Average Security Council 2015

Averages, Data Representation

Working again with the concept of averaging things to see what results, I’ve pulled up a project from years past and figured out a way to make a physical manifestation. In this case, I’m averaging flags, specifically, the flags of the nations that make up the United Nations Security Council for 2015. Here’s the base image that I prepared for inkjet output on canvas:


Each rectangle represents the average color of the flag of that nation. There are quite a few maroony-pink flags here, because red-white-and-blue is a common selection for flag colors.

Needlepoint Gallery


I’d been working on them piecemeal for a while, but I had the chance to really sit down and work on some needlepoint pieces while I was at Somerville Open Studios on May 3rd and 4th. Here’s a gallery of what I’ve been working on.

Analemma-SolsticesThis is the analemma, the shape that the sun traces out during the course of the year. I have marked the dates of the solstices at the minimum and maximum points.

Pixel Rivers in Cross-Stitch

Graphic Geography, Needlework

So, I’m still working through the kinks of another concept based on my pixel rivers idea of a couple months back, but I started playing around with rendering them in another pixel-based medium, cross-stitch needlepoint. So far, I have about an eighth of the Mississippi done:


I’m abstracting the shape of the river into a branching network, and filling in the area around it with grey thread. I may fill the river in with white, or with a color, or I may leave it as bare aida cloth. I haven’t quite decided yet, but I have plenty of time to figure that out. Of course, as I get into the more complex portion of the river basin, things will go a lot faster, since I won’t have to fill in as much grey.

When I Say “City” Twitter Volley

Internet Art, Linguistic Deconstruction

On Thursday, 5 April, Neil Freeman at fakeisthenewreal.com started posting tweets starting with the phrase When I say “city”… and then continuing with some aphorism, trope, concept, observation, stereotype or definition of the urban landscape. Several people, including myself, joined in the fun. Here are my contributions, taken directly from my Twitter account as a screenshot:


Fortunately for all involved, Neil collated his own entries here. There are also some fun compilations at Storify, here and here.

Here are my entries in text form:

Ted Ollier ‏@mindhue 5 Apr
@fitnr When I say “city”, I mean Chicago at 5am seen flying in over Lake Michigan.

Ted Ollier ‏@mindhue 5 Apr
@fitnr When I say “city”, I mean a closed-system O’Neill settlement five miles long orbiting at the fourth lunar Lagrange point.

Ted Ollier ‏@mindhue 5 Apr
@fitnr When I say “city”, I mean “Trantor”.

Ted Ollier ‏@mindhue 5 Apr
@fitnr when I say “city”, it’s because I had to go fire up my old Maxis game and hit the “Tornado” button.

Ted Ollier ‏@mindhue 5 Apr
@fitnr When I say “city”, I mean the human equivalent of a climax forest.

Ted Ollier ‏@mindhue 5 Apr
@fitnr When I say “city”, I mean photogenic young people in large apartments maintained with no visible means of support.

Ted Ollier ‏@mindhue 5 Apr
@fitnr When I say “city”, I mean a place of hedonism, debauchery, and women refusing their proper roles in society.

Ted Ollier ‏@mindhue 5 Apr
@fitnr When I say “city”, I really mean “anti-Arcadia”.

Ted Ollier ‏@mindhue 5 Apr
@fitnr When I say “city”, I’m saying they’ll never stay on the farm after they’ve seen it.

Ted Ollier ‏@mindhue 5 Apr
@fitnr When I say, “city”, I am referring to the abode of the Holy God King, long may be his days and great his victories.

Ted Ollier ‏@mindhue 5 Apr
@fitnr When I say “city”, I mean men in expensively-tailored suits steepling their fingers over plans to increase their power.

Ted Ollier ‏@mindhue 5 Apr
@fitnr When I say “city”, I indicate that savings in transportation costs dictate increased density.

Ted Ollier ‏@mindhue 5 Apr
@fitnr When I say “city”, I’m referring to a place where the benefits of collaboration outweigh the desire for autonomy.

Ted Ollier ‏@mindhue 5 Apr
@fitnr When I say “city” I’m talking about a location with anomalously high temperature profile compared to its surroundings.

Piece for “Invested Landscape”, Coming to the Nave Gallery Sep 7

GPS, Infrastructure, Shows

Today I did my first GPS drawing in a couple of years. This time I traced—as near as I could—the boundaries of the City of Somerville on my bike. Here are two versions of the results:

The magenta/yellow is the path I took on my bike. The white is the official boundaries of the city. Some of the discrepancies are due to fences, houses, construction, freeways, cliffs, MBTA tracks, GPS errors and water. The base perimeter is 11.9 miles long; my route was 20.2 miles. I learned an important lesson on that 20 mile ride: 24-inch BMX cruisers are great for short commutes, but for long-distance riding they put a bit of strain on your knees.

This image, and more, will be seen at the show “Invested Landscape”, opening at the Nave Gallery on September 7th.

New Patterns: Highway Cloverleaves

Averages, Infrastructure

This was something that had been in the back of my mind for a while, just a lark, just something to play with. I thought I’d cruise through Google Earth and take screenshots of various cloverleaves along the interstates in the area. Funny thing: there aren’t as many traditional 4-lobed cloverleaf interchanges as you’d expect, a lot of them are more in an H-pattern of on/off ramps with controlled intersections. I suppose that’s a little cheaper than graded, circular ramps allowing nonstop interchange. At any rate, I started on I-95 around Boston and got twenty cloverleaves as a start, including this lovely one from right at the Delaware border in Maryland:

Look at that! Almost as perfect a circle as you’re gonna get with aggregate and asphalt on actual terrain. Trés magnifique!

At any rate, I got twenty screenshots and then tweaked them to 1000 px by 1000 px, with the center of the cloverleaf as close to the center of the square as possible. I figured it would be pretty cool, but I was surprised by how cool:

That’s pretty sexy. Then I normalized the levels:

Oh, yeah. That’s nice. So—I hope you appreciate these as much as I do. I’ll probably be doing more in the near future.

GPS Drawing Project


As part of my artist grant from the Somerville Arts Council, I need to do a project that involves the community of Somerville. Last week I went to the daycare Open Center for Children on Powderhouse Boulevard and created a large-scale work with the help of the children there.

We went to a local park and I took my hiking GPS unit and set it to record its position. A quick round of “eenie-meenie-miney-moe” selected the lucky child, who then took the GPS and started running. The GPS recorded the path the child took through the playground and around the fence. Once returned, I saved the recorded path with the child’s name and started another round. There were a few glitches and do-overs, but at the end of the 90 minutes, we had 15 sketches around the park:

And, just for funsies, here’s a nice montage of the kids running around with the GPS:

World Tesselations

Graphic Geography, Printmaking

I did some more organizing today, and took pictures of an older project from 2007 called World Tessellations. I took a icosahedral projection of the world (an isocahedron is a 3D shape having 20 triangle-shaped sides) and cut each section out of copper, then selected a piece at random and built the entire map from that piece. I did eight permutations of the map while I was at my September 2007 residency in Provincetown for my MFA: