Archive for the ‘Web-Based Projects’ Category

unfinished stories

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

A website where people can send unfinished stories and make them freely available for others to complete.

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.

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.

Social Website Responsibility Watch Group

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

I have recently been hearing some pretty concerning things about how some popular Social Websites can use your private information. I think having a Social Responsibility Watch Group would be a great service to general Social Website consumers.

I realize that there is an individual responsibility on the part of the consumer to agree with these Social Websites terms and conditions and privacy policies. But sometimes they change and we may not keep up on them like we should, we may have been less aware of the importance of these policies, or misunderstood them.

Having a group that would monitor and report problems with how your identities and information are managed on popular Social Websites would be something I would be interested in.

Here are some links about popular Social Websites, that I found disturbing:

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.

bARTer system

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

The bARTer system would allow artists to exchange their art for products or services offered by individuals or businesses who are willing to barter for their goods or services. The web has faciliated many barter sites, this one would model itself on those, but limit itself to those able to offer art and those willing to accept art as barter.

Trade a painting for some plumbing work. Water plants for a week and be paid with a watercolor. You need a root canal…a dentist in your area needs a sculpture for her entryway, the bARTer system is here to help.

The Interconnected Web of Meaning-Making

Monday, October 13th, 2008

This is an email from a while back where I was proposing a collaborative project to someone. The project never bloomed between us.

A long while ago I told you I was thinking about a project that required as much conceptual design help as coding help (though it needs both). I’ve been occasionally making notes towards explaining that concept ever since. Here’s what I’ve got so far. Read through when you have a chance and let me know any thoughts or questions you might have. This is not a small project, and has no deadline.

It’s like a blog, only it isn’t.

It’s comprised of an ongoing aggregation of new material, but it isn’t sorted chronologically, and it isn’t sorted by category, and it isn’t unsorted.

It isn’t random.

It’s isn’t about a zeitgiest sort of gathering together of the random, either (which is what I think Jim’s [that’s Jim Andrews] dbCinema does).

It is about connections between things, and thus its shape should help identify those connections, but, without pre-determining those connections.

It’s like a Poincare map of what I know.

Content granules could be text, images, links, images, code, embedded video, just about anything. I can format them however the coded presentation needs, but I should be able to just drop them in a directory somewhere and have them be assimilated into the whole.

I want each visit to the place to be a unique presentation of the material, but, not a random presentation of the material. It should dance. It can compile nightly rather than change per load.

Much of it will be zen or aphoristic in nature–like for example, near my house they recently tore down a McDonald’s restaurant, and built a new one right next door to where it used to be. I don’t know what this
means. But I hope that it adds up to something when placed alongside, within, among, other points of observations this-myself has made/will make.

I don’t really want people to be able to direct their own way through the material, but, they should be able to control their pace of ingestion.

Things can overlap. Things should overlap. Things do overlap. Blend. Mix. Misinform each other.

Carolyn Forche has said that as a species, we may be losing the ability for sustained contemplation. For a long time that bothered me and I worked against it, trying to find ways to hold attentions long enough to initiate and sustain contemplation. Now I think that it’s a given, and there’s no need to fear it, instead, as an artist, I want to embrace it and see where it goes–because it IS the current and future reality. There is no putting the genie back in the bottle. So, what happens if we say things are moving too fast for contemplation, what does that mean for cognition? Cognition doesn’t stop, it adapts, it improvises, it overcomes. Meaning-making doesn’t cease because contemplation has become impossible. Meaning-making continues in new ways. I want to explore the limits of those ways, and I do not believe it is the readers job to make all the meaning.

What I love about your snow pieces recently is that they say, by consistent method of transformation, something about vision and atmosphere by using letterforms. I want the structure of this project to say something about how the meaning I take from the world translates into the meaning made from it by others. It’s not random, it’s not specified by me, it’s a transaction between more than just reader and writer, it’s an ongoing and fluid complex and variously-weighted interaction between us all.

I don’t know how these things I want to put in here are connected, but they are, and the way is not arbitrary. In a way it feels like I’m asking you to help find the meaning in my life’s observations. In a
way, I am. What I want to do is what a lot of artists want to do, I want to find a way to make the particulars of my experience function as metaphor for the experiences of others.

Maybe a thousand different random methods of organization–a random of randomness against which the pattern of experience could differentiate itself from the random. I don’t know. And that’s sort of the point.

This is really philosophical as much as programmatical.

How do you make meaning in your life? This is what a content presentation schema should emulate.

I don’t want people to be able to comment directly, like with the current blog paradigm, but, I would like for there to be a way that what’s built can be used by others in a way that is connective but a way that fosters creative connection rather than vapidity. You can comment by participating in a meaningful fashion only. By adding to the overall ball of meaning.

I’m picturing what one artist creates as a sphere that is expanding outward with each added data point. Another artist might wish to take something within that sphere as a departure point or connective tissue
to their own expanding sphere. The interface should allow this kind of appropriation, but, also require that they take more than they bargained for, more than they asked for, more than they wanted. To take any given unit of information, they should have to also take hunks of connective tissues and the units of information most immediately connected. Because information is like that. There are no facts in isolation, there are no meanings in isolation, there is always context, and we don’t control all of the context of the words we use. Thus, a user browsing their own sphere will come in contact with material they themselves may not have seen.

The world can be both non-random and meaningless.

I don’t intend for this to “work” with other existing blogging paradigms. In fact, I’d like for it to specifically NOT work with existing blogging paradigms. I would like for links TO it to be redirected away from it if they’re not OF it, not from others within the “closed” system. But, others should be able to freely and easily set up their own ball of interconnected data points.

