Blank Canvas

Blank Canvas 1

Blank Canvas 2

Blank Canvas 3

Blank Canvas 4

Blank Canvas, 2016, Ethereum Contract and HTML/JavaScript/CSS.

A blank canvas that anyone can set the colour of on the Ethereum blockchain.

The images above show use of the GUI to change the colour (the GUI appears if you click in the window displaying the canvas).

You can download the interface code here, it’s in the dapps/blank-canvas directory.

To use it you’ll need an Ethereum node running locally, and to change the colour you’ll need some Ether.

Posted in Art, Ethereum, Projects

Oculus Rift CV1 Support in OpenHMD

Bad Camera Image of Rift CV1

OpenHMD has added support for the Oculus Rift Consumer version 1 (CV1) in the dev-oculus-cv1 branch.

It tracks the headset and turns the video and sound on. Above is a blurry image taken on my phone showing openglexample running on-screen and in the rift display.

I’ve found a few minor issues:

  • You’ll need a strong enough graphics card to power the CV1. An X200 laptop’s built-in graphics won’t cut it.
  • openglexample crashed the Gnome window manager on my under-powered laptop. Other window managers were fine.
  • The rendering in opengexample is intended for the DK1 so it isn’t quite right for the CV1, the resulting viewpoints are slightly too far apart.

But, as I say, these are minor issues. The Rift CV1 works on GNU/Linux! Next to find a good (Web)GL example of rendering for the CV1.

(A big thank you to Oculus for sending Kickstarter backers a CV1! o_O )

Posted in Virtual Reality



$ ./nom --help
Usage: nom [OPTIONS]
       Defaults to using 32 bytes of entropy.
  -rep string
    	hash representation - hex, base58, bip39 or proquint (default "hex")
  -seed string
    	read the bytes to hash as the parameter of this argument
    	read the bytes to hash from stdin rather than as an argument
$ ./nom --rep hex
$ ./nom --rep base58
$ ./nom --rep proquint
$ ./nom --rep bip39
sheriff core resemble talent service sword warfare offer boil vibrant uncover leisure circle pupil cattle prize cherry joke social daring media nurse primary chuckle

nom is a command line tool to generate names (identifiers).

It’s written in go. You can grab the source here:

Posted in Crypto, Projects

Left Universal Basic Income

The Universal Basic Income proposed by the Left is different from that proposed by the Right. Rather than replacing the welfare state it is a supplement to it.

As Srnicek & Williams note in “Inventing The Future”, 2015 (p.297):

The conservative argument for a basic income – which must be avoided at all costs – is that it should simply replace the welfare state by providing a lump sum of money to every individual. In this scenario, the UBI would just become a vector of increased marketisation, transforming social services into private markets. Rather than being some aberration of neoliberalism, it would simply extend its essential gesture by creating new markets. By contrast, the demand made here is for UBI as a supplement to a revived welfare state.

In the footnote to this, they quote Alyssa Battistoni, “Alive in the Sunshine”, Jacobin 13, 2014 (p.4):

A UBI programme would ideally involve a transformation of the welfare state. Programmes that provide services must be kept and expanded – for example, healthcare, childcare, housing, public transport and internet access. All of these should be immediate goals of the left, not only for their inherent good but also because expanding public services is necessary for reducing overall energy consumption.

And in response to the question of why the rich should be given money as well as the poor, they respond (p.296):

As there would be no means-testing or other measures required to receive the UBI, it would break free of the disciplinary nature of welfare capitalism.

It is perfectly possible to disagree with any or all of this. That does however first require acknowledging it. And there’s a lot more where this came from…

Posted in Accelerationism, Politics

Problems to be Isolated, Described and Discussed

A & L developed slowly and untidily around a consensus that there were historical and objective problems which could be isolated and described, and thus discussed. This is what distinguished and distinguishes A & L from other artists or artistic formations. A & L saw these problems as matters to be articulated by work, rather than as professional aspects of their social lives to be adopted only once they had left the studio. Conversation, discussion, and conceptualisation became their primary practice, as art.

– p22, “A Provisional History of Art & Language”, Charles Harrison & Fred Orton.

Posted in Art, Art History, Notebook

“Hot Cold” on Homestead


Here’s “Hot Cold” live on the Ethereum “Homestead” network.

