• "Fountain is a plain text markup language for screenwriting." More plaintext formats for writing in. This is good.
  • "When I'm evaluating entrepreneurs and their ideas, I look for "innovation bipolarity," a version of F. Scott Fitzgerald's first-rate intelligence: "the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function." Entrepreneurs should be able to argue passionately that their idea will change the world, and then, without skipping a beat, honestly assess the risks standing in the way of its success and describe what they are doing to mitigate them."
  • "I wanted to make the ship move, and I wanted to make it speak, and I wanted to speak back to it, with it, together. To make something." The poetry of creation is important. Also, @shipadrift is lovely, but you already knew that.
  • More useful vim stuff.
  • "In my forthcoming book Alien Phenomenology, at the start of the chapter on Carpentry (my name for making things that do philosophy), I talk about the chasm between academic writing (writing to have written) and authorship (writing to have produced something worth reading). But there's another aspect to being an author, one that goes beyond writing at all: book-making. Creating the object that is a book, that will have a role in someone's life—in their hands or their purses, around their mail, in between their fingers. Now, in this age of lowest common denominator digital and POD editions, it's time to stop writing books and to start making them." I am not totally sure I buy all of Bogost's argument, but I like his points explaining the role of artefacts. However, POD is weirder than he gives it credit.
  • "[Was shooting The Artist very different to making a 'regular' movie?] No, it’s a regular picture. The only difference is, there is no boom mic. And the story is not being told by what comes out of your mouth. If you want to tell the story, the story being the narrative, not the plot—the plot’s fairly simple—but if you want to tell the narrative, then you have to be concise with your reaction, and let the reaction get into your body and your face in a way you don’t necessarily do when you have dialogue, because the dialogue takes care of that." James Cromwell interview by the AV Club. I enjoyed this line especially.

Raining on bus (s)tops

05 February 2012

BusTops Shoreditch profile

or: “I made some public art”.

It’s been lovely to see Bus Tops finally emerge into the world. If you’re not aware: it’s a series of LED-matrix screens on the top of bus stops around London, displaying a curated programme of art that anyone can submit works to. It’s been beautiful to see it come to life so well: feels like a thing, has its own aesthetic, the public nature of it feels exciting and odd and transgressive.

I decided I ought to start making some things for it. I’m particularly interested in the screens as an animated medium. So far, I’ve submitted two works; one, an original, and the other, very much not, although it’s the kind of thing that needs to be on giant red LED matrixes.


Ripples has been selected for display, which is quite exciting! It’s a short animation that makes it look a little like it’s raining on top of the bus stop, even when it’s not. It was a nice exercise for me: making something attractive, graphical, in code (which is not my sweet spot of programming).

An hour or so with Processing later and I was getting somewhere, and it didn’t take much longer with the rather lovely gifAnimation library to spit out an animated gif to import into the Bus Tops editor.

The original animation that Ripples is based on can be viewed here. The source code for it is also on that site.

This feels like a good beginning, and I have a few more ideas for abstract moving works that would look good in red, black, and nighttime, from the top of a double-decker.

(And, as reference primarily for myself: the way you fixed “sad about not making things” is by just starting things, ideally small things, and before you know they’re done.)

Update: and here’s what it looks like on top of a bus stop. Static:

and in motion:

(thanks to the Bus Tops site for the images)

  • "I remember when Ajax was getting popular, all the problems associated with frames rose from the grave: bookmarking, breaking the back button, etc. Now that we’re in a time of small-screen devices on low-bandwidth networks, we’re rediscovering a lot of the same issues we had when we were developing for 640 pixel wide screens with 28K or 56K modems." This is the thing.