Ich bin ein Bernini!

The Ecstasy of St Clickism

It’s not exactly a single photoshop filter, “bernini.8bf”, but rather a syndrome of filters (to use a pathological expression).

The sierpinski effect from multicrystal.8bf (Ilyich the Toad) produces the sharp, stone-like appearance that extractor1.8bf expands upon so well. But it’s the simple mirror,mirror filter that takes it to a whole new level and in such a simple way by creating nothing any more exciting than bilateral symmetry, like a face has.

Or one of the great works by Bernini.

The Ecstasy of St Theresa by Bernini in Rome, from Wikipedia.org

This might help you relate to my, sometimes, obscure perspective:

Processed with Extractor1.8bf (Mario Klingemann)

Symmetry adds some sort of majestic quality to these crushed and crumbled images, taking what would otherwise be, uh, something crushed and crumbled, and raising it up as a monumental, altarpiece-like construction.

Have you ever been freaked-out by fractals? Stunned by a spectacular image that has apparently grown out of a mere mathematical formula? That’s how I felt, now and again, while making these Bernini-esque images.

Some I found a little disturbing:

Is it just me? Or is there a disturbing, skull-like head there?

This is like some scene from the altar of an evil, cult-like temple:

The book, the banner behind it, the black flags? You don’t think that’s scary?

What’s odd, and adds to the wonderment, is that they all have such humble, clickism origins. They start off as some image (it doesn’t really matter much what the image is) I’ve found on the internet. I then multicrystal.8bf it about 10 times till it looks nothing like the original — just a wall of sierpinski blocks in the colors of the original photo.

In a variation of the crumblescapes I made previously, I add two seemingly uninteresting filters and then use the mirror effect in mirror, mirror. The two new filters are distortion effects. Distortion effects can be the most creative effects of all, literally making something out of nothing.

Revolver33RPM.8bf and Overlap4.8bf (in that order) both by the prolific filter writer, Andrew Buckle, from his Andrew’s filters collection. They basically add a curved crushing effect, instead of the usual square crushing effect. I discovered this somewhat by accident, although I had already been using Overlap4 with extractor to make a couple of interesting “gravel clouds”.

Take that twisted, crushed thing and mirror, mirror it and then apply the extractor thing to produce the black and white, high contrast images here.

Do you see what I see? If you’re screaming, you do.

It’s interesting how combining filters can produce such a powerful effect — instead of the usual grey sludge that commonly results from driving half a dozen filters over the same image,
one after another
like a convoy of tractor-trailers
at night, in a rainstorm
obliterating a wet cardboard box
under their wheels
leaving in their wake,
shreds of box paper
pasted to the gleaming pavement

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April 11, 2008

The Prose Poem

I remember the great arrival of the prose poem. I was taking a poetry “workshop” and there, suddenly, on a page in the poetry anthology was a clump of text without any explanation. This fragment of text, which was actually shorter than the poem on the facing page, had a title at the top, just like poems did, and the author’s name at the end of it, just like you’d expect a poem to have. I thought it was merely an interesting excerpt taken from a novel, but we were all told, to the laughter of the whole class, that it was a new form of poetry, although consisting entirely of prose.

Although I had also joined in the laughter, me and a few people like me who found prose exhausting and poetry frustrating, immediately saw the potential for such a wonderful development. And we also saw the embarrassment of writing what was basically a piece of “prose”, like a short story, but so short it couldn’t even be the beginning of anything, and which was conveniently called a poem for no other reason than it seemed to fit in the same space as one.

A poem was anything short and didn’t have to follow grammar rules. Prose took up a lot of pages and had “development”. Maybe they should have been more specific. But it’s too late.

Poems were short and prose was long. Poems made up for shortness by being intensive and therefore, hard to write. But not hard to write the way a novel is hard to write.

Since it’s much easier to write prose, there has to be a lot of it to make up for this imbalance. Either way it’s a tough job and a good poet actually gets the same respect as a great novelist because they both share the same pain. One kind of pain being extremely intense, but lasting only for about an hour, and the other, spread out over the course of several months and several hundreds of pages, acquiring unique qualities of its own, but reaching the same level of suffering when it’s all added up at the end.

A prose poem was obviously cheating because it’s so easy and because it’s so short. Maybe that’s the real reason we laughed so much when we first heard the idea. Could it really be true? Could there really be such a large, gaping hole in these prison walls of weekly assignments?

If you had a fantastic idea for something and could start by getting most of the entire first paragraph done…

I ran a marathon, once. It wasn’t anything like how hard I had thought it would be. I only ran part of it. I ran for two minutes. And I could do it again. And again. Its my favorite sport now — now that it has this new, modern form.

