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[Found Maps] License Plate Maps of DC & Maryland at Artomatic 2009
|| 7/23/2009 || 9:15 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

On the last day of Artomatic 2009 I decided to traverse all 9 floors and come up with a Top 100 similar to the one I made last year. While I haven’t posted my Top 100 of Artomatic 2009 yet and frankly I am still debating on whether I’ll go through the task of coding it all, I did, however, find some maps by Ian Bird that I wasn’t expecting.

While there are already other people who make License Plate Maps, I like the nuanced detail of his maps (above). Unlike the other license plate map artists, I sincerely doubt they have made a map that cartographically shows each of the eight wards of Washington, DC as well as each county in the state of Maryland. No matter what, Ian Bird is definitely going into the Top 100 (if I ever post it).


Related Found Maps:

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My Brash poem from Artomatic 2009
|| 6/18/2009 || 10:34 pm || Comments Off on My Brash poem from Artomatic 2009 || ||

Inverted scan of the poem

Brash is a poet that goes around Artomatic and leaves each participating artist a poem taped on to their exhibit wall. This week I noticed that my poem had been taped up to my exhibit space, so I decided to take it home, scan it, and post it here on-line like I did with last year’s poem. However, unlike last year, where Brash wrote about my entire exhibit, this year Brash wrote specifically about my Israel / Palestine 1993 map. From my understanding, Brash will probably write a poem for EVERY artist (thats over a thousand poems!) at Artomatic 2009. Brash, if you are reading this, thank you! I sincerely enjoy your creative spirit!


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YouTube Video: “A Fly on the Wall at Artomatic”
|| 6/15/2009 || 4:36 pm || Comments Off on YouTube Video: “A Fly on the Wall at Artomatic” || ||

On Saturday June 13th, 2009, I attended the Artomatic “Meet The Artist Night.” As an experiment, I decided to place my digital camera on my exhibit wall. This time-lapse video documents what it would be like to be a fly on the wall at my Artomatic 2009 exhibit.

About midway through the video, I remove the camera from the wall and a friend takes a photo of me with a couple friends and then I place the camera back on the wall for the remainder of the filming.


Music used in the video is Azul (Gianma’s Drum and Bass Remix) by Natalia Clavier from her El Arbol EP (2008).



You can also view a somewhat better quality version of the video on Facebook.



I am mentioned in today’s Washington Post article “Artomatic ’09: Survival Tips From an Expert”
|| 6/5/2009 || 12:51 pm || Comments Off on I am mentioned in today’s Washington Post article “Artomatic ’09: Survival Tips From an Expert” || ||

In today’s Weekend section of the Washington Post there is an article titled Artomatic ’09: Survival Tips From an Expert*. In the article staff writer Michael O’Sullivan follows around Phillip Barlow, one of the DC area’s biggest art collectors, and asks him questions about how to go about exploring the 9 floors of art at Artomatic.

Near the end of the article Michael O’Sullivan writes:

Okay, spill it: So who does the collector like? Barlow wouldn’t give a Top 10 list or even a favorite floor. But he did express interest in — or lingered longingly in front of — the work of several artists. Here’s a partial list of his favorites:

Floor 9: Jessica Van Brakle.

Floor 8: Jared Davis, Nikolas R. Schiller.

Floor 7: Jeremy Arn.

Floor 6: Jen Dixon.

Floor 5: Mark Jude, Meinir Wyn Jones, Stephen Reveley, Michael Enn Sirvet, Steve Strawn.

Floor 2: Drew Graham, Kate McGovern.

Still, Barlow cautions against using his taste alone as a guide, adding that the secret to Artomatic’s success is volume, volume, volume. “There’s just so much stuff here that I can practically guarantee that something’s going to be new or interesting,” he says. “To someone.”

Read the entire article here. I plan on stopping by Artomatic this evening around 7pm. Maybe I will see you there?


