Monday, June 30, 2008

Abstract Nº86

With the intention, 'I shall protect myself,'
the Foundation of Mindfulness is practiced.
With the intention, 'I shall protect others,'
the Foundation of Mindfulness is practiced.
In protecting oneself, others are protected;
In protecting others, oneself is protected.

Attributed to Gautama Buddha in the "Samyutta Nikaya".

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Abstract Nº85

I surely have the bad habit of posting anything once a day, instead of posting well once in a while.

Does it not seem as though the older and more confirmed the habit, the more unquestioning the act of volition, till, in the case of the oldest habits, the practice of succeeding existences has so formulated the procedure, that, on being once committed to such and such a line beyond a certain point, the subsequent course is so clear as to be open to no further doubt, to admit of no alternative, till the very power of questioning is gone, and even the consciousness of volition? And this too upon matters which, in earlier stages of a man’s existence, admitted of passionate argument and anxious deliberation whether to resolve them thus or thus, with heroic hazard and experiment, which on the losing side proved to be vice, and on the winning virtue.

Samuel Butler, "Life and habit", Chapter 3.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Abstract Nº84

Abstraction is an exercise in a pre-assured failure. It is a futile attempt to communicate the non-communicable.

Derek Audette.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Abstract Nº83

Every natural fact is a symbol of some spiritual fact.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Nature".

Thursday, June 26, 2008

3D Genetic Algorithms - Insect on water

We do not grasp ourselves, but still drift on
As aimless as a mote in the warm air,
Whose senses take the sweetness of the time,
And in a moment let existence go,
Its tiny death-squeak an indefinite thing
Recorded in the general ear of God.

Robert Crawford, "Insect".

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Abstract Nº 82

All art is solitary and the studio is a torture area.

Alexander Liberman, in "The New York Times" of May the 13th, 1979.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

3D L-Systems - Abstract Nº 5

“It is almost time for you to leave, comrade,” he said to Julia. “Wait. The
decanter is still half full."
He filled the glasses and raised his own glass by the stem.
“What shall it be this time?” he said, still with the same faint suggestion of irony.
“To the confusion of the Thought Police? To the death of Big Brother? To humanity? To the future?”
“To the past,” said Winston.
“The past is more important,” agreed O'Brien gravely.

George Orwell, "1987".

Monday, June 23, 2008

Abstract Nº 81

Pop art is the inedible raised to the unspeakable.

Leonard Baskin, on "Publishers Weekly" of April the 5th, 1965.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

3D L-Systems - Abstract Nº 2

It's a stinking world because there's no law and order any more. It's a stinking world because it lets the young get onto the old, like you done. Oh... it's no world for an old man any longer. What sort of a world is it at all? Men on the moon, and men spinning around the earth, and there's not no attention paid to earthly law and order no more.

Anthony Burgess, "A clockwork orange".

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Abstract Nº 80

Dare to be gorgeous and unique. But don't ever be cryptic or otherwise unfathomable. Make it unforgettably great.

Robert J. Mical, "Amiga Intuition Reference Manual".

Friday, June 20, 2008

3D (GA's) Abstract Nº21

This is my 21st abstract image generated by genetic algorithms. Lately I'm focusing a bit too much on math, but I guess it is a passing phase.
Dedicated to Giovanni Rubaltelli, who reads much more philosophy than I ever do.

It is indisputable that the being whose capacities of enjoyment are low, has the greatest chance of having them fully satisfied; and a highly-endowed being will always feel that any happiness which he can look for, as the world is constituted, is imperfect. But he can learn to bear its imperfections, if they are at all bearable; and they will not make him envy the being who is indeed unconscious of the imperfections, but only because he feels not at all the good which those imperfections qualify. It is better to be a human being dissatisfied than a pig satisfied; better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. And if the fool, or the pig, is of a different opinion, it is because they only know their own side of the question. The other party to the comparison knows both sides.

