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Praaaaaaang

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Who still reads this thing? [07 Mar 2011|03:09pm]
I have no idea who is seeing what I write when I write stuff. Who all's still reading this?
Comments: 12 flame wars - hate on me.

Thesis mumblings [16 Nov 2010|01:07am]
Yeah, this is gonna be pretty rambly and boring, but I need to write this stuff out and put it out there, somehow, even if nobody reads it.

Cut for sanity.Collapse )
Comments: hate on me.

OMG this thing still exists [23 Oct 2010|06:49pm]
So yeah, I don't know how many of you stay in touch with me exclusively via LJ. A lot of my posts lately have had the heading like "oh shit, livejournal". Between twitter and tumblr, there hasn't been much cause to use it! I've been reading everyone's posts daily but still, it's a bit of a wasteland compared to what it used to be.

That's kind of nice, it means it's easier to post about stuff that almost nobody is going to read!

So it's my thesis year, and I've just recently given up on my earlier plan, which involved an interactive play. I like the idea, still, but I don't have the social capital to attract the crowds necessary to make it work. It's a really hard decision to make, I've been wanting to make this piece for a long time. But practical concerns of attendance being what they are, it's just not in the cards for reasons beyond my control. SUCKS.

So now I'm faced with the problem of not knowing what I'm going to do, exactly, besides a body of smaller works, rather than one ambitious installation. That's about as specific as I've gotten, unfortunately. I have a direction, but I'm not really sure how it translates into art yet.

Let's just say we live in a postmodern, increasingly posthuman age. We've levelled so much criticism at all the institutions and grand narratives that we don't know who to believe anymore. Science is suspect, so we see a rise in alternative medicine and criticism of evolution and global warming. Governments are corrupt, so we see the Tea Party. Religion is suspect, and we have the so-called New Atheists. At the same time, we pour ourselves into fiction. Fan cultures are exploding into the mainstream. People wear scarves in the color of their favorite Hogwarts house. Among young artists, at least in Toronto, there's a preoccupation with anxiety, fear, the mechanization of society, pop-culture icons and a return to the more comforting aspects of childhood. The millennials, perhaps more than Gen-X, are being asked to shoulder the burdens and consequences of the industrial revolution. Pollution, global warming, globalization, even just the routine of the workday. We're all going to be there and in charge when shit gets worse. Fuck that noise.

So we're caught up in whimsy, alternative realities, and a sort of selective, mature sister of infantilism. Many people would see this as a retreat, but what if it's a vanguard? What if, through our actions, we aim to bring the sort of magic of the books we read, of the movies we watch, of the music we listen to, here into the real world? What if Disneyland started to melt out onto the highways, down back alleys, into our bedrooms, as if it were more than just the sale of blankets, hats and other tchotchkes? And uh, what's the point of that, anyway? Is the world going to be easier to deal with? I dunno, but it seems to be happening! We want it to happen! Why?

In a world where Sarah Palin could have been a skipped heartbeat away from being in charge of the United States (lol John McCain is old), or where James Cameron's AVATAR can induce depression, where it's becoming more and more difficult to tell the difference between CG and live action, we need to remap where our boundaries between real and fake lie. Not by rejecting artifice, but by sincerely appraising it with a skeptical heart. To understand the difference between "what's real to me" and the evidence-based practice of science. To acknowledge our desire for immersion in truthiness without sacrificing truth.

I'm not sure where to go with all that.
Comments: 1 flame war - hate on me.

Erosion! [20 Sep 2010|02:13pm]
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The Werewolf Box [15 May 2010|12:34pm]
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HARMONY [15 May 2010|03:26am]




Big ups to Josh for writing the story for this. It wouldn't have been half as awesome without him. :D
Comments: 1 flame war - hate on me.

Experimental Film [03 Mar 2010|01:33pm]
So this experimental animation, a single channel video loop, starts out panning through the basement of a corner townhouse. Cinderblock walls and narrow corridors and such. It looks a lot like a Silent Hill cutscene, but tongue-in-cheek. People smile and then rot away to skeletons in fast-forward as the camera pans down their bodies on its merry flight. Throughout the house are similar scenes of hyper-terrorsex. A pale, sweaty young boy kissing the neck of a corpse as a dog simultaneously bites his neck and fucks him. It's so over the top, funny in a Quentin Tarantino kind of way. The single, long tracking shot takes us up into the dilapidated living room, where yet more nightmares await. It snakes up to the second story balcony before finally panning outside. You can't see anything since the camera is pointing slightly up toward the blue sky, just the rooftops of some brick apartments across the street, so you have no idea where you are. The camera moves backward and down on an angle, and then down into a window well at the foot of the townhouse. The camera then turns in toward the building again, and starts doing a quick flythrough of the house. None of the horrors this time, just the empy house, well-light from the open windows. The camera makes its way up to the third floor before it descends to the basement again. This time the horrors are back, but they're DIFFERENT. I had to stop watching.

