Apr 282013

Sharing has two faces. Oftentimes sharing feels like giving away something of value to mute consumers. On the flip side, being the recipient of sharing is an incredible experience. It makes me incredulous and grateful, knowing how sharing can feel like throwing hard work over a cliff – and I make an endeavor to express this gratitude.

Thank you Cory Doctorow for sharing.

It’s an honor to be invited to take a part in the visual remixing of this progressive literary genius. In spite of the looming shadows of my finals, I’ve enjoyed learning about the man behind the curtain.  In the novels I’ve read, Doctorow weaves together the true, the plausible, and the nearly-possible into stories set in some real places with some real people. The eerie result is as riveting as it is unnerving.

I’m an artist and have always been interested in the artists behind visual works; surfing the net to find the blogs that share the contextual story. I hadn’t thought about the authors behind the novels in my collection until being (re)introduced to Cory Doctorow through the For the REMIX project. I’ve had a paperback copy of Little Brother for over two years (reading it once soon after purchase, and revisiting it after a year or so), but never thought about the creator. The story just was, to my perspective it wasn’t born or made.

I didn’t think of the story having siblings either, let alone ones that were all available to read (download) for free. It’s my firm belief that it’s best to see something before you buy it. I also believe that if something’s good, then the person(s) who made it good should get the biggest share. I’m looking forward to reading the assortment of Doctorow-authored PDFs waiting on my desktop. I’m also looking forward to buying copies of my favorites to add to my book collection.

DS106 has opened my eyes to the pleasurable aspect of writing (as blogging instead of homework-essay-writing). Finally thinking of myself in the context of writing as an author, not just a journaler or student, takes me behind the curtain to see the story behind the story.  Not only that, I’m even more aware than before about the

This is my contribution to this DoctoRomix, my first successful physical time-lapse drawing (I experimented early in the semester with time-lapses of digital drawings).

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. Watkins @ampersanddragon

It took me about two hours to draw with a Konrad Flex pen. But it was actually two weeks in the making.

I was super-excited first reading about the project. Immediately this image caught my eye. So compelling and intriguing. I knew I needed to draw a portrait from it. For over a month my computer has been ailing and acting its 4-year, out-of-warantee age. I thought that it would be better to draw it physically so as to not tax my hardware. For a week the portrait stewed in the back of my mind, open to decisions about format, medium, and size. Meanwhile I prodded my computer with queries about its uncharacteristic disfunction. With DiskInventory X I was able to find the reason behind my lack of available memory (less than 20Gb). Wily and greedy iMovie not only copies the original video file, but saves a converted copy, a preview of each clip, and also a ‘project’ file. In prior weeks I’d learned to back up movies I created on an external hard drive, deleting the huge originally recorded QuickTimes as well as the final exported copies from my computer. I could only remove what I knew about.

Finding unedited clips worth backing up – an attempt several years ago of making a video of watercolor painting – slowed down the process of clearing clutter. The 2-hour movie took over five hours to export into a smaller file to back up. But all the thinking and waiting was worth it.

I devised a clever method of filming a time-lapse video of a physical drawing that wouldn’t have a flickering, distracting hand (as I’ve been annoyed by in some time-lapses). Three things had to come together: a stable writing surface, a camera, and the lack of hand distraction. This was accomplished by cutting out the bottom of a cardboard box and using it to create a window to my computer’s webcam. This box created a dark space and stable area in front of the camera, to which I taped an absorbent and translucent sheet of paper. I was able to draw on the paper window of the box while my computer filmed it from within. Strong lighting from two desk lamps aided the recording process.

The result was an orange-hued 2-hour long film with long pauses, conversational background, and distracting TV noise. First the sound was eliminated. Then I equalized the visuals to best look like an ink drawing on white paper. It was easier than I expected – a quick push on the saturation bar and Boom! the video was a bloody mess. It was quickly dragged in the opposite direction, draining the gore from the screen. The excess warm color stemmed from the yellowish paper that had the best filming results in my experiments.

After Video week it was easy to split bits of the video and eliminate excess pauses (stretch breaks) and make the end longer so that the final image would have more impact.  I hope the result is as fun as it was to make.

 Posted by on April 28, 2013  Add comments

  One Response to “The Legend of Sharing”

  1. This is just stunning, not only for the drawing and the movie that shows it emerge, it also your inventiveness on the way to film it. I do kind of wish it had some sort of audio track, even if were a repeat loop of pen motion or something futuristic low and humming. But this is all in all a wonderful remix.. or “romix”

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