the company of clouds

I take a lot of photos. One of my recurring preoccupations is using code to make those photos move. I’m not interested in having them move in a realistic fashion though; if that were my goal I’d be better off working with video. Rather, I want them to move in ways that are only possible with digital images and code. I want them to move in subtle, ever-so-slightly unsettling ways, where things blur together both spatially and temporally.

Starting on 1/6/19, for 7 days I took photos of the sky at about 10:30pm each night. the company of clouds is built around those photos; run it on a Monday and you’ll see the pictures I took on the Monday; run it on a Tuesday and you’ll get the pictures I took on the Tuesday, etc.

The piece cycles through and blends its photos together so that they’re always in motion. That said, the sky during that week in June was largely overcast and uniform. This means that for most days (not all of them!), the motion generated by the code is rather subtle. You have to concentrate to see it. Which is itself a useful process, I think. Straining to perceive subtle details tends to recalibrate your perception in interesting ways.

Download the company of clouds

Controls: escape to quit

The Rules:

  • The file at this link will be deleted 1 month from now (07/09/19).

  • 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

Speaking of images blending and bleeding into each other, the final shot of Tarkovsky’s Nostalghia is one of my favourite things.

I was reminded of George Buckenham’s Rules for making games recently. There’s a lot of good advice here.

Tillie Walden’s On a Sunbeam is an incredible queer sci-fi love story, with a gorgeous colour palette and artwork. Also, the spaceships are fish. I read it in book form, but it looks like the whole thing’s also available as a webcomic here.

This adaptation of a Janet Paisley poem is great.

An interview with Donna Haraway where she talks a bit about the radical potential (and necessity) of play.

Clint Smith: When people say “we have made it through worse before”

I love Catherynne Valente’s reading of her poem The Melancholy of Mechagirl here.

“There is something beyond the mathematics of the world that I will always reach for and never touch.”

A tale of long-lived (golems? gargoyles?) in Germany in the run-up to WW2, by G.V. Anderson.


Well, here we are. September’s approaching fast. I am dreading September. From September through to November I’ll be lucky if I can catch a breath. Too much work for not enough money. These newsletters may be a bit shorter and more frazzled for the next few months. Anyway, take care. I’ll see you soon.