Archive for June 2010

Someone has a PhD offer…

June 13, 2010

…but it’s not me. Read on, as the rest is not as predictable as you might think…

So I got home after work yesterday to find a letter from the college and I thought, hmm what could this be. I never get letters from college. Even for the interview of my PhD proposal the letter never turned up and I had to call the admin office to find out if I was supposed have heard from them by then. They emailed the letter instead as apparently it had gone missing in the post the first time around.

Anyway, so I started trying to guess what the letter was in the split seconds before I opened it. It couldn’t be a library fine or ‘return overdue books’ type, as I hardly ever use the college library (or any for that matter).  It could have been something about  the course nearly ending, some forms to fill in about finishing, and then I ran out of ideas.

So I opened the letter and I did a quick scan. The words I saw first were ‘we’re pleased to inform you…offer of a place…PhD’ and I was like Oh yeh, cool, I totally forgot that I was to have found out around this time if I had been offered a place. The funding I knew I hadn’t got but I was still supposed to find out if I was offered a normal place.

I then read the rest, ‘your area of study will be…Understanding Amateurism..’ what?! lol I was totally confused. I was like hmm maybe they adjusted the title a bit, but this much? No that can’t be right. I read on ‘your provisional supervisors will be ‘Anne something  and Dee something’. I didn’t recognise the names at all. Again they could have decided to just change my potential supervisors too. But this was a bit too much. I came to the conclusion that they had obviously made a mistake and sent me someone elses letter! How mean! I got all pleased, and now I have to wait and find out if I’ve been rejected or not. Imagine if the person who was supposed to have got this letter (even though my name address were completely correct on this one) has my letter. If that person is reading right now (the chances I know are very slim) then please let me know what it says lol.

Now I have to wait till Monday to call up the research admin office and I have a feeling they might not tell me over the phone. Annoying!

OpenCV with external camera – check

June 9, 2010

I’ve managed to get the external camera working with Processing and OpenCV on my mac. I thought it would be more difficult as I tried it about a month or so ago and it didn’t work. Oh well, it works now so I don’t care. I hope it just carries on working right up to the end of the show.

This image shows that the ‘index’ needs to be changed to indicate which camera input to work with when there is more than one available:

Screenshot from Processing interface indicating parameters

Screenshot from Processing interface indicating parameters

So this is one thing ticked off my To Do list.

I’ve also now been booked onto a slot for using the laser machine next week. If all goes to plan I’ll have a nice panel to use for my plinth which should then match with my sculpture as the same pattern will be cut into it. That way there is some correlation between the two and will be easier to identify that they are part of the same installation.

I’m also slightly concerned about how heavy the sculpture will be. It is meant to be wall mounted but the brackets I am thinking of using may not hold it up. Not to mention screwing the front (pattern cut) panel to the back (blank) panel.

I’ve just been reading that if drilling, a fixed or lathe drill is best for metal. For aluminium a fast speed rate but slow feed rate is best. Which means that the drill bit should be spinning really fast but should be pushing down through the material relatively slowly (I think). Handy info on drilling can be found here: http://www.diyfaq.org.uk/powertools/drillfaq.htm

Ideally it would be good to do this at the 3D resource center but then I’d have to leave the parts there through the week and won’t be able to do anything in between the Wednesdays. Not really an option.

There’s a DIY type shop at the corner of my road. I think I’ll pop in there to ask them what kind of stuff they can do. They might even be able to cut all my plinth parts for me and then I can assemble those at home and hopefully (if my car is fixed in time) drive it to uni when needed.  When it comes to this stuff I haven’t really got much experience. I’ve only ever really put some flat-packed wardrobes up. They came out well and are still standing so it’s a good sign I say. Oh and theres the random wood works I did when in school – that was fun. But back then it didn’t matter so much if things didn’t line up all that straight.

I’m also going to have a rifle through some of last year’s show plinths at uni. There might be something that can be recycled.

I think I should sleep now, I have a feeling tomorrow is going to be another looong day.

At a standstill and not in Istanbul

June 5, 2010

I went in to uni last Wednesday for our show meeting. We made some progressive decisions about catalogues (Susan Mortimer, online student, will be making these for us in the style of her MAil Art Zines ), postcards (Jean-Baptiste Di Marco, Erasmus student, has designed us a very nice logo and followed through by creating a Digital Arts branding for posters and postcards, etc), space available and space needed.

Ina (full-timer), has been the most useful person to have on board this year. She’s been very thorough, getting all the info in and making sure everyone is getting their info, payments, images, copy, etc to her. Shes been documenting the process of getting the show up and running on her blog and lol I just read she’s having nightmares about the show. Ina – at least you’re not having Daymares!

