Category: Blog

Landscape Mode

Students of the Scripted Design course I run at MIVC are putting on a show at V2_ Lab for the Unstable Media on 17 December, in which they will showcase their work from the course: a series of rules-based videos, and films which compile videos made every day throughout the course into one video artefact.

The show has been curated by Yusuf Deniz, Bregje Horsten, and Leonardo Landoni.

Do come along! 17 December, V2_ Rotterdam, 18-21h.

For more information about the course, see sd.olliepalmer.com

NaNoGenMo 2019: Directory Directory

I decided to participate in NaNoGenMo (National Novel Generation Month) this year with a project called Directory Directory – an online directory of fictional companies, all located within the Alphaville-Zulutown region. It’s organised like an old phone book, by service type, and each company has a name, slogan, address, and phone number.

Some day in the future I’ll update the directory to have more information, and use more advanced grammar, and maybe even be printable. But the project was a nice excuse to learn some new things (the Tracery library for python is fun to play with; it’s also the first time I’ve built a workflow to build a whole generative website).

Some services
Companies offering Anemic Sling services

You can see the project at directory.olliepalmer.com, and play with the code that wrote it at GitHub. Enjoy!

Des’ree Bot

This week, I made a silly Twitter bot. It was mostly an attempt to make a tutorial about making Twitter bots using Dreamhost servers, but ended up being a bot who periodically tweets lines from Des’ree’s 1998 hit Life.

The bot itself is inspired by the africa by totobot, which simply tweets a random line from the song every few minutes. It is actually so irritating that I’ve stopped following it myself, as I found my days permeated by twee earworms about preferring toast to ghosts, or the desire to fly around the world in a beautiful balloon. 

The codebase is on Github – you can use it to build bots yourself if you use Dreamhost, or adapt the code slightly if you use another host (or have your own server). 

You can also follow the bot at @life_by_desree, if you dare.

Hundred Thousand Billion Poems

I am sure it’s been done before, possibly hundreds of billions of times, but as a small coding exercise whilst writing my PhD I wrote a little piece of code which renders random iterations of Raymond Queneau’s Hundred Thousand Billion Poems on a web page. I re-found it whilst working on another project. Here it is:

See the Pen A Hundred Thousand Billion Poems by Ollie Palmer (@olliepalmer) on CodePen.

The code is available on CodePen and Github.

Residency at V2_

I’m happy to announce that I am one of the nine resident artists at V2_ Lab for the Unstable Media as part of their Summer Sessions programme this year. I’ll be developing a sound project that I am quite excited about – more details to follow soon.

Rules of the Game

This weekend I took part in the annual Sci Fi London 48 hour film challenge, in which participants have to write, shoot, and edit a sci-fi film in 48 hours.

My film had to include the following elements:

Title: Rules of the Game
A prop and action: A character opens a sealed padded envelope and pulls out a card.
A line of dialogue: The count for this stuff is off the chart, probably best you don’t get it on your skin.

Here is the outcome. It’s a 5-minute film about an ambitious inventor named Larry Hammer in the midst of an experiment. The film-making had all of the constraints you’d imagine (no budget, limited time, one person) but it was great fun to make. I hope you enjoy it!

I did the writing, shooting, directing, editing, starring, and soundtrack (à la Tommy Wiseau?). I also had some generous script advice from Amy Butt and Pippa Palmer, for which I’d like to express thanks.

Scripted performances: digital and absurd machines

I’m very excited to be giving a lecture as part of the Bartlett’s Constructing Realities lecture series next week. If you are in London, please do pop in on the 15th February. It will also be the first chance I’ve had to see the Bartlett’s shiny new campus.

Constructing Realities Lecture Series, Spring 2018

Scripted performances: digital and absurd machines

‘Scripts’ in architecture are usually associated with computer-based design programming. However, this narrow usage belies a rich vein of concepts intrinsic to architecture and authorship. This lecture poses the script as a useful critical and methodological tool within architectural design, absorbing and reinterpreting ideas from behavioural psychology, computation, dance, immersive theatre, the Absurd, and the Oulipo. The lecture is illustrated through a series of projects completed during Palmer’s residency at the Palais de Tokyo and PhD by Design at the Bartlett spanning dance, film, installation, and data manipulation.

Biography

Ollie Palmer is an artist and designer based in the Netherlands. He holds an AHRC-funded PhD by design from the Bartlett and was artist in residence at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris from 2015-16. His work has been exhibited around the world, including at the V&A Museum, Opera Garnier de Paris, Seoul Museum of Art, and the Royal Institute of British Architects. He co-authored the winning proposal for the US Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2018, and sits on the project’s curatorial advisory committee. He formerly taught within the Bartlett’s Interactive Design Lab and at the School of the Art Institute Chicago. He currently teaches at TU Delft.

www.olliepalmer.com

More information: Bartlett event website / Facebook event page

PhD

I am pleased to announce that after four and a half years, I have been awarded a PhD by Design from the Bartlett School of Architecture UCL. My examiners were Dr Kevin Walker at the Royal College of Art, and Dr. Penelope Haralambidou from the Bartlett, and the thesis was supervised by Professors Stephen Gage and Peg Rawes.

