GIS day

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After looking through a few LiDAR and Landsat image databases, it became clear that what I really wanted wa the compexity of a contour map, so I’ve decamped to a PC lab to work on QGIS today. It’s really good and actually quite simple to use – maps can be exported to PDF format and then wrangled into shape using Illustrator. (Life would be considerably simpler if the combination of QGIS, Illustrator, After Effects, and Mac Pro could all be found in the same location.)

Alongside this, I’ve been watching the tweets roll by from the Data Power conference up the road at Cutler’s Hall. There have been a lot of interesting sources linked and I’ve been sifting through them while things have been rendering and saving. As a result, I now have a lot of Sage journal RSS feeds in my inbox which can only be good.

Today was a productive studio day. I managed to get the key-tapping solenoid thing working from the raspberry pi, by installing Processing and then Arduino using these instructions. It’s really exciting to have Processing running on the pi, as this opens it up to me as a usable computer. I’ve been holding off from using it because it’s such a pain to translate everything in to Python from Processing Java. To be fair, it runs incredibly slowly when drawing graphics – down to 3 or 4 fps – so this will only be a useful method for control apps that are very light on visuals.

I’m hopeful that oF will do the trick for more video or graphics-heavy applications, but I doubt it.

In between, while things were loading and updating, I read a few articles from the inaugural issue of Social Media + Society. The best and most interesting article was a piece that discussed animation as a paradigm for understanding social media activity, replacing the shortcomings of performance as a theoretical lens. Interesting stuff, about how the audience fills in the gaps in representation with an animation, which can be just a few sketched lines. I think I need to look into this a bit more fully.

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Listed in the brochure for the Pages International Artists’ Book Fair at The Tetley, Leeds, 7–8 March 2015. The poster I made as part of the book edition will stay on show until the 22nd March 2015.

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The OFF now exists. It was pretty much in existence yesterday, but today was spent making it blink on and off in time with the ON. It took me most of the afternoon to realise that the reason Processing was crashing was that the Arduino (Firmata) library that I’ve been using was out of date. An update and it all went swimmingly. The only problem now is that I am not sure what I was thinking with these in the first place. I like the idea of them representing the binary conditions of engagement but I also don’t believe it – my area of interest is more into the everyday/embodied etc, and this is a much more blended mode of interaction with the digital.

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 20.46.50

I watched this talk by Stefanie Posavec from Eyeo2012 this evening. I like the idea of a ‘data illustrator’, as it acknowledges the subjectivity that the designer of the visualisation brings to the data. Fascinating that she does her representations manually, without code. (She discusses this at about 6 minutes in.)

This morning was spent writing up supervisory meetings. I also collected some online movies of people clicking mouse buttons. Some of these are associated with ASMR and others are just typical YouTube weirdness. Not yet sure what I’ll do with them.

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Spent the day making this. There is also a companion piece (OFF) that will need to be wired up on Monday. It’s a bit rough and ready, but it was good to remind myself how the laser cutter works and to actually have a go at using it. The LED lettering is quite wobbly, since the holes made for the LEDs are a bit too big. They’re about 1mm, which I thought might be about the limit for laser cutting, but I think I need to experiment with smaller cuts if this prototype gets made into something more finished. Also, I need to plan the distances between LEDs better, to avoid having to solder extenders onto them; plan the corners better; and maybe solder the lot of it rather than just winding the ends together.

More images below.

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via Flickr http://flic.kr/p/q6vCUf

Spent the day working on the piece for the method conference, and doing more tech support for the Leeds book project.

Also attended a lecture by Richard Layzell, the take-away being how much more fun things are with narratives meaningfully inserted.