Larry Hosken: New: Tag: art

In theory, the "Mumbled Artist's Instructions" puzzles were a challenge to figure out some absurd thing an AI had tried to draw. Reverse-engineering an AI is a fun challenge.

But it turns out AI is not good at drawing absurd things. It draws unguessable nonsense when I was hoping for guessable nonsense. So for the past several weeks, I've been manually adding elements to the AI-generated art. That is much less satisfying.

This week, I was determined to use fully-AI-generated art. If one set of absurd punny "instructions" didn't yield something guessable, I'd try another set of instructions, no compromise. So I tried a bunch of things and… none of them yielded anything comprehensible.

I give up. I give up on this whole puzzle gimmick. As consolation, please enjoy these pictures allegedly of

[image: ball dixie, which looks something like a minimalist steamshovel made from plastic toys] [image: bullet surprise, except it looks more like a can of spraypaint falling out of a malformed box] [image: florid estate, which looks like a Miami mansion with a nice garden out front. I don't think I'd go so far as to call it 'florid' though] [image: rid lease caught, which looks someone holding up a fish they caught; no sign of a rid lease]

Is it weird that the "florid estate" picture looks like it's in Florida (with palm trees) but doesn't have a lot of flowers? Does the AI not know the difference between "florid" and "Florida"?

Anyhow, good news, artists: your jobs are still safe from AI.

Permalink
& Comments

I walked past the krakenwagen again and took better photos this time.

art car ambulance named "krakenwagen", front view art car ambulance named "krakenwagen", side view art car ambulance named "krakenwagen", rear view

Permalink
& Comments

Krakenwagen update:

Searchers more rigorous than me found a couple of better online pix of the krakenwagen (small pics here, click a pic for link to original).
Krakenwagen photo by Duncan Rawlinson Duncan.co Krakenwagen photo posted by u/MrCarbzzz
Thanks to Ray Ryan and Dan Egnor for finding these and @catherwood76 for the searching advice.

Permalink
& Comments

As I walked in San Francisco's panhandle neighborhood this morning, I saw an ambulance named "Krakenwagen" decorated with kraken (sea monster) art. This vehicle is a pun.

art car ambulance named "krakenwagen" and decorated with krakens

"Krakenwagen" is german for "ambulance." The good news: this pun is very clever.

The bad news: I took a so-so picture of this art ambulance. I just took a mediocre picture so that when I got home I'd remember to look up a better picture from a better picture-taker. I bet you a sandwich that the owner of this ambulance hangs out with an artsy crowd and knows a much much better photographer than me. But but but since this ambulance's name is a pun, when I search teh interwebs for pictures of [krakenwagen], I just get a bunch of German pages about ambulances. So this is the best I have to offer.

[UPDATE] I have been informed that the German for ambulance is actually kraNkenwagen. So when I search teh interwebs for pictures of [krakenwagen], I am finding pages in German with typos I guess.

[FURTHER UPDATE] Some excellent people found a couple of better pictures.

[FURTHER FURTHER UPDATE] When I went past a few days later, krakenwagen was still there, so I took some better photos:

art car ambulance named "krakenwagen", front view art car ambulance named "krakenwagen", side view art car ambulance named "krakenwagen", rear view

Permalink
& Comments

Some gold-color sidewalk chalk art for the golden ratio. Willard Street, San Francisco, USA.
Sidewalk chalk art with the first several terms of the Virahanka-Fibonacci sequence and a gold nautilus

Permalink
& Comments

Book Report: S v Z

This book accompanies Tauba Auerbach's exhibit now showing at SFMoMA. It's an interesting piece of art in its own right. That's a good thing, I guess? I find myself comparing it to an earlier book documenting Auerbach's early work, How to Spell the Alphabet. The earlier book does a pretty darned good job documenting those early works. It's relatively easy: those early works are mostly flat images (aside from some mapping typewriters that can be satisfyingly understood by means of simple pictures and something to demonstrate their map transformations; and a zine-like booklet that can be pretty well appreciated as a series of flat images). But Auerbach's later works are more complex; e.g. "Non-Invasive Procedure," a set of concentric glass tubes that glisten with soap-film-like color when viewed through a polarizing filter (oh yeah on a medical-procedure table thingy). You can't imagine what it's like to approach this work, to observe it with and without filters. You can't imagine it based on my words, based on now-hazy memory. I can't imagine it based on the picture in S v Z, sadly, even though I have some now-hazy memories to help me. It wouldn't be reasonable to expect a mere book of images to capture these works. Yet—the book is nevertheless interesting.

