Design Analysis – The Atlantic’s Poseidon | Visual Language #1

For my Visual analysis I choose to focus on an image of Poseidon as (one of) The Atlantic’s logo(s). I thought this would be a good place to start. This is a symbol I always liked and I thought that despite its simple appearance it was probably developed very carefully as the modern face of The Atlantic.



I noticed three or four grid patterns: the first I noticed was a diagonal XY grid represented by the intersection of Posdeions trident and his shoulder. The second was another rotated grid intersection at the wave and the other shoulder.

(I thought this grid might be very dense so I only included enough lines to make the pattern recognizable)

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Then I saw the horizontal and vertical grid seen on the left sided of posdeions head (y-axis) and the top of the horses(?) head (x-axsis).

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lastly, the cirlce contains most of the scene which may not be a grid but seems to “rationalize” the image and add depth as the head and trident break out of it.

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There are relatively few objects in the image and they all serve to relate the logo to the original and clearly provide all the elements necessary to conclude that the figure is posideon : the pitchfork, crown, wave, and long beard are all classically used to signify this character. I’m not sure about the horse/unicorn but I assume that’s there to either keep it consistent with the original or refers to another classical element that I’m not aware of.
Each of these elements is arranged in a series that creates a sense of depth despite the fairly uniform line thickness and the single shade of black. The horse head is layered over posideons left arm and pitch fork, while posideon himself is effectively in front of the wave.
The circle border heightens both the ease of recognizing this character, a crown and pitchfork may be enough for some people, as well as the sense of depth and action. I feel like posideon is just itching to fully emerge from the circle and attack the kinds of dense policy and cultural questions The Atlantic often wrestles with. It also allows the image to be read from left to right, so it can sit neatly above or adjacent to the text based logo or an article. It’s also worth mentioning that the thick black lines over white make this graphic easy to apply to a magazine cover with almost any other color or image underneath it while remaining distinct and recognizable.

Plagiarism readings and soundwalk | Vid+sound

Plagiarism Readings

This week’s readings dealt with the somewhat awkward relationship between creative works and an economic system based on individual property rights. Among the four works we were assigned I’d say that they each pointed out that the current system of intellectual property rights is at least somewhat out of touch with the creative process it self. These laws effectively grant temporary monopolies to producers of certain characters, stories, designs, and processes based on the idea that an economic incentive must be provided in order for invention and art to be a finacialy viable endeavor. Many of the articles we read suggested that this is problematic since creative output is often based on or influenced by pre-existing creative works. In addition it is clear that this system can be easily abused and produce results that stifle creation rather than support it. I’m not sure there is an easy “solution” to this problem now that so many rely on the system being the way it is and the inherent difficulty of quantifying originality and quality in creative works. Personally I’ve been interested in the idea of eliminating intellectual property entirely. While this may seem extreme I think it would be beneficial to the creative economy in the long run. The financial system around creation without property rights would be challenging however I think that we’ve already seen the ways it is possible to make money in an industry where traditional property rights have been eroded. The music industry which saw wholesale disregard for its intellectual property as digital file sharing took off has started to grow again for the first time in over a decade. The source of this growth is mainly music streaming services and the leveraging of influence that creators often have over their fans. I think this could be a model for other forms of art and creative property where the distribution and relationship between artist and consumer is the source of revenue rather than the selling of owned ideas that we currently support.

-Jonathan Lethem’s The Ecstacy of Influence: A Plagiarism

-On the Rights of the Molotov Man: Appropriation and the Art of Context

-Allergy to Originality

-Kirby Ferguson’s Embrace the Remix


Sound Walk – Her Long Black Hair

This was a really fun activity. I’ve heard binaural recordings before but never while walking around and never with such a direct relationship to my surroundings. The results were suprisingly convincing, or 3D sounding, and I often couldn’t tell whether certain sounds I was hearing were from the recording or the environment. I thought it was especially cool when comments the narrator made seemed to sync up perfectly with my visual surroundings. The recording was so accurate I thought it was continuing even after I took my headphones off. As I mentioned, when the recording synced up to the surroundings it had a powerful effect and this happened much more often then I would have anticipated. However, when the recording (or my walking speed) failed to sync up It did kinda take me out of the experience momentarily. This made clear that its possible to express a narrative without trying to dominate the full attention of the viewer/listener. In addition, having to find the points of reference myself made me feel like less of a consumer and more of an active participant which I liked. While I was only able to listen to the central park “Her Long Black Hair” sound walk for this week I think I may try to do the chinatown walk as well.

