At the moment I’m entranced with drawing on my iPhone, mostly playing with the Brushes and Paintbook apps. My full set of iPhone drawings is here.
With Brushes I’m presently evolving some strange creatures in a strange environment. Above you can see the Hedgehogerus surprised, the Hedgehogerus nest and fairy, the two-toed Chubbachubb, and the double-pouched Schweep.
With Paintbook I’ve been making some very simple two-tone faces of (mostly) imaginary people. Here are a few favourites:
Shadow Monsters by Philip Worthington is a wonderful interactive and digital form of shadow puppets, in which the programming generates fantastic and playful extensions to the shadows of participants bodies and hands, and quirky and wild sounds. (There are more YouTube videos).
The Shadow Monsters grew from a brief about technological magic tricks. I was looking at optical illusions and Victorian hand shadows particularly interested me as a starting point. The subtlety with which a character could be created was already very magical and I wondered if there was room to experiment with these techniques. Looking back to my own childhood, I remembered the feeling of casting huge shapes in the light of my father’s slide projector, creating monsters and silly animals. I enjoy working with simple intuitive things; playful feelings that touch us on a very basic level.At the same time I was experimenting with some software for vision recognition so slowly the monsters evolved. At first I made a puppet show with coloured pencils that had hair and eyes… and this slowly grew in complexity until I had a system that could go some of the way to understanding hand posture. The rest is history.
My little kinetic sculpture of the lovely Twitter Fail Whale, based on the image by Yiying Lu that is used when twitter.com is over-capacity. The image is called ‘Lifting up a Dreamer’. I’ve wanted to make this since I first saw the image some weeks ago.
This is a short video of it in action, complete with twittering birds!
More photos here. (Update: fail whale widget here)
I remain optimistic and supportive of Twitter in the long term, because I think the real-time courier service rationale that was the founding impetus of the service constitutes a new branch off Doc Searls’ live web, and makes our online interactions a quantum step closer to Allen Searl’s original vision of ‘a Web where anybody could contact anybody else and ask or answer a question in real time’. Twitter’s track facility, presently down but still promised, provides the real-time search of people and and what they are talking about right now.
Maybe the progression of branching-off goes a little like this:
static web > live web > real time web
google > blogosphere > twittosphere
our property > our history in time > our real-time conversation
search by sending out bots> search by listening for pings > search by tracking people and words in real time
It may be that Twitter’s primacy will be usurped by some other real-time service that gets up ahead of them in the race; I hope not. But many great progressive ideas start off serendipitously or in fun without their full implications or potential being known, and in those circumstances it’s silly in hindsight to say the founders ought to have seen further, planned better and acted quicker than they did.
I’ve been phoning around the crafts shops asking if they have any large koala noses, as you do. Only one person spluttered with laughter; she gets a big tick of approval. But it turns out there is a dearth of koala noses. What can have happened?? Where can they be? Are they living it up, kicking up their heels somewhere, free at last?
I got to thinking what a strange word dirth was, and tried looking it up. There was a derth of dirths but eventually I found that its obsolete, obscure and spelt derth, making for a derth of derths, as well as dirths and koala noses. (Still later: Okay, it’s dearth. I got there in the end.)
Pasha at Project Puppet in comments below found one loafing around (thanks Pasha!), confirming my suspicions.
Terry at Bent Objects makes these lovely whimsical figures and scenes with wire and everyday objects. They remind me of the wire figues in Calder’s Circus, and I can imagine them being brought to life as puppetry.