two pages with images that (forgivably, reasonably) fail to convey an experience

(Those of you looking closely at this picture are wondering some things. Why does this book have two pages 32? Why do those page numbers look fisheye when other stuff doesn't? Why is Larry holding a piece of black marble(?) in the foreground? Look, I'll get around to explaining all of this, but you need to be patient.)

The book S v Z is not exactly an exhibit catalog. Some items exhibited aren't in the book; some items pictured in the book aren't in the exhibit. E.g. the book shows some octothorpe lapel pins; I don't know that there were any of those at the exhibit (although I guess I could have Heisenberg-ly known if'd worn my pin when I visited). At the exhibit, I spotted some Yin Yang pins stuck in the wall; but they're not pictured in the book. The exhibit includes some items that clutter Auerbach's studio (presumably providing inspiration), not necessarily created by them. Among these exhibited items was a simple almost-Klein Bottle from Cliff Stoll's Acme Klein Bottle company. In the book, there's no simple almost-Klein bottle. However, there is a picture of a more complex triple-layer almost-Klein bottle (the physical bottle is by Alan Bennett and lives at The Science Museum in London), really quite extraordinary. The interpretive text for this picture doesn't explain its relation to Auerbach. Do they have this picture in their studio? Do they just think it's neat? In my imagination, they have picture in their studio; when the museum asked to borrow it for the exhibit, Auerbach said, "Aw, go ahead and exhibit a simple one-layer bottle from Acme; I want to keep my picture around; it's not like most people visiting the exhibit have listened to Cliff Stoll ranting about Klein bottles for minutes on end; they'll probably think this simple one-layer dealie is mind-blowingly exotic." Yeah, so anyhow: contents of the book ≠ contents of the exhibit.

OK, so the book (reasonably) can't fully document the works; it's not a complete catalog. Why is it worthwhile? It has other things going on.

edge of the book; page ends are marbled; the spine design pictures two ribbons twisted into helices

The title S v Z refers to (brace yourself) the chirality of helixes; that is, for corkscrew shapes, whether the corkscrew twists clockwise or counterclockwise. Depending on that direction, when you look at the corkscrew from the side, its edge might look like an S or Z. Chirality in general is the concept of "handed-ness". Your hands have chirality; scissors have it, too; this book has it. Well, all have handed-ness. Left-hand pages and right-hand pages usually have roughly opposite layouts so that each two-page spread will be kinda symmetric. S v Z goes above and beyond, chirality-wise. Auerbach's into chirality; and channeled their interest into this book's design. Most books start at the front and progress to the back. This book starts from both ends, working in towards the middle; one side is S; the other Z. Earlier, you perhaps wondered why the book had two pages 32. These are pages 32S and 32Z. Both pages 32 address the same artwork. Thus, you can see something like a two-page spread about an artwork by gripping together pages 33S–33Z upright and wobbling your head from side to side to see around them. (I'm not sure the head-wobbling was their intent, but it's how it turned out.)

(With the opposite-sides-of-the-book-pages being related, I kinda expected those pages to be from the same piece of paper, like a staple-bound magazine. But the book's not bound like that. So that's two ways that the book's not bound in the way I might have guess if…but I'm getting ahead of myself again; it's all interconnected. We'll get to it, we'll get to it.)

