Thursday, July 5, 2007


Looking over this rather nascent blog, I realize that there are so many things that have happened since I started this that haven't been posted yet. So, a brief trip through recent memory...

Beginning of May, I packed up my belongings and left my old pad down off of Division Street. While it was a nice change of being schizophrenically couch surfing from month to month since I arrived back in town following last year's escapade to Europe (still need to post those pictures!), the dark, dank, mouse-infested leaking basement was hardly passable as 'inhabitable.' Still a bit of a sore spot for myself...

However, the new spot I have here on 28th in Southeast, right off of Stark, is pretty nice. It has all the accouterments of home: 3 diverse and interesting roommates, cheap rent, a functioning kitchen, and we keep it pretty clean. Oh, and did I mention that I do not live in a basement anymore? Thank god I don't have to wear a coat and 3 pairs of underwear when I go to sleep!
Flying high with the birds, my attic view gives me some respite from the city... if I squint enough, the only thing I can see are leaves and clouds; not too bad considering how much traffic there is outside.

Finishing up Spring Term at PSU was a real bitch. Let's just say that 'stressful' earned another notch on its belt when Clive's history class showed its ugly head when the rest of my life hit the shitter and then the fan. But then, running out of money while you have taken on a full load at school and being forced to take a couple weeks out of your studies to look for a job - and move - will do that to you. Oh well, I look forward to taking Clive next year under better circumstances... especially while not being poor.

Which leads me to my current quandry: broke, bored, and broke again. A wonderful combination... so its time to be looking for a nice internship downtown and finally ditch the shitty tech support job. Even though it is the easiest work I have ever done.

Racing a swarm

Okay, this is one of the more interesting online videos I have seen of late. Not only is it an extremely well edited video, with a soundtrack that accompanies the animation and setting an intriguing mood for this demo.

Which brings us to what this actually is... a demo, to be sure, of what is possible in the application of swarm theory with simulated semi-realistic phenomenon. It reminds me of the swarm theories explored by Kas Oosterhuis, but in this case a process as viewed through the lens of a video game.

Although I was extremely skeptical of Oosterhuis' design methodology when reading about his ideas and seeing the videos of the application of his formulas that are used to transform a mathematically descriptive function, this video really hit home as to its potential applications.

What is rather interesting about this is how video games are typically used to closely represent reality as much as possible, sticking to what is essentially a very lifelike and conservative physics modeling and representation of reality.

Yet this experiment in swarm behavior, in applying these kinds of rules to a car race creates a dramatic new reality, in which its primary purpose is to represent and illustrate the resultant forces that are present in the algorithm that make up the programming inherent in the swarm demo itself. Ie, the paths the cars take show us the paths of least resistance present in the computer program - in an extremely visceral way.

Perhaps this kind of methodology could be applied to architecture more (sans the motion), where the building itself describes the complex and myriad forces present. And it need not only be limited to physical forces: there are social, geographic, tectonic, and contextual. After all, one of the defining characteristics of modern society is the plasticity in our dynamic world.

Of course, we already are seeing this kind of design from designers and products such as Greg Lynn and Marcel Wanders' Carbon Chair.