Don Relyea 
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Don Relyea's Blog

I like to write about interesting art projects, so give me a heads up if you have new project and I'll write about it.

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Don Relyea

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Wed, 31 Oct 2007

Blue Recursive for

Blue Recursive
Blue Recursive by Don Relyea

I have been looking at the space filling curve project again recently. Blue Recursive above was created earlier today with the latest version of the algorithm. I created this image for, a site that explores scientific images. was created by Peter Seth Kutchukian, a graduate student in Chemistry at Harvard.

Nanohedron aims to exhibit scientific images, with a focus on images depicting nanoscale objects. The work ranges from EM images of nanoscale materials to graphical renderings of molecules. Scientific images lying outside the realm of nanoscience will also be considered.

The algorithm  is based on the Hilbert space filling curve, discovered by mathematician David Hilbert. This version of my program is new in that it subdivides spaces within the total space to be filled and runs the algorithm to fill the smaller spaces separately. Each smaller space is centered on a point on the curve causing the smaller renderings to intersect the larger one in interesting ways.

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Sat, 20 Oct 2007

Butterflies, spiders and fossils

Monarch Butterfly 2007
Click photo to enlarge

The whole family went to the Riley Elementary school open garden today to see the garden and an exhibit of Monarch butterflies, caterpillars, and chrysalis. The butterflies were contained inside of a tent and the kids were able to get up close and check them out. The butterfly guy had chrysalis' for sale and we got some to see them turn into butterflies in about a week. Should make for a good show and tell for Sophie's school.

Monarch Butterfly on flowers monarch butterfly wings spread
Click photos to enlarge

The butterfly in the flowers is one of the migrating butterflies. Long ago when I was in college I participated in a study to tag and track the butterflies migratory patterns. Lots of fun.

Click photos to enlarge

Kids marveling over the caterpillars dining on some leaves.

Click photos to enlarge

This yellow garden spider aka Argiope aurantia, is dining on what appears to have been a skipper butterfly. This spider was quite large, that is a 5 inch steel pipe behind it. It was so large I failed to notice the much smaller male spider also in the picture and several small babies also crawling over the web. You can see that the female's abdomen is deflated, the large egg sacks, nearly golf ball sized may have had something to do with that.

Click photo to enlarge

This is a different species of orb weaver spider, Neoscona oaxacensis. This one is a female and has an impressive web.

Click photo to enlarge

Later in the day I went fossil hunting with my son. We had a great time and found a surprising bounty of fossils. We went hunting near White Rock Lake off of Buckner. We found several shell impressions, some shells, some bone fragments and some larger bone impressions. I was really surprised to find this much stuff and I should have brought a bigger sack to carry everything in.

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Sun, 14 Oct 2007

The Art of Digital Show 2007 Brief Review

I took a lot of photos of this show and I have included some of my favorite works below. There were several pieces I liked that did not photo well. There were about a 100 works selected from a pool of roughly 2800 entries of digital art and video art. I tended to be drawn to the more systemic pieces but that is probably since I have been working on systemic sky, a systemic video art piece for the past 2 months.

The complete review with several more artists and commentary is here:, I have included some highlights below in this blog.

downstairs at Art of Digital Show San Diego
My Hairy Bush II overlooking the sponsor table.

downstairs at Art of Digital Show San Diego
L to R works by Shravan Rajagopal, Camilo Cruz, Alexander Kruglov, Nathan Selikoff and Bill Halford.

aRT of Digital Show
Andre Kutscherauer's "Self-Illumination" upper left won Second Place

art of digital show san diego CA
Tcherevkoff's "Shoe Fleur" series ( 4 pictures in center)

The video art pieces were well presented on 8inch LCD screens downstairs. Our favorite piece by far of the video works was "The Late Mr. Cubicle" by Franz Keller.

the Late Mr. Cubicle
"The Late Mr. Cubicle" by Franz Keller (click to open mpeg sample 7.2mb)

Keller's work centers around Mr. Manley Cubicle and his descent into madness. It is a shame the my camera was unable to pick up the music from this work as it was most excellent. Keller created and performed most of the music on this work in Reason with a little help from a guitarist friend Henry Barnes of Amps for Christ. His work pays homage to the music and videos of the 80's and touches the subjects of information overload and corporate dehumanization (a subject I am intimately familiar with). My wife and I had the great pleasure of meeting Mr. Keller who was smartly dressed and well spoken. Keller lives in LA and is an active VJ.

Selikoff, Nathan Faces
"Tiled Faces" by Nathan Selikoff

My personal favorite 2d print piece of the show is a systemic piece by Nathan Selikoff titled "Tiled Faces". I remember seeing his series "Strange Attractors" online a while back and it is really nice to see this new work of his in person. You really have to get close to this one to appreciate it. So I took some close ups so you can see them below.

nathan selikoff tiled faces closeup 2
"Tiled Faces" by Nathan Selikoff close up

Selikoff Tiled Faces Closeup 1
"Tiled Faces" by Nathan Selikoff even closer up

faces by ofek wertman
"Faces" by Ofek Wertman (click to see sample video clip mp4 1.3 mb)

I liked "Faces" by Ofek Wertman, this striking piece of video art subtly challenges the viewer to question their senses of perception.

My wife really liked Jane Gottlieb's "Lawnbowler Series: Life". She writes that this piece is about expressing her need to take chances and experience life. Jane's work won and honorable mention.

gottlieb lawnblower series
"Lawnbowler Series: Life" by Jane Gottlieb

Kobayashi Scan gate 1
"Scan Gate 1" by Kazuhiko Kobayashi

Kazuhiko Kobayashi's work "Scan Gate 1" was one of my favorites, I saw this work at Siggraph 2007 along with several other works in this series of his. Nice big prints. "Scan Gate 1" won 3rd place in show.