Yeh Daymares, that’s what I’m having. And every now and then I’ll have a mini panic attack when I remember something I have forgotten needs doing. Because I keep forgetting things, when I DO remember something it feels like a bit of a miracle. I’ve been told that my forgetfulness (and now clumsiness) is due to lack of sleep. Sounds about right to me!

It’s all happening now and its a bit crazy but at the same time I don’t think it’s bad as we’re all taking it seriously and contributing as much as we can.

Anyway, so back to Wednesday…

After our show meeting I had a bit of a frustrating experience in the college 3D workshop (a bit like a technology design department) where my mdf has not been laser cut even though its been sitting there for weeks and I had been told it would be done soon.

Being unable to come in to ensure an actual slot is booked for me on the laser cutting machine (the timetable goes up on a Friday and is filled up straight away by a queue of waiting students) I was told I’d be ‘fitted in’.

However, it is now that time of the year where the staff are understandably run off their feet helping out the BA students as their show is just around the corner (a week before ours).  As a result the pressure seems to be too much.

Going in to check if my MDF was ready to collect I was first told to wait around for possibly a couple of hours, which I was prepared to do! And then when another student turned up, I was told there was no time for my mdf to be cut.  I left with nothing done and with my ears full of nonsense I did not need to hear. Something needs to be done regarding the current system for signing  for slots. It is not accommodating at all for any part-time students. Knowing most students come in on a Wednesday, the staff are still unwilling to make changes to their rotas. You can probably tell I was not very pleased that day. I could go on about it for a while but I haven’t even got the time to dwell on it.

I wanted to use the above-mentioned mdf as part of my plinth, which I’ve learnt is going to cost me maybe £400 if I have it custom-made. I could order a standard one for maybe £200 but that will still need modification to suit my basic show needs. Surely things shouldn’t be this difficult.

Another problem I am now faced with is not being able to use a PC for my projection. I had set-up processing and installed the OpenCV library but kept getting errors when trying to run the file. After some research and asking Leon Barker for his expert help, it seems there is a bug when using Windows XP for which there is no reliable fix. So now I’m back to having to use a Mac (which I may not be able to get). I’ve put my name down on a list for a Mac Mini (so that it fits in the plinth) but this is not guaranteed. Therefore, I might need to make other arrangements at the last-minute! This is not great at all! Ergh.

Anyway, so yeh that wasn’t a good day for me. But I came home, napped off my headache and am looking on the bright side, I’m alive and nothing that terrible has really happened, Thank God.

Something to cheer me up – I finally got round to sorting through some of my photos from Istanbul. I’m really into architectural shots and so most of them are focussing on details in decor or structure. There were so many mosques so I was surrounded by an abundance of patterns, both geometric and arabesque. Not to mention beautiful scenery and locations along the river.

Here are a few of the photos I managed to take:

Blue Mosque detail

Blue Mosque detail

Courtyard of Blue Mosque

Courtyard of Blue Mosque

Fountain in courtyard of Blue Mosque

Fountain in courtyard of Blue Mosque

Gold dome of external fountain

Gold dome of external fountain

Geometric pattern made with inlaid mother of pearl - cabinet doors within Topkapi palace

Geometric pattern made with inlaid mother of pearl - cabinet doors within Topkapi palace

Exterior walls of the Harem covered with tiles (Topkapi palace)

Exterior walls of the Harem covered with tiles (Topkapi palace)

Decorative patterns within the Haghia Sophia

Decorative patterns within the Haghia Sophia

Mosque on the edge of the river bank along the Bosphorous

Mosque on the edge of the river bank along the Bosphorous

I’ve been soo inspired by my visit there that I’m already thinking of a series of paintings based on the Iznik tiles. It will be a nice way to unwind and keep the creative juices flowing after the MA. It will be a less pressured project and will probably take much longer but it’ll be so much more relaxing not having a deadline. Can’t wait.

Oh and the water-jet cut aluminium has been ordered but won’t arrive till the 15th. That gives me time to do the essay, sort out using the processing code to work with an external camera, build a plinth (that has not been laser-cut) with shelves and a glass top, find or make some polyhedron models for user-interaction on the plinth, oh and I nearly forgot, cut out more mirror card for a side item (possibly to hang on a spare bit of wall in the show).

Now you know why I’m having those Daymares!

Being unable to come in to ensure an actual slot is booked for me on the machine (the timetable goes up on a Friday and is filled straight away by a queue of waiting students) as I am only ever in on a Wednesday, I was told I’d be fitted in.