* This article’s title in the print edition is different from the on-line edition. The print edition is titled Artomatic ’09: Survival Tips From an Expert while the on-line edition is titled Annual Artomatic Show Exhibits the Works of More Than 1,000 Artists.


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My Artomatic 2009 Opening Night Exhibit Dissected on Flickr
|| 6/3/2009 || 7:36 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

For my second official upload to Flickr, I continued last year’s practice, and uploaded a photo I took of my Artomatic 2009 exhibit on opening night. By adding notes over every part of the display photograph on Flickr, you can click on the embedded links and view the respective content on my website. If you are unable to make it to this year’s exhibition, I hope this dissection satiates your curiosity.



A Navy Yard Perspective
|| 5/30/2009 || 1:43 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

: rendered at 9,000 X 6,000 :
A Navy Yard Perspective by Nikolas R. Schiller

While on blogging hiatus, I made this map on May 12th, but didn’t post it. I don’t really have any rationale for not posting it except that I wanted to take a month off from blogging to see where my daily visitor threshold was; as in finding how many people visited my website without daily blogging. So in order to ascertain the data, I purposely withheld this entry.

Following up last year’s Artomatic maps, which also featured the area prior to development, I decided to try something a little different. When making this map I spent a lot of time working with the field of view parameters to create the depth of perspective. In the foreground (the lower half) you have a somewhat close-up view of the area around the Navy Yard Metro station in Southeast, Washington, DC and in the upper half you have a larger field of view that appears to stretch out to infinite. The aerial photography was taken in the spring of 2005 before the stadium and subsequent nearby development had been completed. Even if you look at the current Google Maps of the area, the construction of this year’s Artomatic venue had not even began.


View the Google Map of the Navy Yard in Washington, DC, which features newer imagery

: detail of the Navy Yard Metro prior to construction :

View the rest of the map details:

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My maps on display at Artomatic 2009
|| 5/29/2009 || 3:10 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Click on the maps to view their respective blog entries


A New & Arabesque Map of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

This antique map mashup is over 400 years in the making. It features the Library of Congress‘ copy of Willem Janszoon Blaeu’s Nova totius terrarum orbis geographica ac hydrographica tabula, which was published in Amsterdam in 1606. I removed the original Mercator-inspired map from the center and kept the highly decorative border similar to my other antique map mashups. The border contains allegorical drawings of the seven known planets, the four elements, the four seasons, and the seven wonders of the ancient world (copied from Dutch painter Maarten van Heemskerck [1498-1574]). This border was used on hundreds of subsequent maps for the next 50+ years by Blaeu and his son on a variety of maps. Interestingly, Washington, DC has a few modern replicas of the seven ancient wonders, but I’ll let you figure out which ones they are! (Anyone want to guess which two I can see from my rooftop?!?) The name of the map is a play on words based on the 18th century naming convention “A New and Accurate Map..” The central portion of the map features modified aerial photography (an arabesque) from the USGS (taken in the spring of 2005) of the circularly-shaped Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden on the National Mall in Washington, DC.


Israel / Palestine 1993

This map is derived from a scanned map of Israel & Palestine from the “Atlas of the Middle East,” which was published in January 1993 by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and obtained from the Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection at the University of Texas at Austin. At the time of it’s creation I was working at Georgetown University’s Center for Contemporary Arab studies and my coworker’s vacation to Lebanon had to be cancelled due to an Israeli military incursion. I chose the map because of the way the occupied Palestinian territories were shaded on the map. The CIA chose to use rather ugly black diagonal lines to say “status still undetermined” and when I modified the map something interesting happened. The stripes became the points on a hexagram or Star of David, a recognized symbol of the Jewish state of Israel. To further express my feelings toward the continued occupation & military incursion, I added the iconic image of Palestinian defiance, a cartoon character by Naji Al-Ali named Handala to the lower corner of the map. Until his assassination in 1987, Ali used this character throughout his body of work as means to convey his displeasure toward the way the issue has been handled. The aim of this map is spark dialog so that peace may prevail.


