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Peter Crnokrak (M)
London, UK
Immortal since Sep 4, 2009
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The Luxury of Protest
The Luxury of Protest is the nom de guerre of London based designer and artist, Peter Crnokrak. Projects are concept driven and utilize design language to communicate meaning in complex systems. The practice is a continual crossover between art, design and new technologies with work that addresses culturally relevant themes including geopolitics, generative aesthetics and the integration of science and art.
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    From Wildcat
    Beauty Is A Restless Entity
    From TheLuxuryofProtest
    Visualizing Mathematics
    Now playing SpaceCollective
    Where forward thinking terrestrials share ideas and information about the state of the species, their planet and the universe, living the lives of science fiction. Introduction
    Featuring Powers of Ten by Charles and Ray Eames, based on an idea by Kees Boeke.
    Machine learning is forging new territory in the study of human neural impulses. Will it open the doors to a new paradigm of computing, or push us deeper into a quagmire of market-driven social engineering? [written by Stephen Marshall, co-founder ORA]


    | the holy hack |

    If you’re looking for zeitgeist Biblical metaphors for the tech sector, you can’t do much better than the Tower of Babel: Human civilization a hundred years after the Flood; monolingual and gathered in a city called Babel. They become possessed with the mission of building a tower to the heavens. Which they begin…

    Until their control-challenged sky God, understanding that humans are capable of anything with one unified language and a will for transcendence, curses them with dialects. (Full disclosure: I’m not Christian, but am a disciple of narrative.)

    5 But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. 6 The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”
    8 So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. 9 That is why it was called Babel — because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world.

    This is God as benevolent systems architect turned royalist hacker, dumping toxic malware onto the human social matrix.

    And we’re still living in it.

    Sure, wired humans have been united into a “global village” across shared social platforms in the new millennium. And while we have Twitter and Facebook to thank for the global reach of the Arab Spring, #EricGarner, and the Veronica Mars film project crowdfund, this is not a return to evolutionary Tower-building by an empowered world citizenry. Nor is this technology being developed to unchain us from the Holy hack by vanishing linguistic barriers.

    Quite the opposite. These platforms exist primarily (post-IPO) to service enterprises, institutions, and government agencies who place a premium on our written words.

    In the modern paradigm, companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Google are the primary beneficiaries of Babel. After all, it’s the machine-driven analytics of our words and their nuanced sentiments — which are used to compartmentalize, analyze, and ultimately engineer user behaviors — that make us the product that they sell to advertisers and other paying customers.

    In other words, they have a large incentive to maintain the Old Testament status quo because it bestows considerable insight. And power.

    | engineering contagion |

    Last year, a minor outrage erupted when members of Facebook’s Core Data Science Team published the report of a secret study on their users. The study, which manipulated News Feed displays of 700,000 people in order to test the impact of emotions on friend networks, proved that “emotional states can be transferred to others via emotional contagion, leading people to experience the same emotions without their awareness.”

    In total, over 3 million posts were analyzed, containing over 122 million words, 4 million of which were positive (3.6%) and 1.8 million negative (1.6%).

    The network effect of this contagion was studied, naturally, “via text-based computer-mediated communication” and was limited to English-speaking users.

    This is all made possible by sentiment analysis: the deployment of algorithms that mine text for meaningful signals about the writer. Now, as many people pointed out after the initial wave of (media-driven) indignation, sentiment analysis is still in its infancy. It’s neither accurate nor effective in helping artificial intelligence systems to learn and predict human behavior.

    But it won’t be that way for long.

    Facebook and Google are leading a new wave of R&D in the field of deep learning, an aspect of Artificial Intelligence (AI) research which MIT defines as:

    software [that] attempts to mimic the activity in layers of neurons in the neocortex, the wrinkly 80 percent of the brain where thinking occurs. The software learns, in a very real sense, to recognize patterns in digital representations of sounds, images, and other data.

