Saturday 30 March 2013

Spiral Scratch (1649)

This year, just in time for Easter and the new Pope, there has been a lot of talk about the Shroud of Turin. There is a new TV show, book and now, thanks to the wonder of mobile technology, an app you can download so you can look at high resolution images of the shroud (more HERE).

Although the Turin Shroud is perhaps the most famous example, there is of course a long history of images of the face of Christ. I personally remain skeptical. 

However, there is one particularly remarkable image of the face of Christ that even a skeptic can appreciate - it is an engraving created by the French engraver Claude Mellan (1598-1688). Mellan was known for his unusual technique that used parallel lines of varying thickness to create light and dark in the image rather than the more traditional engraving technique of cross hatching with lines of equal thickness. 

The most famous of Mellan's engravings is an image of Christ's face known as the Sudarium of Saint Veronica, which was engraved by Mellan in 1649.

The whole image is created by the unfolding of a single line that spirals outwards from the tip of Christ's nose. The contrast in the image is created by varying the thickness of this single line and the distance between lines. 

Below is a close up of the centre of the unfolding spiral. 

Full image available HERE.

Tuesday 26 March 2013

If best-selling albums had been books instead…

Christophe Gowans is a designer. One of the things he likes to do is take a classic record and re-imagine it as a book cover.

Below are some examples. For details see his site or go to HERE to buy postcard and print versions. 

Sunday 24 March 2013

The Biographical Dictionary of Literary Failure

The Biographical Dictionary of Literary Failure is a celebration of literary names you almost surely have never heard of. Partly because they are all failures, partly because they are all fictional characters. 

The site is currently working through its mission; "A celebration of writers who have achieved some measure of literary failure. Each week a short biography will be posted. After one year, they will all be deleted."

Recent posts have celebrated the lives, and failures, of Wilson St. John, Lord Frederick Rathole, T.J. Waronker, Hermann von Abwärts and The Beasley Collective.

Currently BDLF  is up to number 51 - you have been warned - within a short time these biographies may have disappeared and you may well regret not having read them. It would be a great shame if they were deleted, not only are they funny they are very well written. 

The author of BDLF is a certain C.D. Rose who has recently published with Unthank Books.


Thursday 21 March 2013

The Grimace Project

Visualising emotion is a tricky thing to do. The Grimace Project has created a technology to try and do this - it was developed by Thomas Fadrus, Oliver Spindler. Grimace helps to show you what emotions look like. One of their key inputs was Scott MCloud's book Making Comics.

The Grimace System was developed out of a degree project at the Technical University of Vienna. It can render human facial expressions, based on a mixture of 6 essential emotions:

 Images Copyright Grimace

Thursday 7 March 2013

Sperling 1960 - Citation Classic

George Sperling (b. 1934) is an American cognitive psychologist based at the University of California, Irvine. In the early 1960's Sperling began to explore the existence of iconic memory - a very short term form of visual memory. 

After a broad undergraduate science education at the University of Michigan he went on to do an MA and PhD in psychology (the latter at Harvard). As he says on his faculty page at Irvine; "My goal then, as now, was to apply the quantitative and theoretical methods of the hard sciences to the analysis of cognitive processes."

The following is an example of his early 1960's work. It is a Current Contents citation classic write up of  Sperling, G. (1960). The information available in brief visual presentations. Psychological Monographs: General and Applied, 74: 1-29. This citation classic was published in 1979, when Sperling had a joint appointment between New York University and Bell Labs.

Saturday 2 March 2013

Gene Krupa caught in a Paradiddle or two

Gjon Mili (1904 – 1984) was an Albanian-American photographer. He collaborated with Harold Edgerton of MIT and used flash and strobe techniques in his work. He is  best known for the work he published in LIFE magazine including images of Pablo Picasso's light paintings.

Below is one of a series of images that Mili took of jazz drummer Gene Krupa in 1941.

Those interested in what Krupa is doing might want to check out Percussion Instruments and their History by James Blades from 1970 (HERE). 

The Invisible Gorilla

Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons met at Harvard University in 1997, where they began to collaborate on research. In 2004 they received the Ig Nobel Prize in Psychology, awarded for "achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think," for the experiment that inspired their book The Invisible Gorilla (HERE).

The classic Gorilla selective attention test by  Chabris and Simons involves a short video of about 6 people, 3 dressed in white and 3 in black. The people in the video are passining a basketball between themselves whilst moving around. Participants in the test are asked to count the number of passes of the basketball between the team dressed in white shirts.

During the video a person dressed in a gorilla suit walks across the scene, turns to camera and beats his chest. 

Only 50% of test participants see the Gorilla.  

Their paper "Gorillas in our midst" from 1999 is HERE 

A still from the video is shown below.


Friday 1 March 2013

A Million Times

Here is a still from a clock based installation by Swedish design firm, Humans Since 1982. The video is worth seeing.