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Abstract George W. Bush
|| 10/31/2005 || 8:06 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

: rendered at 10,000 X 7500 :

On Valentines Day I made this for good ‘o GW, and for Halloween I made him something a bit more abstract.

#UPDATE## 2/16/08 — added background

This was the last map I made using the 2002 USGS aerial photography of the area around the White House. By combining a United States Air Force high-resolution publicity photograph of George W. Bush, I created a unique tessellation that I overlaid on to the surface of a complex 3-D object. In the background I used the same tessellation but placed the design into in a kaleidoscopic pattern similar to the More Quilt Projection style. The result is both eerie and visually engaging. Made on Halloween, it could be taken as an abstract Halloween mask, but when viewed as a human interest map, it becomes slightly more twisted. At the center, below the obligatory American flag lapel pins, is a mirrored image of a visually redacted White House. This is the same legacy aerial photography that was used in the wildly popular Inaugural Map I published in January of 2005. This was also the first imagery of Washington, DC used by Google Maps when it was released a couple months later. It was soon updated after people complained that the White House (and the Old Executive Office Building & Treasury Department) should not be censored.

Last year when the USGS released the 2005 Washington, DC aerial photography, the entire area around the White House was completely redacted. Shortly thereafter, I created “The White House Is Off-Limits To The Public,” an interactive geovisual environment, to showcase the egregious amount of censorship that was exercised by the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency. Google still has not updated their servers with newest public domain imagery of downtown Washington, DC….

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Localized Self-Portrait #2
|| 10/11/2005 || 10:22 pm || Comments Off on Localized Self-Portrait #2 || ||

: rendered at 18,000 X 12,000 :

One good rendering deserves another, right? I figured what the hell, why not make another Janus Series Self-Portrait! I’ll try not to make too many more :)

This one is slightly different than the first, in fact its quite a bit different. I started with a picture of myself that I took in my room last summer. I chose this picture of myself because 1) I like the way I look it (aka I think its a cute photo) 2) I love the blue fabric I have on my wall in my room, and this picture captures it’s the deep blue color with subtle touches of polyester luster.

Surrounding the picture of myself, lets call this the inner frame, is a delayed exposure photograph I took of a campfire in Colorado two summers ago. (You can view the original photograph here). I chose this photograph because the orange would contrast the blue in the fabric. I also chose it because of the contrast with the outer frame, a tessellated USGS aerial photograph of my house (which can be seen in the second detail below the fold). The idea, as cheesy as it sounds, is that I’m burnin up the neighborhood :-) Or as a historical corollary, my neighborhood, or at least the area around my neighborhood, was burned in the 1968 riots (which took place after Martin Luther King was assassinated) and the flames are also a fitting reminder of the history.

This rendering is also different because I chose to rotate the tessellation 45 degrees, which created an interesting checkerboard effect. I also chose to only reflect the source imagery 4 times instead of the roughly 16 reflections the last self-portrait received.

Up next- an abstract for the paper presentation I am going to give at the Association of American Geographer’s Annual Meeting in March. I’ve got a bad case of writers block tho…

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Janus Series
|| 10/10/2005 || 12:08 pm || Comments Off on Janus Series || ||

So after looking at my last two renderings, I realized they looked like the two-faced Roman God Janus. I went over to Wikipedia and looked up Janus

this is the current entry:

In Roman mythology, Janus was the god of gates, doors, doorways, beginnings, and endings. His most apparant remnant in modern culture is his namesake, the month of January. Though he was usually depicted with two faces looking in opposite directions (Janus Geminus (twin Janus) or Bifrons), in some places he was Janus Quadrifrons (the four-faced). The Romans associated Janus with the Etruscan deity Ani.

Janus was frequently used to symbolize change and transitions such as the progression of past to future, of one condition to another, of one vision to another, and of one universe to another. Hence, Janus was worshipped at the beginnings of the harvest and planting times, as well as marriages, births and other beginnings. He was representative of the middle ground between barbarity and civilization, rural country and urban cities, and youth and adulthood.

Janus was supposed to have come from Thessaly in Greece and shared a kingdom with Camese in Latium. They had many children, including Tiberinus. Janus and his later wife, Juturna, were the parents of Fontus. Another wife was named Jana. Historically, however, he was one of the few Roman gods who had no ready made Greek counterpart, or analogous mythology.

As the sole ruler of Latium, Janus heralded the Golden Age, introducing money, laws and agriculture (making him a culture hero).

When Romulus and his men kidnapped the women of the Sabines, Janus caused a hot spring to erupt, causing the would-be attackers to flee. In honor of this, the doors to his temples were kept open during war so that he could easily intervene. The doors and gates were closed during peace.

Now what is weird, is my desire to name these recent renderings, the “Janus Series,” like the Star Series, Memory Series, Mother Earth Series, etc.

I googled “Janus Series” to see who else has used that two word phrase, and the first result (I’m feeling lucky) came with a result of…. Johannes Kepler’s The Secret of the Universe (Janus Series)

After doing a search for The Secret of the Universe Johannes Kepler scrolling down the page I find a mention of the book on, of all places, the Schiller Institute website. I didn’t even know this “institute” existed…..and it’s based here in Washington, DC!

Today is Columbus Day and it’s also my birthday– I live in a district named after him and today we are sharing the celebration of the day together. I am worried that his karma might get out of hand tho- 513 years is a long time. We’ll see!



Self-Portrait
|| 10/9/2005 || 6:31 pm || Comments Off on Self-Portrait || ||

: rendered at 18,000 X 12,000 :

Using a picture I took of myself in the Iao Valley in Maui, Hawaii on January 6th, 2005, I tessellated the picture (1200X1200) around the edges of a 4800 X 4800 pixel canvas. This allowed for a 2400X2400 square in the center to be filled with an image of my choosing.

In the spirit of my Jefferson Mandala print being at the MOCA DC/A&M Gallery, I chose to use the same source imagery, the first derivative of the Mall Quilt.

I added one extra touch in Photoshop, which I’ve never done before, I added some black glow to the picture of myself. This caused the aerial photograph to appear just below the frame. Almost as if there is a layer of the earth just below the blue sky, the aerial photography seems to float perfectly in the center of the tessellated mosaic.

I chose the quirky picture of myself because:
I liked the angle at which I took it (mountains!),
I liked the “what you lookin’ at,” half-smile, grin
I liked the color of sky (and even the two lens blemishes)
I like the contrast of the green to blue to white tones

The result, is definitely one of my favor works yet. The process of setting up the source imagery in photoshop is probably the most exciting part of it all. I can now do large mosaics with multiple aerial & satellite images. What will come next? We shall see…

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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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