Walking out of the small screening room, I found that I was standing in the top floor of the apartment building. Every floor was the top floor of the apartment building, all the way down, deep, deep into the ground.
Comments: 1 flame war - hate on me.

[30 Jan 2010|10:12pm]
Here I am at home, thinking jeez, shouldn't I be working on something, but having the kind of brainfog that can only be cured by a strict Atkin's Diet regiment. I've called a few friends out for a quick coffee, with the idea in mind that my plans for making a social encounter the goal of this evening are shaky at best. The alternative, so far, has been poking about re-reading Pacific Novelty entries, which would translate well to book form with minimal effort. Just sayin'.

I'm in a show in the spring, if all goes well, a one-evening gig tentatively called Enteraction, which is fine and uncreative and I dig it on that level (except seeing it written now makes me realize that it easily anagrams to Ant Erection, which is an amusing pun and has a certain mnemonic quality).* It's a good opportunity to revisit a lot of projects I've been working on over the past few years and assemble them into something presentable.

I keep wanting to take on new projects, but that seems ill-advised at the moment. I dunno.

Anyway, I can't wait to graduate and actually have a real income. That'd be swell.

*Other interesting rearrangements include a cretin tone, neon cat tire and creation.net
Comments: hate on me.

2010 Resolution [28 Dec 2009|06:13pm]
I'm pretty proud of my accomplishments this year. Again, I carry on my ACADEMIC WINNING STREAK by not failing any courses, and actually stepping up my game a little in terms of accomplishing my ambitions. I am more confident and more willing to take risks. I'm LOADS better at coping with stress. I have awesome friends—people who share my love of electronics projects, of fine arts, of dumpster diving, of music, of animals of an anthropomorphological persuasion, of retrotech ephemera, of DIY-everything, of costuming, of science and skepticism... I could go on. 2009 was in a lot of respects a kind of sucky year for the world, but one filled with optimism and a go-get-'em attitude that should make 2010 all that much better.

Like Cargo, I want to make 2010 a year of inconvenience. Not just for myself, but for others too, in the best way. Whereas Cargo's focusing on food, I'll focus on my clothes and how I entertain myself and others—which aren't biological staples, but they're certainly things that I've kind of taken for granted. I miss the haphazardness of high school LAN parties, and I'd love to reapply that to my current social circle. Have a worldbuilding party, making maps and designing buildings over a few drinks. Host a handmade camera month. Go see some Fringe shows. Make a techno-bong. If I'm unsatisfied with the usual stream of my life, disrupt it with alternatives that have unpredictable results. Strive for those Genuine Quality Experiences that can only come from doing things without the comfort and convenience of knowing how they're going to turn out. Intentionally fuck up attempts to make my life easier made by people whose names I don't know. Be chaotic good.



Okay so sngingcircusdog is on her way to the airport and I'll be there soon to pick her up. This is going to be an awesome New Years, guys.
Comments: 1 flame war - hate on me.

LAZOR BEAMS [22 Dec 2009|04:05am]
Here's the visualizer I'm working on. I need a new one to replace the FADEY IMAGES one. I'm pretty happy with how it's going so far!



Also, it turns out Supersempfft is awesome.
Comments: 1 flame war - hate on me.

Notes from a class on posthumanism [10 Dec 2009|01:53pm]
I've always thought of posthumanism as this thing with cyborgs and genetic engineering. In fact, the majority of the class' discussions centred around those two topics. Then the last class, combined with my own research, kind of shook me when a realization fell into place.

We are living in an increasingly posthuman world, because corporations have legal personhood and chimpanzees and other higher-functioning animals WOMEN, in many parts of the world where these corporations operate (for fuck's sake, women, how dare I forget about you) do not.

There is, in effect, a greater desire and capability now to turn humanity into one single, giant machine. That's what the WTO is all about. Simplifying, streamlining, removing snags so that the world can follow a neoliberal capitalist agenda. I mean, I'm always skeptical of theories that depend on a certain degree of paranoia, that there's thing that THEY don't want you to know about, but in this case I have a feeling that there's not much incentive to say "Hold on, we're going into foreign countries and completely displacing the populations and subsuming local traditions, this is a form of colonialism! Look at all the garbage and pollution we're creating and natural habitats we're destroying! Look how many people have died because of our machines!"

