Category Archives: Art

Online Education and Digital Storytelling

Mercedes Bell, a researcher for, shared an article The Art of Digital Storytelling.

The article makes several good points and provides numerous examples graphed below. When digital storytelling is used for education, a new challenge today is keeping the reader engaged, without clicking away, wandering through so many loosely related topics, its easy to get lost, and forget where a digital pathway started, or where it is heading.

The objective of digital storytelling, online education, large scale digitization and information projects needs to be spending more time with better information.


Taking Apart and Putting Back Together in a Repeatable Process

The greatest thing about relational databases is they store everything loose in some kind of homogeneous level playing field. It is only be establishing relationships between data that anyone is able to see anything in context. Without context, they are just data. In context they are messages, thoughts, ideas, studies, results, and work products.

If an idea is very complex sometimes it helps to break it down into component parts. Systematically taking it apart to understand what makes this idea tick.

DesignIT Studios

Starship ModelerWikicommons Watch Movement

Taking an idea apart can be very informative. Especially when various parts need to be updated and optimized, continually changing like software releases. If the watch above was wordpress, the Swift theme, and the internet each gear changes sooner or later but the whole watch still needs to work together if it is to continue functioning.  Putting things back together offers it’s own set of challenges.  There is an opportunity to purge elements that are no longer useful during this process. Like a hoarder moving everything out of their house onto the curb then back into the house, maybe some of those items are not worth saving after all. Or fixing a car engine, or someones medical condition, when it is unclear exactly what the problem is but simply by taking it apart and putting it back together, whatever was not working gets repaired.

IDSA Materials and Processes Section

Instructions are needed, parts need to be labeled. A sequence of reassembly is needed to ensure the reassembled whole still is the same. It can be difficult to see how the parts fit together when viewed too close.

Carol Padburg

Because everyone’s perception and experience is different, the exact same elements, in almost exactly the same combination may be understood a different way from different points of view. The receiving end may be “reading something into” what the sender intended. It may not be possible for two different people to consistently see the same things the same ways.

Put Back Together Pictures

However, this is not true for machines like computers or networks like the internet because machines have no prejudices, emotions, or previous experiences.  They simply process the information, break up whole ideas into packets, send them somewhere, another machine puts them back together. For this to be reliable everything on both ends needs to be a repeatable process. It would be so helpful to have a mold with the end result packed in with every packet to ensure consistency. MIT has just started a project to map controversies that may be useful to understand multiple interpretations of the same information.

MIT Mapping Controversies Project

This project is important today because we are surrounded by so many controversies, and so much data, it’s difficult to sort out which parts are actually valid, worth processing, keeping in the information houses where we store things. For example the Washington Post had an article today about the disconnect between science and the general public entitled “Not Blinded by Science, but Ideology” where global warming is a perfect example.

To avoid using information the wrong way, or putting together messages, thoughts, and ideas that may be different than original authors intended, especially while processing the data in emotionless machines – repeatable processes are needed.

BZen Consulting

Info-Sight Partners Actionability Index

Global Wonderware

Today the primary representation of how pieces of information are to be put back together need to work with SQL. Looking at the relationships is usually just miles and miles of code. However, there is a company at who makes Schemaball, a Schema Viewer for SQL Databases where the relationships themselves can be put under a microscope and examined across the whole database in one glance.

It’s curious why geometry proper is not used more often to direct the arc, layouts and relationships. Something like a mold could be useful to ensure the reassembly is 100 percent correct on the receiving end, to match exactly, what the sender intended.

But how would you store and encode that geometry?


Spending More Time with Better Information

In the book You Are Not a Gadget Jaron Lanier talks about the unrecognized value of ideas generated by individuals, and the unintended effects the internet is having on musicians, visual artists, writers and other professional creative people. One way he describes it is the the “digital flattening of expression into a global mush“. Another is the “adoration of fragments“.

From Jaron Lanier at the RSA uploaded to Flickr by PSD.

One of the best examples he uses is what MIDI did to music “squeezing all of musical expression through a limiting model of the actions of keys on a musical keyboard“. All of the nuances, individual interpretations and stellar performances are gone. Every performance is the same.