It may be objected, that many who are capable of the higher pleasures, occasionally, under the influence of temptation, postpone them to the lower. But this is quite compatible with a full appreciation of the intrinsic superiority of the higher. Men often, from infirmity of character, make their election for the nearer good, though they know it to be the less valuable; and this no less when the choice is between two bodily pleasures, than when it is between bodily and mental. They pursue sensual indulgences to the injury of health, though perfectly aware that health is the greater good. It may be further objected, that many who begin with youthful enthusiasm for everything noble, as they advance in years sink into indolence and selfishness. But I do not believe that those who undergo this very common change, voluntarily choose the lower description of pleasures in preference to the higher. I believe that before they devote themselves exclusively to the one, they have already become incapable of the other. Capacity for the nobler feelings is in most natures a very tender plant, easily killed, not only by hostile influences, but by mere want of sustenance; and in the majority of young persons it speedily dies away if the occupations to which their position in life has devoted them, and the society into which it has thrown them, are not favourable to keeping that higher capacity in exercise. Men lose their high aspirations as they lose their intellectual tastes, because they have not time or opportunity for indulging them; and they addict themselves to inferior pleasures, not because they deliberately prefer them, but because they are either the only ones to which they have access, or the only ones which they are any longer capable of enjoying. It may be questioned whether any one who has remained equally susceptible to both classes of pleasures, ever knowingly and calmly preferred the lower; though many, in all ages, have broken down in an ineffectual attempt to combine both.

From this verdict of the only competent judges, I apprehend there can be no appeal. On a question which is the best worth having of two pleasures, or which of two modes of existence is the most grateful to the feelings, apart from its moral attributes and from its consequences, the judgment of those who are qualified by knowledge of both, or, if they differ, that of the majority among them, must be admitted as final.

John S. Mill, "Utilitarianism", chapter II.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

3D (GA's) - Water being

To understand water is to understand the cosmos, the marvels of nature, and life itself.

Masaru Emoto, "The hidden messages in water".

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

3D (GA's) - A thing of math

My young son asks me: Must I learn mathematics?
What is the use, I feel like saying. That two pieces
Of bread are more than one's about all you'll end up with.
My young son asks me: Must I learn French?
What is the use, I feel like saying. This State's collapsing.
And if you just rub your belly with your hand and
Groan, you'll be understood with little trouble.
My young son asks me: Must I learn history?
What is the use, I feel like saying. Learn to stick
Your head in the earth, and maybe you'll still survive.

Yes, learn mathematics, I tell him.
Learn your French, learn your history!

Bertold Brecht, "1940".

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Concentric II

Poor soul, the centre of my sinful earth,
These rebel powers that thee array;
Why dost thou pine within and suffer dearth,
Painting thy outward walls so costly gay?
Why so large cost, having so short a lease,
Dost thou upon thy fading mansion spend?
Shall worms, inheritors of this excess,
Eat up thy charge? is this thy body's end?
Then soul, live thou upon thy servant's loss,
And let that pine to aggravate thy store;
Buy terms divine in selling hours of dross;
Within be fed, without be rich no more:
So shalt thou feed on Death, that feeds on men,
And Death once dead, there's no more dying then.

William Shakespeare, Sonnet 146.

Monday, June 16, 2008


Each life converges to some centre
Expressed or still;
Exists in every human nature
A goal,
Admitted scarcely to itself, it may be,
Too fair
For credibility’s temerity
To dare.
Adored with caution, as a brittle heaven,
To reach
Were hopeless as the rainbow’s raiment
To touch,
Yet persevered toward, surer for the distance;
How high
Unto the saints’ slow diligence
The sky!
Ungained, it may be, by a life’s low venture,
But then,
Eternity enables the endeavoring

Emily Dickinson, 61.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Abstract Nº79

When a sixth of the population of a nation which has undertaken to be the refuge of liberty are slaves, and a whole country is unjustly overrun and conquered by a foreign army, and subjected to military law, I think that it is not too soon for honest men to rebel and revolutionize. What makes this duty the more urgent is the fact that the country so overrun is not our own, but ours is the invading army.

Henry David Thoreau, "Civil disobedience".

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Abstract Nº78

A man's real life is that accorded to him in the thoughts of other men by reason of respect or natural love.

Joseph Conrad, "Under western eyes".