    Over the past couple of years, Google has completed acquisitions of a few high-profile deep learning labs, including one run by Geoffrey Hinton who is widely considered, to quote WIRED, the “central figure in the deep learning movement.”

    Meanwhile, Facebook has created its own AI research lab, led by Jann LeCun, one of Hinton’s former employees, and the guy who taught computers how to read written numbers (early AI tech that is now licensed to banks for ATM check-scanning).

    Predictably, there’s been a backlash against the corporatization of these computer scientists. But there’s no point in blaming visionary geniuses like LeCun and Hinton. They’re being funded to code-replicate the human brain, which is a powerful enticement.

    The motivation for Silicon Valley’s C-suiters is less… romantic. Whatever their future aspirations, the foundation of Babel’s corporate revenue structure is still built on an old business model: “delivering relevant, cost-effective online advertising,” to quote a recent Google annual report. And whatever technological advances are made in the AI field will be subsidiary to those which advance the cause of their shareholders: which is profit.

    At least, if push came to shove.

    | conditional kingdoms |

    As CEO of the world’s largest social platform, Mark Zuckerberg has one prime directive from his shareholders: Expand your market base.

    So was it any surprise that the latest major PR narrative developed by his Sun Tzu-wielding strategists was to showcase his command of Mandarin to Chinese millennials? In learning an entirely new language to court his company’s largest unpenetrated market, Zuck proved he‘s not only the ultimate citizen of Babel…

    He’s officially the mayor.

    But his is a conditional kingdom. To keep the market happy, Zuck has to mine Facebook for everything byte of value it has. Which, in the current social network paradigm of text-based programming, means:

    Developing the most aggressive artificial intelligence (deep artificial neural nets) and proxy agents to track and tag our behavioral patterns while accurately projecting, and guiding, future impulses.

    Search and social network data scientists succeed by fragmenting and classifying us as individuals. They are the high priests of demographics and psychographics. But when their algorithms use our language to predict and direct our behavior before we, ourselves, have consciously made those choices, they cross the line into the zone of social engineering.

    With the accelerated development of computational technology that can process and analyze big data in unprecedented ways, this poses a heavy existential threat to human civilization. Because even if the current social networks have the best intentions for their communities, billions of dollars have been marked against the economies generated by mining and exploiting that data.

    And any diversion from those objectives would be ruthlessly punished by the market. This isn’t conspiracy theory, it’s market theory… 101.

    The tragic end of this story could well be of a group of brilliant technologists forced into a Faustian deal that ultimately takes the global communication platform once envisioned as evolutionary tech for our species and hijacking it for a myopic, profit-driven end-game.

    In short, like old Testament gods, their baser instincts could lead them to fuck with the natural order of things. Another civilizational hack.

    Which brings me back to the Bible.

    | a prophecy |

    There’s a little-known corollary to the Tower of Babel story. It comes at the other end of the Bible… thousands of years later, in the New Testament. Taking the form of a prophecy:

    Humankind is again gathered, “all in one place” when suddenly:

    …there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance… Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed… (Acts 2: 2-4; 6-7)

    Sticking with the zeitgeist Biblical-tech metaphor theme, this is a profound narrative arc that suggests the re-congregation of the divided tribes of Babel on a single (technological) platform. One with the potential to return us to our original vision and mission, of building a Tower out of this place:

    Our self-authored extinction algorithm.

    And companies like Facebook, Google, and Twitter may well represent that Tower-building potential. But we have to ask the question: does the DNA of a thing constrain its future iterations and utility? Put less symbolically, if these platforms profit through observing and tracking and engineering our behavior, can they simultaneously initiate in us the kind of “evolutionary moment” which is in some ways oppositional to the interests that they serve? Because the market isn’t interested in kumbaya technologies that liberate us from false desire and competition. You don’t need to be Jerry Seinfeld to know that.

    It thrives from, and exist for, those impulses.