People are not spending enough time with better information because some parts of the internet design do not allow for multiple iterations without ditching the previous versions, or any way to see how an idea or the information surrounding it has evolved.  There is no variation of the same, there are only exact copies and links.  A new digital architecture is needed with provisions for continuity, and coming back to an idea again with a fresh perspective, to promote the slow building and appreciation of work that takes longer than a few minutes or hours to create or interpret. There is hope though, with organizations like the Long Now Foundation working on projects to foster long term thinking and responsibility. It is a monumentally large challenge to consider more efficient ways to process infinite data fields intersecting – in such a way that better data might rise up out of the fray.

From The Effects of Digital Crosstalk in Data Converters
by Maxim where Innovation is Delivered

For better data to be created in the first place, professional creative people need to be paid reasonable rates to be ABLE to spend more time making work that in turn lasts longer out in the world. Consider for example these beer taps, an actual designer was paid a reasonable rate to figure out a shape, they were free to use any typeface, the only design requirement was a universal hookup. That is all internet standards should be, universal screw threads that allow designs to be professionally created, manufactured, and distributed.

Dr. Dremo Donut Beer Tap from the Quest for the Holy Grain

It truly is a conceptual and mathematical problem to devise a system of standard access points that allow data to slowly evolve, and get better, in ways that enough people can become truly engaged in what hand crafters have made.

Some designs will last longer than others but there is no inherent functionality in the design of the internet currently to let digital cross talk start eliminating what should sticks around longer or pop up in searches faster because it is actually better or supported by people who have actually looked at some thing from all sides. The idea of what fits is underused because there is no geometry around data forcing some information to stick around certain areas or flow through and keep on going.

Processes need to be developed to start dealing with the pace ideas and information fly around.  Data flow needs to be treated more like music. Like many people have observed – the symbolic encoding can be very simple and the same everywhere – but more time and attention is needed for actually the shapes and architecture of what supports a digital idea or lets it exchange faster, slower, closer, further away.

Yale Research, Breakthroughs in the Water, the Science of Swimming

What would such an ideal exchange architecture look like? Where would the universal screw threads be and how can the visitor experience be directed through this information space like a museum design? Where are the long axial views? The hints of what might be around the corner? Where do you pause and consider individual works? There is a flatness to digital information, everything is in your face on the same plane. There needs to be a better way to get a longer perspective on what surrounds ideas and information. Where they came from, how they have evolved, and which parts need to stay connected so they can hold together and stand the test of time.

DNA from Emergent Culture


Trace Back In Time – to tie together

How Stomach Bacteria Can Trace Prehistoric Events, by Med Gadget Internet Journal of Emerging Medical Technologies.

What would it be like to trace the history of standards and technology adoption through time?

Would it be obvious most building codes are in response to a disaster or emergency?

Could you see that most people interested in open source prefer Macs?

Brainwave Sofa is exactly what you were thinking also at MedGadget where “Ever wondered what a piece of furniture formed from raw data extracted from your brain would look like? But of course you have, and so did Lucas Maassen and Dries Verbruggen, the designers of the Brainwave Sofa. Mr. Verbruggen had his brain activity measured while he closed his eyes for 3 seconds. The extracted EEG data was used to create a 3D landscape with the x-axis representing the frequency of brainwave activity in hertz, the y-axis is the percentage of activity, and the z- axis is time. The sofa was then created in its physical form by a five axis computer numerical controlled machine, which creates a three dimensional object out of foam.”


Appeal us

Sent from Myriam Solar, multidisiplinary artist in Spain

APPEAL US is a pool of inspiration consisting of references to works of any kind that one personally appreciates. It was generated through an invitation based process, for the Annex Amperdans / Antwerp 2009. People were kindly asked to share 2 works that inspire them at the moment or that have served as inspiration to them for a while.

An up-to-date print-out of the APPEAL US list was distributed each evening in the foyer of Monty / Antwerp. A computer was at the visitors’ disposal until october 24 for online registration.  Since than APPEAL US is considered a ‘complete’ reading-list and remains accessible online. Please see for this inspiring project.


