your waiting song

Another drawing tool. With this one you can only perform 1 action each (real-world) day: you can either draw a single stroke, or you can erase the image you’ve been creating up until that point.

This is the twelfth piece I’ve made for here and then gone, so I guess it marks a year of doing this weird project. What’s interesting to me know is how many of the pieces I’ve made deal explicitly with time. I count at least 7 with outputs that are tied to specific days, or that restrict what you can do in a single (real-world) day.

It all ties in suspiciously neatly to the overall here and then gone project, which is consciously about time, and permanence, and impermanence, but… none of that was intentional? I guess this year I’ve just been thinking a lot about time?

Now that I’m writing this it does make me think of Marshall McLuhan’s hot and cold mediums. So much of what we do with computers is immediate; when a computer doesn’t react instantly to our input we tend to talk about it in negative terms (laggy, slow, unresponsive, ...). They’re a very hot medium, usually. I guess part of me wanted to cool things down. To make demands of the user beyond the usual “learn this interface; structure your work/thoughts to match the software’s design principles”.

Maybe I was trying to create the software equivalent of a cool medium like radio? I don’t know. I blame Michael Brough’s VESPER.5; it clearly lodged itself permanently in my head when I played it back in 2012/13.

Download your waiting song

Controls: escape: quit; mouse click/drag: draw stroke

The Rules:

  • The file at this link will be deleted 1 month from now (04/04/20).

  • All downloads are zipfiles containing a Windows executable.

  • All source code and assets are included, licensed under the GPL (code) and CC-BYSA (assets).

  • As long as you abide by those licenses, you can do whatever you want with the download.

Further Reading

A piece by Amia Srinivasan on the politics of desire (CW: discussion of mass shooters, sexual violence).

Lio Min on using Mitski’s Your Best American Girl to think through their transition.

A fascinating article about a slave rebellion strategy game developed by a French developer in 1988.

I’ve always been keenly interested in the work done at The School for Poetic Computation. Students there are asked to contribute to the school blog, and there’s a wonderful recent post by Amber Officer-Narvasa here. An excerpt:

Coding makes more sense when it’s a love letter to the people and ideas you have spent the last few weeks relearning everything with. Coding makes more sense when you’re answering questions that really matter to you, and you know you don’t have the answer, but you have some words to give and maybe your words and your friend’s words and a new font will bring you someplace new. The lessons I learned in Emma’s class live behind my knees, in the soles of my feet, the soft of my shoulders.

I Dream of Canteens; a newsletter post by Rebecca May Johnson that starts off describing what sounds like a utopian ideal before revealing that, following WW2, Britain actually had state-run ‘British Restaurants’ serving 50 million (nutritionally balanced, for the time) meals each week. Something that now sounds inconceivable in a country of 2000+ food banks. Makes me think of a hauntology of food. A better, more equitable, culinary future that never came to pass.

My favourite artists are the ones whose work acts as a gateway, or series of gateways, to a whole world of ideas, practices, artworks, beyond the work itself. That’s partly what this project is about, hence the Further Reading section. Anyway, I just finished volume 2 of Kieron Gillen, Stephanie Hans and Clayton Cowles’ DIE, which is very much in that mode, and as a result I’m now itching to track down all of the Brontës’ work. Particularly Anne, who I know very little about, but sounds like she might have been the most interesting one?

I’m a sucker for feminist re-tellings of old tales. Here’s a good take on Gawain and the Green Knight by Kat Howard.

We’ve started a weekly folkgames session at Abertay, and despite the constant struggle to find a time when everyone’s available it’s rapidly become the highlight of my week. A list of games we’ve played so far:

  • The Danish Clapping Game

  • Ninja

  • T-Rex Ninja

  • Elephant Ninja

  • Ninja Ninja (? - this was Lynn’s modification of Ninja, I don’t think we came up with a name for it; it’s not called Ninja Ninja)

  • Frog Ninja

  • Kelp Ninja (not really a game(?); we just stood with our feet rooted in place while we swayed our upper bodies following an imaginary current)

  • Blind Ninja

  • Blind Cat Ninja

  • Tangled Intestines (?)

  • Hide & Seek

  • What’s the time Mr. Wolf?

  • Grandmother’s Footsteps (there’s also a Ninja/Grandmother’s Footsteps crossover that we haven’t quite figured out yet)

As you can see we’ve found ourselves a bit preoccupied with Ninja. It generates such a wonderful, freeze-frame choreography. Anyway, I highly recommend doing this if you can corral some friends to join you. And if you’re in Dundee and have half an hour free on a Wednesday afternoon, come join us :)

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