Last weekend I took a whirlwind tour of Las Vegas for my mother-in-law’s 75th birthday. I didn’t have much time, but I was able to get footage for three composite video pieces.
The first was set up on the footbridge over Spring Mountain Rd connecting the Wynn/Encore complex with The Palazzio. I was interested in getting the large video displays in a composite, but I also got a young, visibly-pregnant beggar holding her sign for the crowd. The only thing besides the casinos that didn’t move much in the video is her begging cup. Things that make you go, “Hmmmm.”
The second one I tried to squeeze in between the Fashion Show and Cirque du Soleil, but I couldn’t get the perfect shot and only managed twenty minutes of footage. This one is next to Caesar’s Palace, with the video display for The Linq as the object of interest. It’s only a minute long.
Finally, after the Cirque du Soleil show, my wife and I went down the Strip seeing the sights. I set up near the Bellagio and got a final icosacomposite of the crowds. Hidden in the footage: a guy haranguing the crowds from the center island, a drunk individual hanging out of a stretched monster truck screaming “I love Las Vegas!”, various wedding parties of all description, numerous motorized signs touting “Live Nude Girls”, and my wife handing off a second set of batteries to me.
Well, it took me a while, but it’s been kinda busy. I’ve been teaching my Extension School letterpress class at Harvard, printing editions, working the day job, and slowly assembling a letterpress cooperative. But last night I finally rendered the icosacomposite videos! I was hoping for three, but I only got footage for two. One is where the hike and bike trail ascends from Cesar Chavez St to the Lamar St pedestrian bridge, and features the former Seaholm powerplant with its iconographic “City of Austin” art deco lettering, joggers, traffic, cranes, and plenty of construction noise. The other is at the corner of 24th and Guadelupe, the heart of The Drag at the University of Texas, during the rush to get to the first class of the day. Enjoy!
I finally got back to the gallery yesterday, but I was at the Bow & Arrow Press for Open Press Night afterward, so I didn’t get to process things until now. A big portion of yesterday’s work was 100 Random Pixel time-lapse videos, which I present here:
Time-Lapse 09 uses the same rules as the earlier ones, but 10 and after uses a different rule for dealing with obstructing pixels: instead of skipping over the obstructing pixels until a free space is reached, I now simply stack the new pixel on the obstructing pixel so that a three-dimensional form is created.
I also shot frames for a panorama of the two-tributary rope river from last time, and then constructed a three-tributary rope river with the last length of rope I had available:
I also shot a lot of portfolio images of the needlepoint rivers, as I had them on the wall for my artist’s talk last Sunday. Finally, I got out the ball chain I’d ordered just before I started the residency, and began experimenting with catenary curves.
This is the simple construction I made using the steel chain suspended on the hooks attached between the two lally columns in the gallery. I’m not entirely sure what’s going to happen with those, but we shall see.
After that experiment, I upended a desk and used the legs and cross supports to string the copper chain in various intersecting catenaries. I then started my camera shooting once every three seconds, and began agitating the chain. Below are some of the more interesting images, some with a touch of Photoshopping, some without. Further experimentation is definitely in the cards.
Finally, I’ll leave you with a lovely little curve from the steel suspensions that I shot on a whim:
Today started off, oddly enough, as something of a clean-up day. I moved the trash bags I’m using as floor protectors for the wet projects, I shifted a bunch of the loose cubes over to where the river production area was, I cleaned up the pixel dice construction site, and collected boxes in one area and trash in another. I have some of the flow-pattern ink drawings in process, but I didn’t get around to photographing them. Next time!
For a consolation prize, here are the rivers, mostly complete. The clamp on the Mississippi is joining the Ohio/Upper Mississippi/Missouri complex to the Lower Mississippi/Red/Canadian/Arkansas complex. The clamp on the Yangtze is to hold together a faulty glue joint, which broke at around the Wuhan area.
I also put the Random Pixel Objects on display on a plinth, just to get them out of the way:
Interesting stuff today. I was hoping to have images of all three pixel rivers done, but the Mississippi is being difficult and I needed to re-glue several tributaries, this time using clamps. I should have been using clamps the entire time!