Recycled Glamour and Artomatic

Images from Artomatic 2009. Our entry, Recycled Glamour, was created in collaboration with Sophie, Elena, Edie, Sarah, Rebecca, Becky, Cathy, Deb, Richard, Mark, Bruce, Phil.  Images at the bottom of this post. Visitors can exchange sunglasses, purses, dress up clothes, and sign the wall.

Over 1500 artists exhibited work, the energy is amazing. Some highlights below, tried to capture artists names where possible. Located near the new baseball stadium in DC, runs through the end of June.


Selections from Life on Mars

CI08 on del.icio.usCI08 on Facebook facebookCI08 on Flickr flickrCI08 on MySpace mySpaceCI08 on YouTube YouTube IWishYourWish I Wish Your Wish by Rivane Neuenschwander The wishes of various people are printed on textile ribbons, which relate to the church Nosso Senhor do Bonfim in São Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. The ribbons are worn around the wrist where they are tied with three knots. A wish is made as each knot is tied. According to the tradition, the wishes come true when the ribbons tear apart and fall off the wrist. Visitors are welcome to take a ribbon and leave a wish behind. Wishes are collected and used to print new ribbons for the wall. JustABitMore Just a Bit More by Ranjani Shettar, interact with it hereUnknownForcesUnknown Forces by Apichatpong WeerasethakulGo see it in person, this is just a picture of a picture of a pictureTo really see it needs the big screens and big sounds.  


Words of Wisdom

To follow are excerpts from the forward to Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Simone Beck, Louisette Bertholle, and Julia Child 1963 version, Alfred A Knopf publishers in New York.



La Belle France





Recipe language is always a sort of short hand in which a lot of information is packed, and you will have to read carefully if you are not to miss small but important points. Then, to build up your over-all knowledge of cooking, compare the recipe mentally to others you are familiar with, and note where one recipe of technique fits into the larger picture of theme and variations.


Building AWOL of Understanding and Compassion
William T. Wiley
at the Marsha Mateyka Gallery


A pot saver is a self-hampering cook. Use all the pans, bowls, and equipment you need, but soak them in water as soon as you are through with them. Clean up after yourself frequently to avoid confusion.


Forced Confusion by JavaJive on Flickr

Cross references are always a problem. If there are not enough, you may miss an important point, and if there are too many you will become enraged. Yet if every technique is explained every time it comes up, a short recipe is long, and a long one forbidding.


Figure 6 Dual Modality [149] Peripheral Vascular Sonography Joseph F. Polak



Each of the several steps in the process, though simple to accomplish, plays a critical role, and if any is eliminated or combined with another, the texture and taste …of the navarin…suffer, One of the main reasons that psuedo-French cooking, with which we are all too familiar, falls far below good French cooking is just this matter of elimination of steps, combinations of processes, or skimping on ingredients such as butter, cream – and time. “Too much trouble,” “Too expensive,” or “Who will know the difference” are death knells for good food.


A complete treatise on French cooking following the detailed method we have adopted would be about the size of an unabridged dictionary; even printed on Bible paper, it would have to be placed on a stand.



The Persistence of Geometry

From the Cleveland Museum of Art


Constructivist Portrait, Ellen Carey 1983


Male Antelope-Anteater Headdress (chi wara-sogoni kun)
Africa, Mali, Bamana, Diaura or Djiumu Area, 1920s


Untitled, Sonia Delaunay


Gray Scramble (Single), Frank Stella, 1936


Creative Therapy, Jacob Lawrence, 1949

The Persistence of Geometry exhibition was organized by the Cleveland Museum of Art in collaboration with MOCA Cleveland and was made possible through generous grants from the Kulas Foundation and the John P. Murphy Foundation. Additional support was provided by The Contessa Gallery. The Cleveland Museum of Art and MOCA Cleveland receive support from the Ohio Arts Council. Promotional support provided by 90.3 WCPN.


Juxtaposition and Symmetry

Below are some images from Nikolas Schiller, a DC artist using geospatial imagery to look at old things in new ways.


New Map [88] also titled “A New Map of the Terraqueous Globe: according to the the Ancient discoveries and most general Divisions of Geospatial Art” is a new iteration of Herman Moll’s map, A New Map of the Whole World with the Trade Winds According To the Latest and Most Exact Observations, 1736, shown in the first iteration of the exhibit Places & Spaces.


