Hierarchical Squares

By admin at 5:15 am on January 27, 2014 • 1 Comment

This blog post represents the second instalment of what will hopefully be a long series of blog posts dedicated to digital art I have been making. The first instalment, Generating Glitches, can be found here.

Before continuing, it should be noted that this post contains nudity and is therefore NSFW (Not Safe For Work).

Hierarchical Squares 05

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Python Command Line Processor

By admin at 8:40 pm on January 24, 2014 • No Comments

I write a lot of my research code in Python these days. Compared to C, C++, or Java, it is a joy to work in. However, I found myself writing the same code again and again to validate command line arguments.

Not content with argparse, I have written my own command line parsing module.

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Generating Glitches

By admin at 5:55 am on September 23, 2013 • 2 Comments

So, before you read this post a disclaimer: some of the images contained within NSFW (Not safe for Work) and the opinions expressed within were given some thought, though not a whole lot.

Glitch art has become quite popular lately. Roughly, glitch art is the aestheticisation of errors. I got interested in glitch art when my hard drive broke a few years ago and I accidentally made some interesting images.

HDD Glitch

Since then I have been writing software to specifically achieve effects that somehow look glitchy, or more generally represent a distortion of the data present in an image.

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Lake Coleridge, New Zealand

By admin at 11:12 pm on September 18, 2013 • 2 Comments

Lake Coleridge township is located between Lake Coleridge and the Rakaia River on the eastern edge of New Zealand’s Southern Alps.

It is a sleepy little town with few streets and few permanent residents. Many of the houses in the township serve as holiday homes, perfect for a weekend getaway, less than two hours from Christchurch.

In early September I found myself there for a weekend out of the city with my brother and his friends.

The night sky was amazing and I did my best to capture that, though I lacked a tripod.

Coleridge 02

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By admin at 8:07 am on September 17, 2013 • 2 Comments

After two wonderful years in Toronto I am back in New Zealand visiting my family.

My time in Toronto and at the University of Toronto was some of the best time of my life. I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone I have had the pleasure of working with and knowing. While I am glad to see my family and friends in the antipodean again, there are many things and people in Toronto I will deeply miss.

In a few weeks I will be back in Australia and moving on to new and exciting things. However, the connections I made and the people I met will be with me always.

Now, if only I could get a good bagel!

Processing Project: Field Lines

By admin at 10:48 pm on September 16, 2013 • 1 Comment

Over the past 9 months I have made a number of small visual art projects using a language called Processing.

Field Lines

Processing is a language built on top of Java and is designed primarily for making multi-media art and visualisations. The project displayed below is embedded in this page using Processing.js.

I call this project Field Lines, for reasons which will hopefully become apparent if it is left to run for 30 seconds or so.

The mechanism underlying the complex patterns which emerge is deceptively simple. Each of the 10000 lines begins facing a random direction and moves slowly to align with its neighbours. Lines are coloured from red to blue as they become more aligned with their neighbours.

In a way, red represents areas of high stress in the system. Left long enough the system should decay to a uniform blue.

Warning, this project is very computationally intensive!
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N650U Images

By admin at 5:47 am on January 16, 2013 • 2 Comments

Scanned 27-1

In 2011 I was playing around with my old flatbed scanner and produced the following images. I removed the lid and simply placed objects on or adjacent to the surface of the scanner.

In this setting distortion and composite images can be created by moving the objects (and subjects) while the scanner head is traversing the scanning surface.

Something meaningful about the use of personal objects and the flow of time, etc.

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Teaching has taken over my life

By admin at 4:38 am on November 2, 2012 • 2 Comments

This semester I have been teaching a first-year course at the University of Toronto. (In case anyone happened to wonder why I have not been around much.)

This has been incredibly stressful, but one of the most rewarding experiences of my life so far.

The course is CSC180 – Introduction to Computer Programming. I am teaching it with PhD student Brian Law, who has been an excellent colleague. We have both sort of been fumbling our way through this, learning as we go along. But, so far I think we have gotten much more right than we have gotten wrong.

Our fumbling is not the result of a lack of planning and preparation. We planned and prepared for months in advance. Teaching is just something that years of research does little to prepare one for. Knowing and delivering the lecture material is maybe 20% of the work. In addition, we write assignments and exams, prepare labs, manage 15 TAs who run labs and do marking for us, run office hours, deal with course administration, run a course web site, think up policies for things, enact these policies, help the students who reach out for help, and encourage others who are struggling to do so.

In the end, the thing above all that makes teaching worth it is knowing that I am helping these students learn such a fundamental and vital set of skills. We are not just teaching them the syntax of Python, we are hopefully helping them learn how to solve problems and think algorithmically. Well, one can hope. I am coming to realise that this is a skill that takes a lot of commitment and practice to master. It is easy to forget  how incomprehensible and esoteric it can all seem, when you are first starting out. I do remember, though, how much joy I got solving each new problem, and that thrill of seeing the first Java-drawn pixels of the Mandelbrot Set appear more than a decade ago.

Now I just need to figure out how to teach Python classes and object-oriented concepts.

HDD Errors

By admin at 2:08 am on October 9, 2012 • 3 Comments

HDD Error 12

Last year I dropped my laptop while the hard disk was spun up and suffered a head crash. A number of my images were corrupted. Flicking through a few albums of photos with Gnome Image Viewer resulted in the following images. Some of which, serendipitously, are quite beautiful.

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By admin at 3:07 pm on July 18, 2012 • No Comments

I am finally adding content to my website after the lovely design job from Floating Tree website design. Over the coming weeks I will begin adding some of my photography and updating my research page with a detailed list of projects.