    I have no doubt that Facebook acquired Oculus for the potential it has for humans to assemble virtually, post-linguistically, across space/time. The only question is whether they’ll neutralize its potential by gating it with Facebook connect and fortressing it into the confines of a system-controlled UX? Because evolution is anarchic.

    And that’s Pavlovian.

    I don’t have answers to the questions I am musing about here. I do have a lot of ideas about what a platform like Facebook could become if it moved beyond its linguistic limitations and toward a generative object-based system. (As I have written about elsewhere.)

    But I would like to suggest that the Tower of Babel is not a story of our past, but rather one of our future. The divine kibosh that the “Creator” put on our transcendent project wasn’t about killing our desire to be Gods. It was about seeding the ultimate narrative:

    A collective hero’s journey to reconnect as a human community despite the extreme trauma of our separation, and those who naturally find themselves in positions that exploit it.

    That’s what I call intelligent design.

    [Originally published on TechCrunch, now archived here with a better title and graphics.]
    Sat, May 9, 2015  Permanent link

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    What Need Angel is a synesthetic transcription of the brainwave response of a five year old boy while listening to music. The project aims to develop a systematic methodology that allows for primal biological experiences to be visualised to facilitate the understanding of the emotional responses to stimuli.

    The computational video uses dynamic particle animation segments that are woven together to form a seamless, though at times jarring, reflection of the music listening experience. Particle behaviours such as size, speed, colour and direction of movement are all determined by the user’s passive brainwave responses to music stimuli.

    The project was accomplished using a commercially available electroencephalograph headset that measures qualitative and quantitative changes in neural activity when a stimulus is experienced. The first session involved the recording of EEG responses to music in a darkened room. In a second session entirely devoid of music, the boy was exposed to a continuous array of visual stimuli such as solid colours, gradient colours and variably animated geometric shapes. The neural responses to the visual arrays that matched the EEG audio responses were used to devise an architecture for the visual transcription of the music experience. The key to the piece was devising a visual system who’s form and compositional dynamics matched the response to music.

    watch the video

    Music by Burial : Loner, Kindred, Hiders and Come Down To Us.

    Mon, Apr 27, 2015  Permanent link

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    how a set of visionary coders are primed to transform the web as we know it

    [by: Stephen Marshall]

    Carlota Perez, Centennial Professor at the London School of Economics, explains that technological revolutions occur when a highly interconnected and interdependent set of systems are disrupted and replaced by a technological evolution in such a way that it has the “capacity to transform profoundly the rest of the economy (and eventually society).”

    The Industrial Revolution of the late 18th century is a well-known technological revolution, driven by the innovation of manufacturing processes that enabled production on a mass scale. The Information/Telecommunications revolution of the late 20th and early 21st centuries, resulting from access to the internet and cellular phone technology is also a widely recognized tech revolution with massive societal impact.

    | tech rev 2.0 |

    Through my work with leading data scientists, systems engineers, and code/designers over the last three years, it has become clear that the next major technological paradigm disruption will attack the internet’s social platforms, which have become the dominant expression of personal, and enterprise, identity. These platforms, which were conceived as desktop applications and powered by text-based programming, have been ported into our mobile devices, but not adapted to the vast potential that mobile platforms offer us. Namely, object-based computational platforms which are generated by dynamic data flows and navigable through time and space.

    There are good reasons for this.

    Primary among them: the dominant social networks and search engines have been massively capitalized by investors who need to reap as much as they can from the current text-based set-up and the rich analytics generated about the users who populate them. Platforms like Google, Facebook, and Twitter have created immaculate playgrounds for their users to inhabit and interact within. While the data scientists harvest data via algorithms that observe and categorize each interaction, so they can create highly developed profiles of each individual user.

    The data generated by users on these platforms, and the surgical profiles they generate, is not available to those users. It belongs to the companies, and their paying customers, who use it for the purposes of marketing and other, more nuanced objectives.

