An interesting article on the usage of genetic algorithms to generate shapes.
A Georgia Tech Class Blog
An interesting article on the usage of genetic algorithms to generate shapes.
Creativity can be used in several ways. We can use it to play images on buildings, play piano on stairs or simply play tetris on buildings !!
Yes! that’s right. The title says it all. This post is about the all ubiquitous memes. (what else do you expect from me!). I have been saving this one up for last.
So What are memes?
A Meme is “an idea, behavior or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.”A meme acts as a unit for carrying cultural ideas, symbols or practices, which can be transmitted from one mind to another through writing, speech, gestures, rituals or other imitable phenomena. Supporters of the concept regard memes as cultural analogues to genes in that they self-replicate, mutate and respond to selective pressures.
The word meme is a shortening of mimeme “something imitated”, from μιμεῖσθαι (mimeisthai), “to imitate”, from μῖμος mimos “mime”) and it was coined by the British evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene (1976) as a concept for discussion of evolutionary principles in explaining the spread of ideas and cultural phenomena. [Source:Wikipedia]
Internet memes are no different. Internet is nothing but the mixture of cultures in a microcosm and memes the sign language of this subculture.
Alright! I am getting to it! Mentioned earlier the language of memes is universal. Just like so many creative things are possible with writing, the same applies to memes. Memes are nothing but a type of art or sequential art. Just like comics, memes give a visual appearance of something while leaving the rest to imagination to create a emotion.
Meme’s can be anything from statement of a fact, satire, wordplay, philosophy or remediation of textual content or context. It is always interesting to see how people use memes and how they are perceived in different situations. Even interesting is the mind of an average meme “artist” and how common place things can be converted to something very funny and interesting. Doesn’t that make it creative? if you think satire is creative, then memes are. If you think funny wordplay is an act of creativity, the same applies to memes.
So what makes a meme?
Even if they are just images and text, The process of meme making is an interesting process. Based on my “expertise”, I am able to identify a few aspects of meme.
Image: Choosing an image is everything in a meme. The image and the context in which it appears or presented sets up the theme for the entire experience. The meme dictates the usage, situation, context and most importantly verbiage. The image is like the chekov’s gun in many aspects.
Verbiage: As much as an image is important, the verbiage is the quintessential part of a meme. The choice of words have to correspond to the central theme dictated by the image. The sentence structure has to resemble the original pattern and finally the content should be apt. It can represent the premises or a fact or any wordplay. The possibilites are endless. If you get it right you will almost always be complimented with “excellent adverbiage bro!” comment in the internet forums.
Context: a meme-maker has to understand the context of the meme. If not it completely spoils the experience. You need proof. go here: https://www.facebook.com/UGAmemes
Reproducibility: The ability to reproduce or repurpose a meme is very important. If a image with a sentence structure can be repurposed for multiple situations, it will have a longer shelf life and sometime considered a very versatile and creative as well.
and finally LOLability: Laugh out loud. According to me, anything that can emote a user and make him laugh or smile is a winner. One of the major factor of meme-making is the ability of the meme to generate laughter.
U mad bro? now go make a meme about me and vent your anger. See it helps anger management too. If you found this post interesting and funny, leave a few memes in the comments will ya.
There’s a sketching technique that I think is really beneficial to those who are at a loss for ideas. It’s something I learned a long time ago when I learned to draw: the scribble method :). Basically, it consists of scribbling on a page. You don’t even have to look at the sheet of paper. You don’t even have to use your dominant hand. Using marker, scribble a little doodle on a sheet of paper.
Once you have your doodle, start to highlight the lines you really like. Maybe there’s a strong line in the center of your page. Maybe there are two parallel lines that could become a handle or car’s spoiler. I don’t know.
Start to add a little bit of detail…does your handle need a grip? Add a few notches to create a place for your fingers. The possibilities are endless. These are sketches done for controllers and pencil sharpeners using the scribble method. (Of course color was added to create a little bit of a better idea of what everything was)
I started reading the books ‘Understanding Comics’ & ‘Reinventing Comics’ as part of my masters project on designing comics. I found that the book became relevant not only to that world, but first to interface design, then to web design, then to game design. And as I talked to more and more people , I found basically that I was becoming very interested in it and that people in their respective fields were becoming interested in the book. The great irony of course is that Understanding Comics doesn’t mention computers once.
