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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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The Craig Retroazimuthal Projection aka the Mecca Projection
|| 4/21/2009 || 11:45 am || Comments Off on The Craig Retroazimuthal Projection aka the Mecca Projection || ||

The Craig retroazimuthal map projection was created by James Ireland Craig in 1909. It is a cylindrical projection preserving the direction from any place to another predetermined place, while avoiding some of the bizarre distortion of the Hammer retroazimuthal projection. It is sometimes known as the Mecca projection because Craig, who had worked in Egypt as a cartographer, created it to help Muslims find their Qibla. Check out the mathematical calculation used to create the map on Wikipedia.

I think it would be neat to use this cartographic projection technique to create a map that uses Washington, DC as the center.


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Google Map Mashup: The Qibla Locator
|| 4/20/2009 || 10:54 am || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

Following up on yesterday’s posting, I stumbled across this interesting Google Map mashup. The Qibla (or Kiblah or Qiblah or Quibla) is the Arabic word for the direction that should be faced when a Muslim prays, otherwise known as the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca. For obedient muslims, the Salah, or formal prayer, is performed five times a day: at dawn (fajr), noon (dhuhr), in the afternoon (asr), at sunset (maghrib) and nightfall (isha’a). The Qibla Locator is a simple Google Map that is designed to automatically orient Muslims toward the direction of the Kaaba. Simply enter your location and the red line that is generated shows the shortest distance to the Kaaba. In the case of the screen grab above I decided to show what direction a Muslim would pray if they were in the White House in Washington, DC. I chose this location because I’ve read about some nutty folks who actually think president Barack Obama is a Muslim. Frankly, I don’t care what religion he practices and to take issue with anyone’s religion is a sign of intolerance and veiled ignorance. What I find most interesting about the Google Map is that the rhumb line toward the Kaaba can be somewhat deceiving. I’m not blaming the author of the mashup, rather, I think the nature of how the Quibla is found is unique. Since its based on the shortest distance to Mecca, sometimes the fastest way seems counter-intuitive, as in, I was thought the path from the White House (above) would be facing South-East instead of North-East. If you have a moment, try it out.


A couple interesting notes from the Wikipedia entry:

• The head of an animal that is slaughtered using Halal methods is aligned with the Qibla.
• Muslims are buried with their faces in the direction of the qiblah. Thus, archeology can indicate a Muslim necropolis if no other signs are present.

A short history of the Qibla:

Originally, the direction of the Qibla was toward Masjid al-Aqsa, Jerusalem (and it is therefore called the First of the Two Qiblahs). At least since Mishnaic times (AD200), Jews face the Temple Mount in Jerusalem while praying. The Mishnah speaks about this in Berakhot (Talmud) chapter 4, Mishnahs 5 and 6 and this practice is even found as early as I Kings 8:35-36. In Islam, this qiblat was used for over 13 years, from 610 CE until 623 CE. Seventeen months after Muhammad’s 622 CE arrival in Medina, the Qiblah became oriented towards the Kaaba in Mecca. According to accounts from the prophet Muhammad’s companions, the change happened very suddenly during the noon prayer in Medina, in a mosque now known as Masjid al-Qiblatain (Mosque of the Two Qiblahs). Muhammad was leading the prayer when he received revelations from Allah instructing him to take the Kaaba as the Qiblah (literally, “turn your face towards the Masjid al Haram”). According to the historical accounts, Muhammad, who had been facing Jerusalem, upon receiving this revelation, immediately turned around to face Mecca, and those praying behind him also did so.


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[Update] The Architectural Athan Drum & Bass Mashup via YouTube Doubler is now transcribed
|| 4/19/2009 || 10:36 am || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

Click image to view the mashup on YouTube Doubler

Just under one year ago I created an interesting mashup using Brian Kane’s YouTube Doubler. Dubbed “the Athan Drum & Bass Mashup” (and since then I’ve added “architectural” to the title), the mashup features a slideshow of Islamic architecture on the left side and a stationary camera focused on a Drum & Bass DJ’s turntables on the right. Last night I revisited the original entry and discovered that whomever had uploaded the slideshow decided to transcribe the Athan using YouTube’s annotation feature. Now you can actually read the English translation of the morning call to prayer sung in Arabic.

