Archive for the ‘Visual’ Category

iPhone app: Dance Coach 1.0

Monday, February 8th, 2010

Last weekend I saw a Latin band which plays salsa, cumbia, merengue, etc.  I like Latin music but am a horrible dancer.  Especially problematic are the hip movements.

It would be useful to have an iPhone app which does the following:

  • Hold your phone up to the music, and it will identify the style and tempo.  If that doesn’t work, you can manually choose the style, but the iPhone should be able to identify the style, i.e., cumbia, bachata, samba, etc.
  • Indicate if you’re male or female.
  • The app displays male, female, or both figures at once, and demonstrates the basic dance steps for the indicated style. There are a variety of options for changing the perspective, slowing down the step, etc.
  • There’s also a ‘clave’ mode which plays a simple tune with clave and shows the steps.

Visual Metaphor Maker

Friday, April 24th, 2009

There are a few metaphor generators out there that exploit the fact that one form of metaphor can be abstracted to:

the [adjective] [concrete noun] of [abstract noun]

It’s a trivial matter to drop in lists of words of each type and then randomize them for fun and profit. I was thinking yesterday how fun it would be to convert the words to images, or visual properties, and instead of making an exquisite corpse sort of generator, make an animated image that fuses (or layer flattens) all the elements into one complete image.

Peripheral Vision Highway Advertising

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009

Tollroads could be subsidized by selling advertising space on the center concrete barriers if the advertisements were optimized for 65mph peripheral vision either:

by being streeeeetched to the proper distortion amount


it might work to make flip book style animation frames

Not that I want more advertising in my peripheral vision, but, hey, the ideas come and the genie can’t be put back in the bottle.

Rebus Maker

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

An automatic rebus-maker that takes arbitrary texts as input and then converts certain words to pictures that have been pulled from Google images and then re-sized to fit the format required by the chosen font.

Group Show Series

Monday, January 19th, 2009

A series of art pieces specifically designed to be submitted (and hung) in group shows. The pieces would perform, as purely as possible, nothing but to recontextualize the pieces hung on either side of it. For example:

Two swoopy arrows, one that ends up pointing left, one that ends up pointing right, the title of the piece (or perhaps incorporated right into the piece) is: the one to the left is awesome, the one to the right, not so great.

An image of a person making a disgusted face. Title of the piece (or incorporated into the piece) is: eew, why do I have to be across from that piece?

Other phrases possible (I’ll leave the working out of the accompanying image as an exercise for the reader):

  • Definitely the best piece in this room.
  • Some of us may be upside down, I’m not naming any names, but, look at the one on my right.
  • The jury was really sleeping on that one three over, don’t you think?
  • What’s a nice piece of art like me doing in a place like this?
  • They only put me here because the artist left of this can’t stand the artist right of this. And vice versa. Oddly enough, they both like me.
  • The first piece in the show is always the best. The last piece is always the one that makes the least sense.

A Different Kind of Webzine, closed but open, open but closed

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

Excepted from an email from 2006 inviting collaborative help from someone who was not interested.

Here’s what it is:

Mortimer J. Adler created this thing he calls the Synopticon, it’s basically the 102 “Great Ideas”. He contends that every idea there is can be situated cleanly within one of these 102, without there being a compelling need to add a 103rd.

Which is kind of neat, but the real meat (for this project) is this list of 102 ideas, because they’re all abstract nouns, or abstract concepts, anyway, which makes them ripe for interpretation, which to poets means making metaphors.

I’m hooked up with a great bunch of visual poets now (through a range of activitities) so I was thinking it would be a wicked cool, long term, project to put out a call for submissions, maybe monthly or bi-monthly, for work that fits the concept of idea N (where N is one of these 102 Great Ideas).

And work through them all.

So it’d end up with these galleries (102 total/only) of visual poets’ take on each of these concepts. Or visual artists. Or poets, too, it’d be an open type call, but the key determining factor in inclusion would be that the submission be a) good and b) that it fit the exact format restriction (I’m thinking along the lines of a 400×400 px .jpg or something like that–but, it could also be anything that can be dropped into Flash, I suppose–a movie even). I want them all to be exactly the same “frame” so that the design and upkeep can be simple, simple. I want to be able to review the submissions and just drop them in a directory and push a button or two and have them be up. Which is to say, I want to have one look, a shell of a design, that is the same for every idea/issue/call, so that there’s continuity throughout the time it takes to work through them all.