When I wanted to know more I came across a video of 2 hour long interview from 2002. Here’s an excerpt of interview witth Scott McCloud .
McCloud: Most people’s ideas of how the book was relevant to digital media weren’t the same ideas as mine. They focused on certain chapters of the book dealing with the ways we process certain imagery. For instance, in chapter two I talk about the combination of very cartoony characters in very realistic environments. This was an idea that a fellow named Bumgardner picked up and created a chat interface called The Palace. He’s been quoted as saying that pretty much came from an idea in Understanding Comics.
It’s strange, that wasn’t really where my focus was. My focus was back at the beginning of the book where I talk about definition. I was interested in finding out how comics would evolve in a digital environment. And I was finding some very exciting stuff when you take that idea of comics and drop it into a new petri dish.
But this wasn’t what people were picking up from the book. They were talking about the nature of cartoons, and they were talking about the combination of words and pictures. That one comes up a lot. And they were comparing the experience of surfing the Web to the alchemy that occurs between the panels.
Sims: I recently had an experience where I was trying to explain a Sunday comic to my 3-year-old daughter, and it was a two-row Sunday comic. And I understand where the geography was when someone on the lower panel looked to the left and they were actually looking at something that in the layout of the page is in the upper right. But it did take some time to explain it to someone 3 years old. And it made me think that there’s some complicity between the comics and a reader, that we’re going to start at a baseline, that you’re going to understand this much, then I don’t have to explain it to you again.
McCloud: Yes, it is a deeply collaborative art, even for a very sophisticated user. It still requires a much more conscious participation than, say, film. Film also requires a series of still images, but we string those images together involuntarily. Even somebody who is not at all sophisticated in film will still see that motion.
Whereas somebody who isn’t steeped in the protocol of comics, will approach that page as a collection of still images until they understand that as you move across that page, you’re actually moving through time.
What’s interesting is that printed comics require a fairly sophisticated protocol. They operate on this idea that as you move left to right or up to down, you’re moving forward in time.
But you have to actually have a pretty sophisticated notion of when to go down, when to go to the right. The panels are all sort of jumbled together. And it’s easy when you’re looking at the Sunday page. When you’re looking at a lot of modern comics, though, the panels are in almost a jigsaw puzzle fashion, and you have to have a pretty complex understanding of where to go next.
The funny thing is that in studying comics as this simple idea of sequential art. I found that there were a lot of comics that predate print. Of course, obviously not called comics. But, if you take comics as this idea of placing one image after another to tell a story, a kind of temporal map, really, that as you’re moving across the space you’re moving through time and using that to tell some sort of story, you can actually find examples of that going back. …
Sims: The Bayeux Tapestry.
McCloud: The Bayeux Tapestry, Trajan’s Column, certain Egyptian wall paintings, not hieroglyphics—people often misunderstand me there, I’m not saying hieroglyphics are comics—and pre-Columbian picture manuscripts are very much comics. And the more you look at them and actually read the things, you can see that they’re using the exact same visual language. The only things missing are really quite superficial, things like rectangular panel borders and word balloons—although even word balloons go back hundreds of years. But the funny thing is that the complex reading protocol that print demands from us in comics is absent in all the pre-print versions. Because in all these proto-comics, these ancient comics, the idea was much, much simpler than that. Just that whatever moment you were on in time, the next moment was right next to it. You mentioned the Bayeux Tapestry, that’s just one long straight line. Trajan’s Column, you move in a spiral up that stone column. In pre-Columbian picture manuscripts, it’s a little jumbled, but what you actually do is move in a backward zigzag, all the way back through this long screenfold, really something like a mural, although it can be folded like a book.
They approached this simple idea of sequential art with a very open-minded and simple approach of simply saying, if space equals time, then the more time you need, the more space you give it. So Trajan’s Column, if you wanted to tell a story ten times as long, you’d need a column ten times as high. Or the Bayeux Tapestry would have to stretch all the way across Europe if you wanted to tell a story that long.
But there’s a limitation to physical matter. There’s not a limitation to the length of these constructs in a digital space. And you can actually reclaim some of that magic from pre-print comics in a digital space, get the best of both worlds. Because I think in some ways we actually betray the strength of comics when we chop it up, slice it, and dice it to fit into these flat and rectangular wood pulps we call books. I think in some ways we’ve actually done the idea of comics a disservice by cutting them to fit.
I came across this website when one of my hipster friend insisted that I take a look at it. (I would mention his name, but you’ve probably never heard of him). TypoFlat is a personal & experimental project of designer Branislav S. Cirkovic ( www.b-cirk.com). In his own words, The idea of TypoFlat is to have this free flow of creation where no clients or money are involved, just a pure passion for creation and form experimentation. Now that we have the official statement, Its time to rant about why i like this particular website and how it relates. This experimental project is an attempt to validate an idea which emphasizes one view on creativity. The idea of creation as a free flow process without secondary or external constraints. This is also resonates in one of McCloud’s famous quote: “Art, as I see it, is any human activity which doesn’t grow out of either of our species’ two basic instincts: survival and reproduction
I wish Mr.Cirkovic all the very best.
Today in class our group has a very lively discussion on sketching as relates to creativity, the extent to which a culture can be judged by the words it uses to describe its popular sports, whether or not it is rude to refer to a classmate as “Satan,” and a host of other topics. The entire “thread” was captured- to a certain extent- by the graphical notations we each made on the single sheet of paper we shared.
This exercise was quite interesting during class as we sometimes fought to quickly jot down our notes on the paper, and sometimes fought not to. Even more interesting, however, is a review of these “notes” now, without the pressure (one of our themes today) of the class and without the need to be a producer of creative content. In the consumer role, we can better appreciate our sketch, as manifestations of the creativity of the contributors become more clear. A few highlights are:
1. Toward the lower right, notice the stick figure with an asterisk for a head. This represents our teammate who was almost electrocuted (in his mind, of course) by Professor Do as she visited our discussion.
2. To the left of this are the words ” I never called you Satan” (written upside-down, depending upon your perspective) followed by tally marks which indicate approximately how many times this phrase was uttered. In this instance, while the point is spatially close to the previous one (#1), there is no logical connection.
3. Just above the Satan statement is a representation of “thinking outside of the box” in an effort to solve writer’s block. This point was, in fact, logically connected to the point above it, as indicated by the arrow.
4. The diagram beginning with the word Creativity at the left indicates how 2 intelligent and creative people can be motivated/inspired by completely different paths. Some work better under pressure, while some are adept in relaxing their mind so as to allow the “aha moment” to come.
5. Above this we have our “conversation waveform” which represents the fact that, at the onset of the exercise there was relatively little discussion, as we each struggled to find a place to start. Thoughts on “sketching,” “intelligence,” and “creativity” soon followed, and the magnitude of the waves represent the amount of dialog associated with each. The fact that the section on creativity has dual waves, opposite from one another, is indicative of those times when the group did not agree and debated the merits of different perspectives.
These are, obviously, only a few of the graphical notes made on the paper. In an exercise that could be seen as an extension of the classroom assignment, I wonder what, if anything, the readers of this post would make of some of the other images? Hearing the ideas of people unconnected to the original discussions would be interesting, as they would represent the reverse of the initially reversed points (we went from thought to sketch; this would go from sketch to thought).
Just as we played the drawing games a few class periods ago, I wonder how creative the class might be in attempting to decipher these symbols.
“Left as an exercise for the reader…”
It is amazing to see how lectures unroll one after another. Only few weeks back I blogged about there being no concrete method to define creativity and lo and behold, here I am reading a paper by Gardner trying to define and categorize creativity!! I would agree with his method and points taken to classify creativity. Though they may not encompass every aspects of creative works, they tends to cover major portion of them. Indeed, classification of work to be creative or not depends on domain and field. While, uniqueness and importance of the work is decided by the area in which it was accomplished, it is equally depended on the society or the judges of the work. History has proven many times that even the most magnificent work can be rejected by society.
For Class (2/1)