#update – This iteration also automatically rewinds!


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YouTube videos of the “Do-Re-Me” dance in Antwerp’s Central Station
|| 3/26/2009 || 2:50 pm || 1 Comment Rendered || ||

Last month I created a Facebook group called Washington Metropolitan Area Residents For A 24 Hour Metro. Each week or so I’ve been sending members of the group different subway related YouTube videos- ranging from Improv Everywhere’s Subway Art Gallery Opening to Toronto’s subway dance party. Last night I came across another iteration of the faux-flash-mob-that-decides-to-dance-in-a-train-station-meme and decided to share it with the group. It features 200 well-choreographed dancers getting down to a remix of Julie Andrews singing Do-Re-Me from the musical The Sound of Music in Antwerp’s Central Station. Similar to the efforts behind the T-Mobile video, I believe the motivation behind this video is related to the promotion of the Belgian theatrical version of “Looking for Maria” or “Op zoek naar Maria,” which is based on the Sound of Music.


Below is the behind the scenes video and two different perspectives of the dance:

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Nixon Sends GIs Into Cambodia And An Inverted 1970 Map of Communist Controlled Laos and Cambodia
|| 3/1/2009 || 8:53 pm || Comments Off on Nixon Sends GIs Into Cambodia And An Inverted 1970 Map of Communist Controlled Laos and Cambodia || ||

The other week I found this flyer in the Library of Congress’ An American Time Capsule: Three Centuries of Broadsides and Other Printed Ephemera. I inverted the colors because the location of the conflict & reason for mobilization are different, but the circumstances remain timely because America currently at war in two countries. I remember going to the White House for a demonstration nearly six years ago the weekend after George Bush invaded Iraq. I have the video that I produced that day somewhere backed up and I plan on uploading to the YouTube this month as a somber reminder. However, I learned six years ago that our government is going to go to war without the consent of the American public and protesting, while important, does little to change the course of events in present-day America. 39 years ago, however, demonstrations were an important part of ending the war in Vietnam. But will they help bring the troops home from Iraq & Afghanistan? Doubtful. Really doubtful.


THE WASHINGTON POST – Friday, May 1, 1970

Nixon Sends GIs Into Cambodia

NIXON DECLARES ALL-OUT WAR ON SOUTHEAST ASIA

THE PEOPLE MUST ACT NOW

MASS MEETING at the WHITE HOUSE at noon on saturday, may 9

In another attempt to stifle dissent, the Nixon administration has handed down regulations prohibiting demonstrations on federal park land without a 15 day advance notice. Public outrage at the invasion of Cambodia is so great we will go to the White House in spite of these regulations. We will assert our right to peacefully assemble. The police may block us. If they also decide to arrest us, we will maintain a militant non-violent discipline, and options will be provided for those not prepared for arrest. Meet us at the White House!

DEMAND IMMEDIATE WITHDRAWAL OF ALL U.S. TROOPS & SUPPLIES FROM SOUTHEAST ASIA

The New Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam — 1029 Vermont Av. N.W. Wash. D.C. 20005


Courtesy of the Library of Congress


Notes:
1) On the transcription page on the Library of Congress website, I found that the map above was improperly cited as an “illustration”
2) I believe the map was probably published in the Washington Post on Friday May 1st, 1970



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Photograph of the ceiling inside of the Alhambra obtained from the Casselman Archive of Islamic and Mudejar Architecture in Spain
|| 12/11/2008 || 3:14 pm || Comments Off on Photograph of the ceiling inside of the Alhambra obtained from the Casselman Archive of Islamic and Mudejar Architecture in Spain || ||

