Back from Nerd Central

And crazy busy. Chicago and Urbana and Ebertfest were great, amazing, beyond my ability to emotionally comprehend, I’ve never had a week like that before. Then to top it off, Sita won Best Narrative Feature at the Indian Film festival of Los Angeles, and moved to #1 on Critical Consensus. That’s just nuts.

Anyway, it was great being back in Urbana, my hometown, where nerds are made as well as born. I was raised nerd, by nerds, and it’s only a fluke that I appear to be an artist; my heart belongs to nerd-dom. Want proof? Here I am visiting family friend, genius, and art-supporter Theo Gray at Wolfram Research:ninatheo.jpg
My Free Culture activism is nerdy too, inspired as it is by the Free Software movement. Theo doesn’t like it, and made fiercely pro-copyright arguments as only a proprietary software nerd can.

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For contrast, here’s a picture of me with Richard Stallman in New York:
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Whose side am I on, anyway? The side of NERDS!

Back to Illinois

I left my hometown of Urbana, IL, almost 21 years ago, with dreams of becoming a new age crystal-wielding hippie. I was 20 years old. Now I’m 40 (almost 41!) and will be returning with a feature film, for a film festival that didn’t exist when I was growing up. But first: the University of Chicago!

Who’da thunk back in 1988, that I’d be blogging about this in 2009? We couldn’t even imagine blogs back then.

Seeking Apartment

If you know of an apartment in Lower Manhattan, Inner Brooklyn or Inner Queens, please let me know. I’m childfree and have a cat; I am also quiet, nonsmoking, nondrinking, TV-free, vegetarian, clean, and can pay up to $1,500 a month.  I prefer top floor apartments (no noise upstairs, more sunlight, views – and I don’t mind walkups!) but am open to anything. I can be contacted here.

Hooray for Entropy!

Remember the days before digital copying? Every copy introduced small errors; a copy was always a degraded, inferior version of its parent. But entropy has a beauty of its own, as in this beautiful film By Alexander Stewart (it’s not embeddable, so you have to follow this link):

Errata is an animation made by photocopying copies of copies. Starting with a blank sheet of paper, each successive copy becomes a frame of animation, meaning that each on-screen image is a copy of the last. All movements, pans and zooms in the film were accomplished using standard zoom and shrink features on copy machines; the animation camera used to shoot the copies onto 16mm film was not used to manipulate or direct the film’s motion. Comprising thousands of copies made on a dozen copiers, the resulting imagery is a moving Rorschach test of analog textures, bleeding ink spots and pareidolic cloud formations.

In contrast, digital copies are perfect – indistinguishable from their “originals.” Compression, however, retains that exciting element of entropy, as artist hadto demonstrates:

Granted he intentionally increased the compression from frame to frame; the discussion on the video page  is enlightening (and led me to Errata in the first place).