Monday, January 26, 2015

movie notes : Interstellar

The future has incredible disappointing robots. Metal cereal boxes that wobble
Cap'n Crunch box has very similar proportions to the robots in Interstellar

Star Wars WobbleBot
spoilers below

Sunday, December 21, 2014

losing perspective on Futurama

From the Futurama episode A Taste of Freedom (season 5 episode4) :

Did the Decapodians have a secret anti-perspective weapon or maybe a shrink ray is involved?

In this cross-section, the DOOP's (Democratic Order of Planets) Nimbus appears to have 14 levels.

Here, the same section of the Nimbus as seen just before it crashes to Earth with cloud of smoke after having apparently shrunk to the size of a Central Park tree (well, the size of the canopy of a Central Park tree). All the while, buildings with fewer than 14 stories loom in the background.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Book Notes : Hitler's Willing Excutioneers by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen

endnote book note 
Hitler's Willing Excutioneers by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen p506 footnote 95 
Mosse, in "From 'Schutzjuden' to "deutsche Staatsburger J├╝deischen Glaubens,'" Writes that during the 1880s and 1890s, "there can be little doubt that without [the state's] neutrality and [its] maintenance of law and order, where necessary by force, a wave of pogroms would have swept Germany with incalculable results"' (p90). For a vivid account of a man bursting to assault Jews physicall, but who was restrained by the limits imposed by the state, see Erich Goldhagen, "The Mad Count : A Forgotten Portent of the Holocaust," Midstream 22, no 2 (Feb 1976). Goldhagen writes "Mere words, however, did not satisfy the Count – he thirsted for action. But the pleasure of striking at Jews physicaly was denied to him by the Imperial Government which, while condoning barking against Jews, would not tolerate the beating of them. Count Pueckler, therefore, chose to vent his passions through make-believe gestures. At the head of a troop of mounted peasants, whom he had especially arrayed for the occasions, and to the fanfare of trumpets, he would lead cavalry charges against imaginary Jews, striking them down and trampling them under foot. It was a spectacle affording a psychic equivalent for murder. It was also a remarkable prefigurement of the FinalSolution" p61-62

Sometimes we presume people are rational beings and think there must be some logic or reason behind things but sometimes people are just nuts.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Chuck Close at work part 2

(see also the post Chuck Close at work part 1 that showed the process of his post-photorealistic, prismatic grid work)

 Painting of John 1971-72 progression of various sections of the painting. The painting's size is 100 x 90 inches (8' 6" x 7' 6")
from Chuck Close Work page 78

 Chuck Close painting Mark 1978-79 (108 x 84 inches or 9 x 7 feet)
from Chuck Close Work page 86

Notice the 5 reference photos : magenta color separation, cyan color separation, then magenta+cyan color separation so he can check his progress, yellow color separations and magenta+cyan+yellow (the full color photo).

Chuck Close's approach to photorealistic painting is not what I expected. To achieve a slick photorealistic you pretty much have to approach it from a strict mechanical process but this wasn't what I expected. But it seems like a sensible approach : simplification and the use of technology.

He appears to begin, from top to bottom dividing the image into sections. A section is then painted from the magenta separation and once that is done that section is painted from the cyan separation with the magenta+cyan proof as an added reference. Then the section is painted guided by yellow separation. Only once the section is completed does he move on to another section

By painting one color at a time he is essentially doing 3 monochrome paintings albeit the second and third are atop a previous painting. Copying each color separation and using the magenta+cyan reference photos he reduces the problems of mixing colors correctly and consistently. Instead, he only has to do faithfully copy each color separation using a selection of values from light to dark of only a single color and the final color should come out correct.

Personally, I prefer his later "prismatic grid" works. Once you've seen a couple giant portraits they lose their uniqueness. They become enlarged photos. Photos enlarged by a very time consuming mechanical process like Chuck Close is an Epson printer. That is the point some might say but …

Pictures from the book Chuck Close Work by Christopher Finch (2010).

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Preserve history! No, not that history.


Clip from Secrets of Althorp - The Spencers (2013) :
Narrator : What you see now is an illusion designed to look like grey brick. The exterior is made up of 106,000 thin clay tiles, called mathematical tiles. But centuries of wet English weather wreaked havoc with this outer shell

Jan Bialek (Althorp Building Manager) : Originally, the mathematical tiles were fixed on a quite think lime mortar bed. And then iron nails would be fixed through the holes that are in there and the nails went through the lime mortar and into the red brick. The problem with the nails is that they are iron nails and they rust. And there's no secure fixing to the tiles. So the tiles are gradually coming loose and moving away
Narrator : The Earl embarked on a massive renovation project . A new lead roof and secure fixings for every tile on the walls.
Jan Bialek (Althorp Building Manager) : one or two people have asked "well, why didn't you restore it back to its original red brick?" Physically, it couldn't be done because the red brick was damaged behind.
Narrator : And there was another problem. Althorp's historical importance means that the house is protected by England's strict national heritage rules and regulations. The Earl would not have been allowed to strip the unique fa├žade away from the building. …
"We must preserve history! But no, not that history." I suspect it is less about an interest in history and more about a dislike of change or a need for someone to boss people around.

(to whoever might be interested , the clip continues and explains how they fixed the mathematical tiles in place)