tom moody

Archive for May, 2010



The above is a GIF of yrs truly's in a time-layered remix by ahem on Each frame contains opaqued-over versions of all the frames that preceded it, so you get a futurist simultaneity effect. This was in turn superimposed over a postcard waterfall by Mat3I.

If I were to take this from here I would find a way to restore the continuous motion of the original, as opposed to the jerk/reset at the loop point, which kicks you out of the glop trance.

- tom moody

May 31st, 2010 at 10:21 am

"Vocoding in Tongues"

"Vocoding in Tongues" [2 MB .mp3]

Same piano and percussion softsynth as the previous piece but this is a song (under one minute), with granularized vocals. My better tunes seem to happen right after ones I busted my back over.

- tom moody

May 31st, 2010 at 10:20 am

Posted in music - tm

Home Writing is Killing Writing

Garrison Keillor's bitter old fart lament for the days of elitist book publishing, When Everyone's a Writer, No One Is:

Back in the day, we became writers through the laying on of hands. Some teacher who we worshipped touched our shoulder, and this benediction saw us through a hundred defeats. And then an editor smiled on us and wrote us a check, and our babies got shoes. But in the New Era, writers will be self-anointed. No passing of the torch. Just sit down and write the book. And The New York Times, the great brand name of publishing, whose imprimatur you covet for your book (“brilliantly lyrical, edgy, suffused with light” — NY Times) will vanish (Poof!). And editors will vanish... The upside of self-publishing is that you can write whatever you wish, utter freedom, and that also is the downside. You can write whatever you wish, and everyone in the world can exercise their right to read the first three sentences and delete the rest.

So sad, but here's what actually also happens under that capitalistic model he sentimentalizes (this is something I wrote a few years ago in a hopeful moment for the internet):

Take science fiction books, just as an example. (Or CDs, clothes, art sold in galleries...) Every year there is a crop of "new, hot" titles. Publicists tout the authors as geniuses, young turks who rock our world like it's never been rocked. Yet a book has one shot at prime rack space. If it doesn't sell, it's yanked and becomes landfill, and the hot author joins the thousands of has-beens who had their moment and failed. But what if the book had a crappy cover? What if an idea that didn't resonate this year rang like a gong the next? Too bad, the system must have winners and losers.

Am having a series of friendly-but-not-so-friendly discussions elsewhere with a "print writer" (a critic) who is interested enough in online discourse to participate in it but seems unable to conceive a world after print publications and art galleries. Any mention of the possibilities of mutating or morphing expression in an age of mass-sharing is called "waving the flag for the internet" or "hoping teh interwebs will save us." Threatened much? Or is it just that his habits of thought have ossified around the old models and he can't judge value in the cyber-realm? Possibly both.

Garrison Keillor assumes every reader will only read the first three sentences of something. Well, perhaps of something he wrote... It may be new kinds of writers emerge who attract large readerships despite the glut of material out there. Writers who craft dynamic lead sentences and their own killer headlines. Concise writers. Writers who mix it up with readers in comment threads and don't sound like asses in the process. Writing won't die, but writers who lack certain skill sets may die. But even they will have a better shot at finding an audience than the brilliant "remaindered" authors of yesteryear.

By the same token, visual artists who "speak internet" well may have different talents from the practitioners waiting for the Keilloresque "touch on the shoulder." But that's another post.

- tom moody

May 30th, 2010 at 2:44 pm

Posted in general

found drawings

A couple of posts from Elfluuva on, slightly cropped/cleaned up:


etch-a-sketch drawing - so fine


photobucket title: drugscanbendyourmind - Have had dreams of those starfish things--scary ones.

- tom moody

May 29th, 2010 at 2:27 pm

Posted in art - others

"Lost" Thoughts

Writing about Lost's first season, Alan N. Shapiro noted:

After the plane crash... Dr. Jack Shephard is instantaneously transported into a situation of proximity and solidarity with a motley collection of his struggling fellow human beings. It is a golden opportunity for deep bonds to form. Yet Jack's initial predicament of not being able to attend to his own wound while working frantically to save the lives of others is a brilliant metaphorical commentary on the present-day hyper-modern translation of Heidegger's "constant activity." In globalized media and corporate culture, Crash and Catastrophe are the only ways for interruptions of the continuous drone of organized and institutionalized mere busyness to take place.

Shapiro saw Lost in '04 as the "Crash Out of Globalization and into the World." Six years later the series has ended and revealed itself as globalization's "bardo state" (a term from the Tibetan Book of the Dead): parallel universes bleeding into parallel universes before ultimate rebirth as... what? Beyond the pure white light we don't know. After the initial hint that the series would take us "out of globalization" and into a world free of "organized busyness," it turned out to be the world we know in a high speed blender. A million cliff-hangers later, it became apparent that crash and catastrophe were not going to interrupt the continuous drone of our daily lives but would in fact be part of its fabric.