Think of each prose poem as a book. Think of each prose poem as just the fun pieces of the book. The rest of the book hasn’t been written, but could be written, but that isn’t likely because the book’s already been gutted and it’s most important parts sold on the black market as a prose poem. It’s a masterwork of editing and the audience should applaud it’s invention with a great sense of relief.

Relief from bad prose. And relief from bad poetry. There’s none of either in a prose poem.

The prose poem is the perfect genre for people like me who love to write, but just not very much.

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April 8, 2008

The Continued Fall of the House of Usher

April 5, 2008


All text from The Fall of the House of Usher (1839) by Edgar Allan Poe (in case you thought I wrote it…)

Recipe for Crumblescape
-Take any image, process 7 or so times with multicrystal.8bf (by Illyich the Toad)
-Process with Extractor 1 (Mario Klingemann, VM Toolbox), adjusting for optimal effect
Variation: use Mirror, Mirror (by Alfredo Mateus) to create a symmetrical appearance
Notes: don’t grease the pan, don’t sift the flour, let the smoke detector tell you when it’s done.

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April 2, 2008

Better than Escher?

Yes, but let’s give the old guy credit for having to work with such primitive tools — like himself.

That’s right; I don’t have to calculate or plan anything in my own head like what’s-his-name did. With a single, thunderous click I unleash an awesome whirlwind of mathematical calculations, the simplest of which would leave me frowning and scratching my head.

Folks like me often forget (or don’t know) how many sets of “shoulders of giants” we stand on and what those giants are doing down there. (Is it any wonder I often feel like a conqueror, standing astride this apex of culture and science?)

But that’s only one of the reasons I’m better than Escher. Or wait. Actually, that’s the only reason I’m better than Escher — it’s that simple!

Perhaps there is something from the mind of that Escher guy in one of my photoshop filters? That’s not a bad guess, especially considering how incredibly Escher-like this image is (I made it, not Escher). Declaring myself to be better than him (was he a man or a woman?) is my little way of tipping my hat to him/her.

Why then should anyone hold on to works by MC Escher, or look at them, when they’ve got my stuff? Well, lots of reasons. First of all, they make me look good.

Escher worked almost entirely in black and white while I work with millions of colors, although I restrain myself (most of the time) by sticking to a 256-color palette to reduce file sizes, and for some other reasons I can’t remember.

If Escher was alive today (he isn’t, is he?) he’d want to steal my enchanted tool kit and run out the door with it. But I wouldn’t stop him. In the classic sage-like response to just about everything, I would just roll on the floor laughing. And then download the whole lot once more. Times sure have changed, haven’t they?

What would Escher be doing today? He’d probably be writing graphical programs with a mathematical angle (no pun intended) like fractals or 3D; trading his pencils for pixels in an instant. He’d know better than to compete head to head with the likes of someone like me. Smart guy.

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March 30, 2008

Nobody said a word, but I knew

There was a time when the radio made pictures. There was a time when you could see the sounds you heard. You could look at the radio waves.

Abandoned now, the memories still exist. Ask anyone, like me, around my age, how the radios at one time used to come with a little TV screen, the size of someone’s palm.

I guess it was like a cell phone picture screen, but you didn’t see icons and a little computer screen, you saw the radio waves. They shimmered, sort of, and made scratchy looking, wavy shapes.

There’s nothing like it today. The colors changed a lot, and when you turned the tuning dial, the picture shook and crackled like the music did.

You couldn’t do a screen capture or save anything. Some people got really good at it though, and would show off the pictures they could make on their radios during recess time at school.

I don’t remember when the aliens came back, but that’s when all the radio screens disappeared. Nobody said a word, but I knew. I was playing with my radio and watching the scratchy colors and that’s when I saw their ship appear on the tiny screen. I saw it coming through the sky. Just one ship.

Not long after, my brother’s was gone and no one at school had one anymore, either. I kept mine hidden, but they found it.

Nobody said a word, but I knew.

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March 29, 2008

Are you ready for bubbles?


I don’t know what made me pick up Sterlingware again. After a year or two of experimenting with the formula parser in Inkblot Kaos and Tierazon and a whole bunch of photoshop filters, Sterlingware didn’t seem exciting anymore.

Once again, I’d thought I’d squeezed every good thing out of Sterlingware. Sure, like every progam it was still good for making raw material to morph and zap with photoshop filters, but I figured its days of stand alone usefulness were gone.

