Filip Polc's downhill run, Valparaiso, Chile. Fullscreen and sound a must.
Kelly Johnson's famed "down-to-brass-tacks" management style was summed up by his motto, "Be quick, be quiet, and be on time." He ran Skunk Works by the Kelly's 14 Rules:
- The Skunk Works manager must be delegated practically complete control of his program in all aspects. He should report to a division president or higher.
- Strong but small project offices must be provided both by the military and industry.
- The number of people having any connection with the project must be restricted in an almost vicious manner. Use a small number of good people (10% to 25% compared to the so-called normal systems).
- A very simple drawing and drawing release system with great flexibility for making changes must be provided.
- There must be a minimum number of reports required, but important work must be recorded thoroughly.
- There must be a monthly cost review covering not only what has been spent and committed but also projected costs to the conclusion of the program. Don't have the books 90 days late, and don't surprise the customer with sudden overruns.
- The contractor must be delegated and must assume more than normal responsibility to get good vendor bids for subcontract on the project. Commercial bid procedures are very often better than military ones.
- The inspection system as currently used by the Skunk Works, which has been approved by both the Air Force and Navy, meets the intent of existing military requirements and should be used on new projects. Push more basic inspection responsibility back to subcontractors and vendors. Don't duplicate so much inspection.
- The contractor must be delegated the authority to test his final product in flight. He can and must test it in the initial stages. If he doesn't, he rapidly loses his competency to design other vehicles.
- The specifications applying to the hardware must be agreed to well in advance of contracting. The Skunk Works practice of having a specification section stating clearly which important military specification items will not knowingly be complied with and reasons therefore is highly recommended.
- Funding a program must be timely so that the contractor doesn't have to keep running to the bank to support government projects.
- There must be mutual trust between the military project organization and the contractor with very close cooperation and liaison on a day-to-day basis. This cuts down misunderstanding and correspondence to an absolute minimum.
- Access by outsiders to the project and its personnel must be strictly controlled by appropriate security measures.
- Because only a few people will be used in engineering and most other areas, ways must be provided to reward good performance by pay not based on the number of personnel supervised.
Note that Kelly had a 15th rule that he passed on by word of mouth. According to the book "Skunk Works" the 15th rule is: "Starve before doing business with the damned Navy. They don't know what the hell they want and will drive you up a wall before they break either your heart or a more exposed part of your anatomy."
Been using Twitter a lot recently, and it seems to have gotten me a little unstuck with writing for an audience. I've been using this blog mainly to post new works when they appear, and that will continue, but I will also be posting other bits and bobs here more often. Amusing as it must sound, I've found myself wishing for a few seconds for a longer-form Twitter before realizing that's, uh, a blog. So, back here.
In the spirit of "in with the new" (and with just being myself), I've registered a new domain for this site. Please reset your bookmarks to http://lascarid.es from now on. Electrotone.com and Technofetish.com have served me well, but I'm gonna put 'em out to pasture.
Fifth in the series of CC-licensed vj loops.
Fourth in a series of CC-licensed loops.
New cc-licensed video loop for download.
Have decided to start releasing artworks for free use under Creative Commons license. Above is one of the first, a 50-second 10fps abstract almost-loop in 1280x760 high definition. Click through to the Vimeo page to download the large version. Let me know if you use it for anything.
Look for more CC-licensed pieces here soon.
New generated video work. Music used with gracious permission of Vijay Iyer
The aforementioned Pronto music videos are done, and we've released the first one off the album: The Monster.
For those who care about process behind the product, this was built in Ruby (writing SVG files), and except for drawing a couple of the shapes in Illustrator, it's all code-based. I have 5 or 6 more coming that will be a bit more abstract like the rest of my artwork. This one's just for fun.
More soon! Enjoy!
Posting has been light here as I've been concentrating on my day job (and posting frequently on that blog), building some other sites, and rebuilding my toolkit (which is challenging and rewarding but hasn't been producing end results). Sometimes when I'm in a busy but non-productive rut like this, a left-field deadline is just what I need to get the output flowing again.
My long-time friend and sometimes collaborator Mikael Jorgensen recently asked me to contribute some digital "bonus materials" to an upcoming release from his band Pronto. With a deadline of, uh, two or three weeks. But I'm thrilled to be a part of it, since the music in question has been kicking around in my iPod since 2004 or so, and is a frequent companion while traveling or working-- gentle and ambient without being the least bit boring.
While deadlines mean we're not going to be building an interactive app, I'm at least getting to set the music to video. I'm applying the processes featured on this web site to a series of videos that started life as sketches on the Brushes app on my iPhone. Two versions of the first video, for the track "Soybot", are linked below:
The idea came up at the time when I was completely bereft of ideas. I'd been working on my own music for a while, and was quite lost, actually, and I really appreciated someone coming along and saying, "Here's a specific problem — Solve it!" The thing from the agency said, "We want a piece of music that is inspiring, universal, blah-blah, da-da-da, optimistic, futuristic, sentimental, emotional", this whole list of adjectives, and then, at the bottom, it said: "and it must be 3¼ seconds long". I thought this was so funny, and an amazing thought, to actually try to make a little piece of music. It's like making a tiny little jewel. In fact, I made eighty-four pieces. I got completely into this world of tiny, tiny, little pieces of music. I was so sensitive to microseconds, at the end of this, that it really broke a logjam in my own work. Then, when I'd finished that and I went back to working with pieces that were, like, three minutes long, it seemed like oceans of time.
-- Brian Eno
For me, it's not beating the conditions but being with the conditions. It's knowing when the mountain is letting me go up and knowing when it's telling me to go down. That's the art. You have to know when to listen.
-- Ed Viesturs
Run things at one another. Part of the reason a landscape is so compelling is that so many different surfaces are fighting with each other: rock, snow, tree, sky, cloud, grass, vine, bark, mud, gravel, sand, water, ice, moss, algae, a hundred varieties each. Avoid a coherent whole. Coherence is boring.
E: I used to use a particular generative piece for all of my sound and light installations for many, many years. I must have listened to that piece for thousands of hours unfolding in its various different ways. I was setting up a show in Venice once with my assistant. It was late at night and the show was due to open the next day. Suddenly, the beginning of Tammy Wynette's "D-I-V-O-R-C-E" came out... _hums_
W: Pure chance?
E: Pure chance, yes. The thing had suddenly clustered together to produce the first couple of bars of "D-I-V-O-R-C-E", and we were both very tired, and we looked up and just fell on the floor laughing, it was so funny. It never happened again.
W: Well, you just didn’t listen long enough. That’s interesting because that kind of implies the vast space that music occupies, the fact that it took that long just to hear one tune out of the thousands of tunes--
E: One tune that I recognized, out of several thousand hours, yes.
W: It kind of implies that composers are finding this very small amount of listenable space within this vast, astronomically large sea of potential sounds.
E: Yes. And whenever you think of a space like that, and you think of the possibilities that have been explored so far, you immediately start to think of all the ones that haven’t been explored.
One is always inclined as a composer to put in more than you need as a listener... I find with music, if you're making it, you always tend to fill the gaps. You want to paint the whole picture. But if you're listening, you actually want a lot less than that.
-- Brian Eno
OK, the site's starting to come back together. I've posted some information about the artworks and how to order prints (the "about" link, above), as well as a zillion ways to get in touch with me via the social interwebs.
More to come soon! Promise!
We'll be expanding on the new design briefly, but here's a new gallery and some January output to get back in the swing of things. See you soon, and thanks for your patience!