Cleaning House

I sometimes start draft blog posts when I think I have a good idea to write about, but don't have the time or the energy to actually write the posts. Except I lose interest in them. So right now I am going to clear a few out.

The Ship of Theseus

This is quite an interesting concept to think about. If over a long period of time, ever piece of ship is replaced, is it still the same ship.

Suppose you have a knife which you like, and then replace the blade when it wears out. But later the handle wears out and you replace that as well. Is it still the same knife?

I think there are two distinctly different approaches to this question. From a very physical perspective, the answer is obvious. No, the materials have been replaced, so it is not the same object.

Yet over my lifetime, the materials of my body will be replaced many times, yet I still am myself.

The question can be seen from the perspective of concepts and ideas, and forms. A ship can include the idea of its own repair. The idea and design of the ship is what will live on. And I think this idea is much more powerful if you understand it. It reflects a truth about life, that there is more to stuff than the matter that makes it up. There is the form behind the matter that is really important.

I guess without knowing it this little discussing links nicely into my next nearly lost topic.

Formalism and Memetic Transfer

Formalism is a way of interpreting art for only its formal qualities, not its content. Thus you look carefully at the fact that paintings are flat, and not what they represent. You look at the techniques of film without ever knowing what is going on in the story.

Sometimes this leads to really shallow evaluations of work, if you only consider the formal aspects.

However, if you think about it in terms of memetics, formalism is an attempt to understand what are the underlying means through which memes and be transferred. I almost find formalism as a search for the bare minimum amount of communication which will still allow for the full transfer and effect of a meme.

Suppose we look at the example of film. There is a big different when you look at the difference between watching a 35mm projection of a film in a nice theater, and watching it on your computer through Youtube. The 35mm projection will allow for a much greater impact, and allow the audience to pay greater attention, thus allowing more powerful memes to spread. Youtube on the other hand is easily accessible to a large audience quickly, yet the memes will lack any long standing power, other than the number of memes.

I'm not sure if I have actually been making a good reference to formalism with what I have just said, but I suspect I am on the right track.

Dubai Sad Story

Here an interesting article to read about the state of Dubai.

After reading the article, you really feel bad about all the stuff that is happening there, and you really feel like something needs to be done to stop it. But the sad fact is that is what is pretty much happening everywhere on earth, the only reason that we don't feel so bad about it is because there is so much seperation from the pollution, slavery and poverty, and those of us who have the advantages gained from such conditions.

I don't have much else to say, other than that it is wrong to think these problems only exist in Dubai.

Organized Blood Donation

Last and least, I gave blood a few weeks ago. It is quite interesting how well designed the blood donation system is. Whether it is how they ask you about your history, or they give you a chance to with completely anonymity get rid of your blood if you suspect it might be bad. They know that a volunteer talking to you is important if you are giving for the first time. It was nice to see a process that was so particularly well thought.

Ok, those topics are all cleared up.

I've been thinking the blog needs to be revitalized with some new life soon, so maybe this summer expect some changes.


The Crescendo Step

Here is my final from first year at Concordia's Film Animation Program. We were supposed to do something simple, and I think that is what I achieved. Yet only the concept is really simple. On a technical front I was able to mix pencil 2d animation, with 2d cutout animation and put in camera moves, and a new dissolve effect.

Now the really thought provoking thing was when I realized that all of my animations have actually been stick figures. Enrikey, The Crit, and now this animation are all stick figures. But further than that they all act as the same character. What I'm starting to realize is that I have actually been making self portraits. The stick figures have always acted as I would act, or at least how I act when I am alone.

There is something unforced when I animate like this. I'm pretty sure that I don't need to fight this tendency of self portrait, I'm pretty sure if I embrace it I should be able to shoot it off into new directions.

Anyways, enjoy the animation.

I have also posted it on Vimeo. Check it out there if you don't mind just to generate some traffic. Vimeo is a really nice video site that has higher production quality stuff.



Today was my last day of my Film Aesthetic course which I have greatly enjoyed. And we watched a movie called Brazil. When I heard the name I wasn't all that excited since I thought I would be watching something about a tropical country and maybe some sort of political strife, I couldn't have been more wrong. I'm warning you now, there are most likely spoilers ahead, so stop reading if you don't want to know to much about this film.

First off, I found out this film was made by Terry Gillian, one of the guys behind Monty Python. I have always loved Monty Python and any of the related British humour, such as the Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The film is basically a science fiction humour story mixed with George Orwell's 1984, some Ayn Rand ideals, and a lot of bureaucracy. The film is a marvelous example of creating a fantasy world that I actually care about. I find I have difficulty caring about many fantasy worlds that are in movies and animations, but this film just kept dragging me in. Every time the main character would go to a new place I was more intrigued then ever by the setting.

Every room is designed with a purpose that is at first not obvious, but is ingenious once it is revealed in how it fits into the overall story and theme of the film.

What was even more intriguing was when I realized how connect Wall-E was to this film. Not only is a similar theme explored in the two movie, I could see that the people at Pixar were paying homage to the film Brazil in various ways. For instance the some of the music from Brazil is used in one of the Trailers from Wall-E. Another very interesting piece of replication was in Wall-E's home, a diffraction grating is used to magnify an iPod's screen for better viewing. This film was the origin of that usage of a diffraction grating and directly ties the two films together.

Just to clarify about what I said about the Ayn Rand relation. There is a character in the film who subverts the bureaucratic system to do the work that he loves to do. He is played by Robert DeNiro and is probably one of my favorite examples of a character who is well crafted to completely defy expectations and the cliché.

I guess the main point is, once again I have stumbled upon a film which I was perfectly prepared to watch. Everything about the film tied together in my mind to form a cohesive whole. I think this is a really important thing I want to strive towards with what I make in the future. I want to help people get to this point of having the prior knowledge to get to a higher level of understanding the things they experience.

I have a sense that video games might provide such a possibility as they can be individually suited to the player, and each player can be catered to their own needs.
I think there might be a place for the whole myers-briggs thing as that could help in guiding different types of people down the most helpful paths.

Alright, I don't know if I said anything cohesive, but at least I'm feel like I have things to post about again.

The my animation is done and I will be posting it soon.