M N D T H V R S P W K G X L

We’ve stripped any linguistic nuance from the initial command, providing a series of elementary letters (graphemes). But farther yet, the remaining letters must be reduced to a simple mark, a personal symbol bordering on the edge of artistic intuition and that of a rudimentary glyph. The act of rearranging these remaining graphemes into a nonfigurative sigil is necessary for input unto the primordial in that it further simplifies and removes it from most varieties of egoistic or semantic semblance of the original command. The only remaining associations to it remain in memory and the subconscious mind. Let intuition take over and just create something that feels right; there is no right or wrong way.

The act of building the command was in itself enough to create a reference to it in the subconscious mind, but the actual command itself must now be input. For the sake of example, use the ecstatic state that arises via orgasm to achieve brief accessibility to the subconscious. It is here that the sigil may be input, unfettered by the activity of the waking, conscious mind. This is accomplished at the peak of orgasm: Picture the sigil in your mind’s eye. With the proprioceptive exultation that embodies orgasm, “blast” the sigil away from yourself into the abyss just beyond your own senses. Here, the abyss is the façade beyond which the machinations of the universe whirl away—John Locke’s veil of perception.

You’ve now input your command. Because the ego is not privy to the effects of the subconscious mind, we needn’t worry about interfering with the command embodied in the sigil. The only step left after input is forgetting the initial command. By pondering the results, the user unintentionally applies an abstract semiology unto the sigil created. This corrupts the original intent. Often, the hardest part of this method is just letting go of the original command and letting the results appear as they will. Rid yourself of the original sigil, perhaps in a manner befitting your own personal theological or emotional symbolism. Try to occupy your mind with other things, or input more than one sigil over a few days. This way, the user isn’t so expectant of one particular result and won’t corrupt it so.

Once results are noticeable, one may explore further commands and begin to develop a personal understanding of the nature of the system.

# # #

Interestingly, Wikipedia states that recent studies in the philosophy and science of perception, “recent fMRI studies show that dreams, imaginings, and perceptions of similar things such as faces are accompanied by activity in many of the same areas of brain. It seems that imagery that originates from the senses and internally generated imagery may have a shared ontology at higher levels of cortical processing.”

09 October 2005

Good advice

Bruce M. Campbell just posted this on the GDC listserv this weekend. While it's easier said than done and designers must really be stringent in their council with clients, not letting clients abuse them, I still laughed out loud and thought, Yeah!
A family lawyer friend of mine says he only accepts two types of clients: those too dumb to question your skills and those too smart to question your skills. The rest he considers time wasters.

08 October 2005

They Rule

Thanks to my friend, Scott Harley, out in Vancouver for leading me to They Rule.
They Rule aims to provide a glimpse of some of the relationships of the US ruling class. It takes as its focus the boards of some of the most powerful U.S. companies, which share many of the same directors. Some individuals sit on 5, 6 or 7 of the top 500 companies. It allows users to browse through these interlocking directories and run searches on the boards and companies. A user can save a map of connections complete with their annotations and email links to these maps to others. They Rule is a starting point for research about these powerful individuals and corporations.

continued here

07 October 2005

Hacker fashion

Came across the designs of Duck Young Kong and the one series he's done that really drew my attention was his body mod jewellery designed for phreaks and the hacker community. Included are facial tattoos only visibile under certain light frequencies, jewellery for piercings which incorporate devices for data storage, computer interface, and others.

One, this illustrates (to me, at least) that we're heading towards the transhumanistic age that I am looking forward to. Yet, so many people fear the inevitable changes coming. Perhaps it's just Alberta, where I live. This isn't the most culturally significant region of North America.

Two, these designs are geared currently for a particular group. I shudder to think that one day I might see some fucking hussie in some club wearing such just to perpetuate trendiness. They've diluted the whole punk genre enough, the concept is deserving of its own funeral at this point.

Three… crap, I forgot what three was.

EDIT — As an add-on to this post, I came across this dermal nanotech display via Information Aesthetics:
a 'programmable dermal display' in which a population of about 3 billion 'display pixel robots' are permanently implanted a fraction of a millimeter under the surface of the skin, covering a rectangle 6cm x 5cm on the back of the hand. photons emitted by these pixel bots produce an image on the surface of the skin. this pixel bot array could be programmed to form any real-time information-driven display. amazingly, 'data visualization' suddenly turns into a whole new meaning if the entire human body can be considered as a living information display made up of data-driven tattoos. [nanogirl.com|via medgadget.com]

Do you belong to a secret?

"In 2000, Bradford Lawton and his group designed a logo for a swimming pool client. Since then, the logo has won numerous awards and has appeared again and again in magazines, books, and shows. It has been roundly praised by peers and often shows up in classrooms as an example of a truly elegant, conceptual design solution.

"Due to a simple fear of change, the client, Gary Pools, has never agreed to use the logo."

I was reading about Bradford Lawton and something similar has happened to me recently, so it got me thinking about communication issues that arise between designers and clients. Lawton went on to mention something I found very intriguing:
"I want people to see things differently. I want the viewer to 'get it' and then also wonder why he or she never thought of the solution before," Lawton says. "As a designer, when we speak in a visual language, we can't use a language that others don't understand. The viewer has to be an active participant. The Federal Express logo works well that way. You feel like you are in a secret society once you discover the arrow-an extremely hackneyed device that somebody made wonderful."

