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Wednesday 30th May 2007
Today I rowed around the Birmingham canal system in an old fridge. Not my idea, but that of artist Marie Lorenz, who build a very sturdy and professional looking boat from objects fished out of the canal. It was a great mix of industrial architecture, secret places and wildlife - we saw moorhens, geese and ducks nesting and even a heron! However, in many places a thin skin of oil covered the water surface, which can't be good for the birds.
The trip was great fun, and we chatted about the canal and Marie's previous work in New York such as her "Tidal Taxi".
Concrete Building Reflected
Oil on the water
As part of the Fierce Festival %EXT%
, Jiva Parthipan staged a sideways reconstruction of his early life in Amsterdam in which he worked for six monotonous hours making banana milkshakes and straining them through a condom.
Tuesday 29th May 2007
Only A Phone Call Away
There's one Fierce event you can access at anytime, from anywhere in the world. Every day, you can eavesdrop on a different conversation on 0121-314-3330. Try it, you'll enjoy it.
Upcoming artists over the next few days include Brum's own Big Bren and New York's Nicole Blackman. You can see details of the programme here
Magic War - Marisa Carnesky
I saw Marisa Carnesky's %EXT%
stunning Ghost Train
at both Fierce 2005
and Glastonbury Festival
, so I wasn't about to miss her Fierce performance this year.
In Magic War
she plays Athena, Goddess of strategic war ("and sewing and handicrafts"), and mixes classic magic tricks and audience participation with commentary on war. It's a relatively short piece, about 45 minutes, and the end point of the performance left some of the audience waiting to see if the action had actually completed, which robbed Marisa of the depth of final applause she deserved. This minor point could be remedied by changes to lighting, sound or even stewarding. I was intrigued by the tale of Jean-Eug\xE8ne Robert-Houdin's %EXT% visit to Algeria %EXT%
to "impress the natives" (my quotes) and the link between magic, science and war.
Find out about Fierce Festival events here%EXT%
Searching for information on M.Houdin, led me to this interesting tomb on psychic and other magics
by Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky who founded the Theosophical Society.
Sunday 27th May 2007
And the winner is...
The "winner" of the Fierce Festival %EXT%
competition to see Your Name in Lights %EXT%
is Una White. You can read her story here %EXT%
Friday 25th May 2007
Tory Island %EXT%
, also known as Toraigh Island and Oilean Thorai, is reached by a small ferry %EXT%
from either Bunbeg or Magheroarty.
Ferry to Tory Island:
Map of Tory Island:
Tory Island was a site used by Colm Cille (St Columba) and this strangely shaped cross dates from that time.
Ancient Tau Cross at Harbour:
This area was used as an altar in the past:
The island is alive with birds and other wildlife can be spotted if you look carefully
Bay with stones ...
... and camouflaged seals:
The shop on Tory Island:
The tree on Tory Island:
Thursday 24th May 2007
St Columba / Colm Cille Birthplace
Born in 521, St Columba's mother was fleeing when she paused here to give birth to him. Her blood fell to the earth nearby and turned the ground into "magic" white clay which keeps anyone who posesses some safe. The stone, with cup-marks of an unknown age still attracts tributes in the form of coins. The nearby Colmcille Heritage Centre has a good exhibition with a factual and mythological history of the saint, information on irish history and pre-history, and ancient artifacts including the stone head shown below.
St Columba's Birthplace - Cross and Stone:
Coins on Stone at St Columba's Birthplace:
Beads, hair bands and icons left at ruined abbey:
Coins left at ruined abbey:
Stone head on display at visitor centre:
Wednesday 23rd May 2007
Waterfall on way to Maghera Strand:
Snails and Flowers:
Mountains in the Sand - Complete with Contour Lines!:
Basalt(?) taking a right angle route through limestone(?) strata.:
Tuesday 22nd May 2007
Lough Salt and Around
Stones on back road to Lough Salt:
Nice view / Nasty View:
Stones near Lough Salt with Erigall in background:
The Lough Salt Stones align with the dip on the horizon:
The Great Arch, Fanad Peninsula
The Great Arch - Near Portsalon:
Lichen, Sea Pink(?) and other Shore plants:
Monday 21st May 2007
Wave Worn Stone - Rathmullan
Sometimes a small difference in where you stand can make a big difference to your photos:
Sunday 20th May 2007
Gravestones by the sea - Donegal Friary:
Iron Gravestone - Donegal Friary:
Sculpted Cliffs - Rossnowlagh Beach:
Sky and Sea at Rossnowlagh, Donegal:
Sky and Sea in Rossnowlagh, Donegal:
Green Pavement - Rossnowlagh Beach:
Friday 18th May 2007
Visited the standing stones and cup and ring marks at Drumtrodden near Stranrae in Scotland. Just as I was about to leave the stones, an excellent rainbow appeared.
Drumtroddan Standing Stones:
Monday 7th May 2007
Bank Holiday Walk near Dorstone
Dorstone in over near Hay-on-Wye, quite a long way to go for a walk from Brum but a lovely area. The Pandy Inn in Dorstone provided us with good local food and real beer.
