A Place We Remember

There is a place we remember
and now
there is our memory of the place

(Image made in a new fractal program, Fraqtive by Michal Mecinski.  Then it was worked over quite a bit by my usual photoshop filter machine, XnView, and then zapped into the final collage which was done with a single filter from the VM collection called Tilomat 2000 by Mario Klingemann which produces a nice nice collection of snapshots of a single image with one click.)

January 6, 2009

The Nameless City

When I drew nigh the nameless city I knew it was accursed. I was traveling in a parched and terrible valley under the moon, and afar I saw it protruding uncannily above the sands as parts of a corpse may protrude from an ill-made grave. Fear spoke from the age-worn stones of this hoary survivor of the deluge, this great-grandfather of the eldest pyramid; and a viewless aura repelled me and bade me retreat from antique and sinister secrets that no man should see, and no man else had dared to see..

Remote in the desert of Araby lies the nameless city, crumbling and inarticulate, its low walls nearly hidden by the sands of uncounted ages. It must have been thus before the first stones of Memphis were laid, and while the bricks of Babylon were yet unbaked. There is no legend so old as to give it a name, or to recall that it was ever alive; but it is told of in whispers around campfires and muttered about by grandams in the tents of sheiks so that all the tribes shun it without wholly knowing why…

…I should have known that the Arabs had good reason for shunning the nameless city, the city told of in strange tales but seen by no living man, yet I defied them and went into the untrodden waste with my camel. I alone have seen it, and that is why no other face bears such hideous lines of fear as mine; why no other man shivers so horribly when the night wind rattles the windows. When I came upon it in the ghastly stillness of unending sleep it looked at me, chilly from the rays of a cold moon amidst the desert’s heat. And as I returned its look I forgot my triumph at finding it, and stopped still with my camel to wait for the dawn.

…In and out amongst the shapeless foundations of houses and places I wandered, finding never a carving or inscription to tell of these men, if men they were, who built this city and dwelt therein so long ago. The antiquity of the spot was unwholesome, and I longed to encounter some sign or device to prove that the city was indeed fashioned by mankind. There were certain proportions and dimensions in the ruins which I did not like. I had with me many tools, and dug much within the walls of the obliterated edifices; but progress was slow, and nothing significant was revealed. When night and the moon returned I felt a chill wind which brought new fear, so that I did not dare to remain in the city. And as I went outside the antique walls to sleep, a small sighing sandstorm gathered behind me, blowing over the grey stones though the moon was bright and most of the desert still.

…At noon I rested, and in the afternoon I spent much time tracing the walls and bygone streets, and the outlines of the nearly vanished buildings. I saw that the city had been mighty indeed, and wondered at the sources of its greatness…

(Text from The Nameless City, by H.P. Lovecraft, 1920…30-something.  Image made in Showfoto using the Blockwave filter.)

Interestingly I heard there is such a place in the Gobi Desert which consists of the remains of a large palace complex that was inhabited, as the local legends go, by a king so evil that the local people even to this day stay away because they believe the place is haunted and was destroyed because of its evil nature.

January 5, 2009

The Sea

The sea is the same everywhere; but the sea is never the same.

As an image is inverted, so the sea is transformed by day or night.

Strange stories have come from the sea, impressing upon us an image in our minds that the authors could never imagine.

If an image is only the light it reflects, then no one has ever seen the sea.

As the earth is the bottom of the sea, so the sea is the bottom of the sky.

Impossible colors; the sea burns with the colors of the sun.

Somewhere, once, the sea was just like this.

The sea is new.  It has always been this way.


(A series of images based on an original made in CAPOW 2007.  Each image was altered by a different photoshop filter.  In some cases the
images were derived from applying the on board XnView filters to an indexed image.  The result of many filters changes enormously when
applied to a 16 or 256 color image for which it was never intended.  Just another example of how many creative options there are even when
all you’re doing is pushing buttons or turning dials.)

December 19, 2008


(Image made in CAPOW 2007, a very serious electro-science program with buttons I don’t understand.)

December 17, 2008

Inside the Midnight Room of Cellular Automata

I don’t suppose the term Cellular Automata was intended to sound freaky and far-out when it was chosen to describe whatever it is that Cellular Automata is, but in an art context I think CA (as the savvy in-folks call it) has a very exotic sound to it which, incedently, it probably doesn’t deserve.

I would probably have labelled it (from a graphical perspective) “Brainless Bits” because it tends to produce images composed of tiny particles that are intensely repetitive and quickly bring you to the point of boredom.

The options available in CAPOW 2007 help to overcome this frustrating source of mechanical graphics; but even still produce imagery that is very minimalistic and provokes one to work it over in an ever extending gauntlet of graphic filters.

Sometimes the harsh minimalism looks good and serves to highlight the cold, dead, lifeless, unthinking, mechanical nature of art from pushing buttons and turning dials.

Of course, sometimes it doesn’t.  I don’t post those ones.