Designers violate this precept frequently, Lawton says. They create logos that are so abstract or conceptually oblique that they are more like private jokes: Only other designers will sometimes understand them. Any logo that has to be explained (and explained and explained) is not effective, he adds.

"The Coca-Cola logo is like that, in a way. It is an aesthetically pleasing and effective logo. But hidden inside of the white swash is the negative shape of two bottles laid end to end. A lot of people will never see that. I didn't, until I read about it somewhere. What's different, though, is that Coke has a zillion dollars to lay that image in front of you over and over again, whether you get it or not. Most clients don't have that kind of budget," he says.

Designers need to, first and foremost, communicate with the user. However, as context is a powerful tool, it got me thinking about all the paranoia about a so-called Illuminati or secret society still pulling the international strings. I'm not denying that the progenies borne of the Skull & Bones aren't in powerful positions… but they're also so totally removed from the rest of the world perceptually that they can't possibly hold power for very much longer.

After noticing myself the arrow in the FedEx logomark, I can't look at it and not see it. Which is odd, because I never "saw" it before. This reminds me of the alchemical nature of the Hero's Journey presented by Joseph Campbell, that we should all be familiar with, and is a wonderful practical example of someone prior to initiation, and the sense that comes with post-initiation. You just know; it's the difference between procedural knowledge (wisdom) and propositional knowledge (book smarts). It doesn't make it true per se, it just makes it true to you. We all now know there's an arrow in the FedEx logo, and what makes it powerful is that it's in context of FedEx's brand. This is what empowers it.

Secret societies are "secret societies" not because everyone knows about them, but because they know something about everyone. In this revelation, they bind and work together for a common cause that is, really, alien to the average person not initiated into working within their gestalt, into seeing their point of view. One may be able to infiltrate, but like Campbell put forth in the mythic Journey, we generally exist in one paradigm so to be able to co-exist in two takes either a spiritual or psychological disposition which I could only describe as shamanic in nature (or that of a mystic or chaos magician).

And besides, what if there is some secret society? Perhaps they're involvement is no different than Lawton's lauded logomark design? Understood by the élite esoteric few, and feared by the masses due to their inability to embrace change?

If this is the case, one way or another, it's safer for most with unique perspectives to often keep quiet. The Great Sacrifice might actually be similar to the Christ mythos: dissemination of a new context, really forcing it into the social tapestry so the meme can take off, and in so doing you, the host, may be persecuted for the destruction of the current order of things.

This precept paints a very powerful position for the designer. Too bad most are stuck in their own wee worlds of perception. However, for those that truly shine I must think that they differ only slightly from the Illuminati of paranoia myth in that there is a common desire to help and make better within the design community.

Why would the supposed Elders of yore be any different, especially if it's true and power really is an illusion? Archons are stupid, bumbling archetypal entities which the fearful empower simply by succumbing to them, such as dualism, élitism, concepts of worth, et cetera.

03 October 2005

Parasitic Advertising

Emily, a sophomore art student at Carnegie Mellon University, has produced some clever and cute marketing gimmicks here, which in a way also speaks volume about the products they're branded by:—

Pepsi LadybugPepsi Ladybug

Coke SlugCoke Slug

FedEx GrasshopperFedEx Grasshopper

Nike Water StriderNike Water Strider

Adidas SpiderAdidas Spider

02 October 2005

The base-in-a-briefcase with sentry gun

Okay, so I am as shocked as this guy was to come to the simple realisation that no one has actually built a sentry gun (link here). Especially after Aliens. Perhaps there is hope for the human race in that the military never got around to it, or that the first one invented was in some dude's backyard, with his little brother and a BB gun.

Tie this together with the $100 Laptop I just read about on Dodging Invisbile Rays. We could fit this all in a briefcase and set up command posts in parks and what not around the world. It would set the stage for the best game of BB gun war (or paint ball?) ever!

Or like in my last post, think of the future! Wetware WiFi linkage between our wee brains and we can remove our hands and replace them with laser tag guns and set up these neural disruptive sentry guns in our parks to play war. So much fun!

I mean really, once death is eradicated and our next major obstacle isn't related to religious or political fervour, the only challenge will be choosing those really hard girls (or guys) to date. War will be a televised sport. And that'll be fun. Though, on that note, nothing will be televised as it'll be replaced with downloadable experiences so you'll be able to dream-live the actual best highlighted plays from last week's World War XXIII which was neurocorded live from the decrepit remains of some American city, with the World War Championship Tournament this year being played out between semi-finalists: the United States of Canada's Federal Bureau of Mounted Police, Nintendo, Manchester United's Military Training Corps, and the Hilton Lunar Hotel. Why does this all seem so very Judge Dredd?

Last.fm

A great service that records your listening habits and musical preferences. Just think of the future, when small devices can produce personal algorithms for sexual, culinary, cinematic, and literary preferences, not to mention clothing, where you like to walk or ride your bike, et cetera. Combine that with the inevitable Google Earth built into everyone's wee wetware PDAs implanted in your brain, so you can find the perfect date, or a complicated one once the perfect ones get boring. It can predict your level of, say, cycling skill and suggest routes for you as a culmination of different routes used by others in the past depending on how much challenge or exercise or scenery you want.

I love the future.