“Hot Cold” calls back to Art & Language’s 1960s Conceptual Art involving abstract aesthetic properties. It looks (and is implemented to be) twice as complex as “Is Art“, but it’s still really only one bit of information.

You can run the user interface locally in a web browser with an Ethereum node such as geth. Once geth is running, the user interface can get the contract’s state from the blochchain and, if you have Ether for gas, modify it. If someone else changes the contract’s state, you’ll see this updated.

If you want to change the contract’s status without using the user interface, you can do so using the contract’s address and ABI in EtherWallet.

The address:


The ABI:

Posted in Art, Crypto, Ethereum, Projects, Uncategorized

Art And The Blockchain



Facecoin is at the “Art and the Blockchain” show at Digital Catapult.

Here’s Ruth Catlows’ article about it –

Posted in Crypto, Projects, Shows

“Is Art” On Homestead


Ethereum has been live for several months now and has progressed to the point where the network has been declared stable.

So I’m deploying my contract artworks to the Ethereum blockchain. First up is “Is Art“.

“Is Art” is an Ethereum contract that can be instructed to nominate itself as art (or not). Whoever toggles the contract’s state as art sets it unimpeded until the next person sends a transaction to change it. A more rational system should be used – bidding, voting, a prediction market. The Duchampian aesthetic transubstantiation of artistic nomination is long played out. It is an art historical found object, as basic as a contract with a single bit of state. Brough together, the art historical and the contemporarily technological (or their audiences) can mutually animate and interrogate each other.

You can run the user interface locally in a web browser with an Ethereum node such as geth. Once geth is running, the user interface can get the contract’s state from the blochchain and, if you have Ether for gas, modify it. If someone else changes the contract’s state, you’ll see this updated.

If you want to change the contract’s status without using the user interface, you can do so using the contract’s address and ABI in EtherWallet.

The address:


The ABI:


For instructions on how to do this, see the “Contracts” pane in EtherWallet.

Posted in Art, Crypto, Ethereum, Projects, Uncategorized

Causal Horns

Gabriel's Horn
3D illustration of Gabriel’s horn by RokerHRO – Public Domain.

Causal horns are the equivalent of light cones for the potential effect of an event on other events over time – promoting or inhibiting the probability of particular range of events.

They’re horns because they’re twistier than generalized cones (although they compose similarly toDavid Marr’s use of them). Anything from a simple cone via hooks and bulbs to corkscrews and nautilus shells.

A causal horn fits within slices of the light cones of a succession of information transmissions. It’s more information rich, slower, and multidirectional in comparison.

Posted in Philosophy

Rationally Irrational Aesthetics

By Headlessplatter at English Wikipedia - Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by Shashenka using CommonsHelper., Public Domain,
Local Maximum by Headsplatter, Public Domain.

Rational aesthetics are an infinite improvement on vapid, asset-class aesthetics but (and this is identifying an opportunity, not an objection) Gödel. If we cast art’s reason as AI-style search (not to fundamentally describe it as such, but to make a hopefully useful comparison) then we encounter the problem of “local maxima“. This is where a direct search of a problem space finds only the closest highest value, not the globally highest one.

In human creativity we can rationally use irrationality to break free of local maxima. Whether creativity theory,surrealist techniques, or pure randomness. Beyond the details of any one technique, what is important is that to get further, we sometimes need to use irrationality (or arationality) for rational ends.

Mythology can be such a source of transformations (in the mathematical sense – we’re talking about search spaces here). Freed of the affective and significatory limits of fact, mythology can lead us to places and to lengths that we might not otherwise reach. This includes science fiction.

In guiding and constructing  new possibilities (or at least finally addressing old problems) through aesthetics, mythology becomes hyperstition (in a general rather than numogram-centred sense). Where we (for a social media value of “we”) believe it is not possible or practical to change anything (for the better), it is rational to construct hyperstitional entities to treat the local maxima of ideology as damage and route around them.

This is haunted by the Big Lie and The Republic, but we do not need to deceive or believe for non- (and a-) existent entities to be historical causes. Just ask Cthulhu. Or Katak. Hyperstitional engineering is accelerationist aesthetics, artistic reason, because of its irrational content not despite it.

Posted in Aesthetics, Hyperstition, Politics