Title: Alhambra
Date: 1354-1391
Place: Andalusia–Granada–Granada
Time: Islamic (Nasrid)
Description: Interior: Sala de la Barca (Hall of the Boat), Detail of Wood Ceiling
Subjects: Palace / Ceiling / Artesonado / Lacería / Granada
Type: StillImage
Is Part Of: Casselman Archive of Islamic and Mudejar Architecture in Spain
The Arts Collection
Rights: Copyright Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System
Posted here for educational & promotional purposes
Ownership: University of Wisconsin Art History Department
Submitter: Thomas E. A. Dale, Art History, University of Wisconsin–Madison
Local Identifier: Arts.csls8503.bib


Yesterday I read that the University of Wisconsin’s Art History Department has made available over 4,000 images from its slide library. The Casselman Archive contains images of medieval and early modern Spain taken by the late Eugene Casselman (1912-1996) during his thirty years of travel throughout the Iberian peninsula. The images span over one thousand years of architectural history, from the seventh to the seventeenth century. While I never studied architecture or Islamic art, I can’t help but be reminded of the stylistic similarities between what I produce and what was being produced over 600 years ago.



Stereocard of the Great Hall in the Vatican Library
|| 11/17/2008 || 3:59 pm || Comments Off on Stereocard of the Great Hall in the Vatican Library || ||

William Herman Rau (1855-1920), “Corridoio della Biblioteca Vaticana, Roma”. Stereofotografia. Numero di catalogo: 1999.

The other day I was clicking through Wikipedia and I came across this interesting stereogram. Check out these other stereocards.



New videos are up on the Huffington Post – Foreign Correspondents Edition
|| 11/3/2008 || 4:39 pm || Comments Off on New videos are up on the Huffington Post – Foreign Correspondents Edition || ||

As I noted before, Jason Linkins, Liz Glover, and I recorded some man-on-the-street interviews on Friday. I had suggested going to the White House to interview tourists and it turns out that we found quite a few foreigners to interview when we arrived. Of the five or so interviews that I recorded, I had the most fun recording with the dual interview (above) between Liz Glover & Polish television correspondent Paulina Drapala. I am told that Paulina’s interview aired last night on Polish television. If I’m able to get a copy of that version, I’ll post it here :-)



Marginally related: After the Washington Post article was published last year, I found that a Polish website started linking to my website. To this day, I still get about a visitor a month through that link.


Polish text from the website:

Poniżej prezentujemy linki do różnorodnych map. Znajdziecie tu mapy polskie i z całego świata. Większość map jest w języku angielskim, ale są również mapy w języku polskim.

Nikolas Schiller – strona artysty, który ze zdjęć satelitarnych tworzy dzieÅ‚a – strona w jÄ™zyku angielskim

Translated text:

Here we present links to a variety of maps. Here you will find maps of Poland and all over the world. Most are maps are in English, but some are in Polish.

Nikolas Schiller – an artist who creates the work of satellite photos – page in English

[note: I rarely use satellite imagery due to copyright restrictions. Most of the imagery on this website is derived from aerial photographs that were placed into the public domain.]



Bird’s Eye View of Little Diomede, Alaska
|| 11/2/2008 || 4:38 pm || Comments Off on Bird’s Eye View of Little Diomede, Alaska || ||

The other day I found this photograph above on a friend’s Facebook page. The photograph was taken from an airplane while the friend was traveling Alaska on behalf of their job in the American government. Around the time current Republican vice-presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, made a gaff about being able to see Russia from Alaska, I remembered how there was only one spot in America where this was the case and it just so happened that my friend had recently been there.

Known as the Diomede Islands in America or the Gvozdev Islands in Russia, the two islands are only split by about 4 kilometers. What I’ve always thought was interesting is that the houses on Little Diomede (above) face tomorrow. Due to the placement of the International Date Line, the Russian side is one of the first territories to start the day. This means folks on Big Diomede can also see yesterday.

NASA satellite image of the Diomede Islands


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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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  • thank you,
    come again!