Superdome Quilt – 1st Derivative #2

The day after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) sent airplanes equipped with cameras to the gulf region to assess the damage. A few days later they released these high-resolution aerial photographs of New Orleans to the public and I downloaded the two tracts that contained the flooded area around the severely damaged Superdome. Shortly thereafter I made a couple maps based on this imagery and then tried out my new procedure of recursive sampling (a quasi-fractal) to make a highly detailed tessellation of the area. As you can see in the map, the blue hues are due to flooding of the streets and the little yellow blips around the map are what is left of the roof of the Superdome. A genuine question can be asked, if I were to obtain the imagery of the Superdome today, what would it look like? This map captured a moment in time that affected the lives of millions and I can only wonder what will happen when the next category 5 hurricane hits the next urban area. Sadly, the question is not if, but when….


I am located on the 8th floor of Artomatic 2009. Hope to see you!



Quart Bag: A Community Art Show at the Civilian Art Projects
|| 7/30/2008 || 10:42 pm || Comments Off on Quart Bag: A Community Art Show at the Civilian Art Projects || ||

Screen grab of the front page of Civilian Art Projects website
Features a piece I created called “Without You I am Lost”

On July 21st, 2008 I received an invitation e-mail from the owner of Civilian Art Projects, a Washington, DC-based fine art gallery. The e-mail outlined the concept behind their upcoming group show called “Quart Bag,” which invited local artists to submit a Ziploc® that has been decorated, converted, or redesigned. The uniqueness behind the concept, one that I’ve always enjoyed since I was a kid, is everyone is essentially given a prop and its up to the artist to get creative with it and transform it into something new & unique.

After reading the e-mail a few times over I immediately thought of using some of the maps that I had saved from my Artomatic exhibit. The map scraps were originally a bunch of cut up maps that I used for my Base Map Installation (see below). These maps were originally purchased using DC government grant money that was given to me in conjunction with the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities 2008 Young Emerging Artist Award and I realized that I wasn’t about to throw all those maps away when Artomatic finished. So when I was dismantling the exhibit I saved as many of the maps as I could so that I could recycle them (like last night’s leftovers!) in a to-be-identified project.

With the recycling theme running through my head, I went downstairs to my kitchen, found an unused Ziploc® bag in my pantry (gallon-sized not quart!), and proceeded to my basement to create this unique piece of art. The original idea was to fill the bag up with scraps of maps but after filling it up, I realized that there was something missing. Essentially, there was no message being conveyed and frankly I wouldn’t say a bag filled with scraps of maps means much to anyone, or worth $50/$100 unless of course, you were a collector of discarded maps and/or the maps were really old.

Upon further contemplation, I decided to empty out the bag and add a bit of text to the inside of the bag to give it some depth of meaning through an abstract message. I chose a phrase that combines the unique nature of maps with a subtle, but concise, message of longing: Without You I am Lost. This simple message speaks volumes (about a gallon) about who I am, where I am going, and how I’ve been feeling as of late. There were a few other phrases that I bounced around in my head like show me the way, you are not here, and get lost, but I felt that Without You I am Lost really captured the essence of how I was feeling at the time of it’s creation.

I went back upstairs to my room and printed out the text using the same font that I used in the bloody self-portrait taken after my recent mugging and had the text printed archival matte photographic paper. I then cut the paper down to size and found some clear packing tape to affix the printed text to. To give the clear tape some subtle flair, I used my lighter to burn the edges of the tape and then affixed it to the inside of the bag and filled it back up again with the maps.

This time around I was more precise in how I arranged the maps and placed on one side of the text a detail of the National Mall explicitly featuring the United States Capitol. I chose this location to add a secondary depth of meaning because as a resident of Washington, DC I’m denied representation in Congress. Thus the You could be implied to mean congressional representation and the I implied to mean the residents of Washington, DC and so it could then indirectly be read as “Without congressional representation the people of Washington, DC are Lost.”

