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Four artists at Gershman Y – Philadelphia Inquirer
|| 6/11/2010 || 2:23 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Today I am featured in the Weekend Edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Nikolas Schiller, working with aerial maps, makes complex new patterns by altering them digitally, and his most inspired pieces are the ones that look easy. Convinced each of us has the capacity to change things, Schiller believes that to change the world, we should start with maps.

Now what I find mildly amusing is that the sentence “Convinced each of us has the capacity to change things, Schiller believes that to change the world, we should start with maps.” was more or less already published in a previous edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The curator of the show chose a quote from the 2007 Washington Post article about me and placed it near my map “Israel / Palestine 1993. What the author of this article didn’t realize was that the Philadelphia Inquirer published a syndicated version of the Washington Post article that contained the exact same quote.


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Charted Territory: Robin Rice on “Mapping: Outside/Inside” at Gershman Y – Philadelphia City Paper
|| 5/25/2010 || 1:47 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

Screen grab from the Philadelphia City Paper website

My maps are reviewed in this week’s issue of the Philadelphia City Paper:

Maps are composed of signs. In addition to text, they include linear patterns and coded colors; a sense of rhythm and predictability is part of their visual appeal. Issues of scale and modularity, either organic or mechanically imposed, are contemporary art concerns, as well. Digital kaleidoscopic repetition of aerial photographs is blogger Nikolas Schiller’s shtick. He calls his quilt-like pieces “geospatial art.” Four of his works in this show are based on the Gershman Y seen from above, and a fifth is a Star of David configuration made of fragments of disputed territories of Israel and Palestine. Appealing lacy patterns in muted greens, brick reds and white evoke myriad references from Victorian decoration to Islamic mosaics to cellular division. On the other hand, like the similarly attractive fractal patterns, they end up being more decorative than profound.

Read the rest of the review by Robin Rice:

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Photos from the Opening of “Mapping:Outside/Inside” at the Gershman Y
|| 5/20/2010 || 5:40 am || + Render A Comment || ||

Last month I took the bus up to Philadelphia to attend the opening of Mapping:Outside/Inside at the Gershman Y. With my camera out of commission I borrowed my friend’s camera and while I was able to snap a couple photos, I’m not happy with how any of these photos turned out. They look either bleached out or fuzzy or both. Oh well. I had a great time at the opening and was pleased to have been invited to participate in such a fun exhibition. I hope to update this entry later with the names of each of the pieces shown in the photos below.

Photos from the opening of Mapping:Outside/Inside


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The Gershman Y Quilt #3D
|| 3/13/2010 || 9:46 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

: rendered at 18,000 X 12,000 :
The Gershman Y Quilt #3D by Nikolas Schiller

Based off of one sample of the Gershman Y Quilt #2, I developed a series of 8 different tessellations, and I selected the four maps that were the most visually appealing. This map will be printed out for my upcoming exhibition in Philadelphia. This map concludes this series. I’m looking forward to seeing how they all look printed out.

View the Google Map of Philadelphia.


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The Gershman Y Quilt #3C
|| 3/12/2010 || 2:39 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

: rendered at 18,000 X 12,000 :
The Gershman Y Quilt #3C by Nikolas Schiller

Based off of one sample of the Gershman Y Quilt #2, I developed a series of 8 different tessellations, and I selected the four maps that were the most visually appealing. This map will be printed out for my upcoming exhibition in Philadelphia.

View the Google Map of Philadelphia.


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The Gershman Y Quilt #3B
|| 3/11/2010 || 3:37 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

: rendered at 18,000 X 12,000 :
The Gershman Y Quilt #3B by Nikolas Schiller

Based off of one sample of the Gershman Y Quilt #2, I developed a series of 8 different tessellations, and I selected the four maps that were the most visually appealing. This map will be printed out for my upcoming exhibition in Philadelphia.

View the Google Map of Philadelphia.


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The Gershman Y Quilt #3A
|| 3/10/2010 || 3:34 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

: rendered at 18,000 X 12,000 :
The Gershman Y Quilt #3A by Nikolas Schiller

Based off of one sample of the Gershman Y Quilt #2, I developed a series of 8 different tessellations, and I selected the four maps that were the most visually appealing. This map will be printed out for my upcoming exhibition in Philadelphia.

View the Google Map of Philadelphia.


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The Gershman Y Quilt #2
|| 3/9/2010 || 3:31 pm || 4 Comments Rendered || ||

: rendered at 18,000 X 12,000 :
The Gershman Y Quilt #2 by Nikolas Schiller

Using a portion of the Gershman Y Quilt, I rendered this derivative map.