    As we know, this data is highly valuable. Monetarily, to the groups who buy access to it. But also intrinsically to the platforms’ inhabitants, who could use it to learn aspects of who they are, and who they are not. Who they aspire to be, and, now with predictive algorithms and big data on millions of other people, paths to achieving those goals. (Our systems architect Peter Crnokrak calls this “deep data” — mostly because big data is such an annoying terminology.)

    Self-knowledge is the essence of human identity, and the next technological revolution will offer unprecedented opportunities for us to know ourselves, and our world, as we never have.

    But not if it is left to the dominant platforms and their market-beholden executives. Because whatever their loftier aspirations, the foundation of their corporate revenue structure is still built on an old business model: “delivering relevant, cost-effective online advertising,” to quote a recent Google annual report. And advertising, with a few exceptions, is not about personal and global transformation. In many ways, they are mutually exclusive.

    Don’t get me wrong, I have no issue with advertising. I have worked with, and learned immensely from, some of the most successful ad creatives on the planet. One of our investors in ORA is as high-profile a director as there is in the United States, and he’s a great friend. But one thing we all know, successful marketing depends on a set of conditions to be inherent in the platforms that deliver it. And instilling a deep sense of self-worth, self-understanding, and self-sufficiency is not how we sell things that no one really needs. Even Jerry Seinfeld can be honest about that.

    So, it probably won’t be left to them to initiate this next tech revolution.

    But it doesn’t need to. Because a wave of new technological innovation is upon us. One that will make the user experience of the current social networks feel like this:

    While the new paradigm of social communication and personal identity will look and feel more like this:

    It’s only a matter of time.

    | towards a generative code platform |

    With technological advances in the fields of mobile computing and data processing, and with the introduction of a multi-platform, 3D publishing platform like Unity (with a nod to the geniuses at, there is now the potential for a new kind of programming to transform the way human beings identify, exhibit, and explore themselves, and the companies, organizations, and nations they populate.

    This is the advent of an evolutionary moment which will be brought on by a new kind of coder/designer. These creative engineers are quietly advancing a stunning new computer language that is best described as object-based, or “generative,” code. And while they are well-known in design and art communities, Silicon Valley technologists and the investor class are almost universally unaware of them.

    What is object-based generative code?

    Put simply, it’s code that dynamically generates and morphs ‘objects’ through a system of inputs which are either controlled by the viewer (directed), or from external sources (passive). So, at its most sophisticated levels, these are programs that animate objects through live data flows; such as sonic beats, heart rhythms, sleep patterns, language in text messages, weather changes, and geo-locational signals. The people who write this code are described as computational designers, or, as I know them: code artists.

    To give you an example of how generative code works: check out the video link below, which is a feature on visionary code artist Reza Ali. In it he demos a generative app he designed that he describes as “interactive (and) audio-reactive.” Check it out.

    The key here is that the dynamic motion and mutations are responding to live audio signals. This is music + code = free-form object mutation.

    Josh Nimoy is another elite computational designer and, in my view, the most visionary of them all. He was hired by director Joe Kosinski to write code that generated special effects for TRON Legacy, considered one of the most stunning achievements in modern GFX. This is a link to an excerpt from his work on that project, called Contour Heart. It’s a morphing sphere, with surface mappings, generated by pure math, and controlled by “sliders” which can be adjusted by the viewer.

    [For more examples of visionary generative code, check out Karsten Schmidt, Marcin Ignac, and the German-based duo, onformative.]

    When I first started presenting generative code systems to VCs and CTOs in Silicon Valley, I was met with blank stares. Curious, but blank. But then I was introduced to a set of Tier 1 engineers, most of whom were at gaming companies, who just nodded their heads and told me this was “inevitable.”

    Over the past 18 months, it’s become crystal clear to me, and those I work with, that the generative code that powers dimensional visualizations from live data is the future of digital identity… and what we now think of as mobile computing.