The book's font also uses handed-ness. As you flip from 127Z forward to 1Z, the font goes from upright to angled to exaggeratedly-illegibly angled. It's darned annoying; you really have to squint to read the last several pages; and that's where the interpretive text is. (There are essays by art scholars in the 120s; those are quite legible, thank goodness. But I, a philistine, only halfway understand the scholarly essays nonetheless; but I'd appreciate knowing the materials and titles and… anyhow.) If you flip backwards through the book from 127S to 1S, the font again goes from upright to angled to exaggeratedly-illegibly angled; but now it leans left. Earlier, you perhaps wondered why the page numbers looked "fisheye"; that's because their font was angled in opposite directions.

I'm not sure why this book isn't a pair of spiral-bound volumes with one volume's spiral-binding going the "wrong way." This seems to fit the S-helix/V-helix theme better. The artist already makes such "handed" spiral-bound books. Maybe SFMoMA folks worried their fancy-pants usual visitors wouldn't buy a book that didn't show off its artsiness on a spine. (The GEOS documentation books were wire-bound; because they couldn't display titles on their non-existent spines, for a while I could recognize different volumes by their thicknesses.) It's fine; bound the way it is, there will probably be less wear on the pages than if they were spiral bound.

pages 110s, 110z

The edges of the paper are decorated with a marble pattern; specifically the part of the pattern of Flow Separation, in which they decorated a decommissioned New York fireboat. If you wondered why it looked like I was holding a chunk of marble; it was marbled pages.

And there's more to the book. There's art, of course… oh good grief, this Book Report is already so long, maybe I'll let someone else write about the actual book contents instead of structure. From the scholarly articles, you find out that Auerbach grew up reading Martin Gardner and Flatland, which perhaps explains why their art makes as much sense as it does.(But whence the interest in codes and signals? Back in my day, we had the KnowHow Book of Spycraft, but the artist may have been born too late for this.) And some of the art pieces documented in this book are themselves books (though most aren't).

There's a lot going on here; the artist's decisions, as ever, resist easy interpretation. It's a fine book for a puzzlehunter to ponder. There's no hidden message; this isn't one of those puzzles. Maybe it's more like one of those metal-rings puzzles; an intricate interconnected system. As you think about how it was put together, it's a good way to stretch your brain.

Permalink
& Comments

Circly I made a picture filter. I call it "circly" because it's kinda like pixelize, but with circles. And then I made a web page of circle-drawing animations so you can lose yourself in watching lots of ci...

Permalink & Comments

I wanted to go see the new mural "2020" by Tauba Auerbach, but Google Maps makes me think I can see it by looking out my window from pretty much anywhere in the USA's convex hull so I guess I'll stay...

Permalink & Comments

A new batch of Nordic LARP talk videos went up a few days back. One of these applies even to non-LARPers. At least, it applies to non-LARPers who collaborate on big, ambitious projects. Brace yoursel...

Permalink & Comments

If you're in the USA remember to vote Tuesday (if you haven't already). If you're near Berkeley and you like drama and scholarship, you might want to know Shotgun Players is putting on the play "Arc...

Permalink & Comments

Book Report: The Readymade Thief This novel has the art of Marcel DuChamp, a cult, a secret society, cult mind control and deprogramming, urban exploration, burglary; perhaps enough of those to make up for a fair amount of cruelty i...

Permalink & Comments

I went to see the Rube Goldberg exhibit at San Francisco's Contemporary Jewish Museum—or rather, I went to see "Contraption," an exhibit accompanying the Rube Goldberg exhibit. There was a Rube...

Permalink & Comments

There's a special exhibit at San Francisco's deYoung Museum with works by Charles Sheeler and other Precisionist folks. I'm a fan of Sheeler, so I went. Out in front of the exhibit there's some inter...

Permalink & Comments

Last night's playtest of the Black Rock City playtest was fun. I collaborated with folks I knew but mostly folks I didn't, as you might imagine happening at Burning Man where you're wandering around ...

Permalink & Comments

Link: Chanrio How did I struggle along before I knew about Chanrio, the Sanrio-style avatar maker? ...

Permalink & Comments

tough question Someone asked me how to authenticate a painting. Put your contact information on your web site; you'll get some interesting, albeit misdirected, questions. ...

