Links for 14 September 2012

Posting these a little later than usual. Ah well, let’s start with something pretty. Water Light Graffiti by Antonin Fourneau is:

a surface made of thousands of LED illuminated by the contact of water. You can use a paintbrush, a water atomizer, your fingers or anything damp to sketch a brightness message or just to draw.

Water Light Graffiti by Antonin Fourneau, created in the Digitalarti Artlab from Digitalarti on Vimeo.

Clearly, the Olympics and Paralympics have been the biggest thing happening over the past month. Hat’s off to the BBC, Google and London 2012 themselves for sharing some good stats and insights around the digital side of things. In particular:

It was also interesting to see how the BBC has taken on board lessons picked up over the course of the Olympics and started making further plans (more mobile, more live online video and a better ‘connected’ TV service to replace the red button).

While we’re on the subject of sports, Manchester City are giving away OPTA data for every ‘on the ball’ event for every Premier League player in every match in the entire 2011-12 Premier League season. Moneyball-tastic.

If you’re working on this kind of stuff in the arts then it really is worth looking at what your sports industry cousins are doing at the moment.

Arts/digital links

An interview with Valentina Lisitsa, who went from “just another blonde Russian pianist” (their words, not mine) to become a YouTube star with 47m views and counting. Thought: will an arts organisation ever manage to fund its video output via YouTube ad revenue?

MoMA Unadulterated is cute – an unofficial audio tour created by kids with each piece of art analysed by 3-10 yr olds.

Robert Hughes’s eight part documentary The Shock of the New is online. It apparently offers “a comprehensive view on the development of modernist art in its cultural context”. As you may be able to tell, I’ve not watched it yet but I’m told it’s a classic.

Smule make novelty-ish music apps for mobiles and apparently have 61m downloads and 15m active users, with 750m songs created so far. There’s something interesting about the way they’re effectively putting instruments in people’s pockets.

Some quick stuff:

Handy case-study of the month – theatre music directors using Facebook to help each other out:

Over in the Theatre Music Directors Facebook group, one of the most common questions being asked is along the lines of: “I’m doing Show X, which calls for 25 musicians, but our theatre only has a budget for six. Which ones should I use, and how can I reduce the orchestration for such a small group and still have it sound good?”

Answers invariably come flying in from all corners of the globe, as fellow MDs who have also done Show X come to the rescue with their indispensable trove of experience

Lastly, for this section, a comment from Birmingham Opera Company’s Graham Vick – a man for whom I have an awful lot of time and respect:

“There are no rights and wrongs and absolutes,” says Vick. “You take away the experience you have and you value it, or not, as much as you do. It’s up to you whether it was good or not, it’s not up to the person next to you. It’s up to you whether you make a phone call or not. We don’t make any announcements about switching phones off. We don’t forbid the taking of photographs. You know, if our performance isn’t good enough to survive a few camera clicks, then it can’t be that good a show. And besides, what are they doing with the photographs afterwards? They’re putting them on Facebook or Twitter, they’re showing them to their friends. And a whole load of people are talking about a Stockhausen opera. Well,” he smiles, “that can’t be a bad thing.” And he heads off, to help push the trombonist across the hall.

Other links rounds up successfully funded Kickstarter & Indiegogo projects, all in one place and Fancy Hands gives you a virtual personal assistants at what looks like quite a reasonable price. Those are two very tempting things.

As ever, there were a few good data things. I haven’t played with Wolfram|Alpha Personal Analytics for Facebook yet (partly because I don’t use Facebook that much so I suspect my data may be patchy) but I’ll give it a go at some point. I enjoyed this article – Everywhere at Once: Chef Geoff Tracy’s Data-Driven Empire – about the owner of a chain of restaurants measuring hundreds of data points to keep his restaurants on track. Finally, you can now use  Google Apps Script to automate Google Analytics Reporting – I find that exciting. Yeah, I know.

I thought it was interesting that a bunch of big US retailers are collaborating on mobile purchases. Recognition that the overall market and opportunity is too big for any one of them to dominate on their own?

What happens if you write software that generates… – What happens if you write software that generates random polygons and the software then feeds the results through facial recognition software, looping thousands of times until the generated image more and more resembles a face? Phil McCarthy’s Pareidoloop

A few other things:

Apps, services, etc


Not all collaborations work out well. I like this a lot. One day an arts organisation will do a decent web series. See my point above about YouTube partner ad revenue.

Published by Chris Unitt

I work at One Further, doing digital projects with cultural organisations. Follow @ChrisUnitt or find me on LinkedIn.