Kevin Dooley Affimative Video Art of Digital Show
"Affirmative" by Kevin Dooley (click to see sample video mp4, 3.4 MB)

Kevin Dooley's video "Affirmative" won first place and a $1000 dollar prize, congrats! Dooley releases CDs on Waveform Records under the moniker "zerO One".

Daniel Durning 100 faces
"100 Faces" by Daniel Durning

Another of my favorites of the show was "100 Faces" or "100 drawings" by Daniel Durning. Durning is a New York based artist, educator and new media designer. He writes that "100 drawings" reveals his artistic process and ritualistic practice of drawing the pure geometry depicted in the icon of the radiant rectangle, a minimalist motif he has been cultivating for years. Durning also produces and hosts Art and technology , an internet radio program on MOMA's WPS1.

Waiting Joohyun Pyune
"Waiting for a Telephone to Call Me" by Joohyun Pyune

Hye and I both really liked "Waiting for a Telephone to Call Me" by Joohyun Pyune. Pyune has a background in textile design. Her work is about encompassing human emotions like agony, rancor and grief. She tries to capture solitude, pain and marginality and presents them as conditions of our existence. As gloomy as she sounds a visit to her web page will reveal that she is actually an existentialist and she is smiling in the photo on her site =)

"Waiting for a Telephone to Call Me" was another of the works that you had to get up close to appreciate the ways the light and the artists process played tricks on your eyes.

Pyune Waiting for a telephone to call me
"Waiting for a Telephone to Call Me" by Joohyun Pyune

Pyune used a heat transfer process to get the image printed onto a mesh like fabric stretched over another printed image on paper set back an inch or so. Where the images overlap there is a multiply like effect that makes the image appear darker where you can see through the fabric to the image beneath. Since I am a process freak, I spent some time explaining this process to interested parties at the reception who could not get enough of this piece. I would not be a bit surprised if this piece sold on opening night.

"Durian" by Thomas R. Williams ( click for video sample 2.7 MB mp4)

I really liked this music visualization by Thomas R. Williams. Williams writes, it takes place inside an imaginary biological system, and travels through its inner organization with synchronicity, suggesting the inner workings of the mind. Using various generative methods it fuses 2d and 3d in unexpected ways, expanding on the possibilities of dancing architecture. Williams is a long time VJ and creator of music videos.

Hye and I also loved the works by Michel Tcherevkoff. He has been exhibiting photographic work since I was just a year old. His current series "Shoe Fleurs" is fantastic. He had four pieces in the show and all of them were really nice. The following photos don't do justice to these works, they really are quite impressive.

Divine Tcherevkoff
"Divine" by by Michel Tcherevkoff

The complete review with several more photos, artists and commentary is here.

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Tue, 09 Oct 2007

Art of Digital Show Reception

Art of Digital Show 2007 San Diego CA

Hye and I went to the Art of Digital Show in San Diego, California to see the reception since we heard it was going to be awesome. In short, it was awesome. We had a fantastic time.

The show was packed and most of the downstairs was shoulder to shoulder. The show was very well put together as the artwork was selected by Neal Benezra, director of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). It did seem a little heavy on the digital photography side but all the pieces worked well together. There was a great section of video art works that were all fantastic.

We were able to meet up with Joe Nalven from the digital art guild and his wife and several other fantastic artists. Some nice ladies even asked me to autograph their catalog of the show. I have to say I was flattered to the point of being somewhat in shock and at a loss for what to say other than "thanks!".

I will post pictures of my favorite works and and videos shortly when I get caught up with work.

Be sure to check it out if you are in San Diego! It runs through November 11th.

The Art of Digital Show
An international exhibition of digital art
at the elegant Lyceum Theatre Gallery
in San Diego's historic Gaslamp Quarter

Exhibition: October 6 - November 11, 2007

Judge: Neal Benezra
Director of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

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Wed, 03 Oct 2007

Systemic Sky Full HD Video for Victory Media Collection

systemic sky video still systemic sky

systemic sky systemic sky gnerative video

systemic sky 

These are some stills from Systemic Sky, a new HD video art project for this years Victory Media collection downtown. I got the idea for this piece while standing in the plaza looking up at the 50ft screens on the sides of the buildings and I wanted to make a piece that had a connection to the sky above the screens. For downtown this piece consists of two synchronized 3.5 minute videos that will play opposite each other on the plaza super screens.

This is my first full HD video (1920x1080) project and it required me to put some workflow processes in place. I had 2 dual core PCs processing video most of the time the last 2 weeks before the deadline. Unfortunately a lot of the mid day skies had to be pre-filtered to remove haze from ozone and pollution. The pollution worked in my favor during the sunsets and sunrises making the skies a very rich saturated orange. The hardest part of working with full HD is not being able to preview the work at normal speed in full HD. I could burn the renders straight to blue ray disc but at 17 dollars a preview that I ended up rendering out the segments as 720p mpeg 4 videos to fine tune the animation.

I collected about 12 hours of HD video of clouds and wrote a program to process the video. The source video was edited and sped up to leave 3.5 minutes of video to be processed by the program. The program manipulates the existing frames and abstracts them using some square drawing and scaling routines. It also draws vector shapes over the abstractions that are assigned velocity information based on the movement of the clouds. Invisible objects flock across the screen avoiding circular vector shapes and leaving a trail of vector lines while emitting bubble particles. Lastly the original video still of the sky is overlayed back into the final version of each frame with a lightest pixel routine giving the abstraction its context in reality.

For Victory Media Network I compressed the running time of the video down but I think I am going to make a slower version that may be more appropriate in a gallery setting. I think I am going to recruit a friend to help collect more sunrise and sunset video and collaborate on the slower version.

I will post a quicktime movie of one of the segments in a day or so.

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