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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Getting Started

So, the whole point of this blog is to act as a public sketchbook of means and methods for my artwork. Believe it or not, this is actually being pushed by Tim Weaver, the professor for one of my classes. He seems to think that someone might want to see my process (or, more likely, he just wants to see that I have a process).

Today, Sept. 16 2010, I start the book. One of our assignments in the class is to begin work on finding and researching a network of some sort, then observe/abstract/sketch and prototype a network of said type. Since almost everything is a network, there are a lot of options. However, there is also the problem of being able to study and abstract it within a finite amount of time using unfamiliar software tools. Should be a hoot.

A lot of discussion in yesterday's class was about the military's use of media technologies (especially those that are biologically-based) in order to make better decapitation machines and such. It got me thinking: what if I used a network that was military in nature, but used it to create art instead?

The thought that keeps on coming up is to simulate a network of tanks in a WWII blitzkrieg-like attack. A cheap-and-easy way to simulate this would be to take a basic flocking algorithm and use care when applying the parameters so they look like a tank battalion. Of course, I'm never about the cheap-and-easy, so I need to dig further. At first blush, the differences between a bird flocking algorithm and a bunch of tanks are:

- Tanks are variable speed under their own control.
- Tanks are able to stop(!) and go backwards if necessary.
- A battalion will have externally-driven goals (radio'd in from HQ).
- Some of the goals - or at least some of the barriers - may be moving (infantry units, for example).
- There are generally "lead" tanks vs. everything having the same level of control.

So, there are a bunch of un-bird-like behaviors that need to be coordinated. Later today I'm going to go fishing for software that might be able to help. I think I'm a little hamstrung; I could get something working quickly, but Tim made it pretty clear that he wanted us to use new tools rather than our familiar favorite.



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