The forthcoming series of four maps will be based on one portion of this map.

View the Google Map of Philadelphia.


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The Gershman Y Quilt
|| 3/8/2010 || 3:27 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

: rendered at 18,000 X 12,000 :
The Gershman Y Quilt by Nikolas Schiller

The first map in this series uses the resampled aerial photography that was republished in 2006 laid out in a Hexagon Quilt Projection. Aside from the Gershman Y, this map contains the Kimmel Center for Performing Arts, the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and the Suzanne Roberts Theater.

The subsequent maps in this series will all be derived from this map.

View the Google Map of Philadelphia.


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The Eye of Philadelphia
|| 3/7/2010 || 3:20 pm || + Render A Comment || ||

: rendered at 9,000 X 6,000 :
The Eye of Philadelphia by Nikolas Schiller

I’ve started working on a series for next month’s exhibition in Philadelphia. I’m not sure what final scope of the project will end up being, but I’m enjoying the act of making new maps again.

The first in this series is based off of the similarly pattered “eye” series that I used in locations like Kansas City, Missouri and Erie, Pennsylvania. The imagery used in this project is based off of two type of aerial photography from the USGS. This map employs the .75m per pixel spatial resolution that was published in 2004. You can read the metadata here.

While there is newer 2006 imagery at .15m per pixel, there has not been subsequent imagery added to the USGS servers since I made my first generation maps of this city. I found and requested newer imagery from the city of Philadelphia, but was met with no answer upon two e-mails. Therefore I had to follow-up with the older imagery that is slightly out-dated, but just as useful for what I am working on.

I chose .75m resolution imagery for the oblique nature of the imagery. This allows the viewer to see the sides of buildings they would otherwise not see if the photograph was taken directly above; which is the case with most orthorectified imagery. I’m please with the results and look forward to printing it out.

View the Google Map of Philadelphia.


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[UPCOMING EXHIBITION] Mapping: Outside/Inside in the Borowsky Gallery at the Gershman Y
|| 2/26/2010 || 2:21 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

Exhibition at The Borowsky Gallery at the Gershman Y:
Mapping: Outside/Inside

Four artists who use maps to create new understandings of the outside world, including Leila Daw, Joyce Kozloff, Eve Andree Laramee and Nikolas Schiller.


Exhibition at The Open Lens Gallery at the Gershman Y:
Capturing Sky

Large-scale pinhole photographs by Masaki Kobayashi, guest curator: Tsuyoshi Ito


Opening reception: Thursday, April 29, 6-8 pm

Sponsored by The Gershman Y
http://www.gershmany.org/

Location:
The Gershman Y
401 S. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA



The Mad Decent Block Party Video
|| 8/7/2008 || 10:10 am || Comments Off on The Mad Decent Block Party Video || ||

On the very same weekend in June when the Washington, DC police setup checkpoints in the Trinidad neighborhood, the record label Mad Decent was having their first block party in Philadelphia. I had heard about it on-line, but decided not to take the train up to Philly (regret!). A couple days later I saw the pictures from the event and couldn’t help but be impressed. There is nothing more special than seeing a community come together and have a good time. While the DC police were stripping a neighborhood of its soul, another neighborhood 3 hours away was showing how much soul it really had. Last night the latest Mad Decent Video Podcast was released (below) and really captures the essence of the block party. I hope to attend next year.




To stay up to date with Mad Decent, I highly recommend subscribing to Mad Decent World Wide Radio Podcasts via iTunes and/or their blog. There are always fresh mixes posted and the occasional flier for an upcoming event.

If you are interested in watching more of the Mad Decent Video Podcasts, below are the three previous releases. They are roughly edited (on purpose) and mashed up with quite a bit of cultural ephemera & general randomness. You can also download the videos in MP4 format here if you aren’t using iTunes.



Check the rest:

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Comparative Front Pages: Washington Post / Philadelphia Inquirer
|| 1/2/2008 || 10:58 pm || Comments Off on Comparative Front Pages: Washington Post / Philadelphia Inquirer || ||

Photograph of the Washington Post and Philadelphia Inquirer newspapers showing my map Jefferson Mandala

On March 26, 2007, the Philadelphia Inquirer published David Montgomery’s Here Be Dragons article. That morning I received a phone call from one of my best friends who happened to be in Philadelphia on business. He excitedly informed me that one of my maps was on the cover of a section in the Philadelphia Inquirer. I asked him to purchase as many copies as possible and about a month later I picked up the six copies from his house. My housemate let me borrow his camera to take an overhead photograph of the two newspaper articles side by side. When the housemate moved out a few months ago he gave me all of his photographs that he had on his computer and I found this photograph that I had forgotten about. What I found to be the most interesting aspect is the size of the map that was used in Philadelphia, the change of the article’s name, the movement from “Style” to “Health & Science.” I’ve tried to track down other syndications, but so far only the Philadelphia Inquirer has been obtained. The article itself has already been deaccessioned from the Philadelphia Inquirer’s website.