    Think about it.

    Mobile technology, with its native pinch, push, and drag features, gives us the ability to navigate data systems in an entirely new way. Specifically, through space and time. Why then are we still using what are essentially 2D websites, and lists, to represent human beings, companies, organizations, and nations? Are we not dimensional entities, which exist and generate our data trails through spatial and temporal domains?

    The overarching thesis, then, is simple:

    Dimensional, self-generating objects driven by dynamic individual and enterprise data will allow us to see ourselves, for the first time, as the first astronauts saw Earth from space.

    In the unbiased macro. It’s called the overview effect.

    | unleashing deep data will save the world |

    With advances in the collection, processing, and analysis of data, we have turned a civilizational corner. We can now make sense of a multitudinous system of decisions, and their tethered outcomes, which in the past, were far too complex, and seemingly chaotic, for us to extract any tangible benefit.

    That is huge, in evolutionary terms. You can’t truly change anything, either on an individual, institutional, or global level, unless you can ‘objectify’ (or ‘see’) the entity that needs changing. It’s the cornerstone of all healing and personal transformation programs.

    But this won’t happen if we limit our work to capitalizing and developing those systems that manipulate and control the data flows to return the most banal, and insidious, behavioral insights.

    If we unleash deep data and develop technologies that allow it to signal to us the hidden intelligence in our human, geological, and financial etc. systems, it will bestow a new level of self-awareness and self-knowledge upon our civilization. This means learning to see the hidden messages in the data, instead of writing code that gives us pre-determined outcomes demanded by a myopic market.

    But we also need to develop a set of tools to communicate that intelligence to us. And those will come in the form of generative visualizations: computational objects, environments, and, eventually, worlds, that take complex and seemingly unrelated data flows and aggregate them into what my friend Demian Sellfors, the recently exited founder of Media Temple, calls sense-making technologies.

    Evolutionary, paradigm shifting applications that finally free us from the poison pill of human governance that has kept us in the shadow of our true potential. No longer can decisions — political, economic, medical, military, social — be made based on human whims, caprice, biases, or opinions… but, rather, from the nexus of billions of lines of data which can point us to optimal behaviors.

    Deep data; this is the advent of true AI.

    This could revolutionize the way the World Bank lends money. How medicine is priced and distributed in developing world markets. How we finally get an accurate and up-to-the-minute reporting mechanism on our survival as a species. How is it that we are not already making this the most critical objective of our massively endowed technology sector?

    Because most of its leaders are stuck in rigid economic systems and ossified ways of seeing. Trust me, I know. I spend a lot of time talking to money people (mostly VCs) and technologists who are stuck in the old, text-based paradigm. I don’t blame them, considering the vast amount of capital the major VCs, and the market in general, has invested in text-based social networks and search platforms.

    Like most scientific and technological communities on the verge of paradigm shift, the thought and investment leaders in Silicon Valley have no idea what is coming next. They are too busy trying to benefit from the current paradigm, which they have essentially created. And, as Thomas Kuhn noted in his Theory of Scientific Revolutions:

    Almost always [those] who achieve these fundamental inventions of a new paradigm have been either very young or very new to the field whose paradigm they change.

    And, as we have learned from history, old paradigms die hard.

    | a missionary position |

    [I hope you’ll pardon a bit of biographical context at this point.]

    My work with our team at ORA is about developing a global platform on which data feeds an entirely new way of seeing, understanding, and acting for our selves. We are iterating our initial systems through a few key verticals: gaming (for the League of Legends community) and medical (with one of the world’s largest hospitals). But after that, the sky’s the limit.

    ORA recently graduated from the inaugural class of Data Elite, an Andreessen Horowitz et al. seed-funded accelerator, which is dedicated to identifying and funding the next generation of big data companies. So I have experienced, first-hand, the way personal and enterprise data is being approached by the leading thinkers in this burgeoning sector.

