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Posts Tagged ‘DucKon’

Duckon, Party Lines, Art Exhibit

Sunday, July 7th, 2013

Masters of Lightning Super Happy Fun Cage
Masters of Lightning zapping the bejesus out of Duckers in their Super Happy Fun Cage

Here it is – my week in review. The four noteworthy events for last week were:

  • my participation in the Duckon Science Fiction Convention
  • setting up a display of my art
  • modifying my Party Lines Processing.js program
  • writing a new image painting program

Duckon Science Fiction Convention

First there was the Duckon Science Fiction Convention last weekend. I did a total of 6 hours of programming – 3 panels and 3 presentations. I attended very little programming myself as most of the panels I wanted to see were scheduled at the same time as one of my talks or panels (I think I must be at the top of Murphy’s Who Do I Want to Annoy Today list). There was a good panel on self-publishing that I was able to attend. I also made sure to attend the Masters of Lightning event featuring their amazing singing tesla coils. I can think of no cooler way to make electronic music than with miniature bolts of lightning.

Masters of Lightning burning CDs at Duckcon Science Fiction Convention
The Masters of Lightning and their novel way of burning CDs.

In addition to making music, these masters also zapped willing con-goers (I myself am a past victim). And it wasn’t just con-goers who got zapped with their lightning – so did a selection of CDs. There was one difference though: the CDs did not survive the ordeal.

I had decided not to participate in the con’s art show this year. I did attend the artist’s reception which unfortunately was poorly attended. It seemed to me that this year’s art show was a fair bit smaller than past shows. Hopefully they’ll be able to turn that around in the future. I am also of the opinion that the decision to have the art programming track take place in the same room as the art show was a mistake. While it was a good idea to try and attract traffic to both the art show and the art programming by having them in the same room, it was a bad idea logistically due to the distractions of noise and traffic.

Although I had to miss the Duckon Masquerade (scheduling conflict), I was able to get several photos later that evening of the very lovely Ariela who was dressed in Steampunk fashion. My idea is to use one or more of these photos as the basis for a portrait.

To see what programming I participated in, see my post Duckon Science Fiction Convention Programming

Art Exhibited at Woodfield Chicago Northwest Convention Bureau

FortyTwo Million Pixel Shark exhibited42 Million Pixel Shark

On Monday I installed three of my artworks at the Woodfield Chicago Northwest Convention Bureau where they will be on display through October 7 2013.

This exhibit is a part of the Northwest Cultural Council Corporate Art Gallery program of which I am a participating artist.

The three works of art I am exhibiting are:

Party Lines Processing.js Program

Last Sunday night I published my Party Lines program – created as an assignment for the Creative Programming for Digital Media & Mobile Apps Coursera class. It subsequently dawned on me that my program had a problem for mobile users – the program required keyboard input. My remedy was to create a new version that used a GUI widget for input rather than the keyboard. It’s a pretty simple program that has the user interacting with a particle system to draw lines. The volume of the associated music is tied to the acceleration of the particles in the system. Note that I included sound as that was one of the requirements for this project.
Check it out: Party Lines Processing.js Sketch
Clever folks will know how to access the program’s source code if they want to see exactly what is going on under the covers.

Test Painter Program

Shark
Shark – a test of my painting program

Keeping with the shark theme, I wrote a new image painting program during the week and the shark you see above is one example of its painting possibilities. Just as Photoshop has multiple brushes for users to choose from, so does this program – although for the illustration I used only one of the brushes. I have yet to decide if I will continue to develop this program.

And there you have it. Another week behind me and an unknown but limited number to go.

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Duckon Science Fiction Convention Programming

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

Duckon science fiction convention
Duckon Science Fiction Convention

The Duckon Science Fiction Convention is this weekend at the Westin Chicago North Shore in Wheeling IL. I’ll be participating in some rather varied programming. In fact it looks like I’ll be kept fairly busy. Most demanding will be the three solo presentations I’ll be giving.

The first of my talks will be The NewSpace Frontier – a presentation surveying the newly energized field of commercial space, or private space if you like. It is worth pointing out that this is a pro-Space presentation and not a pro-NASA presentation. What is good for NASA has frequently been bad for space development. This will be my fourth time giving this presentation since first developing it in March.

My second talk will be in the form of a tutorial for artists and photographers. Building An Online Presence provides a broad overview of a variety of challenges that face the artist or photographer who is attempting to use the Internet in order to market their art and themselves. Note that I will next be giving this talk at Musecon in August and then again in September for the Barrington Cultural Arts Center in Barrington IL.

My third talk is about myself. In The Agony & Ecstasy Of Being A Digital Artist I talk about what it’s like being a digital artist trying to make a go of it with a medium that has received a fair amount of resistance from the traditional art world. I will cover some of the unique problems that digital artists encounter both with hardware and software issues. I also talk about some of the benefits of working digitally.

