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Patrick Tierney (M, 32)
Princeton, US
Immortal since Oct 7, 2007
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    Expanding on my previous writing and research, the next phase of the tracing project was to give substance to the immaterial world of data, date flow, and stored information. I thought the most empathetic solution was to focus on bots moving through data, and to trace out their paths. As these bots roam through the data scape by accessing and interpreting data, their paths in my program grow and branch. Each bot moves through data searching for words, phrases, images, questions, and exclamatory sentences. When a bot find a portion of data that is relevant, it marks the location in its path with a node.

    The aesthetics of the space shifted gradually through the development. I had to balance between aesthetic embellishment and accurately representing the movement of these bots through data. Fundamentally, the space is created by tracing bot movement, and therefore accuracy had to be valued above all else. This shifted my forms away from the dense web imaged and towards simple lines. However with continued development I believe this program can yield a space that reveals more about these data scapes that are so fundamental to our lives.

    Download:
    Mac OS X
    Windows XP

    prototype_01 I initially wanted a dense woven pattern of bot movement.


    prototype_02 The first mock bots: fictitious data sets represented by my program.


    prototype_03 A web of mock bots.


    prototype_04-07 The first instance of a multitude of real web crawlers moving through the space.


    prototype_08-09 As my prototype developed, I wanted better ways to visually cue the viewer to the changes in the bot's movements. I experimented with node shape and color.


    prototype_10 I ultimately settled on a line-dominant representation with the background subtly cueing you to the bot's movements.


    If you want to explore more spaces, here are some of the prototypes:
    Prototype_01:
    Mac OS X
    Windows - coming soon

    Wed, Mar 19, 2008  Permanent link

    Sent to project: Emergence and Navigating Space
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    Tue, Mar 18, 2008  Permanent link

    Sent to project: Emergence and Navigating Space, Polytopia
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    I did a presentation on Genetic Algorithms for programming media I several weeks ago in the pecha kucha style and it turned out pretty well. In keeping with the idea, I'm going to write the descriptions to these images in 20 seconds per slide to give you a brief overview on the subject. EDIT: I had to have myself 40 seconds per slide... I type much slower than I talk.

    Ok this slide pretty much describe the whole process; you have a bunch of bots/ virtual creatures, they mate, they are judged on their fitness, and they are eventually killed, it's just like life / Darwinism which is was basedThis diagrams exactly how it happens, 1 you have a GOAL, that is what drives the whole process, 2 you select ones that are closer to the goal, 3 breed them and select their offspring leading to a GRADUAL changeYou can use these genetic algorithms to breed/develop all sourts of things from virtual creatures (Calrl Sims), to
    paths, to placements of chess boards to the fractal patters in the backgroundThis figures shows why you need to select digital organisms/ things that are not perfect or even remotely perfect ( freaks). they may, even though they are different, have that hidden key things that leads you to the goalThis is from the Electric Sheep project, and shows how this concept of genetic breeding works great for aesthetic things when you harness the internet and have millions of people voting, to replace your evaluative algorithmsA fun picture illustrating how you must must must rate fitness. you have to choose what's good and what's bad, or else it wont work. algorithms that separate the good from the bad are much of the hard partTo show the power of this technique a computer scientist set a herd of virtual, replicating bots on his computer and before long there were creatures who were half the size theorized possible moving around, who had evolved innovations unknown. This illustrates the phenomenon of falling in a ditch so to speak. your goal is on the hill , but here's a dip, so any new creatures are less fit by moving towards the goal, so you end up with a bunch on non fitsThis image is from the electric sheep project. All of these images were created by people voting on algorithms they though were appealing. The most fit ones (judged by votes) survived and mated.
    Tue, Mar 18, 2008  Permanent link

    Sent to project: Emergence and Navigating Space
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    Pictures from the high quality print of my project
    Mon, Feb 11, 2008  Permanent link

    Sent to project: Emergence and Navigating Space
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    This program uses a simple algorithm that starts with two large lines and performs one of six actions on them: changing direction, shifting the path up or down, rotating once, rotating over a period, duplication, or changing the width. After any line performs an operation, the line spawns secondary lines, which in turn spawn tertiary lines, and the process continues until the total lines passes a threshold.

    Thu, Jan 31, 2008  Permanent link

    Sent to project: Emergence and Navigating Space
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    Imagine an alien, Fox once said, who's come here to identify the
    planet's dominant form of intelligence. The alien has a look, then chooses.
    What do you think he picks? I probably shrugged. The zaibatsus, Fox said,
    the multinationals. The blood of a zaibatsu is information, not people. The
    structure is independent of the individual lives that comprise it.
    Corporation as life form. Not the Edge lecture again, I said
    - From William Gibson's "New Rose Hotel"


    If we were to represent a Corporation, computer program, or network graphically, the most most common way is to depict its blood: the individual nodes that comprise it, the connections, and the information flowing through it. Like an x-ray or CAT scan of the organism, this method depicts the internal structures accurately. However, how do you depict the movement of this organism?