    But even with that pedigree and support, I still feel like Alice in Wonderland when I do my quarterly presentations in Silicon Valley.

    We get a lot of pretty high-profile meetings with well-known investors and VC executives, who almost universally have never heard of generative code. They don’t know what it is, how it works, or that there is even the possibility of mapping live data into dynamic objects. To be fair, I have also sat across the table from some of the most powerful social network data scientists in the Valley and they too could not grasp, nor visualize, a shift away from text-based computing. (Whereas gaming CTOs get it intuitively.)

    Our patent attorney, one of the top firms in the Valley, had never filed a patent for an invention that used generative code. That should tell you something. (ORA filed and received a provisional patent for our HALO product, which maps complex data flows into six ‘vertices’ of what is essentially a 3-D band of light that signals the performance of a person, thing, or entity.)

    Luckily for us, I have been able to find a highly influential group of investors and advisors who get what we’re building, and have backed us through the riskiest stages of our development.

    Ironically, if the mainstream investor class is slow to catch on, the mainstream public is becoming increasingly aware of the kind of future that awaits through generative systems. That’s because the biggest source of funding for these code art projects comes from Hollywood and the motion picture industry. Films like Minority Report, TRON Legacy, and Prometheus have plot lines that prominently feature generative code-driven holograms and UI/UX interfaces. The design departments for these films, which create functioning tech, are budgeted in the tens of millions of dollars. To build us a future that is fantastic and beautiful.

    And imminent. Imagine:

    Cities and countries will no longer be depicted solely by their geographic dimensions, but as dimensional objects, formed by all of the data that is flowing out of them. Companies’ online representations will no longer be 2D websites, but rather explorable worlds woven together by the data of the people, performance metrics, and products that they have been built upon. Doctors will no longer have to double as high-level statisticians to read the reams of graphs and numbers that run off their various tech. Instead, they and their patients will view heart and other bodily system status through actionable, bio-mimicked visualizations.

    But the killer app, for me, of this evolutionary thrust resides in the social networks and digital identity.

    With a new “sky layer” — a data visualization platform which sits atop the social and search realms, powered by generative code — users of Facebook and Twitter will not longer be compartmentalized in some post-Tower of Babel reality in which they are unable to communicate with anyone outside of their linguistic group.

    Instead, they will experience a dimensional realm, coded in a universal, object-based language in which their ‘profiles’ and identities are based on their biographical and moment-to-moment data. [Unlike the current text-based identities, on ORA’s platform this data will be author-protected and migratable at any time by the user.]

    Of this I am sure.

    But for now it’s missionary work. And I have come to learn that simply because some powerful people are not able to grasp an idea doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen. Enough mutually powerful people are catching on and, thanks to quantum physics, we’re on our way.

    I passionately believe this evolution in computing needs to happen. Human beings must create technologies that harness, alchemize, and output their data so that we can get a view of our world and the impact our moment-to-moment actions have on it.

    Or, as this prophecy predicts, we may not survive the coming century.
    Mon, Dec 15, 2014  Permanent link

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    Underground Resistance is a seminal Detroit techno collective that has been producing music since the early 1990s. “A label for a movement”, at it’s core the outfit is run by Mike Banks with former members including internationally renowned producers Rob Hood and Jeff Mills. Sonically and politically militant in its direction, the collective has focused on themes of race relations and black power – while at the same time having an expansive outlook in celestial dreams of a universal infinite. The cosmos plays an important role in music produced by UR – with record titles such as “Galaxy 2 Galaxy”, “Interstellar Fugitives” and “DayStar Rising”.

    UR maps the entire Underground Resistance catalog using images of coronal mass ejections that occurred in the year each record was released. The solar ejections are scaled by the cultural influence and cultural penetrance for each record. The quantitative measure is a weighted average that uses results from Google and Youtube searches to derive an overall influence value. The visualisation is a composite of 123 images of solar flares from our sun that have occurred over a 23 year period : 1990 to 2012.