When you look at it on one hand, you have the corporate machine, which is the legal equivalent of a computer program. On the other hand, you have millions of people in economic and laborious servitude, sometimes living in squalor, for a product that will ultimately end up in a landfill after a year. Why does this system outweigh the needs and desires of the people who maintain it? The worst thing is... if you want to rise up and protest it, who do you fight? Who is Monsanto? Can you punch Monsanto in the face? Will you go to jail for it?

I'm no luddite, but man. The robots won the war and I didn't even realize they existed.
Comments: 3 flame wars - hate on me.

Source please! [07 Nov 2009|08:52pm]


Does anyone know what movie this guy comes from?
Comments: hate on me.

Tumblr [05 Nov 2009|11:23pm]
Hey guys, I've joined Tumblr. I don't know if any of you are on it, I'm not usually the early adopter with this kind of thing, but I like its attitude. It's somewhere between blogging and Twitter, a kind of "hey, look at this, this is neat" service with inline images and no character limit. If you like the kind of stuff I like then you might wanna add that RSS to your thing.
Comments: hate on me.

The world's most dangerous and most fun piece of playground equipment [06 Oct 2009|08:46am]
There used to be, near our old cottage on Île d'Orléans, a massive and dangerous monument to either the cruelty or naïvety of adults. It consisted of a wide, circular ring of wood, a bench of sorts, suspended to a metal cap high above by means of narrow steel rods. This cap held the whole operation off the ground a good three or four feet, and allowed the bench to swing and pivot around the pole. Functionally, it was a cross between a tire swing and a merry-go-round, but what really made it fun and dangerous was its sheer mass.

The net effect of both swinging and spinning, especially with a balanced load, lead to an unpredictable ride. The period of the swing and the rotation of the bench rarely matched, so most of the journey was spent off to the side, tilted at a slight angle as you rocketed up to the highest point or swung down and into the claustrophobic nadir, only to miss the peaks just slightly. It was deliciously unpredictable.

One of my favourite things to do on the thing was to first spin the thing, building up as much momentum as I could, before pushing the ring toward the pole as far as I could and letting it swing back. The thing's mass meant that it didn't lose momentum easily, and if I timed my entry right, I could wrap both my arms around the wooden bench and be hefted not only high up off my feet into the air, but also be whipped around in a circle at high speed.

It wasn't that I was ignorant of how dangerous it was at the time. The prospect of the momentous steel and wooden contraption breaking my arm by catching me on the upswing, crushing me between the inner rail and the unbumpered post, breaking both my legs as a vigorous push nudged the cap off the top of the post and the wooden bench fell with all its weight on my tiny, fragile calves wasn't completely out of the realm of possibility. Most kids who injure themselves on playground equipment do so because they took a calculated risk but miscalculated, high on adrenaline or too bored to avoid upping the ante. It's always been my philosophy, even as a youngster, that these kinds of mediated dangers are great for kids, and that though accidents are never deserved, or predictable, they sure as hell teach a lesson.



A woman in Geraldton in Australia tried to save this delightful relic, which resembles the one from my childhood quite a bit (except for the bench, which on the island had a rounded, protruding bench which was painted red, and for the fact that this one has a safety bumper and a thicker, sturdier post) but she was ultimately unsuccessful. More's the shame. AFAIK, I don't think they were ever mass-produced, and so every iteration has a unique design. Sadly, nobody seems to have archived any information on dangerous playground equipment of yore.
Comments: hate on me.

Why I woke up at 4 AM. [06 Oct 2009|04:08am]
The scene: a film festival afterparty in a tropical seaside cave in the wee hours of the morning. The cave isn't very deep, but its opening isn't as wide as its breadth, and is extremely dark in the corners. The cavern's walls are covered in a continuous cabinet of curiosities, objects and reproductions of objects lost at sea. Embedded into the wet sand underfoot are accurate scale replicas of rusting, illicit Russian freighters, whose cabins and entire human population were "scraped off", to use a vivid image, before being deposited ashore and sunk deep under beaches such as these in narcotic numbers. On the shelves are airplane parts, reproductions of fuselages behind plexiglass barely discernable in the darkess, and the skulls and corpses of animals from all around the planet which had fallen into the sea. Human, plant, animal and mineral mingled arbitrarily and without annotation.

