Making an exhibition of myself

Just a quick note to say that my “Immobile Phone” is being exhibited here in Pontypool in a group show at the Museum.

Instead of being able to use the phone as a phone over the Internet, which museum would not like, I have used the webcam in it to show motion of viewers.
Here is the poster for the show, if you wanna come along to private view tmrw evening then I got a few invites left, contact me.


Chaos engine feb 03

Yep, I had the idea a few years ago to do a real world analogue of the three body problem. Kinda solved by poincare the foundation of chaos.
Chaos is the

apparent order, in nature for example, how simple rules can give chaos thru iteration, and how that chaos can generate beautiful things suchas the Mandelbrot set.
My engine will move chaotically but will hopefully generate beautiful fractals. Should be good.
I’m part of a groupshow from Friday for a couple of months, if you can come to the opening night, this Friday, 5 – 8 ish then drop me a line… Free wine!

Iphone wordpress app

Just finished semester one of my final year.
With it being a purely digital hand in I was far too concious that my work usually is on scraps of paper or swimming round my head and I don’t think that it reflected half of the work I pit in.
So I’m gonna blog more process as I head to the final show. I’m decided on the chaos engine, today i tried some web cams for tracking and they couldn’t keep up with the pendulum movement… But the dv video camera gave heaps better frame rate. Phew.
Also worked today with Jon on clients member app, identified measurement adjustments and discussed “how to” video options.
Meeting with marketing fella yesterday demonstrates clients lack of tech knowledge, why do peeps think that apps are always running or that anyone is gonna put up with Bluetooth power drain.
Mmm, apart from lack of sideways for bigger keyboard on this app, it has enabled me to blog quite easily.
Can I add photos etc?

new year peddlers

Happy new year
I was trying to give up smoking and have already failed coz of the bloody religion peddlers knocking door to door this morning.
Yes, i was rude, yes i was angry and yes i told ’em to go away before they could say even Jehovah.
so one resolution dies a quick death but at least it made me keep another by doing this blog.
May your god, or lack of one go with you, just leave me out.
cheers and seasons (Winter) greetings, gs

The ‘C’ word, don’t say it.


A few years ago I did a series of blogs about swearing and slang on myspace they are at a, b, c, d, e, f, g, h, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, p, q, r, s, t, u, v, w, x, y, z and numbers if you would like to read any of them, my faves are C & N.

But the ‘C’ word that is not allowed in my house at the moment is the one that happens on 25th December. My kids started going on about the mid winter Christian spend festival way back in September and so to free myself of constant annoyance i banned the word completely.

I told them that each time i hear the word they would have 1 present less on the day – mean but needed i reckon. Then last weekend my 6 year old daughter, MDS, fashioned a wall scoring chart to keep track of offenders.

Don't say the C word!

Don't say the C word!

My son doesn’t quite understand and already has heaps of lines against his name, i’ve decided he should become a Hindu so he can celebrate Diwali and receive a few gifts this winter. Check out the pencil that MDS insists be close to the chart, she has decided that an eraser should not be nearby in case people cheat. bloody genius that girl is!

Yes it is a little cruel of me to ban a word that tingles with excitement for my kids but I’m just like that.


Critical Paper, like a dissertation but smaller.

As part of the 3rd year in Interactive Media degree course at UWN we have to submit a 4000 to 5000 word critical paper that supports or is at least relevant to your final major project (FMP). This will be due at 4pm, Wednesday 26th January 2011.

In the second year as a warm up for this critical paper we were tasked with a literature review, mine was on the perceived difference between science and art, the full text is at if you would like to have a look at it. It concluded that Art & Science are not separate cultures and that they improve and extend each other where they overlap.

My idea for the crit paper is to question “beauty”. In maths, equations and theories have been described as having beauty, Bertrand Russell said “Mathematics possesses not only truth, but also supreme beauty”. Science too has a strange attraction (fractal joke there) to beauty; Paul Dirac , one of the founders/formalisers of Quantum mechanics said “It is more important to have beauty in one’s equations than to have them fit experiment” and he also at the age of 78 said that he was always searching for “pretty mathematics”. Conversely Art has turned it’s back on beauty, probably since Duchamp’s “Fountain” and certainly in contemporary art, the Sensation show and other art is more concerned in shock and awe than pretty and pleasing. (note to self: Front Row on radio 4 Friday at 7.15 doing a special on contemporary art scene)

Even as i write this idea I’m getting worried that beauty is so subjective that its gonna be a slippery fish to get a hold of.

“The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives. ”
Albert Einstein

Another idea i am toying with is about the quality of line, ‘great’ artists have great lines but what about the line of code that creates stunning images or great art such as the very simple algorithm that creates fractals? Are the different types of lines of equal worth? Why is art that is created with electronics and computers treated as less ‘worthy’ than a brush stroke?

more questions to ponder, any ideas out there?

The Chaos Engine

Chaos mathematics is great! Its in nature, fractals, markets, pretty much everything. It was “discovered” by Henri Poincare in the 19th century as a response to the 3 body problem.

The basic problem is too see if a system of three bodies, Sun, Earth & Moon say, are in a stable orbit. What Poincare discovered was the effects of chaos, specifically the importance of starting position. Through repeating a simple math function, iteration, you can create amazingly complex pictures and unpredictable results like:

Benoit Mandelbrot (20 November 1924 to  14 October 2010) was central in recognising the similarity of problem between getting the size of a cloud, the length of the UK coast, galaxy formation and many others.

The final major project idea is to build a 3 body problem so that can be seen in a tactile real world setting, as well as the java/flash other versions. here’s the lego prototype: Chaos Engine - Lego Prototype

Using lego for the structure i have suspended a pendulum made of play magnetic bars, swinging above two towers of reversed polarity magnets to provide a repellent magnetic force to mimic the forces of gravity in the original 3 body problem. Although these are repellent if you have it as attractive the magnetic attraction forces completely outweighs gravity and the pendulum just points at whatever magnet catches it first. A bigger version would get around this as the mass of the pendulum increases… but why dont i just get weaker magnets? hmm must think on this.

But after the success of the lego prototype, I eventually remembered that I had a tripod in the attic so i could upscale a bit. More magnet bars and off we go, there is audio for this video but very quiet due to my camera.

The tripod has a hole through it, hollow for easy webcam access maybe? I’ve got to find a well balanced way to hang the pendulum off the tripod, hopefully with a few cms of space for the webcam to get a good image. the pendulum itself should be reliable without interference to act as a proper pendulum, the periodicity of a pendulum is proportional to its length, regardless of its weight.

The collection of toy mag-rods needs to be replaced with something better, 1/4 inch iron rod? need to check with Matt & Wayne in the fabrication about best material. Kim in the electronics lab has a variable resistor thang that i can affect the mag force both repellent and repulsive.

I hope to map the movements of the chaos engine using flash (probly), a red ball at the end of the pendulum to create a fractal image as it moves thru space. could even charge punters to pay for there own one.

how long is the swing in seconds?
How good is a 2 minute image?

questions, questions,

thanks for reading, apologies if you were looking for answers.