    The concept is a recognition of the reciprocal nature of universal influence : electromagnetic radio waves from earth travel at the speed of light through interstellar space, while electromagnetic pulses bombard the earth from solar flares. It is entirely conceivable that sonic waves emanating from our planet reach the deepest edges of the cosmos and are potentially heard by the inhabitants of other worlds. Conversely, geomagnetic pulses exploding from coronal mass ejections reach the earth on a regular basis and are known to affect biological processes. Even deep space events such as stars going supernova 100s of light years away are believed to have had profound affects on the planet – one of which resulted in a mass extinction event 65 million years ago.


    Sat, May 11, 2013  Permanent link

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    "Love Will Tear Us Apart Again" maps all known cover versions of the iconic 1979 song by Joy Division. Spanning the 33 years since the record was released, the graph shows the subsequent 168 cover versions arranged in clockwise chronological space. The original 10 song variants recorded by the band occupy the centre top portion of the graph and are radially flanked by the numerous covers. The central cluster is a comparative waveform analysis of the three studio versions (outer ring) recorded by Joy Division and the two posthumous remixes (inner ring) released in 1995. Interestingly, the visualisation shows the inherent variation in song structure from recording to recording as the band engineered the particular sound they wanted the song to express.

    The remarkable number of cover versions and the enduring popularity of Love Will Tear Us Apart is a resounding testament to what is widely considered to be one of the greatest pop songs ever written.

    Original recordings by Joy Division :

    studio recordings : 3; video recordings : 1; live recordings : 4; posthumous remixes : 2

    Comparative waveform visualisation of studio recordings by Joy Division :

    light line : Peel Sessions recording at BBC Studios, Maida Vale : November 26th 1979
    heavy line : Strawberry Studios recording, Stockport : March 1980
    dotted line : Pennine Sound Studios recording, Oldham : January 1980
    light line negative : Arthur Baker mix by Arthur Baker : 1995
    heavy line negative : Permanent mix by Don Gehman : 1995

    Covers of the song per decade :

    1980s : 19
    1990s : 31
    2000s : 95
    2010-present : 23

    available from The Luxury of Protest

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    "Never Forever..." is a quantitative visualisation of the transient nature of empire. The visualisation graphs all known empires, colonies and territorial occupations from 2334 BCE to the present day. Each empire occupies a slice of the pie graph with a known start (+) and end (×) date. Each slice is assigned a transparency value of 10% allowing for concurrent empires to be visualised – the more empires that occupy the same period of time in history, the whiter the graph. As history progresses, humankind’s competition for wealth, resources and the relentless drive toward conquest and occupation can be clearly seen in the graph.

    The data shows an accelerating trend toward greater and greater conquest of territory and greater and greater competition amongst imperial powers. The graph starts relatively light (top right portion of graph) as early cultures maintain territory that can be considered indigenous. With time, cultures encroach upon one another as shown in the heavy white areas to the left of the graph (representing 900 CE to 1900 CE). The wavelike variation in imperial occupation reveals cyclical patterns of conflict in history due most likely to the evolution of cultural, ethic and religious identity where the separation of self and other provides the nascent conditions within which conquest is morally justified. Despite this, even the longest lasting empire, the 2000+ year Chinese Imperial Era, came to an end – as all past empires have and predictably, extant empires will. The last 100 years (left of centre top) reveals a precipitous decline in empire with only four remaining occupying powers : The United States of America, Israel, Morocco and Turkey.

    Never Forever Never For Now

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    Believed to be the most geometrically complex and aesthetically beautiful structure in mathematics, the 4_21 polytope is the algebraic form at the centre of a universal theory of everything. Originally described in the late 19th century, 4_21 models all interactions and transformations between known and postulated sub-atomic particles. It is the 21st century equivalent of the proto-scientific art of alchemy – where the transmutation of elements was the most elusive mystery of the universe. The theory is an attempt to reconcile one of the fundamental unsolved problems in physics: unify quantum physics and gravitation in hopes of ultimately explaining the fabric of the universe.