Critics may sneer but Lost ultimately shines with the same mind-warping, black hole sun radiation as Philip K. Dick's Ubik and Cronenberg's Videodrome. The same writers ho-humming that the show was turning into a standard good vs evil parable were caught short by the naked Buddhism of the final episode. Usually "it's all a dream" is a cheat, but it can also work. Dick's Ubik is no less compelling for learning that most of the characters are deceased, living on in cryo-sleep, and influenced by the stronger thought patterns of the adjacent dead as well as people communicating with them from another time continuum.

The character of Eloise Hawking could be Lost's Glen Runciter (a living person in Ubik), just as Jack is its Joe Chip (dead guy). She plays with elaborate charts in a special room, mingling the occult and quantum physics, to observe and communicate with the dead's preserved selves in the tesseract field (A. A. Attanasio's idea of the recoverable pattern of energy that survives the death of the individual, spreading out through space), somehow focused by the Island's pockets of electromagnetic energy. Meanwhile the dead act out the dramas of the bardo state, a continuous rehash of their lives in the fast paced, time-contracting world that we, by implication, still inhabit. In one of the final states (so the Book of the Dead has it), the deceased are consumed with visions of bodies intertwined in lovemaking, and in the final Lost episode "soulmates" come together. When they are "ready" (which serial murderer Ben Linus is not) they move on to the next state.

"Long live the New Flesh," says James Woods in Videodrome, before taking his own life. Cronenberg doesn't show us what happens next, either.

Update: I had the title of Shapiro's text wrong - fixed now - minor corrections have been made to the paragraph where I mentioned it.

- tom moody

May 29th, 2010 at 11:50 am

Posted in theory

Tipsy Turvy

Dipping more extensively into Beau Sievers' computer art syllabus.
The music by Stuart Argabright for this "vintage CGI" video is heavenly. [YouTube]
The animation is pretty good, too. The exploding rubbery porcelain is pure Bretonian surrealism. If only CGI could have been arrested at this experimental level.
Am trying to remember what I remember about Argabright. His biggest claim to fame seems to be the 1984 club hit "The Dominatrix Sleeps Tonight" [YouTube]. Would love to hear more music in the vein of the CGI demo.

- tom moody

May 28th, 2010 at 8:31 pm

Posted in general

misc. GIFs




top to bottom: charles/me via timb; unknown via stefan; unknown via [not sure] (all appeared recently on

- tom moody

May 28th, 2010 at 7:03 pm

"Groys love" comments

From AFC's post on, where I put up a couple of paras from a Boris Groys essay:

Tom, why the love for Groys? This article of his is rife with silly contradictions, like the oxymoron of a professional de-professionalized "avant garde." And Malevich erasing? Rauchenberg erased, Malevich consumed. come on, you can do better.
Suggest “lazy” as used by programmers as a better thought environment. (credit: Beau Sievers
Amos Satterlee // 27 May 2010, 4:50 pm

Read some chapters of the book Art Power. Groys is one of the most advanced thinkers in art in the world.
Samson White // 27 May 2010, 5:37 pm

Samson: will do, but if Weak Universalism is any indication, then art thinking is in a real world of hurt.
Amos Satterlee // 27 May 2010, 6:02 pm

There is a category on the Sievers syllabus called Amateur and Sub-Amateur. That was Ed Halter’s phrase, as I recall. I would call that a professional de-professionalization. Someone has to put the moron in oxymoron.
tom moody // 28 May 2010, 12:51 am

- tom moody

May 28th, 2010 at 11:56 am

Posted in general

"Variations for Element P and Piano"

"Variations for Element P and Piano" [6.7 MB .mp3]

Have been continuing to add to this earlier-posted piece for piano and an FM-ish percussion softsynth, in 3/4. It's done now, at 3.5 minutes. Was hard to get the "wrong" piano notes exactly right. I took down the "second stage" and deleted the post. Here's what it said:

...This is getting a bit brittle and spiky--will probably add a softer section after this (if I decide to keep going with it). Working on "Minuet McArdle" got me thinking about chords, which I hardly use, except for pads, that are automatically "chorded." All these were arrived at pretty much one chord at a time, one note at a time. There is no tonal theory other than "I want it to be dissonant, or 'bluesy,'" or "I want it to change mood," or "Now it needs to sound angry" or "how is this working with the synthesizer?" Changed the name from "Peon Element." Was going to call it "Peon Element Extended" but that sounded too much like a male enhancement product.

- tom moody

May 27th, 2010 at 11:40 pm

Posted in music - tm

ball bounce (shaded)


- tom moody

May 27th, 2010 at 4:22 pm

Posted in animations - tm