I started with the old the combinations that had been successful in the past; that’s a good way to review things and get back in the grove, but the old paths lead to the old places. I started with twister-weed and sine-trap; high color teethed grass and water falls; and then on to all those other rendering methods that I had always had high expections of, but had never worked for me…

That’s the point when I would usually give up out of frustration and move on to some other program, looking for new horizons. But this time I became fascinated with something that I’m sure I had already experimented with and abandoned: guassian sine dimension 9.

Visions of bubbliness

Sinister, and circular, bubbles14.loo

What’s weird is I’d seen these before, but at the time, I wasn’t ready for them.

It reminds me of the perlin noise images I’ve seen by Samuel Monnier and Paul DeCelle. Although I’m sure these two types of imagery are not related mathematically, they both have that same endless cloud feeling to them, of infinite resolution and unpredictable patterns.

Unpredictable. That’s what creativity is all about: making something you haven’t seen before.

I used to think stuff like this was garbage. But now I realize I just wasn’t ready for bubbles — back then.

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March 27, 2008

Secret, Invisible and Ever-Unknown

March 17, 2008

The Bird That Gave Birth to the Moon

Click for Sterlingware Parameter File

There is a new legend that tells how a bird gave birth to the moon.

For thousands of years the bird had laid eggs and all of them had been eaten by animals in the forest.

The bird started by laying eggs on the ground, which were of course quickly found and eaten.

Next the bird laid her eggs under the ground. Some of these were dug up and eaten by animals on the ground and others were found by animals inside the ground. But the rest that stayed hidden, died and rotted in the ground.

Finally the bird laid her eggs in a tree. They were far away from the animals down on the ground and inside the ground, but not from the other birds. The birds came and ate the eggs.

For a thousand years the bird laid no more eggs because she was sad. But the bird started to get bigger and bigger because of all the eggs storing-up inside her. One night the huge bird looked up into the sky and said, “I will fly as high as I can and lay my eggs at the top of the sky. I am filled with children and I can’t go on living like this. If they also die, then I will die with them.”

The bird, who had now grown to a giant size, flew up to the top of the sky and instead of laying many eggs, laid a single enormous egg then returned to her tree to see what would happen to it.

The next night, all the animals gathered under the bird’s tree because they were excited about this bright new egg in the sky that was so bright it seemed to give them a second daytime. They laughed at the bird whose eggs they had eaten and said, “too bad your tasty children aren’t here to see this!”

The bird replied to her children’s killers, “Say goodbye to your easy hunting in the nighttime. This shining moon you see is the birth of a thousand eyes. The animals you used to hunt will now see you and escape. And with every new moon, when it is dark like before, you will be the one who is hunted, because your starving friends will turn on you in the dark.”

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March 17, 2008

Temple of Saturn

Brought to you by the proud sponsors of the 2012 Olympic Clickism Team!

[Your Company’s Name Here]

I’m trying to get Clickism recognized as an official Olympic sport.

Of course, if that happens I probably won’t even qualify for a spot on my country’s first official team to compete at the next Olympics. The competition gets pretty stiff once that fabled Olympic status is conferred on any sport.

But that’s Okay; I train hard and run fast so that others will train harder and run faster. Just remember; it takes a lot of losers to make one winner. Who is the winner of a one-man race? Without a crowd of losers, a winner is nothing. But do the losers ever get any thanks or recognition? No. Anonymity is the left hand of losing.

Here are the hurdles that I’ve met, and mastered in my most recent race in the arena of Clickism. Do not be impressed! I went off-course many times before arriving at the finish line.

From Sterlingware, the starter pistol of champions, by Stephen Ferguson (Sterli01.loo)

Altered with “Mirror Mirror.8bf” by Alfredo Mateus

Clicked on “Add Or Sub.8bf” by Andrew Buckle (Andrew’s Filters)

And finally, click on Almodovar.8bf, another sports enhancing filter (not yet banned) by Andrew Buckle, and you’ll arrive at the finish line, to the sounds of applause (the 100m finals are being run in the same stadium), and the image posted at the top. If you haven’t suffered a serious injury (or been tackled by some nut in the crowd), you’ll be around to lose another race.

Grasshopper; Consider the way of the loser. Inspire others to lose so that you may win — so that you may be a winner at losing. Don’t order a lot of team jackets and uniforms, though. Nobody wants “LOSER” written across their back. Pride in losing is self-indulgence.

And self-indulgence is futile because self-indulgence has only 256 colors, which is not enough for any being who wishes to use photoshop filters. Go soak your head in vinegar until you understand this.

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March 12, 2008