Permalink & Comments

Going to the Doubleclicks Show Thursday night? Maybe get there early One of my neighbors puts weir—uhm, thought-provoking stuff out in front of his apartment every so often, ephemera of the El Fornio Historical Society… e.g., fliers announcing Father Serr...

Permalink & Comments

I attended a talk by some folks from Odyssey Works (the inaugural talk of the Adventure Design Group Meetup). O.W. presented about their art: situations, each with an audience of one. It works like ...

Permalink & Comments

I learned two vitally important things today: Google Image Search can now filter for animated GIFs There is a Polish phrase "Not my circus, not my monkey." And thus now this exists: Original m...

Permalink & Comments

Book Report: An Object of Beauty It's a novel about people and their relation to art: loving it, collecting it, selling it. In theory, art exists for beauty; but what if you own a painting that's beautiful and valuable? Maybe you co...

Permalink & Comments

The people of Brisbane, California, decorate the town's fire plugs. When a fire plug wears out, they don't want to discard their art, so they have a plug preserve. ...

Permalink & Comments

Book Report: Just Kids Before Patti Smith was a rock-and-roller, she was a poet. Well, she was an artist in search of a medium. So was Robert Mapplethorpe—they were a couple. And when they stopped being a couple, the...

Permalink & Comments

I still like my pencil bandolier better than this kid's crayon bandolier. But I have to admit he wears his better. Photo lifted from rentadisco; I dunno if they're the originators or got it from e...

Permalink & Comments

Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even NYC New York's opening-soon Museum of Math is holding a puzzlehunt December 16th. On the one hand, I'm theoretically not interested, since the hunt is targeted at teen novices. On the other hand, MoMath ...

Permalink & Comments

Link: The Animator Letters Project The Animator Letters Project publishes letters from experienced animators, letters exhorting young animators to keep at it, hone their craft, etc etc. It's inspiring; it might be especially inspiring...

Permalink & Comments

Link: SpliceVine interview with Sara Thacher @thacher is a big name in the @jejuneinstitute game and other TransMedia experience/game/thingies. This site about video editing(?!) interviewed her, and she mentions an early influence: Janet Cardif...

Permalink & Comments

Tauba Auerbach's 50/50 Floor is on display at SFMOMA. You may recall that Auerbach is an artist who can think like a code-y puzzler though she sidled away from signal and over to noise for a while. T...

Permalink & Comments

Comic Report: Cages This comic is famous and arty and not my thing. The characters are artistic types; they feel trapped, they must make art to be free... Wow, deep themes. I definitely felt like a philistine for not en...

Permalink & Comments

animated gif zombocom logo The internet is not yet complete; there are still gaps. For example, today I tried to find an animated GIF of the zombo.com animated "flower" logo and couldn't find it. So I made one (with some bla...

Permalink & Comments

kinda-Puzzle-Hunts are everywhere, even SFMOMA I went to SFMOMA today to play their ArtGameLab games that I mentioned a couple of days ago. Though I only actually played the Bedcannon Game, a fun scavenger hunt in the permanent gallery plus a hi...

Permalink & Comments

ArtGameLab, Super Going @thacher has been interesting lately if you're a San Francisco person who likes pervasive games. (That's not unusual. If you're even halfway into ARGy stuff, yawta follow her.) She mentioned that the...

Permalink & Comments

Just got back from the Mystic Fish interview with the folks from the Trenchwood Institute. Glad we weren't following Team Lowkey. It looked like they had some kind of art/science thing going on that ...

Permalink & Comments

Link: Nourot Studio glass pumpkins Behold a link to Glass pumpkinoid decorations, photos thereof. One stop during the bay area rerun of the WHO game was Nourot Glass Studio in Benicia. On display were glass pumpkins. Of course, The ...

Permalink & Comments

Nordic LARPers invade graffiti-art blog http://goo.gl/CQDgs ...

Permalink & Comments

You know what else is a fun game? Stacking is a fun game. Maybe you heard of it—an Xbox game in which you play a little Russian stacking doll. And you gain new abilities by combining with other...

