🎨 AI Machine Dreams
I discovered Playform.io at SIGGRAPH 2020.
You can draw lines, select an artist, and then it renders variations for you. This series is more "assisted" by AI than completely generated it. I make the forms, and a machine fills in the color. Based on outputs from a neural network, I refine my linework. It's an iterative process, with feedback between an AI and my subconscious.
Here are some themes that have emerged:
- The impact of technology on humanity
- The changing role of the artist
- Surreal landscapes, architecture, and beings
- Places I've seen in dreams
- Abstract collages of form
This series is listed as an NFT Collection on OpenSea.
Collecting music has been a big part of my life for the last 20 years. My library has evolved from physical CDs, to pirated MP3s libraries, to streaming services.
In the last 5 years, I've shifted away from albums and towards AI-generated playlists. That being said, there's something special about actively listening to a concept album with your full attention. After a few listens, you absorb the details and the lyrics, and it has a way of imprinting itself into your life and memory.
I'm starting to collect albums here in Notion, and would like to eventually write about each one.
📚 Book Shelf
Someone's book shelf is a cross-section of their mind. The range of inputs creates the slate from which they create from. Here are some of the half-read hard copies, e-books, and audiobooks I've hoarded over the years.
I hated reading in college. The only thing that I remember liking during that time was Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five, which I read multiple times. As my life changed, what I read changed with it. Bored in business school, I binged psychology and religion. During architecture school I devoured Ching and some pompous theorists. My design thesis was around institutions for psychedelic therapy, so I became obsessed with Terence McKenna and Stan Grof. When I started a VR company, I got into the history of computing and Marshall McLuhan.
Now that I'm writing more, I'm finding myself drawn to fiction and poetry. I'm more interested in originality around language than the ideas themselves.
I also want to make it through this Simulation Fiction reading list I set up. The origin of Metaverse day-dreaming is often thought to be Snow Crash. But after some research, there's a 100 year tomb of little-known fiction where authors envisioned a society engulfed by virtual reality.
🎵 Song Analysis
The origin of "visual analysis" from The Writing Studio goes back to my attempts to analyze songwriting. The whiteboard in our flooded meat-cellar rehearsal space was always filled with hieroglyphic shapes.
What I ended up developing is a visual form of the "Nashville Number System." It's common now to use Roman numerals (I, IV, V) to signify the chords relative to the root so that a song could be played in any key. My system uses colors to signify chords:
- Root = Major 1, Minor 6 = White
- Sub-Dominant = Major 4, Minor 2 = Orange
- Dominant = Major 5, Minor 3 = Green
Each box is a measure. You start at the top left, read down, and then move right when you hit the bottom. The boxes paired with the colors give you a way to "see" the whole song at once (instead of having it unfold over X minutes).
What the system helped me learn is that a good song is a sequence of well-designed "shapes" that get looped through. Composition is the act of varying loop lengths, loop counts, and rhyme patterns between song parts (ie: verse, chorus, bridge).
This system is a way to demystify songwriting with a bare minimum amount of music theory (the major key). It's an enabler of "three chords and the truth." The idea is to focus on lyrics and sonic identity, instead of re-inventing the wheel of structure.