    The first step would be to define the space it inhabits. We define our dimensions as degrees of movement, which also happens to be all that is needed to acurately describe our unique position. True, non-organic life exists in the same 4 (3 spacial, 1 temporal) dimensions as us, though these values have little meaning to it since its degree of movement are different. To show it moving would be to show the changes in each of its degrees of freedom: the number of nodes, the number of connection, information flow, influence, etc.

    The video video above was created charting random data, but could be applied to any number of non-organic organisms.
    Mon, Jan 28, 2008  Permanent link

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    Doing research on a school I stumbled on an older part of their website that seemed to contradict their current school message (sorry for the lack of details, but I dont want to offend the particular school). Suffice it to say it got me thinking about another way scan the internet.

    The traditional way is to follow links. Start at a site, and crawl your way outwards. It's efficient and charts how most people explore the web. However, what if you moved from website to website like a password cracker, trying reasonable combinations of directory name or html file names. It would take a while and the bots may get banned from a few website, but it would give you a picture of the unlinked Internet. I would be really excited to see the results. What do people keep hidden? What seedy back alleys exist that no outsiders are meant to see?

    Thu, Jan 17, 2008  Permanent link
    Categories: internet, bots
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    Peter Eisenman's work has been described as a critique of and by calculations. Many of his forms required substantial calculations and analysis of the site: the topology, the history, the environment, the circulation, stacking procedures and space filling. Ultimately though, none of these calculations directly contributed to his final form. He in now way directly used his studies to find solutions or to create a more appropriate or efficient form. Do all calculations have to have a clear purpose, or can they just raise questions, inspire, and look good?


    What if we lived in space like this? What would it look like inside?
    Is there space inside this structure?
    I propose to create an environment out of lines and calculations. Each calculation will form a part of the environment, but it will in no way influence it's overall look, improve its efficiency. My hope is that some processes will yield to interesting spaces.

    These are some of the structures that will form the environment. They are based off of very simple rules of lines: bending, twisting, looping, boxing, kinking, spiraling, phase-shifting, copying, splitting, branching, forking, shrinking, growing, expanding to a plane, or becoming a tunnel. An algorithm, working over many iterations, will take lines of dimension 1 and shift them to dimension_ .
    Wed, Jan 16, 2008  Permanent link

    Sent to project: Emergence and Navigating Space
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    I present in this post two pictures of the Internet. Both depict data and the inherently invisible connections and transmissions of data that make up the Internet. The first picture has a strict depiction of the internet, a literal road map of connections. Unfortunately, I feel the map is like a cross section of a building that strips the space of any cinematic experience. Data Flow captures the atmosphere and excitement of the internet, it's more art that is a lie to tell the truth.

    Social Network Fragments

    Below is a picture from Social Network Fragments, a project done by MIT's the Sociable Media Group. The project charts connects between people on emails, contacts, and subscriptions to listgroups. The broad view on the top shows that the internet is actually quite tribal, that is people tend to form dense connections between their closest friends, and few connections between clusters. Looking closer you can see the complexity of each cluster.

    I feel like when we navigate pages on the internet we're like birds in a flock, we only see the pages we've navigated to in the last 24 hours, it's hard to grasp the immensity of the place, which this does well.





    Data Flow

    Data Flow, a project by D-Fuse, also depicts the data of the internet, or rather it draws its influences from it. "The work explores and traces the hidden data that exists on the internet and the invisible nature of these elements", as a video of the project shows.

    Tue, Jan 8, 2008  Permanent link

    Sent to project: Emergence and Navigating Space
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    In honor of this year's Fractal Art contest I've decided to post about my experiences learning how to program fractals from one of Clifford Pickover's books on the subject.

    I was initially struck how most fractals have a purely 2D output. In a sentence: you choose particular equation and chart the results of it on a real vs imaginary Cartesian plane and if you choose the right equations and limit said equations to the right values and you assign colors to right values, interesting pictures emerge. Yes, there is a lot of work involved, but the process is primarily about exploring mathematical equations. Fractal artists are more explorers than anything.

    As I am most interested in 3D programming, Mandelbrot and Julia fractals are of less interest. However there are there types of fractals which are more useful, primarily because they work with objects rather than pixels. EDIT: I've recently discovered Quaternionic fractals, which create 3D fractals in Julia/Mandelbrot manner.

    Branching
    Interesting results emerge when you specify when and how a path or object should change its path or sprout new buds, tendrils, etc.











    Tessellation Automata
    TA requires that you define a grid (in 2 or 3 dimensions) and populate it with several objects (usually pixels). With each cycle of a program you determine if a pixel will give rise to offspring or die.










    Packing
    With packing you simply define an area and begin filling it randomly with objects so that every object must be as large as it possible can. As the space fills up, you the objects become smaller.

    All of these work in 3D, and occur in nature.
    Thu, Jan 3, 2008  Permanent link

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