Usernames are assigned numbers. Passwords are assigned, unbreakably huge and impossible to remember. I want to avoid the ability to personalize on any level OUTSIDE the actual content.

All for now, more as it develops inside my head.


Digital Ephemera

Saturday, July 12th, 2008

A while back I read this quote from web artist Dene Grigar:

My current topic of interest is ephemera..that is, I am fascinated with objects that are made in the moment without the goal of archiving or sustaining them in any way.

and have been ruminating on it off and on for a while; I’m really interested in this notion as well.

It ties into a lot of other things that interest me, in some very tantalizing ways.

The problem of perfect infinite copyability has made certain types of product a challenge to sell. Take music for example. I’m sure you’re are of the core meltdown going on in that industry due to the fact of perfect infinite copyability of digital music files. Prince did something very interesting, I thought–and it pissed off his label (which leads me to believe he’s onto something). He made a deal with a UK newspaper. They paid him millions of dollars to put a copy of his latest CD in every copy of a certain Sunday’s paper. What makes this lovely is it recognizes the fact that the CD itself isn’t what has value anymore, it’s the right to be the SEED, the first instance after which all the copies are made. OK, so there’s that.

Then there’s this issue of the problem of selling digital art in a gallery setting. What is being sold if there’s infinite perfect copyability? Here’s a fun response to that. There’s a guy who writes short stories. After he has one finished he destroys all drafts, prints out one copy, deletes the file, puts the one copy in a bottle and seals the bottle. He then sells them as art objects with a full explanation of the provenance of the object that indicates that the story enclosed is the One and Only copy in existence. To read it, you have to break the seal, and thus the object that indicates that the story enclosed is the One and Only copy in existence. To read it, you have to break the seal, and thus create another copy (in the readers mind) and the CHANCE for infinite copies to be made. The chain of provenance is broken. So as the purchaser of the art, you can EITHER possess the unique object, or, read the story, but not both.

William Gibson supposedly issued a short story on floppy that when the file was executed it scrolled the story by on a screen once, and once only, and then deleted itself from the floppy.

In a way, all performance art is ephemeral, and, it may also be true that all ephemeral art is performance art.

I do a lot of mail art. Mail art is wild. Anything is possible. No rules, anyone can play, what you get may be outstanding or total shite. Often I get back in the mail things that have taken something I sent and cut it up and re-worked it into something else. Talk about forcing you to lose your sense of ownership of your own art, wow. But, it also is a freeing thing, you send it out there, and let it go, and it lives its own life absolutely out of your control.

So, with all that backstory in mind, what that statement makes me think of is a digital installation in which nothing is archived. Every time you visit it’s different, and there’s NO way to see what came previously, and, no way to see what is happening right after your visit…no repeated refreshing, you have to wait a day, maybe. A lot of search engine art is dynamic enough, certainly. Jim Andrews’s dbcinema has a lot of the features I can imagine. Ideally, in my mind, it would be like a set of wind chimes that a visitor can brush with their hands to affect, and can maybe get a hint of the hand that brushed before them and a whisper of the hand after, but no more. I’ve seen the value of pi converted to a melody. What if viewers could modulate tempo of it in a way that was elastic, rubber bandy.

What’s that line–you can never step into the same river twice? Like that. Make the river, let people feel it on their calves. That’s a piece I’d love to be involved with making.

list databases

Thursday, July 3rd, 2008

this morning i wanted to find a list of novels with rain in them; at other times, i’ve wanted to find contemporary third person omniscient novels. when you google stuff like that, you often get a hodge podge of irrelevant info. i’d like to see a database where anyone could add info based on a list of categories both already on the site and new ones added by participants. a bit like wikipedia but for lists.

Independent Artist Portal

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008

Been looking recently for a site that does what I want to do and am finding a few things that are close, but none that are spot-on what I think would be ideal for both artists and the business built to serve them.

The closest is, but they miss the mark on a couple of fronts. First, they’re expensive. Second, their model doesn’t incentive the artists to generate content for the site (what I mean is, the artist gets paid the same regardless of how much material they contribute to the “share” portion of the program–if they put up one photo a month they get paid the same as making a daily audio, video, and textual progress report). Third, they don’t allow for a monthly subscription option. But other than that, I like the general look/feel and functionality (horizontal timeline; allows for audio, video, image, and text content uploads; fan base communication tools).

I first heard about Kevin Kelly’s notion of “1,000 true fans” from Will Wheaton’s blog. Will, being a writer, makes a good point that the first obstacle to the idea that 1,000 fans x $100 per year = $100,000 in income is that he’s not sure he could even create $100 worth of material a year even if he had 1,000 true fans.

Would you pay $8.33 per month to follow a favorite artist’s progress from conception to completion? Over 12 months, that’d be $100. Using the “1,000 true fans” formula, that’d make for a pretty decent income for the artist.

Other “fan-funded” sites (do a web search on “fan funded” and you’ll find them all) seem to exist to help fund projects before the project is begun. You propose a project and if enough people are interested in seeing it completed to contribute, the project happens…but only after the fact of being fully funded. And then shares of the returns are disbursed among the “investors”. I’m talking NOT about pre-funding projects that don’t yet exist. I’m talking about documenting projects as they happen and providing a content-stream of sufficiently rich material that its worth subscribing to.

The monthly subscription angle would incentive participating artists to keep making new content available in the progress of the project, because subscribers would be able to unsubscribe, and resubscribe later, but only ever have access to the months they subscribed to, so it would be very much in their best interest to make each and every month loaded with content.

There could be zero up front cost for the artists (because they’re so heavily incentived to generate content), and the service could simply take a percentage (10%?) of the subscription fees as they’re paid.

If someone wants to code this puppy up, I’d be more than willing to beta test.