In order to see both sides of a round object, it is laid flat but Nikolas Schiller takes it a step further by juxtaposing a geographic map with purposefully arranged digital imagery showing the viewer both sides of…… something new like Herman Moll was doing with the whole world, now we are trying to see two whole new worlds.


Antique Home [222] was made with discoveries in the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection juxtaposing a quilt of the area where he lives with an assembled detail of a beautiful engraving on the title page of Atlas Nouveau.

cathedral signed

Cathedral Quilt – Signed [88] shows his signature written in Arabic, over a quilt/assembled symmetrical image of the National Cathedral. It must be seen rather than the small pictures here, a print was donated to the Library of Congress Geography & Mapping Division and could be seen up close and in person there.

quilt cut

Its difficult to choose which of works are best, they are compelling at all scales from far away to up close.


More abstract versions are made, Baltimore is below.


Clickable maps are used for commentary and activism, for example, to demonstrate DC’s lack of statehood.


Nikolas Schiller is the epitome of the modern geographer. modern geographer


Make Your View

Saul Steinberg Untitled 1980 above, 1983 middle, 1964 below.




Red and Blue America by Sara Fabrikant

Distored View

From Science News

HEADLINE NEWS. The geographical distribution of news stories isn’t uniform, Newman and Gastner show. Even allowing for population, a few cities?New York and Washington, in particular?get a surprisingly large fraction of the attention. The researchers extracted the dateline from about 72,000 wire-service news stories from 1994 to 1998 and changed a standard map (top) into a cartogram (bottom) in which the sizes of states are proportional to the frequency of their appearance in datelines. SOURCE: Newman and Gastner/PNAS


From Geography 222 and the power of maps by John Krygier Ohio Wesleyan University Department of Geology and Geography.



Visual Writing

Images from Inscribing Meaning, Writing and Graphic Systems in African Art at the National Museum of African Art.


Bi-Folio from the Qur'an

Bi-Folio from the Qur’an
Late 14th century
Ink, pigment, and gold on paper
H x W: 37.8 x 53.2 cm. (14 7/8 x 20 15/16 in.]
Sackler Gallery, S1995.115a-d



Amulet ring
Undetermined peoples
Early 20th century
Silver alloy
H x W x D: 3.2 x 3.2 x 2.4 cm (1 1/4 x 1 1/4 x 15/16 in.)
Gift of Ivo Grammet



Amulet (hatumere)
Limba peoples
Sierra Leone
Mid 20th century
Paper, colored inks
H x W x D: 46 x 14 x 1.1 cm (18 1/8 x 5 1/2 x 7/16 in.)
Gift of Simon Ottenberg
2003-13-5 [squares, dark tan background]


The Man, His Wife and Son in the Mirror
Victor Ekpuk, b. 1964, Nigeria
Acrylic on wood board H x W: 123 x 58 cm. (48 27/64 x 22 53/64 in.)
Loan of the artist



Asante peoples
Mid-late 19th century
Imported cotton cloth, black pigment
H x W: 210.8 x 302.3 cm (83 x 119 in.)
Museum purchase


Tribute to Hampath? Ba

Tribute to Hampath? Ba
Abdoulaye Ndoye, b. 1951, Senegal
Paper, ink, henna, leather
H x W x D: 33.65 x 25.40 x 1.9 cm. opened, as will be displayed (13 _ x 10 x _ in.)
Collection of the Artist
TC 3-2006-1



Nja Mahdaoui born 1937, Tunisia
Ink on paper
H x W: 41.2 x 51 cm (16 1/4 x 20 1/16 in.)
Purchased with funds provided by the Smithsonian Collections
Acquisition Program



Jin Akino, Capturing Beauty


Jin Akino, a Japanese professional photographer, has captured the abstract beauty of nature, scenic landscapes, solemn architectures, and smile. His photoworks show various kinds of beauty on the earth and express both subtlety and expansiveness.

Because of his eye for beauty, capturing patterns and flow, Jin will be the official photographer for Accuracy&Aesthetics projects.