Carvings on Church Doorway:
Pretty Church in Dorstone:
Friday 4th May 2007
Drop Beats not Bombs
Excellent night to which I managed to get both free enty and free drinks through helping out on a Friends of the Earth Stall! (Thanks Becca)
It's ages since I'd heard Marc Reck %EXT%
DJ, and tonight he was accompanied by visuals from Leon %EXT%
with live back lit dance!
Birmingham Council Elections 2007
The picture below shows the percentage of votes obtained by each party in each ward. A clear clustering of wards is visible, with the lower half of the diagram dominated by wards with a high Tory vote, the centre by Lib-Dem (mainly with Labour in second place) and the top by Labour wins. If you know the geography of Birmingham, you'll notice that some of the wards which vote similarly are close together (as we might expect), for example, note the four "Sutton..." wards listed at the bottom right.
The data was drawn from the Birmingham City Council website, and is believed to be correct, but I have not gone through and hand-checked every result. You can download the election results data file (csv)
if you'd like.
Party's Eye View
The diagram below has been adjusted to show more detail on the performance of individual parties. The colours indicate the best and worst performing wards for a party. For example, Harbourne and Bourneville are the wards in which the Green Party got their highest percentage, and are shown as green. However, these wards were actually won by the Conservative Party, where the yellow rectangles indicate they are in the middle of that party's list of wards by votes obtained.
You're welcome to reproduce this image as long as it remains completely unchanged. This includes reproducing the title and url "www.andypryke.com/envision" at the top of the picture. I'd be grateful if you would provide a like to that URL and email me to let me know if you've reproduced it or found the diagram useful. Thanks, Andy
More work like this.
I'm now freelance doing data mining and data visualisation, so if you'd like help understanding your data, or if you've some suggestions for other data to visualise, contact me at andy(at)andypryke.com
You can see some other examples of my work
Thursday 3rd May 2007
Making Money Because of Open Source
Open Advantage %EXT%
promote the business benefits of Open Source in the region, and today I attended their Making Money Because Of Open Source %EXT%
seminar. Eliot Smith presented an overview of Open Source Software (OSS) covering history, politics, applications and, most importantly given the title of the seminar, business models which use OSS. This was followed by presentation on the legal aspects by Richard Nicholas of Browne Jacobson %EXT%
which attracted quite a number of questions from the audience.
This was the first Open Advantage event I'd attended and I was very impressed by the quality of presentation, and how knowledgeable the presenters were.
Sound, Pictures and Computer Improvised Jazz
Tim Blackwell %EXT%
works on computer improvised music by transforming sounds into pictures and then back again. Today he was speaking about his method based on particle swarm
, and gave a live performance and demonstration. Basically, what happens is that the sound the computer hears appears on screen as a textile like pattern, and a swarm of points fly over it and try to pick out the most "interesting" sections. These are then replayed as a kind of echo. Maybe a picture would help:
Tim Blackwell and Computer, Improvising:
Woven sound and particle swarm:
Weds 2nd May 2007
Plane vs Train - CO2 Calculator
Virgin trains now have a handy calculator which tells you the CO2 output for making your journey by train vs by plane
or car. For Birmingham to Edinburgh the figures are 35Kg of CO2 for the train, compared to 53Kg for car and 60Kg by plane, and apparently you can get a single fare from 17quid! Plus no faffing about getting to and from the airport, checking in early etc.
Bento Box Frenzy!
Whilst looking for instructions %EXT%
on freezing Onigiri
, I ran across this website with lots of bento style lunchbox ideas
Vivid Opening - Runners, 3D Pictures and Living Landscapes
Vivid's latest interdisciplinary projects are on show. Ian Upton's 3D pictures of Birmingham University %EXT%
taken using a laser scanner designed for mapping archaeological sites. I'm in there somewhere but it's harder to spot yourself than you might imagine! I particularly like the one which looks like a collection of statuary.
Ravi Deepres and Michael Clifford presented a film about runners, viewed from running machines
. This was quite fun, and very engaging. Once you'd got onto the machine (and signed a disclaimer), the film really came alive. I particularly liked the sections where "I" was running through a wood, filmed from the runner's perspective.
Anna Rutter's "Living Landscapes" %EXT%
look initially like slide projections of quiet English country scenes, but after a moment subtle movements reveal that they are actually extremely still and slowly changing videos. Bright and peacful, they draw you in.
Tuesday 1st May 2007
A Crude Awakening
This film is all about Peak Oil
and the Hubbert Peak
, the idea being that we will reach a point where the demand for oil outstrips production, and that oil production continues to fall. The film is worth seeing, although sometimes it seems to jump to new topics rather suddenly, and it is a little one sided.
Afterwards I spoke about the film and it's relationship to climate change and took a few questions. We're stuffed if we rely on running out of oil to prevent climate change, as we'd still end up with too much CO2 in the atmosphere, and higher oil prices encourage the use of more carbon rich fuels such as coal. Nuclear is no solution as there isn't enough fuel for the whole world to have reactors, and to be honest, politically, there's no way many countries will be allowed to have nuclear power. So for a global problem, it isn't a global solution. The main route to reducing carbon emissions seems to be to use less energy, and there is a great deal that can easily be done on this front.
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