Friday, June 13, 2008

3D (L-Systems) Hanging air plant

The plants and flowers
I raised about my hut
I now surrender
To the will
Of the wind

Taigu Ryokan.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Abstract Nº77

Few will have the greatness to bend history itself; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation... It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is thus shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.

Bobby Kennedy.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Seven hearts

not on my lips look for your mouth,
not in front of the gate for the stranger,
not in the eye for the tear.

seven nights higher red makes for red,
seven hearts deeper the hand knocks on the gate,
seven roses later plashes the fountain.

Paul Celan, "Crystal".

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


This has been the autumn of fires here, many fires in the country and in the city, and all of them big. May be the anguish led me to make this image.

In the other gardens
And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfires
See the smoke trail!

Pleasant summer over
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
The grey smoke towers.

Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all!
Flowers in the summer,
Fires in the fall!

Robert Louis Stevenson, "Autumn fires".

Monday, June 09, 2008

Colourful geometry


With every instance of affection a world connives,
Every kind word is part of destiny's business.
The universe cheers when the word of one person is met keenly,
knowingly, lovingly by another.
Love is the mightiest point in a sweet and cunning world's going
after harmony;
Love is the color of the deftest and richest world geometry,
Geometry moving, and making a point a world, and a world a point.


Eli Siegel, "A marriage".

Sunday, June 08, 2008

3D L-systems - Translucent Vegetation I & II

Four hundred posts; too many, somebody stop me or I'll end up boring someone... else.

I must present my most sincere apologies to the readers who lost the feed of my blog, just because I stupidly changed it along with the name ("what was I thinking" comes up to my mind several times a day for different reasons). If you still want to keep getting the feed just take it again from the right column.

In the first image you may notice the same problem that I have with Interactive Genetic Algorithms in 3D, the problem is the 3D itself: the camera position may be blocked by the growing "Plant" (or "Being", in the case of IGA's), plus the fact that my limited knowledge of PovRay parameters put me to think about developing my own simple rendering engine (or, better, to find a lighter and easier one). That doesn't sound easy, PovRay is very cool, as growing virtual organic art is too. I have a bunch of digital plants and strange animals on my computer and they don't mess up my house :-)

First vegetation, blocking the camera:

A slight turn of the camera, while the plant was growing, took that branch out of my eye:

O never harm the dreaming world,
the world of green, the world of leaves,
but let its million palms unfold
the adoration of the trees.

It is a love in darkness wrought
obedient to the unseen sun,
longer than memory, a thought
deeper than the graves of time.

The turning spindles of the cells
weave a slow forest over space,
the dance of love, creation,
out of time moves not a leaf,
and out of summer, not a shade.

Kathleen Raine, "Vegetation".

Saturday, June 07, 2008

3D (GA's) Abstracts Nº 18 and 19

Just in case there's anyone in doubt I'm making evolutionary art in 3D, meaning generative art in 3D, meaning working with interactive genetic algorithms in 3D, etc. (don't know why should I lie) I show here two slightly evolved images (phenotypes), see the shapes are different and the textures are way too different, unfortunately (that's something hard to control yet).
Each set on nine phenotypes or images takes no less than 3 minutes in rendering and no more than 45 minutes, with a 64-bits 1,83 core-2-duo and 2 GB of ram. I'm working on Ubuntu Linux and the software is 64-bits too, of course, but I've not been able to find a proper or available computer cluster to do the work yet.
The big problem about Evoart in 3D is that each of the nine images should be rendered before picking which one/s to keep evolving from, the wire-frames are not enough for the human to take that decision properly, the final texture is needed too (which is also decided by genetic algorithms); all this means the rendering times are longer than in 2D evolutionary art, or longer than just rendering one image at a time, because a set of (minimum) nine images (or genotype of 3 x 3 images) should be rendered at a time, before continuing with the next set.

These two ugly beings came out of the water. Notice the water ripples are different and the sky texture too, both fractal-generated instead of IGA's.

3D Nº18:

3D Nº 19:

Friday, June 06, 2008

Tea for one

I wanted an image consistent with the colour of my red tea, with love -or hearts-, with melancholy, consistent with the next lines of a dialog from last night:

- What are you going to do next?
- I will drink some tea and think of you.

... and with a dedicated song by Led Zeppelin (Tea for one)... and this image is the closest I get. You can play the song down there.