Related In The News Entries:

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2008 Urban America Calendar
|| 11/19/2007 || 11:43 am || Comments Off on 2008 Urban America Calendar || ||

Below are the months of the calendar featuring cities around the United States and links to their respective entries so that you can see the map’s full size. Read more about the other calendars here.

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Philly Mandala #2
|| 2/27/2007 || 4:46 pm || Comments Off on Philly Mandala #2 || ||

: saved at 9,000 X 9,000 :
Philly Mandala No.2 by Nikolas Schiller

When processing Philly Quilt #2 for my on-line store I made this derivative map. By taking the original map and keeping only the exact circular center of the map, I was able to easily construct this mandala.


View the Google Map of downtown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


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Philly Mandala
|| 1/13/2006 || 8:34 am || Comments Off on Philly Mandala || ||

: rendered at 15,000 X 15,000 :
Philly Mandala by Nikolas Schiller

This map uses some of the imagery I discussed in my previous entry. Of note is that this map uses more of the river and creates a very unique design on the bridge.


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Philly Quilt #2
|| 1/12/2006 || 7:21 am || Comments Off on Philly Quilt #2 || ||

: rendered at 18,000 X 12,000 :
Philly Quilt No. 2 by Nikolas Schiller

So I have yet to do so, but this weekend I plan on going through all my diamond quilt projection maps and re-categorizing them by rotation (0 & 45 degrees). I have yet to make any quilts that are wholly asymmetric. I have thought about making one or two, but for some reason I just don’t like the way they look. I guess it’s a sense of balance I am after and when I have one seam going horizontally across the page and add another seam that is 25 degrees rotated, it just looks awkward. I’d rather have clouds, than an asymmetric map.

As for this map, the seam makes an interesting reflection on the Pennsylvania Convention Center. What I also discovered last night, and is something I look forward to doing some more research on, is how there is a secondary texture that is being created in these maps.

When an aerial photograph or satellite image is taken there is usually some degree of distortion embedded into the orthorectified (defined as correcting distortions in an aerial image to produce a more accurate depiction of surface features) photograph. This distortion is usually caused by the angle at which the photograph was taken (directly above- nadir or at an angle- oblique). Thus if you take a photograph overhead at nadir (0 distortion at the center), then the buildings at the center will only show their tops, and the buildings at the edge will show their sides due to the angle of viewing. The interesting thing I discovered was the way the angles change with the seams. If you look closely at the details below, this angle creates an embedded texture of rotating the angle in which the buildings show. Essentially, its oblique alterations in the fabric of the quilt, and I think they make the tessellations even more intricate.

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Philly Quilt
|| 1/11/2006 || 12:21 pm || Comments Off on Philly Quilt || ||

: rendered at 18,000 X 12,000 :
Philly Quilt by Nikolas Schiller

Finally I’ve gotten around to making some maps of Philadelphia. I had tried in the past, but when I downloaded the imagery I could never get the mosaic setup right. I wanted to make a large square of all of Philly to show both the Schuylkill and Delaware rivers, but I’d either not have enough imagery, or I’d screw up the download, or in the end, it just ended up being too large of a mosaic to incorporate into a tessellation.

Essentially, if my desired output size is 18,000 and my tessellated source imagery ends up being 9,000 X 9,000, then I am not going to be able to show all of the city because the seams cut out some parts at the center. Also, large tessellations take a long time to import and take longer to parse through when rendering. That is why I made 5 renderings for Philly! This is the first time I’ve made so many. One of them is also a nondescript highway intersection of 95 & 676, which I might use next (not sure!). As for this map, it’s the standard hexagon quilt projection with the western side of Philly showing. I chose to set up the tessellation so that the Schuylkill river was the geographic identifier and rotated the imagery around it. The result is nice and the river makes it easy to find the seams of the tessellation. Up next is a diamond quilt projection map rotated 45 degrees and it should look nice :-) This year I am going to continue making more diamond quilt projection maps!!


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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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