One of these shelves' custodians seems to be a small, doglike landshark, which goes about its collection in an automatic fashion, heedless of the men in their suits and the women in their dresses and all of their martinis. It wetly waddles into the cave, holding a decomposing skull in its maw, deposits it in a lewd pile on a bottom shelf, before returning to the ocean. I step gingerly away from its trap-like jaws, but I'm told that it won't bite on land (being a shark, of course, it needs to keep its gills well moistened).

Suddenly, beside me is a young woman. I can't see her in the dark, but I can sense her long brown hair, and she seems nervous and vulnerable but she's trying to keep above it, and I feel an automatic impulsive attraction to her. Besides, I'm feeling anxious, with the darkness, the animals underfoot, and the constant reminders of the infinite and unknowable capacity for the ocean to murder and bury everything I might hold to value. It's the young woman that spots the hummingbirds flitting about me, which I proceed to photograph as they fly up to me and the crooked fingertips of my left hand. "Is that camera yours?" she asks. "No, I just found it here." I said. It has no other photos on it, so I figure it's fair game.

She also spots a single lit display near the cave mouth. Inside of the small plexiglass box, taller than wide and square at the base, is a slope of rigid cobweb trapping dozens of lima-bean sized hummingbirds, each as docile as a drop of dew, gemlike in a white, gauzy parabola of silk. I aim the camera to take a photo of it, but I have trouble focusing in the dark. I step backward, and overfocus. Hovering somewhere between the box and my camera is a dime-sized spider. I attempt to focus past it, but now the light from inside the box is obliterated. I look up to recompose, and the young woman shrieks. Sitting against the glass is a gigantic spider, hairless and black, pressing a bundled hummingbird against the wall. Its body is so large that it has eclipsed the light. The darkness multiplies its body, and I imagine into existence spiders just as large, if not larger, that will climb up my legs, that will leap down off the ceiling onto my face as I sleep in this wealthy but tropical nation. The biodiversity here horrifies me, as it stands to overwhelm my humanism and unceremoniously strike me from the ledger of time, turning the ultimate proof of my life and identity into an anonymous husk whose paper-thin, tentlike skin stretched over bones is carelessly used as a home for an aggressive beetle in the darkest heart of the jungle where no human being will ever come across it. The terror becomes too much to bear.
Comments: hate on me.

Sculpture Proposal [15 Sep 2009|01:10am]
Livejournal, you are my dumping ground for schoolwork. Here is a proposal for a sculpture I'm, well, proposing. I can't wait for people to start tearing this shit to pieces!

Project Proposal

Working Title: I Promise I Won’t Lie To You

During the Auditing process, the “preclear” Scientologist uses the E-meter to measure their electrical field, which indicates their response to past life experiences. The Neuro-Programmer 2 is a product designed to “help you stimulate your brain and achieve lasting personal change” and “help you transform your mind and enhance your mental abilities.” Alex Chiu sells magnetic rings that can make you immortal, and an entire alternative medicine industry, homeopathy, is based on the concept that water retains vibrations able to cure serious illnesses.

It’s very difficult to avoid being taken in by pseudoscientific claims, especially when they assure us mental, spiritual, and physical well-being. Despite being placebos, these devices do have physiological and mental effects, although not necessarily the ones they claim to have. People can become addicted to them, relying on them for salvation, even to the point of dismissing any contradictory evidence of their effects as a conspiracy to snuff out the truth.

“I Promise I Won’t Lie To You” is an enclosed, light-tight box on a stand, with binocular eyeholes to allow the viewer to peer inside. Using different wavelengths and patterns of light and suggestive imagery and text projected onto a frosted screen, the brain is stimulated to reroute the neural pathways responsible for belief in pseudoscience. In fact, this makes the viewer perceive the truth in all matters, rendering them impervious to lies. All of this is explained in the laminated brochure hanging by a chain to the side of the box.

In truth, of course, it does no such thing. The device does not increase anyone’s abilities. Paradoxically, it works just perfectly when the viewer realizes that it can’t possibly work.

Installation space would be minimal: about five feet square, ideally against a wall. Proximity to a plug to power the lights and electronics is a must. A dark room would be desirable. The duration of the interaction with the device is planned around approximately one minute, although it may last longer. A toggle switch, within reach of the viewer turns the device on and off so that they can time their exposure to its effects.
Comments: 2 flame wars - hate on me.

HERMIES [26 Aug 2009|06:32pm]
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GOOD JOB AND FUCK YOU. [13 Jun 2009|07:01am]
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Daaaaamn I want this! [04 Jun 2009|03:41am]


Finally, some Alan Wake gameplay! And it looks FUN. And SPOOKY. It looks like all the time spent working on it is paying off!
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Animon & Étété [15 May 2009|02:23am]
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