Permalink & Comments

Jotting Notes on Sean Gugler GC Summit 2011 Presentation: Puzzle Design Case Study Sean Gugler talked at the 2011 GC summit about the Hogwarts Magic Mirror puzzle (which was awesome). (You should watch the video instead of just reading these notes. Much of the talk is about art, d...

Permalink & Comments

The Tenderloin National Forest is a cool little spot in San Francisco. It's been around for a few years, but I didn't know about it until I walked past today, checking up on 2-Tone Game sites. The Fo...

Permalink & Comments

Lowell vs Reality You may recall that in the most recent California gubernatorial primary, I voted for Lowell Darling. He had the best plan for fixing California's revenue situation: if elected governor, he'd do nothi...

Permalink & Comments

Coming Soon to Oakland Museum: More Michael McMillen I went back to the Oakland Museum, hoping to snap photos of Michael McMillen's Aristotle's Cage, which you'll recall that I liked. By the door to that piece of art was a little sign: there's a McMill...

Permalink & Comments

Puzzle Hunts are Everywhere, even the Art World There's this comic book artist, Jason Shiga. He makes these comic books that are puzzles; choose-your-own-adventure books that play with the flow of pages and frames within a comic book. You might ...

Permalink & Comments

HTML Logo Someone at the W3C made a logo for HTML5. HTML is the format of web pages. It changes. For years, most folks used version 4.01, but lately people have been proposing, coding, and using some new fe...

Permalink & Comments

Zine Report: Giant Robot #68 My favorte thing in this issue: Angie Wang's list of top 10 text adventure gam interactive fictions! Also an interview with Takayuki Higashino, who single-mindedly pursues motorcycle trick riding exc...

Permalink & Comments

Art Hunts are Everywhere, even the Presidio I was just reminded of a walk I recently took in San Francisco's Presidio. There was an art event going on around the Fort Winfield Scott area; exhibits scattered around outside. You could approach...

Permalink & Comments

Book Report: Tilings and Patterns I know what you're thinking: Oh no, Larry tried to read another math book. No doubt this means the blog's"unfinished" tag will soon be attached to another book report. But I made it to the end of t...

Permalink & Comments

Zine Report: Giant Robot #67 In this issue: shopping for a Wurlitzer 106 keyboard in LA, a memoir of someone getting high-radiation cancer treatment across the street from me at UCSF, Daniel Wu writing about airsoft BB guns, and...

Permalink & Comments

Book Report: Museum Legs I ran into Mahlen and he recommended this book. It turned out to be pretty good. It's about the place of museums in society. Yeah, I know it sounds awful, but hear me out. It's sufficiently interesti...

Permalink & Comments

Michael C. McMillen: Aristotle's Cage I'm taking art notes for my own benefit and you're stuck along for the ride; sorry about that. Years ago, on a Los Angeles vacation, I saw a piece of art at LACMA. It wasn't a painting, a photograp...

Permalink & Comments

Musicians about the Internets Yesterday, I went to a party at which I knew almost nobody. (Well, I knew some folks, but they mostly showed up at about the time I had to leave.) What's an introvert to when faced with a crowd like...

Permalink & Comments

Book Report: China Underground I hoped that this book was about subversives and criminals in China: reporters, human rights lawyers, whistleblowers... I read news about China's internet censorship measures; I can follow the inter...

Permalink & Comments

Link: Blue Door Puzzle Trail I ego-surfed for mentions of the 2 Tone Game, and found one: a post on an ARG (Alternate Reality Gaming) forum. (Thanks for that!) The poster there called the 2 Tone Game a "puzzle trail". Apparen...

Permalink & Comments

Zine Report: Giant Robot #64 If you like Giant Robot magazine but have fallen out of touch, this would be a good time to get re-acquainted. Times are tight and they're running a fundraising drive. It's a good time to buy thing...

Permalink & Comments

Comic Report: Trotsky It's the morning after the GC Summit, and I'm still feeling inspired. One of the things I'm inspired to do is download a file with all of the Wikipedia article titles. That would sure be handy for ...