December 16, 2008

Pool of Water, Pool of Light

“Bielokurov came over in a poddiovka, wearing an embroidered shirt . We played croquet and lawn-tennis, and when it grew dark we had a long supper, and Lyda once more spoke of her schools and Balaguin, who had got the whole district into his own hands. As I left the Volchaninovs that night I carried away an impression of a long, long idle day, with a sad consciousness that everything ends, however long it may be. Genya took me to the gate, and perhaps, because she had spent the whole day with me from the beginning to end, I felt somehow lonely without her, and the whole kindly family was dear to me: and for the first time during the whole of that summer I had a desire to work.”  (From The House With the Mezzanine, by Anton Chekhov, 1917)

I don’t normally read things that would be described as Literature, I’m more interested generally in adventure fiction or classic sci-fi, but I do get curious now and then and want to read the good stuff.  It doesn’t last long, but I always find myself moved by the higher works of writing, and of visual art too, even if I don’t attempt to emulate them or study them to the degree that even a half-hearted student would.  So much of art, whether written or visual, is inexpressible and begins and ends in the world of one’s own thoughts.

I found this passage which ended in the statement “and for the first time during the whole of that summer I had a desire to work” both humorous and mysterious.  A strange sort of Russian Walden where the contemplation of one’s environment is a kind of noble idleness and yet clashes with the unavoidable fact that work is necessary to survive and also to make the pursuit of noble things possible.

The image, a filtered banknote put on its side, suggests a deep water-filled cavity with a light-filled upper area which to me is a good illustration of the main character in this short story I was reading.

December 7, 2008

Sindbad’s Dream

I had inherited considerable wealth from my parents, and being young and foolish I at first squandered it recklessly upon every kind of pleasure, but presently, finding that riches speedily take to themselves wings if managed as badly as I was managing mine, and remembering also that to be old and poor is misery indeed, I began to bethink me of how I could make the best of what still remained to me. I sold all my household goods by public auction, and joined a company of merchants who traded by sea, embarking with them at Balsora in a ship which we had fitted out between us. (From The First Voyage of Sindbad, Andrew Lang, 1898)

Mario Klingemann’s distortion filters from his VM collection are a good example of how unpredictable clicking on graphical effects can be.  After doing a number of things with this image which was originally an Afghan banknote, including some chopping and negative (invert) effects, I clicked on one of the VM distortion filters (probably Distortion by Brightness) which produced this sandy, dreamlike image.

The colors, particularly the colored streaks, come from another effect and as is the case generally with clicking on filters (what I call, Clickism) the final result is a combination of things which is often a surprise and often not reproducible.  I have found the most successful way to work with filters is not to be too rigid but rather try out all sorts of things to see what works (or mosty, what doesn’t work).  Sometimes you remember how you got to the final step and sometimes you don’t.

December 4, 2008

Clicking With 50 Afghanis

(Image from Numismondo-World)

Using Revolver, Mirror-Mirror, India Ink and a host of other filters, I turned the above image into this:

Being my further attempts to experiment with the creative theme of paper money, I also created a reverse side to my banknote.  I tried to add some simple money attributes like a denomination number and a country of issue thing, but none of that seemed to go well with this colorful “crayon image”.

There is a school of art, or style of art, called Fluxus that is oriented around themes that are multi-functional like money, receipts, (and other stuff I’d be able to list if I knew more about it) and the co-mingled contexts of art and functionalism make for what is often a sort of surreal effect.

Anyhow, Clickism (clicking on graphical effects) works best when using this sort of raw material because it’s easy to create chopped up collages of the patterns and forms used in paper money (some of which is already very artistic in its own right) and the subdued colors common in this form of printing just seem to lend themselves to graphical enhancement and experimentation.

It’s fun, it’s easy, it doesn’t always work …it’s Clickism.

December 3, 2008



While doing some more radical experimentation in Sterlingware I made this.  It’s using the Gaussian 6 render method which isn’t usually a very useful one.  However, when you just concern yourself with making something interesting to look at and forget about the the more technical side I guess you’re more likely to find things where you didn’t think they were likely to be.

It never ceases to amaze me how much detail can be generated in a fractal program in such a short time and with such little effort and how complex and unrepetitive it can be also.  The notion that fractals are formulas repeated over and over again suggests monotony, but it isn’t usually that way.

As with all graphically creative software, I think people should focus on producing any sort of interesting imagery and not, say, fractal imagery with a fractal program etc…  That’s probably why I find the simpler, one-layer fractal programs to be more creative tools — you can bend them and experiment with them in ways they were never intended.

December 1, 2008

The Bacterial City

Comparative Study the Bacterial City

And that small colony, that bacterial city, has roughly seven trillion citizens— more than all of the humans who have ever lived

These same sugars chains mesh together forming what could be considered the infrastructure for the bacterial city. Biofilms are constructed in a manner that

Individual bacteria settle on a surface, attach themselves tightly, begin to reproduce, and thus create a bacterial “city” – a biofilm – with pathways for

… infrastructure for the bacterial city. Biofilms are constructed in a manner that . is conducive for optimal nutrient deliv-

Infectious Diseases of Central Full Name Diseases Nervous System *Typhoid fever Meningitis Address Paratyphoid fever A. Bacterial City, Street and No.

(Text taken from the search results of Googling the string, “Bacterial City”; a digital age writing technique I picked up from Blog With A View.  Scribefire, the Firefox plugin that I use for writing my blog posts, preserves the html formatting of the selected text when you cut and paste from a web page.  As a result, the first quoted search result being a link to a pdf article was included as such and not just a simple text string as I was expecting.  Confusing perhaps (and annoying if your pdf viewer takes a long time to start up) but I like how it extends the theme of interconnected growth that comes from the image (made with Showfoto’s blockwave filter) and repeats it in the text suggesting (to me) that the internet is like a bacterial colony of documents and even words — hyperlinks — a modular thing, a growing city of words, the webs of digital spiders.)

November 26, 2008