Adding to this inferential geographic juxtaposition motif, the other side of the text features an upside-down portion of the Middle East and Africa to imply concept of being lost in the global context. Or more specifically, I am implying that American democracy has lost its way and the world has become lost. After all, the opposite of progress is congress, right? By placing the two locations on opposing sides of the central text, my message expands from a sincere message of longing to a subtle critique on American foreign policy and the disenfranchisement of Americans living in the capital city of the world’s most powerful nation.


A couple days ago I e-mailed the gallery director back indicating that I was interested in participating in the exhibition and attached the photograph of the bag. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to participate because I was using a gallon-sized bag instead of a quart bag. Her response was that she thought it was perfect :-) Earlier this afternoon, about 30 minutes before I was going to leave my house and drop off the bag at the gallery, I received an e-mail notifying me that the photograph I had sent was currently on the front page of the gallery’s website. Grinning, I checked it out and took the screen grab above. I’m really looking forward to seeing the variety of submissions that will be on display. If you are in the Washington, DC area, you should come & check out the exhibition:

The Quart Bag Exhibition opens on Friday, August 6th from 7pm to 9pm @ the Civilian Art Projects, which is located on the 3rd floor of 406 7th Street NW, Washington, DC



In case you are interested in seeing what the maps were used for before they ended up in the bag in the photo above, in April of this year I produced the YouTube video below for promotion of my Artomatic 2008 exhibit:



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My Brash Poem from Artomatic 2008
|| 6/5/2008 || 5:32 pm || Comments Off on My Brash Poem from Artomatic 2008 || ||

Inverted scan of the poem

Brash is a poet that goes around Artomatic and leaves each artist a poem. Last week I noticed that my poem had been taped up to my exhibit space, so I decided to take it home, scan it, and post it here on-line. Word is that Brash will probably have a poem made for EVERY artist (thats a thousand poems!) at Artomatic 2008. Brash, if you are reading this, thank you!

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My Artomatic 2008 Opening Night Exhibit Dissected on Flickr
|| 5/27/2008 || 2:50 pm || Comments Off on My Artomatic 2008 Opening Night Exhibit Dissected on Flickr || ||

I’ve never been a fan of Flickr. I dislike how photos are lifted from Flickr all the time without proper citation. One of my biggest annoyances regarding my artwork or other people’s work is when it’s posted on-line with no link back or extra information regarding the artist or the circumstances regarding the image’s origin. Instead you get “neat huh?” “Cool photo!” “Look at this!” etc and while it’s great that more eyes are seeing the image, it undermines the artist’s visibility because the citation is not always accurately presented. A good example of this lack of information can be seen at the social image bookmarking website FFFFOUND!. This lack of citation is not the case 100% of the time, but its the main reason why I don’t upload my artwork to Flickr. Since I have ample server space and nearly unlimited bandwidth I’ve never needed another repository for my images.

I also don’t like the stalker ability that comes with having all of your photographs on-line for strangers to look at and download. I won’t name names, but I’ve looked through some Flickr photostreams of some of my friends and have found that the photos offer far too much information about their lives, activities, and friends. You can look through someone’s photos and see their exes, the interior of their homes, and basically just about anything the person decided to place out there for strangers to view. Worse is that you cannot access the information regarding where your photographs are viewed from. Since I have access to my website’s server logs I can find exactly how many times a photograph has been looked at and by what IP addresses. This information is shielded from the Flickr user and dumbed down to a lowly view counter.

With those reservations aside, I decided to play nice and upload one photograph of my Artomatic 2008 exhibit taken on May 9th. I went through and tagged the photograph twelve times showcasing the content that has been placed on top of the Base Map. Since I embedded quite a few links into the notes, I’ll be able to track exactly who clicks on the image and know with a certain amount of certainty how many times the photograph has been looked at and where the photograph is being looked at from– if they click.

Related Artomatic Entries:

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Nikolas Schiller is a second-class American citizen living in America's last colony, Washington, DC. This blog is my on-line repository of what I have created or found on-line since May of 2004. If you have any questions or comments, please contact:

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