Permalink & Comments

Zine Report: Giant Robot #60 There's a photo of Ryohei Tanaka's equipment. Tanaka makes art by cutting paper. His equipment--an assortment of scissors and... dyes? An article by a guy who photographed some film locations from...

Permalink & Comments

Aiming for Precisionism but Missing When I was in Houston, I took perhaps my favorite photo-of-mine ever, this shot of the Houston Hyatt. It reminded me of some photos that the artist Charles Sheeler took. But he didn't leave his pho...

Permalink & Comments

Book Report: The Complete Annotated Oz Squad, Volume One There's this comic book called Oz Squad. It's old. I read it long ago. At one point in the comic, one of the characters, Scarecrow, writes some graffiti: ALL ART MUST PERISH! That phrase stuck ...

Permalink & Comments

Link: Help Get Sita out of Copyright Jail The fun of watching cartoons plus the smugness of giving to a good cause: I encourage you to Help Get Sita out of Copyright Jail You might remember the cartoonist Nina Paley. Or you might not rememb...

Permalink & Comments

Zine Report: Giant Robot #57 The Obama posters say "HOPE", but when Obama himself picks people... well, he undercuts hope. It's like he scraped my old book reports, looking for books about USA politics with villains and chose th...

Permalink & Comments

Book Report: Chiaroscuro: Patchwork Book #1 It's a graphic novel about a whiny artist who hangs out in cafes and goes to parties. Occasionally, something strange happens. It's pretty; some of the banter is witty; I'm glad I read it. The plo...

Permalink & Comments

Link: Steven Pitsenbarger at Alternative Photography Apparently, "anthotype" is a photographic development system which uses dyes from plants. I never would have heard about it if it wasn't for this guy: "Pitsenbarger has had a lifelong fascinati...

Permalink & Comments

Link: Nina Katchadourian's Sorted Books Project Unlike books juxtaposed = laughs. Sorted Books Project. Also: Sorted Books ProjectLabels: art, books, paper...

Permalink & Comments

Site: Tauba Auerbach / The Alphabet Variations You may recall that I went to a gallery a couple of weeks ago. It was some art by Tauba Auerbach, including two that featured an alphabetload of overlapping letterforms. I'd wondered what they woul...

Permalink & Comments

Book Report: How to Spell the Alphabet A while back, I pointed out some not-exactly-puzzle-ish-but-not-exactly-not-either images by Tauba Auerbach. I finally broke down and sent away for a book of her work, How to Spell the Alphabet. To...

Permalink & Comments

Link: Tauba Auerbach images Good visual design, by tautology, is enjoyable to look at. I stumbled upon some letterformy designs by artist/designer Tauba Auerbach. (I was trying out the new MSN Live image search. In Dirk Gent...

Permalink & Comments

Book Report: Little Star It's a family drama about new parents making tough choices between family life and career. Ah, it's OK. It has pretty Andi Watson art, which helps a lot. Tags: comics | kids | art |...

Permalink & Comments

Book Report: Robotika #1 This comic book makes no sense, but it's so pretty that you don't mind. Huge swaths of black, good lines suggesting graceful motion. OK, it depicts a future world in which cyborgs fight by means of ...

Permalink & Comments

Book Report: Giant Robot #38 I read the latest issue of Giant Robot magazine. There were photos from the opening party of the new Giant Robot store in New York city. One of the photos was of ace reporter Claudine Ko. And I th...

Permalink & Comments

Happy National Library Week Today there was art in the central stairway/atrium area of Doe Library: dozens of books suspended in air by wires. Meanwhile, there's a book I want which is currently unavailable because it's in the...

Permalink & Comments

Found: Postcard At the back of this copy of Jane Eyre that I checked out of the UC Library, there was a postcard. Names changed to protect the whatever. Dear Ver, It sux to write a postcard instead of the nice l...

Permalink & Comments

Arms and the Man, Canoe Following up on my recent trip to New Zealand, I read Two Voyages to the South Seas, a summary/translation of the memoirs of Captain Jules S.-C. Dumont D'Urville. This guy was a French ship's captain...

Permalink & Comments

Tags