But anyway, other stuff still got done. I finished all nine of the Random Pixel Objects, which are all available for sale to interested parties! Here they are in a group shot:
I spent most of the day fixing up the 3D pixel Nile, 3D pixel Yangtze, and piecing together the last bits of the 3D pixel Mississippi. Here’s a quick shot of the Nile, resting on a table:
I also constructed five ephemeral Random Pixel Objects and three physical Random Pixel Objects. I forgot to snap a photo of the physical ones, but I shot video of the making of the five ephemeral ones. Here are the five Objects:
And here’s the video showing exactly how I’m making them:
I also started a very silly project, making river patterns out of nylon rope. I shot various frames of the running length, and I tried to use an automated stitcher to fit them all together, but it looks like I’ll need to do that manually. Tomorrow!
More fun today at the Nave Gallery. First of all, here are the results of my ink-blot flow pattern experiments:
I’m not sure if I’m thrilled with these or not. I will continue the experimentation, however.
Three major landmarks in this selection of icosacomposites. While I was on the prowl, I couldn’t turn down the chance to deconstruct the conspicuous consumption of Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, especially the day after Christmas. And it didn’t disappoint. Look for high-end car wheels, fashion dress patterns and lots of shopping bags milling into a murky mass right in front of the Bvulgari store. I’m especially amused by how the diagonal crossing marks kind of stick up like stalagmites in the middle of the haze of tourism. Even weirder, no one seemed to care I was there shooting them.
Right after the Rodeo Drive shoot I went to Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood to capture another landmark, the nightclub Whisky a Go Go. Back in the day, it was the place to see The Byrds, Alice Cooper, Buffalo Springfield, Smokestack Lightning, Love and The Doors. At this point in history, it looks like it’s mostly serving the nostalgia circuit– Lita Ford and The Motels– with reality TV taking a slice of the pie. This particular video is the complete opposite of the Beverly Hills video. There’s hardly any people on Sunset the day after Christmas, so this became more of an examination of lights, traffic, and eveningtime, with the nightclub simply as an anchor. Because of that, I only shot 40 minutes of footage, which makes this video only two minutes long. Notice that the two-minute compositing slice is in quasi-synchronization with the timing of the traffic lights. In other videos, the red-amber-green lights are diffused and weak as they flicker in and out of phase, but here they’re remarkably strong and brilliant.
Finally, we revisit Hollywood and Vine, with a different crop than before. I like the placement of the buildings better, and the central building has a lovely diffuse glow as the compositing makes the shadows soften. Unfortunately, I was almost done with the fourth section of footage when some rentacops from Andrews International drove up and gave me the stink-eye from their car, so in the interests of keeping a low profile I finished recording and then moved on. The back end of their car was caught on video, but, alas, their moment of fame is indistinguishable in the composite. Because I only got 40 minutes of footage, this video is also only two minutes long.
Two icosacomposites from LA, hot off the render queue. The first is not terribly recognizable, but it’s an interesting location for me, personally: the building at Hollywood and Cahuenga (the intersection is known as “Raymond Chandler Square”) is suspected to be the model Chandler had in mind for Phillip Marlowe’s office. I also liked the Pacific Radio masts on the opposite building.
And just a few blocks down, one of the crazier tourist areas known to man, right near the Hollywood Hard Rock Cafe and the Grauman’s/Mann’s/TLC Chinese Theatre (depending on the decade you’re in). It was pretty busy, even on the day after Christmas. I was also on the Walk of Fame; Cuba Gooding, Jr’s star was right in front of me (not visible in the shot), and Javier Bardem’s star was just out of sign to the right. Lots of people stooping down to pay their respects. Look carefully and you might catch a mediocre Darth Vader and a very ratty-looking Spider-Man in the crowd. All of the high-class mascots were across the street in front of the mall, but I wouldn’t have been able to get the cafe and the theatre in that shot. I’m very pleased with the sheer pass of humanity crossing the lens in this particular video, and the total mish-mash the composite has made of Hard Rock’s carefully animated video wall.
While in California for the holidays, I figured, if I’m gonna be thirty miles away from Los Angeles, I might as well head up there to shoot some composite video, right? I managed to shoot five different corners, and this is a preview of one of them: Hollywood and Vine, also known as “Bob Hope Square”. After I shot this scene I decided I wasn’t quite happy with the cropping, but I retained this footage because it had some interesting action within it. So I’ve rendered this as its own little icosacomposite, and a longer one of the same intersection will be following soon. Just in time for New Years! Enjoy.