Category Archives: Art


Inspired by (or copying depending on your perspective) this Modern Met post.


Find something in your house. Take a picture. Let your imagination churn. Make as many different augmented versions as you can think of. Help others see what’s in your head.

Submit it on DS106 using the tags VisualAssignments and VisualAssignments1255.

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Tom Woodward

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Tom Woodward

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Tom Woodward

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Tom Woodward

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Tom Woodward

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Tom Woodward

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Tom Woodward

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Tom Woodward

cc licensed ( BY SA ) flickr photo shared by Tom Woodward


Museum Remixes

After seeing Alan’s post . . .

This is a response to the Tate’s call for their 1840s GIF party — they have made images available from selected pieces of art from their 1840s room and inviting anyone to remix as a GIF.

That is such a good idea I made it into a ds106 assignment.

It is interesting to see how museums and libraries are using social media in fairly different ways. I’d been impressed with Iowa’s Special Collections Tumblr and this idea by the Tate is certainly something you wouldn’t expect from a museum.

In any case, I gave the gif thing a shot (subtle and not so subtle versions). My wife had The Lady of Shalott poster for a number of years so I’d seen it many times but in the gif reshaping I saw all sorts of interesting things in the painting that I’d never noticed. I’d missed the swallows1, the chain in her hand, and the crucifix in the prow. That led to some light research and, as always, some new knowledge.



1 I didn’t know what they were but guessed mockingbirds originally.

Costic Acsinte – 30 Minutes of Healing

Costic? Axinte

I found Costic? Acsinte1 which is a new Flickr Commons participant. It also has a Twitter account. I really like these photographs and the backstory is interesting as well. They almost seem to good to be true but I’d almost be more excited if they were. In any case, the images are awesome.

A number of factors coalesced last night- these photographs, returning from taking too many present day photos for the VSTE conference, and some inspiration from Stephen Downes’ ‘Half an Hour’ site. I decided I’d spend 30 minutes each night making something. It’s not Daily Create (although it might be at times) and this isn’t a pledge to you in order to keep myself accountable. I tend to trend much more towards self-directed inspiration and react against most, if not all, outside pressures. With my self-analysis session out of the way, I decided last night to try to “repair” one of the photos from the Costic? Acsinte group. I say “repair” because I really love the artifacts of decay in the images. I don’t know if removing them improves the image at all. It may even make the picture less than what it is but I had never tried to repair a photograph in this way and I thought it’d be an interesting process. I set the boundary at 30 minutes so I wouldn’t get too obsessed.

Naturally, I made an animated gif to help show the process.

I may make a “reverse entropy” #ds106 assignment but I’m considering one as well where you create the age artifacts with more recent photographs.



repair work


Naturally there are groups on the Internet that do this sort of thing just to make the world a better place.2

1 The name “Acsinte” is also written on the page as “Axinte.” Neither translate to anything on Google Translate but the “axinte” version leads me to a LinkedIn profile with the job description “mechanical at Magic Systems SA.” It hints at interesting things but probably just in my head.

2 Maybe DS106 needs a “community service” element . . . or maybe DS106 is community service.

Markov Chains, Horse e-Books and Margins

In discussing trajectories, elements of engineered serendipity, “thought vectors in concept space” with Gardner and Jon yesterday the following occurred.

Gardner shared this video (which is well worth watching and I rarely have the patience for videos).

That led to a discussion about creating and using a MOOC/hashtag specific Twitterbot (like horse e-books but real1) using Markov Chains2 to create algorithmically driven conversations/connections that occur in the margins of intention and result.3

So I began messing with the idea last night. Given I have a completely illusionary knowledge of programming I looked for people to tell me how to do this. I found the metaphor a minute tutorial which will help me out with the Twitterbot end of things in the near future. I also found this PHP based Markov generator which does very nearly what I want absent the Twitter-ing part.

I did want to automate the connection to a particular Twitter hashtag rather than adding the content manually so I started wandering around looking for ways to do that. Step one was trying to use curl. I eventually semi-melded some curl examples with the Markov generator. I was using the Twitter search for #ds106 as the source initially. With curl you are pulling the html so I got some interesting pieces but a fair amount of code fragments as well. Stuff like . . .

I liked the code to some degree but figure a larger audience would probably ignore it. So I harassed Alan, Jim and Martin early this morning and got access to the #ds106 Twitter spreadsheet archive. I pulled it down as a txt file and used it for the source material. That started to get cleaner results like . . .

You can mess around with the semi-working (just refresh page and hit resubmit form- I did say semi-working) manual/random #ds106 tweet generator over here.

1 Really fake, I mean. I guess.

2 I’m not really sure if that should be pluralized or not.

3 There’s a whole additional piece where you think about larger scale curricular design which incorporates random elements and assignments that use algorithms to push people in new directions. That starts to get really interesting. I am considering how the assignment and maybe a browser plugin could create contextual variables based on what site you were on at the moment that would then be incorporated into the larger assignment- kind of a #ds106 remix on contextual steroids.


IOGraphica: It had to be done

I blame D’Arcy for this.

I kept thinking that it’d be interesting to take the results of IOGraphica and make it into stop motion animation. I looked for ways to download the image every X minutes but failed to find any way to do that in the program. I then thought, I could just remember to do this every hour or so. Then I realized I’d never do that even with a calendar reminder and besides, computers are supposed to do this stuff for me.

My next attempt was to search for AppleScripts that might have been written to do this for me. I wandered around quite a bit and found nothing. I then looked to see if IOGraphica had anything in the AppleScript Dictionary (While running Script Editor>File>Open Dictionary> choose the App you want). Nothing there.

Now I was stuck. I had invested nearly an hour last night searching for the answer. I saw a few other people interested in a solution. So, I dusted off a few of my old AppleScripting bookmarks in delicious1. The hassle with Applescripting applications without dictionaries is that you are pretty much shooting blind . . . unless you use the amazingly useful UI Browser. If AppleScripting were a class the teacher would ban the UI Browser. It not only helps you find the right interface elements, it also generates a chunk (or all) of the code for you. It basically did all the work for me.

If I wasn’t sticking to my goal of spending no more than an hour on #ds106 related nuttiness I’d do the following:

  • I’d figure out how to make the “Save” action happen in a way that didn’t change window focus. I remember doing this a long time ago but can’t seem to recall it now2.
  • I’d make a dialogue that lets you choose the folder for saving these images. As it is, just make a folder and save a first image to it in IOGraphica. It’ll remember that folder and save the rest to the same place.
  • I’d add some code to make it loop every X minutes. As it is, I just saved the script and activate it via iCal. If you look at the image below, you’ll see iCall lets you open files and call scripts as alarms3

The Script

You can also download this zip file and get the AppleScript in raw and application format.


1 Currently for sale by owner yet it still works.

2 The script just activated, changed my focus from Chrome to IOgraphica and I started typing in the wrong window and then it saved before I could do anything. I will refund all licensing fees to anyone else who has this happen

3 I use this when I’m traveling as a backup alarm and have it open an mp3 with the computer set to full volume.