Many thanks to all who helped my work get to this stage, and to the Arts and Humanities Research Council and Palais de Tokyo for providing the funding and framework for the research to take place.

Scripted performances: designing performative architectures through digital and absurd machines

Abstract

‘Scripting’ in architecture is usually associated with computer-based design programming. However, this narrow usage belies a rich vein of concepts intrinsic to architecture and authorship. This thesis frames scripting as a critical mode of computation, performance, and design process. It does this through seven projects that explore relationships between technology, society, and the philosophical absurd. Works include films, performances, programmes and installations produced independently and collaboratively with experts from scientific and artistic fields.

This thesis asks: how might an expanded definition of ‘scripting’ act as a critical methodology for performative architectural design?; how can this methodology mediate between, and comment on, technology and society?; and what is the relationship between scripting, authorship and agency? Computational scripting has been explored in depth by a number of practitioners and theorists; performative scripting has been examined within the context of theatre and artistic practice; this study adopts an expansive definition of scripting that embraces each of these approaches whilst simultaneously proposing scripting as a critical design methodology. Furthermore, the thesis introduces the philosophical ‘absurd’ as a framework for critiquing emergent technologies and their impact on society.

In Chapter 1 two projects (Ant Ballet, Godot Machine) are discussed as modes of diagramming absurd theatrical scripts. The ‘framing’ of these projects provides direction for further work within the thesis. Chapter 2 introduces two dance pieces (Nybble, Scriptych) which represent scripted performances and a novel computer-scripted feedback mechanism. Both are diagrammatic modes of presenting contemporary computing mechanisms. Chapter 3 then discusses two experimental computationally-scripted absurd films exploring the practices and impact of contemporary technology companies (86400, 24fps Psycho). Chapter 4 introduces a film (Network/Intersect) created through a novel design process imposing strict rules on the creation of work. It concludes by naming this practice ‘reflexive scripted design’, proposing it as the thesis’ original contribution to knowledge.

View at UCL / View online

Note: I want to publish as much of the work as possible. Watch this space for updates.

Update, February 2022: my thesis is now available online at phd.olliepalmer.com. I’ve updated the links in the article above to point directly to the chapters in the online version of the thesis.

Architectural Film Festival London

I am excited to have two films screening at the inaugrural Architectural Film Festival in London from June 7-11 this year. Both were produced during my residency at the Palais de Tokyo.

Network / Intersect

A film about propaganda and the production of fake news, created entirely using the techniques of the Internet Research Agency propaganda factory in St Petersberg.

Room 11, Bargehouse, OXO Tower Wharf – free entry
Wed 7 Jun 11:00-13:00 (ArchFilmFest Selection A, 120m total)
Thu 8 Jun 11:00-13:00 (ArchFilmFest Selection A, 120m total)

Scriptych

From the live performance at Opera Garnier de Paris on 18 June 2016, featuring choreography by Simon Valastro. Two dancers attempt to communicate via a new technology which converts their movements to words, using vector space translation.

Bargehouse | free entry
Room 11, Bargehouse, OXO Tower Wharf
Sun 11 Jun 11:00-11:46 (ArchFilmFest Competition Shortlisted)
Sun 11 Jun 13:40-14:26 (ArchFilmFest Competition Shortlisted)

Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) | ticket required
Sun 11 Jun 16:30-18:30 ("From Above" category, with introduction by Competition Director Anna Ulrikke Andersen)
More information

Complete festival programme

Directions

Bargehouse, OXO Tower Wharf

ICA

Synchronised cinema

The first known use of multiple cameras and multiple screes, Thompson said, was in 1896 in a process called “Cineorama.” Ten cameras were mounted . in a balloon. As the camera ascended the Paris rooftops, the cameras photographed a 360-degree image simultaneously. Synchronization was accomplished by a shaft running vertically upward from a platform where two men stood. The chaft had an eccentric in it so that each man could hold the section as he turned it manually. A huge cogwheel at the top operated the cameras in unison. Needless to say, the speed of the cameras was not constant. An attempt was made (the film was shown, I believe) to show this film at the Paris Exposiiton of 1896. To give the maximum illusion of reality, the audience was asked to stand in a basket similar to the gondola of the balloon. An alarmed and aroused fire department terminated the performance. Like all motion-picture film of that time, the stock had a nitrate base. When heated, it could have blown up and literally dispatched the entire audience.

  • Kranz, Stewart. Science & Technology in the Arts: A Tour through the Realm of Science/Art. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Co, 1974. 181.