Coding as Skate Videos via a Cyclic Vacuum Cannon, Going Round the Corner Piece, LED is Easy

On the 1st of October, 2012, Kyle McDonald tweeted:

“Coding tutorials as Skate Videos”

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Presstube (@presstube)
22/03/2013 12:48
@kcimc @JoelGethinLewis was from a(n).. email where I was blabbing about my wishes for Code Journal : )

With the help of the Internet, I was able to track down where this thought came from. From Presstube a.k.a. James Paterson. His series of (meta) posts on his Cyclic Vacuum Cannon. James has been doing lovely things for onkers. I thoroughly recommend watching them all.

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James sez:

"- To try and capture and communicate that feeling you get when you're blazing through code in complete flow. To give non-coders or people just starting out a voyeuristic hint of that feeling. A bit like a skateboard video, more idealized porn than a record of gritty reality in all its somewhat more tedious glory. Something to get you 'stoked' and infect you with enthusiasm, but at the end of the day the only way to learn to kickflip is to go out there and try it a hundred thousand times. "

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What a lovely idea. There are so many useful “tricks” to creating interaction that are only learnt through bitter experience – I remember being amazed watching Ash Nehru code at the speed of thought when I first started at UnitedVisualArtists in 2005. I couldn’t believe anyone could type that fast! How could it work? I remember the first time I read “Coders At Work” by Peter Seibel. I was so relieved to read that ALL of the coders featured used printfs to debug!

Going Around the Corner Piece by Bruce Nauman, 1970. 4 video cameras, 4 video monitors arranged around a cube inside a room. I saw this piece first hand when I returned from inter-railing (remember that?) around Europe with my friend Rick Adams. I don’t think I’ve ever been the same since. By placing these standard pieces of technology in a novel arrangement, Nauman produced an infinite loop. He made a system that people explored, and made their own narratives within. It was the first time I had ever seen technology used to tell a human story, full of emotion. Walking around the cube, I glanced the back of my head, just going around the corner as I turned it. No matter how fast I ran, I could never catch up with myself.

There are many artists and designers out there working with LED – but few appreciate how easy it is to drive huge LED displays – I remember being staggered to see my mouse pointer go across a massive collection of Barco LED – and all through the DVI out of my Macbook Pro. If it has to go on the road, it has to be roadie proof.

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