Dom Leca

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Poetics of Music

Below are excerpts of Poetics of Music in the form of 6 lessons by Igor Stravinsky, delivered as lectures at Harvard University between 1939 and 1940.

The quality of being revolutionary is generally attributed to artists in our day with laudatory intent, undoubtedly because we are living in a period when revolution enjoys a kind of prestige among yesterday’s elite. Let us understand each other: I am the first to recognize that daring is the motive force of the finest and greatest acts; which is all the more reason for not putting it unthinkingly at the service of disorder and base cravings in a desire to cause sensation at any price. I approve of daring; I set no limits to it. To enjoy to the full the conquest of daring, we must demand that it operates in a pitiless light.

Gratuitous excess spoils every substance, every form it touches. In its blundering it impairs the effectiveness...

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When everything happens now

I recently read Douglas Rushkoff’s latest book: Present Shock.
I found it enlightening and thought I could share a brief summary of it below.

What is Present Shock?
There are many sides to it but Rushkoff sums it up pretty well in the following conflict:

The faux present of digital bombardment
vs.
The true now of a coherently living human

The first manifestation of Present Shock identified by Rushkoff is the narrative collapse.
Reality TV, Lost, Friends, Seinfeld, action movies, extreme sports, news, video games are all symptomatic of the disappearance of the story. It has been replaced by a meta-narrative creating a sustained tension with little expectation of final resolution. There is no journey through evidence anymore but a ‘making sense’ of the moment.
Who could seriously expect a 'real’ ending to Lost after a few episodes or a anything else than a preposterous screenplay...

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Genius of our time

Bret Victor’s latest presentations Stop Drawing Dead Fish and Drawing Dynamic Visualizations are breathtaking to say the least.

At a macro level, a prototyping tool like the one Bret Victor demoes is a game changer for 2 reasons:

  • It dramatically shortens development time
  • It allows to reach the overview stage faster

When building software, you usually spend (waste) a lot of time iterating. Designing and coding the very same screen again and again until you reach a point where it is satisfying.
When you get there, you usually realize that all this cascading views you created need some additional work for your application to be consistent as a whole.
It’s a painful process because it doesn’t matter how good you are, it remains sequential: design / code / test / iterate.

That’s why companies like Facebook extensively use Quartz Composer. Getting as close as possible to the first...

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How music works

If you have any interest in music, How Music Works by David Byrne is a great read.

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Rat race

Here’s something else that’s weird but true: in the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship.

If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you. On one level, we all know this stuff already. It’s been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, epigrams, parables…

But the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they’re evil or sinful, it’s that they’re unconscious. They are default settings.

They’re the kind of worship you just gradually slip into,...

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Luminant Point Arrays

LPA

“Luminant Point Arrays” is a photographic series of old tube televisions taken at the very moment they are switched off. The TV picture breaks down and is abstracted to its essential element: light. This abstraction also results in the collapse of the external reference.

S.Tillmans

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Moonrise Kingdom

The best movies are the ones who remind you the child you once were. Moonrise Kingdom is one of them. And certainly one of the best.

Jiminey Cricket, he flew the coop! -

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Armors and bullet holes

In his recent The Counterintuitive World post, Kevin Drum tells the following story:

Back during World War II, the RAF lost a lot of planes to German anti-aircraft fire. So they decided to armor them up. But where to put the armor? The obvious answer was to look at planes that returned from missions, count up all the bullet holes in various places, and then put extra armor in the areas that attracted the most fire.

Obvious but wrong. As Hungarian-born mathematician Abraham Wald explained at the time, if a plane makes it back safely even though it has, say, a bunch of bullet holes in its wings, it means that bullet holes in the wings aren’t very dangerous. What you really want to do is armor up the areas that, on average, don’t have any bullet holes. Why? Because planes with bullet holes in those places never made it back.

Applying the above to UI/UX confirms a lingering feeling I...

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Worship

I remember Jack Dorsey mentioning a feature they thought about but left aside at the very beginning of Twitter: worshipping.
The basic idea was that by worshipping someone you could see every single tweet the person made.
I don’t think seeing all tweets helps much but what could be valuable is to see who the person I am worshipping is talking/replying to.

Let’s say I decide to worship @Jack.
Every single time @Jack replies to someone, I am notified. The person he talked to could also be added to a specific list.
From there, I’ll be able to easily review the profiles of the people he responded to and follow them in a click/tap.

Replies imply a selective process.
People with a lot of followers simply can’t reply to everybody who mention them and perform some kind of selection.
This selection process - the work provided by the person who is worshipped - is valuable and can be leveraged...

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A kind of magic

Video mapping is a new projection technique that can turn almost any surface into a dynamic video display.
I can’t help but think that something magical is happening when I see a good one.

Mad Mapper seems to be the leading software in this field.
Their video presentation is quite original but gives a clear idea of what can be done with their tool.

Below is a example of what can be achieved with a small installation:

The exciting thing with this combination of technologies is that there are almost infinite possibilities.

If you want to see more examples on buildings, in the streets, at parties… this tumblr is a great resource.

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