Happy New Year 2019

It is with grave embarrassment that I start the new year with a blogging cliche: sorry I haven’t posted in a while but I’ve been rather busy.

Not that this isn’t true, of course. The latter half of 2018 was a whirlwind of projects that started in July with the delivery of Flow State, a major commission for the Francis Crick Institute in London that has 28 video monitors playing synchronised video art using Raspberry Pi’s and Fugio’s network time engine.

Flow State at The Francis Crick Institute by Alex May
Photo by Fiona Hanson

Flow State took 18 months to make. After the launch in July, I had one day off and then things got really busy. I spent August doing a EMAP residency at LABoral in Spain with Anna Dumitriu creating an underwater robot called ArchaeaBot. It contains a Raspberry Pi Zero and a PiBorg motor shield, and has an evolving machine learning system running on it to control the motors.

As soon as we had a working prototype, we took it to Linz in Austria to be part of the main exhibition at Ars Electonica, the biggest media arts festival in the world that was celebrating it’s 40th anniversary.

ArchaeaBot at Ars Electronica 2018
Photo by Vanessa Graf

A week later we were back in Spain, exhibiting it at LABoral.

Trips to Hull, Athens, Philadelphia, and Amsterdam followed, then driving to Bourges in France to exhibit at Bandits-Marge, then driving up to Utrecht in The Netherlands to exhibit at IMPAKT in their “A World Without Us” exhibition, which is on until 3rd February.

Finally, just to top the year off, I went to Guangzhou in China for a week just before Christmas.

This has all been a rather excellent opportunity to work on my Algorithmic Photography project that uses Fugio to process 5 minute videos into stunning digital timelapses. You can find the latest images on my Instagram, and buy prints at algorithmicphotography.com.

Murmaration of Starlings over Brighton Marina – Algorithmic Photograph by Alex May

But this isn’t to say that there hasn’t been software developments going on in between.

Fugio has received some periodic updates including a new Italian translation by MassiminoilTrace, which are available in the weekly builds on the download page.

It’s been useful to take a step back and look at how it has evolved. There are areas where it’s very strong – it’s great at quickly piecing together new ideas, and other areas where some work needs to be done. It’s tempting to create nodes for everything, but some areas of programming are far better suited to being scripted, which has led to an unsteady balance of functionality between nodes and Lua scripting support. For instance, if you wanted to draw a range of different dynamic items that are changing over time, scripting is going to be far more suitable than the more rigid structure of nodes. Where nodes come into their own is for rapidly putting structure into place and enforcing separation of components, which is generally a good thing for reuse and understanding. With this in mind, I’ll be shifting things around, retiring some nodes and adding more Lua libraries.

I’m also in the process of adding some new features that should make editing, sharing, and organising patches a lot faster and easier. I also want to bring back the timeline feature that disappeared a while back as I wasn’t happy enough with the interface.

Painting With Light is getting an upgrade to v2.0 with a rewritten rendering engine and support for Linux – even Raspberry Pi.

Freeframe support is currently on hold as there are changes coming that will be incompatible with the existing standard. Please note that if you choose to purchase the 64-bit FFGL plugins, they won’t work with future Resolume 6 updates.

And that’s about it for this catch-up. I’m off to Utrecht this month and Tashkent in Uzbekistan in February, and will endeavour to keep the updates rolling,

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