I’ve made very few paintings, but I need to make some now. I think that 1968 needs some painted images, and a project called “Indemnified Paintings” needs painting as well (obviously πŸ™‚ ).

I’m reminded of Art & Language talking about how paint and brushes were “kryptonite” to some conceptual artists. I came to computers at the same time as painting and printmaking, so there’s never been that ideological split for me.

This isn’t part of any general drift from technology, or a need to make something saleable, it’s just what I need to do. OK so I’m having fun with Conte charcoal pencils and blue col-erase at the moment as well, but I’m coding and clicking away as hard as ever. Yessir. It’s important to get the medium right and not to fetishise it.

Paint is a good way of making certain kinds of one-shot images. Why make it on-screen and then laboriously print it out? It’s easier to just paint it, if the process of painting or the lack of undo doesn’t get in the way. πŸ˜‰

Free Culture

Free Art Software

All the tools you need to make art digitally are available as Free Software projects. These aren’t toys, they are serious tools used in production on real projects.

Blender is an excellent 3D modelling, animation and game-making application:

Renderman is the tool that’s used for rendering movie effects and computer animation, free implementations are available:

For video editing there’s Kino:

For frame editing there’s CinePaint (formerly Film Gimp), developed and used by Hollywood effects houses:

For photo and image editing there’s Gimp:

For vector illustration there’s Inkscape:
And there will eventually be minara πŸ™‚ :

For fonts (typefaces) there’s Fontforge:

For desktop publishing there’s Scribus:

Other Free Software media resources, including sound, sampling and sequencing (which are outside my area of expertise):

Free Culture

Open Cola

There’s an Open Source cola drink, it’s been around for a while now:

Whilst this is very funny, formalising the idea of competing on manufacture & distribution and collaborating on research & development is one of the aspects of Free Software that transfers very well to consumer goods.

AdBusters would do much better to release Open Trainer designs rather than hyping their Closed “Blackspot” Trainer vapourware. Their centralised, corporatist, old-school branding just leaves me looking from man to pig…


The Institutional Theory Of Art

I’ve started reading “Painting As An Art”, so I’ve been thinking about the Institutional Theory of art (which Wollheim starts the book by discussing). This is the theory that art is irrelevant to art: the thing that makes art into art is its recognition by the “artworld”. Quite how the artworld recognises art I don’t know, but I think it can be summed up as: “the art world likes what it likes”. It’s not a very useful theory for actually making art, but curators love it.
It’s very simple for an artwork to enforce its acceptance by the artworld, thus upsetting the Institutional Theory. If you don’t believe me, try getting a watercolour painting of a scottie dog painted by an old lady into the Tate’s modern art collection. There’s no way the artworld will accept it. Theory falsified. πŸ˜‰

Free Culture

Doctorow On DRM

An excellent article on why DRM (Digital Rights Management) is bad for consumers, artists, and companies (via SlashDot):

This was delivered as a lecture to Microsoft! We’re an Apple household (Macs and iPods), but if Steve Jobs can’t apply himself to finding a way that both Apple and Pixar can make money from the network without selling my computer to the MPAA out from under me, it’s going to be Linux time.


rob-art First Release

rob-art has been uploaded to SourceForge and a first release is available. Sources for Draw Something, ae and The Cybernetic Artwork Nobody Wrote are include, as is some documentation in PDF and HTML format.

You’ll need a Lisp interpreter/compiler to run the code and a PostScript viewer to view the output from Draw Something.

Click here for details.

Free Culture

Collateral Damage

Ken Brown’s efforts on behalf of Microsoft have shifted to creating new terminology for proprietary software vendors to use and trying to change the meanings of words. Ken wants to change “Open Source” to mean asset-stripping (BSD) licenses, which for him means that value-creation licenses (GPL) become -shudder- “Hybrid Source”.

It’s Newspeak, and for a good example of a “Hybrid Source” project of mixed Open Source (BSD) and proprietary code, look no further than Windows. Its networking code was shown to have come from BSD. Yes, the world’s most successful proprietary software is “Hybrid Source”. Which Ken Brown says destroys the value of intellectual property and should be shunned by government.

On the plus side, obviously Microsoft’s new best friend Sun can’t use an evil, hybrid-source license like the GPL for Solaris and Java. They’ll have to use an asset-stripping license, which will allow other proprietary software vendors (such as Microsoft) to cherry-pick their code. But at least they won’t see the reduction in value of their intellectual property that they would if they went GPL. Um…


β€œWhat has your string quartet done, comrade, to further the cause of revolution?”

UK Arts Minister questions artistic instrumentalism:

Story at Guardian Online.

Instrumentalism has distorted perception and funding of art in the UK, giving rise to an aesthetic of access and trivialising art in the process.

The essay’s available here online. Click here for more information.


Asperger’s Syndrome Syndrome

Michaelangelo is the latest victim of Asperger’s Syndrome Syndrome. This is where a publicity hungry psychiatric hack assigns a pathology to someone famous using the famous bullet-point-comparison test.

Hopefully some day a cure will be found for the poor individuals who suffer from this syndrome syndrome. Or perhaps we’ll find that their inexplicable drive to pathologise notable historical figures is a result of their work, not a mental disorder, however much it might look that way when you reduce it to a soundbite.

Free Culture

Open Clip Art

There is now an Open Clip Art project:

The only license they use is Public Domain, which I understand from a commercial point of view, but it would have been nicer to have a choice of the Creative Commons licenses. I’d add my work if I could CC it.

There’s nothing to stop you taking the work and combining it with your own work to make something that you then CC. That’s the disadvantage of the Public Domain: you can steal from it. But this can work for value creation as well as for asset stripping.

I really do think there’s a need for a creative equivalent of SourceForge; a host for creative projects. Computer game projects put graphics, sound and other content under version control, so artists can certainly do it. For Open creative projects, keeping track of submissions and being able to roll them back is vital to avoid any copyright infringement problems.

If only I was any good at writing NESTA funding proposals. πŸ™‚