    4_21, commonly referred to as E8 since the vectors of its root system lie in eight-dimensional Euclidean space, models field dynamics and elementary particle transformations through pure geometry. As such, the method of its elucidation and comprehension is decidedly form-oriented in nature – one has to visualise the math to understand how it functions. Its subsumed dimension within dimension, within dimension structure creates a staggeringly complex 248 symmetry lattice that predicts all known particles and forces in the universe as it twists and folds in spacetime.

    The rendering presented here is the most geometrically accurate visualisation of the 4_21 polytope to date. Previous attempts to render the structure were limited by the inability of graphics engines to construct even simple shapes such as perfect circles. Real Magick... was hand drawn in Illustrator to an accuracy of 1/10,000 of a millimeter.

    Special thanks to Dr. John Stembridge for his valuable input.

    PROCESS / FORMAT—Silk screen print matte black ink on GFSmith Plasma Polycoat 700 micron Glass Clear plastic. Hand-applied 23 carat rouge gold foil and gold powder gilding. Screen print by K2 Screen, London.

    link to The Luxury of Protest

    Wed, Nov 10, 2010  Permanent link

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    Everyone Ever in the World is a visual representation of the number of people to have lived versus been killed in wars, massacres and genocide during the recorded history of humankind. The visualisation uses existing paper area and paper loss (die cut circle) to represent the concepts of life and death respectively. The total number of people to have lived was estimated through exponential regression calculations based on historical census data and known biological birth rates. This results in approximately 77.6 billion human beings to have ever lived during the recorded history of humankind. The total people killed in conflicts was collated from a number of historical source books and was summed for all conflicts – approximately 969 million people killed, or ~1.25% of all the people to have ever lived. The timescale encompasses 3200 BCE to 2009 CE – a period of over 5 millennia, and 1100+ conflicts of recorded human history.

    The sequence of dots to the top left of the graph shows the dramatic increase in the number of conflicts over the past 5 millennia (left to right : 3000 BCE to 2000 CE) with the most recent 1000 years being the most violent. The large dot below the graph represents the 1000 years to come : a predicted startling increase in human conflict.

    The relative simplicity and intuitive graphical approach of using a die cut area to represent total people killed, lends a direct poetry to the concept and affords the viewer an instantaneous assessment of the degree to which conflict has shaped human history. Printing in transparent ink allows for a visual assessment of die cut area as compared to paper area without interfering graphics. The graphic simplicity of the poster belies the necessary complexity of mathematical modeling of cumulative population size and the depth of research required to obtain death counts for all conflicts of recorded human history. However, it is the very same simplicity of representation that imparts a sombre and respectful tone to such a weighty subject matter.

    Everyone Ever in the World


    The Luxury of Protest

    Sun, Feb 21, 2010  Permanent link

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    “Maths Dreamed Universe” is a quantitative visualisation of the manner in which elemental forms in nature order themselves. The graph – created using generative Python code – maps numbers 0 to 100,001 arranged in a logarithmic spiral. The pattern that results is frequently found in nature, as in the arrangement of floral organs and the formation of galaxies. The spiral reveals the visual relationships of elemental numbers and the aesthetic beauty of mathematical equations.

    The project reflects the contemporary interest in the intersection of science and art : in particular the crossover of pure math with graphic aestheticism. The appreciation of aesthetic forms has a long tradition in art and design, but ornamentation is often derided as being little more than a fancy. But what if aesthetic appreciation was functional? – what if beauty communicates and is thus open to analytical investigation? “Maths Dreamed Universe” is the first in a series of projects that investigates meaning in aesthetics.

    Fri, Sep 4, 2009  Permanent link
    Categories: visualization
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