How come twenty four hours, Baby sometimes seem to slip into days?
Oh twenty-four hours, Baby sometimes seem to slip into days
A minute seems like a lifetime, Oh baby when I feel this way
Sittin, lookin at the clock, time moves so slow
I've been watchin for the hands to move
Until I just can't look no more
How come twenty four hours, Baby sometimes seems to slip into days?
A minute seems like a lifetime, Baby when I feel this way.

To sing a song for you, I recall you used to say
"Oh baby this one's for we two", Which in the end is you anyway

How come twenty four hours, Baby sometimes slip into days?
A minute seems like a lifetime, baby when I feel this way.

There was a time that I stood tall, In the eyes of other men
But by my own choice I left you woman, And now I can't get back again

How come twenty-four hours, sometimes slip into days?
A minute seems like a lifetime, Baby when I feel this way
A minute seems like a lifetime ... Oh Baby
When I feel this way... I feel this way.

Jimmy Page & Robert Plant, "Tea for one".

Thursday, June 05, 2008

3D (GA's) Abstract Nº15

A computer is like an Old Testament god, with a lot of rules and no mercy.

Joseph Campbell.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Abstract Nº76

An artist is only an artist thanks to his exquisite sense of beauty — a sense which provides him with intoxicating delights, but at the same time implying and including a sense, equally exquisite, of all deformity and disproportion.

Charles Baudelaire, "The romantic art", XI.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

3D L-Systems - Aquatic plant in bloom

This L-Systems 3D image shows up a rapid improvement of the software but also the calculation problems and my inability to find them at the moment, although a few hours of coding changed things for better, the software keep spitting values out of where they should be predicted. Those floating spheres should not be there.

This is a supposed aquatic plant with its flowers.


Did my Creator create me.
Of nine-formed faculties,
Of the fruit of fruits,
Of the fruit of the primordial God,
Of primroses and blossoms on the hill,
Of the earth, of an earthly course,
When I was formed,
Of the flower nettles,
Of the water of the ninth wave.
I was enchanted by Math,
Before I became immortal,
I was enchanted by Gwydyon
The great purifier of the Brithon,
Of Eurwys, of Euron,
Of Euron, of Modron.
Of five battalions of scientific ones,
Teachers, children of Math.


Taliesin, "The battle of Goddeu".

Monday, June 02, 2008

Abstract Nº75

Then we have computer science. It is true that software cannot exercise its powers of lightness except through the weight of hardware. But it is the software that gives the orders, acting on the outside world and on machines that exist only as functions of software and evolve so that they can work out ever more complex programs. The second industrial revolution, unlike the first, does not present us with such crushing images as rolling mills and molten steel, but with "bits" in a flow of information traveling along circuits in the form of electronic impulses. The iron machines still exist, but they obey the orders of weightless bits.

Italo Calvino, "Six Memos for the Next Millennium".

Sunday, June 01, 2008

3D L-Systems - Image Nº9

I know it is ugly and messed up, just wanted to show it to let clear how difficult it can be to have your software working during the first stage of development. Poor frog. ;-)

How do you tackle your work each day?
Are you scared of the job you find?
Do you grapple the task that comes your way
With a confident, easy mind?
Do you stand right up to the work ahead
Or fearfully pause to view it?
Do you start to toil with a sense of dread
Or feel that you're going to do it?

You can do as much as you think you can,
But you'll never accomplish more;
If you're afraid of yourself, young man,
There's little for you in store.
For failure comes from the inside first,
It's there if we only knew it,
And you can win, though you face the worst,
If you feel that you're going to do it.

Success! It's found in the soul of you,
And not in the realm of luck!
The world will furnish the work to do,
But you must provide the pluck.
You can do whatever you think you can,
It's all in the way you view it.
It's all in the start that you make, young man:
You must feel that you're going to do it.

How do you tackle your work each day?
With confidence clear, or dread?
What to yourself do you stop and say
When a new task lies ahead?
What is the thought that is in your mind?
Is fear ever running through it?
If so, just tackle the next you find
By thinking you're going to do it

Edgar Albert Guest, "How do you tackle your work".

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