There will probably also be limited bio information too, as in: title, author, author email, author website URL, that kind of thing.

It’s really basically like making a themed monthly magazine that isn’t designed to run forever, it’s designed to run for exactly 102 issues. Period. Ever.

And submissions for any given issue will never really close (until some point a while beyond the last one) on any given issue–if a year from now someone wants to submit to the first issue, they could. And would even be encouraged to do so. It really circumvents a lot of traditional notions of publishing, which I like.

So what I’m looking for is a design that will scale to allow maybe as few as 2 and as many as, oh, gosh, maybe 50(??) pieces per issue, and have navigation that grows as the number of issues grows. I want to release the “great ideas” one at a time, over the course of 102 months or 102 bi-months, rather than list them all as forthcoming. So that aspect of the navigation will need to scale a bit too.

I think I want to call it “Respond” but I’m not sold on that 100%. I don’t want to call it Synopticon, I don’t think, but I may want to reference the history of it somewhere. Ideally, though, I’d want that information to be known as a kind of spoiler–if people want to know, I guess I have to say the ideas aren’t my own, but I don’t want people looking ahead to see what’s coming if I can avoid it. I want it to be a regular and ongoing process of prompt and response–because the whole Big Point is artists responding to these abstract
concepts–which is a) what artists are really good at and b) what other humans turn to artists FOR.

I’d need the design in advance of the first call for submissions, because I need to decide on what the exact file specifications are going to be, and I don’t want to compromise the design decisions by making up some random set of specs that have to be designed around. I have the ability (and I want to exercise this ability for ease of administration) to dictate file type and size in absolute uncompromising terms, but have no particular prior preference for any given size or aspect ratio or anything like that. I’m guessing a thumbnails and pop-up full-sized images is a workable concept, but if there’s some other schema that makes more sense I’m totally open to anything that looks good and is easy to admin once it’s built.

Does this sound like something you’d be interested in? What I’m proposing is that if you can design it and host it, I’ll do all the editorial and promotion work and the upkeep. Once the design and interface are in place, it should be a really low-impact project for us both, relatively speaking–a lot of bang for the effort-buck.

I genuinely believe this can be a hugely successful project. Like, cover story international coverage successful. It is calling vispo to do what it does best, and calling on all kinds of artists to give
people what people want from them–help in understanding these great abstract ideas. And the web is the perfect place for it. And the publishing innovation of every issue remaining open keeps it from
getting stale, and will allow momentum to grow in really exciting ways.

Exercises in Creativity #6

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

Creativity is often more about the process than any specific result, or an orientation towards new ways of approaching things if you will. While we may start out intending to achieve something in particular, the lessons we learn along the way have the power to transform our whole way of thinking and subsequently being. When we seek out creativity, we open ourselves up to a multiplicity of new ideas and experiences.

This post is not particularly a specific Free Idea Factory idea, but rather a gateway to perhaps producing some new Free Idea Factory ideas and finding appropriate applications for them.

While doing some online research, I came across a great collection of Free Creative Thinking Tools, compiled by Chuck Frey of The list of links to these tools can be found here.They are free and include downloadable text-based tools and web-based creativity tools.

An example of one of the tools listed is Jump Start. This online tool, provided by Idea Champions, first asks you to state your problem or challenge. Next, it generates a list of random adjectives, and inserts them into questions to help you to generate fresh ideas and insights (example: “What insights or ideas about my challenge do I get from the word ‘unbreakable?’”). Next, Jump Start asks you to record the underlying principle that is embodied in your favorite idea from the previous step. It also asks you to record any new, actionable ideas are sparked by this underlying principle. Finally, this online tool asks you to enter the subject, e-mail address and name of someone to whom you’d like to send your new idea — someone whose support and collaboration you need to help make the idea a reality.

Crayon Art

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

A juried art exhibit of crayon art produced by fine artists. Could be done either as an “open” project where artists could submit any kind of work, or, could be fun to limit it to actually coloring pages from a coloring book.

Photo Exhibit

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

A series of photographs that are portraits of people holding placards which they’ve hand-lettered with the worst criticism or insult ever leveled against them.

artists’ trading cards

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

i know these already exist, i’ve heard of them but have never been part of any group that has exchanged them. the idea is to make cards, much like baseball or hockey cards, except for poetry or other art forms and then trade them. i’d love to give out and receive them. any links to such would be very welcome or if you do them already.