It means “beauty of colors and patterns made up by long time and nature.”


Rapidly Changing vs Fixed

Two recent paintings seen in Washington DC have nailed the portrayal of static versus dynamic information.

A Losing Battle by Nathan Ota from Tug of War, curated by Annie Adjchavanich at Hemphill Fine Arts: In this beautiful execution, the circles, lines, and stars show a fixed points of view over an eternally changing growing tree.

ARTIST STATEMENT: I painted the Losing Battle over some of my experiences as an educator at the colleges I teach at. Not all my experiences are negative but I definitely see a change in work habits and interest in just hard work. When Annie at the BSFA invited me to contribute to the show and told me that the show was called,”Tug of War”, I couldn’t help but think about the constant battle between student and teacher. I had a series of paintings that depicted young flightless birds trying to leave the nest for the first time and some fly away with no trouble and some just can’t seem to take that first leap. This painting is another addition to that series of tree birdhouses.
Flight (c) Jessi Moore

Seen at Artomatic 2007: Jessi Moore is currently developing a method of documenting street scenes on video and translating each individual motion from the recorded scene onto canvas and other surfaces. Her strokes and line quality have become a language of her own, used to communicate the unique interactions that take place in an urban setting. Her statement is below.

The image above, provided by the artist, shows dynamic birds flying past a static building. The display at artomatic has a video playing with birds and people moving across a park. Jessi Moore masks out fixed elements like benches and walls then lightly spray paints white onto a piece of plywood. Moving elements like birds are quickly drawn using a sharpie on top of the fixed visual information.

Intersection.JessiMoore Intersection (c) Jessi Moore


Jessi Moore is a local artist who focuses on the contrast between architecture and the movement of life within urban landscapes. Her paintings and drawings are derived from videos shot at various intersections, metro stops, and parks in Washington DC. She began this concentration while living and working in Rome during her senior year at Rhode Island School of Design. As someone who has always been greatly influenced by her surroundings, the constant buzz of the Roman streets and the lifestyle in a large European city inspired her to study the nearby piazzas and streets in her sketchbook. Later she began documenting these scenes with video recordings and painting and drawing from the recordings. Jessi has also been greatly influenced by the film Koyaanisqatsi: Life out of Balance by Godfrey Reggio, 1982. This documentary film is a vision of the collision of two different worlds, urban life and technology versus the environment.

“There seems to be no ability to see beyond, to see that we have encased ourselves in an artificial environment that has remarkably replaced the original, nature itself. We do not live with nature any longer; we live above it, off of it as it were. Nature has become the resource to keep this artificial or new nature alive.”
Godfrey Reggio

It is her belief that many people seem to only pass through spaces rather than living in them. It is as if the city has provided a large landscape of traveling routes solely for transportation from one place to another. In DC especially there seems to be very little interaction between these travelers. Slowly after observing one spot for a long period of time, the buildings and surrounding architectural forms become very still and peaceful against the constant movement of life.


Place in the Universe

Different people have different reasons to define what “universe” means and to examine our place in it.
Swedish artist Monica Sand says …the modern research of space has changed the image of the human position in universe. How can we make an image of the human endeavour in a space perspective? The project “Space is Looking at Us” uses satellites to document several artistic installations to create a new definition of universe from this perspective. Movie is here.

On the other hand, Kathryn Blackmond Laskey states on [OntologForum] “If we go around saying the universe “is” a set, we are in danger of confusing a representation of the world with the world we are representing. Tarskian semantics accords well with the Western scientific worldview. It is quite useful for mathematical formalization of the meaning of statements that can be given definite truth-values. Formal ontology is most usefully applied to problems
that can be described in terms of statements that can be given definite truth-values.”

Somewhere between the two – a big picture can be made.


Retelling the Story

Crop of The Spinner by Billy Houdek, painting of a woman who talks too much while in the act of retelling a story.

Digital dots coming together are added. The image is zoomed into this area because its interesting to wonder what the best way is to show the transition from individual elements, like words, into more continuous forms, like stories. Furthermore, what happens if you want to retell a story a different way? When does it become a different story rather than a reinterpretation? How many of the original elements need to hold together to keep it the same?

Entire painting is below.