In addition to my talks, I’ll be participating in a mix of panels. In the field of art, I’ll be a panelist for Artwork for Book Covers moderated by Brian Pinkerton with co-panelists Kathryn Sullivan and Steven Silver. The panel description says:

Yours versus the publishers? Does an appealing cover really sell a novel? Are readers easily allured to the handsome man, barely dressed woman or intriguing alien on your cover despite the content? Who gets the final say with the artwork, and why?

I will say that I don’t have a balanced view of these issues as all the book and magazine commissions I have done have been for non-fiction publications. Being commissioned to create an accurate representation of the Milky Way galaxy, for example, is not at all similar to being commissioned to create a strapping he-man with a voluptuous female at his side.

And for something completely different, I’ll be moderating the Alternate Energy panel and will be responsible for keeping Bill Thomasson, Doug Drummond, and Rich Lukes in line – if that is possible. The description for this panel reads:

We’ve all heard of the push to set up more wind farms for harnessing energy. However, is it worth the cost to develop it? How much time do we really have left from fossil fuel reserves?

My energy background is having previously done presentations on forms of non-terrestrial energy generation including space solar power, lunar solar power, and using lunar He3 as a fuel source for fusion reactors.

The third and final panel I’m on is The Influx of Alternate Futures moderated by long-time friend and antagonist Jeffrey Liss. Jeffrey and I are joined by Deirdre Murphy, Rebecca Frencl and Clifford Royal Johns. Our panel description reads:

With the popularity of the Hunger Games, why are dystopian futures in literature and movies so common? Does the appeal of this subject relate to the mood of today’s generation? As the American and global economies improve, will we see more hopeful endings to these futuristic stories?

I certainly hope that Hunger Games does not come up during our discussions as I have not read the books or seen the movie. I do hope that we spend time discussing the impact of government regulatory, fiscal and monetary policies on a society’s economy and how such policies can lead to a dystopian outcome. Hopefully that doesn’t sound too nerdy but after all – this is a science fiction convention.

There you have it – my Duckon weekend lineup. One thing: even though I should, I won’t be exhibiting in the art show this year. However, on Monday I will be setting up an exhibit of my art at the Greater Woodfield Chicago Northwest Convention Bureau in Schaumburg IL.

I’ll close this with a curious quote from science fiction author Bruce Sterling: Designers talk and think a lot like science fiction writers do, except in a much less melodramatic and histrionic way. Now I wonder if he was talking about himself?

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2011 DucKon Science Fiction Convention

Saturday, June 18th, 2011

Duckon 2011 Opening Ceremonies Guests of Honor
DucKon 2011 Opening Ceremonies Guests of Honor

Yesterday morning I arrived at the DucKon Science Fiction Convention in Schaumburg to set up for the art show. Because of everything else that is going on just now, I did not decide until the last minute to participate in the convention’s art show. I had committed months ago to participating in the con’s programming but held off on deciding about the art show.

I did not bring very many pieces to hang in the art show. The pieces that I did bring for the show are:

Looking over the list I’m pleased to say that 4 out of the 5 are actually on my web site. Typically fewer than half are.

This morning (Saturday) I’ll be heading back to the convention. This will be my busy day as my presentation and all my panels are scheduled for today. My line up is:

It Started With The Hubble: A 20 Year Retrospective Of The Manned Space Program
A panel discussion overview of the past twenty years of the shuttle program, from the Hubble Space Telescope to the International Space Station.
For my part, I do hope to actually talk a little about the Hubble Space Telescope, which presents us with two very different categories of impacts. The first is the impact Hubble observations have had on our understanding of the universe. These impacts include a much more accurate measure of the Hubble Constant – which tells us about the age of the universe; the presence of super-massive black holes at the centers of galaxies; and the strange matter of dark energy and the accelerated expansion of the universe. The second area is the area of astronomical art aesthetics and the impact that Hubble’s observations have had on how astronomical art is portrayed.
Space 2031
In twenty years will there be a Chinese base on the moon? Will American astronauts be buzzing near-earth asteroids? Just where, in space, will we be in twenty years. This panel discussion will explore what our future in space may be.
Audio Interactive Art: Science as Art
My talk’s title is actually Live Art and combines a presentation about the tools of new media art with a dash of computer art history followed by audience participation in the creation of several works of digital art through the use of sound. More about this and some of my other presentations can be found on my Art Lectures page.
Privateers In Space!
With NASA’s attempts switch to private companies to provide launch services, Virgin Galactic’s sub-orbital flights, and Google’s Lunar “X Prize”, start-up companies are jumping at the chance to get into space. Where will this lead us over the next 20 years?

So today promises to be a busy day at DucKon. FYI, DucKon’s Guests of Honor this year are:

  • Literary:Tamora PierceWebsite
  • Artist:Ursula VernonWebsite
  • Filk:Gary HanakWebsite
  • Filk Fund Guests:Nate and Louie Bucklin
  • Fan:William and Trudi Puda
  • Writer:Shirley DamsgaardWebsite
  • Science:”The Last Shuttle Team”Website

If you’re attending the con, don’t forget to check out the art show.

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