Evil Peeps Game Sketch | ICM #2

This week our goal was to create a sketch involving these three criteria:

  • One element controlled by the mouse.
  • One element that changes over time, independently of the mouse.
  • One element that is different every time you run the sketch.

I decided to make a game like program with this.

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I started by reproducing what we had done in class by creating a “drawing” type program using my ominous figure as the brush. I took the shape of this character from my previous sketch and replaced all of the X,Y coordinates with locations relative to the mouse.

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What eventually gave me the idea for a sort-of game was adjusting the frame rate. This allowed me to change the rate at which the ominous figures were placed on the screen and I used the mills() function to vary the frame rate over time. As the program continued to run the rate at which the ominous figure appeared increased.

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Finally, I felt that in order to make it a game I had to provide instructions and a score. I did this by drawing a rectangle at the top of the screen and placing some text over it. The score was also a function of time – the idea is that the faster the “evil peeps” appear on the screen and the longer the program has run, the more difficult it would be to place them without overlapping the figures. I also added in some more variables so that the color of the evil peeps changed somewhat randomly as the game progressed. I thought this would make the final screen look more like a crowd of individual evil peeps rather than the same thing over and over again. Right now the game works on the honor system because  if you overlap the characters there’s nothing that alerts you or causes a game over type event. I had a really good time making this and I think I have a sense for what kinds of programming tools I’d need to really make fully functioning game.

First Circuits | PComp #2

This week I did my first work with circuits by reviewing our class work and the labs available on the PComp website.


I started with a simple circuit powered off of the Arduino containing a 220 ohm resistor, an LED, some little wires, and a button that came with my Arduino starter kit.


The next challenge was to add a couple more LED, first in series and then in parallel to get a sense for how voltage and current change when more components are added.

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As expected when the three LEDs were arranged in series behind the resistor, none of them lit up when power was connected because the voltage that each was receiving was divided amongst the three and failed to reach the level necessary. When I rearranged them into parallel each of them lit up because the voltage was now high enough since the current is what is divided when the components are arranged in parallel.

Next I soldered and attached a Potentiometer to vary the brightness of the LEDs.


This worked surprisingly well and I had way too much fun dimming a single LED on and off.

Lastly I set out to develop a switch myself to use with this board. I decided I’d like to make a switch that reacts to wind and the process turned out to be fairly simple. I attached a couple of wires to the board ahead of my resistor and LED (roughly where the button had been) and put some aluminum foil on the ends of each of them. When the two leaves of aluminum foil touch it completes the circuit and turns on the LED. I mounted this contraption above my A/C and was eventually able to get the switch to activate the circuit as the air blows and to turn off when it doesn’t.



First Code | ICM #1

This assignment asked us to draw something using 2D shapes in P5.js. I initially started trying to draw a stick figure but got bogged down trying to rotate portions of the drawing. I had some advice from an experienced programmer but ultimately I confused myself and decided to start over. Here’s the unfinished stick man:

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I think my problem here was math with regard to object placement of circles and rotation especially on a coordinate system that is kind of new to me.

For my next attempt I thought I’d go for a rectangular apartment building…

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I started out by drawing a bunch of rectangles, this was one of those times when you remember that Copy+Paste is amazing.

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I added some doors using more rectangles, a line, and a couple of circles. I also started trying to get the computer to help me with the math by writing the (X,Y) locations as equations that I didn’t want to solve in my head.

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I started colorizing and commenting here. I’m glad P5 will just accept “blue” as a color because trying to brew colors in RGB while colorblind is very frustrating (next time I’ll use a color picker). Comments became important once I tried to add some differentiation to the windows and I’ve heard that its a good habit to get into when coding.

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I felt good about rectangles, putting in the colors and things so I returned to human forms and made a menacing figure up in the corner of the building gazing out at the viewer using some arcs and ellipses. I resized the canvas to make it even on both sides and realized I was having an issue with some shapes being one pixel off or so. Ultimately I’m happy with how it turned out – I felt like I was getting the hang of shapes and I started thinking about possible “next steps” that I may be able to go for once I get comfortable with variables and animations etc.