I came upon this via Twitter this morning: Sam Lavigne wrote a program that will turn any text into a patent application. Of course, that’s just delightful in itself, especially with the sample output he supplies: Kafka’s The Hunger Artist becomes “An apparatus and device for staring into vacancy”, and from the illustration idex to the Communist Manifesto (“A method and device for comprehending theoretically the historical movement”, PDF) we learn that
Figure 52 schematically illustrates the icy water of egotistical calculation.
Great, right? Being a big fan of machine-appropriated nonsense, this tickled my fancy enormously, but Lavigne’s inspiration for the program was just as exciting to me:
I was partially inspired by Paul Scheerbart’sPerpetual Motion Machine, a sort of technical/literary diary in which Scheerbart documents and reflects on various failed attempts to create a perpetual motion machine. Scheerbart frequently refers to his machines as “stories” – I wanted to reverse the concept and transform stories into machines.
Machines as stories, really? See, that’s another thing that alwaqys makes my mouth water, cross media metaphors Lavigne also provides this illustration from Scheerbart’s book which — apart from the obvious similarity to Mickey Mouse, there — immediately made me think of comics:
True, I think of comics pretty much all the time, so no surprise there. For instance, I’ve been evangelising about IKEA manuals as a form of pure, pantomime comics. However, Scheerbart’s approach adds a layer of complexity (cause and effect, directional motion) which 1) adds to the narrative potential of diagrammatic comics, and 2) is very tongue in cheek for his part, because he’s really having us on with the whole construction bit. Perpetual motion is, of course in violations of the laws of thermodynamics, and Scheerbart is merely using the form of technical schematics to his own, philosophically meandering ends.
I can’t claim to have a very technical mind, myself, but this caught my interest enough to look further into the visual techniques of diagrams, and hopefully work some of it into my own, idle comics experiments. Oh, and Das Perpetuum Mobile is available as online text, although only in German as far as I can see.
So, this wasn’t technically drawn on November 6. What I did do that day, however, was fight off a stomach ache, so there. For those not satisfied with the excuse, I’ll happily go into further detail about the whole chain of events, starting with a thai lunch warmed over one time too many.No, the last picture is not my bum getting off the toilet. What kind of person would even ask that?
I’m playing catch-up on my 30 Days entries, so be kind not to point out the difference between the title of this post and its date…In case anybody missed it, I count James Whale’s Frankenstein movies among my healthier obsessions. This comic is sort of the seed for a story that would reflect the whole creation/creature/creator thing. It’s probably been done before, but I’d rather not know about it
Right, moving on quickly to publish the rest of my back log!
Slightly more modest than yesterday’s three palindrome minicomics, this is also a bit of a copout: I’ve actually tried to get this comic together for a few weeks, but I only assembled the five(!) separate plates today (adding fixups and spare parts). The text is a paste-up of Deftones lyrics — I know, it’s turning into a pattern, right? Since the C’est Bon Kultur In><Between exhibition where I first leaned on the band’s song lyrics for inspiration, I’ve returned to them several times.
Maybe maybe you will see more of/like the comic above. I’ll let you know!
Picking up straight out of bed, having my morning coffee while drawing:
Your koan of the day, coloured pencil and charcoal pencil:
A watercolour interpretation of the Danish poster for the 1953 War of the Worlds movie, spiced with a mangled Schwarzenegger quote. Don’t ask me what It’s supposed to be about, I just work here!
In the throes of the unexpected
This describes quite well how I feel most mornings. Otherwise, no comments.
As you have probably noticed, I’m trying to work grafitti/street tags into both layouts and contents. That and city spaces, but let’s stay with the grafitti for a second. It is a form that is completely foreign to me; I was never a tagger, or part of the whole hip hop/street culture. Since I started teaching comics, however, I’ve had one or two students in each class who almost manically filled sketchbook after sketchbook with elaborate signatures and aliases.
I’ve come to appreciate the form and penmanship required to do these pieces, that sometimes remind me of Quranic calligraphy (which, because of language barriers, I don’t understand either, and therefore am equally fascinated by). The funny thing is, some of these students find it very hard to separate the form from the literal meaning of the words. They simply cannot translate those letters into other forms that don’t carry verbal meaning. I have still to find some way to handle this in my teaching, but now I’m trying to practice what I preach.
These early, awkward attempts to ape “street” calligraphy are mostly done from photo references that I have collected the last couple of years (among those a very thorough documentation of a Finnish bar toilet that was covered from floor to, and including, ceiling in layer upon layer of tags) so if anybody recognises their handiwork on these pages, remember what they say about plagiarism and flattery… Besides, I’m still learning.
Another thing: I’ve always hated when somebody tries to mimick a culture they don’t understand or belong to, usually getting the whole thing ass-backwards. Lego pillaging Maori culture to make their Bionicle line, springs to mind; or Lichtenstein’s comics swipes. But here I am, doing the same. Maybe it’s a midlife crisis. Apologies in advance!