Brendan Dawes
The Art of Form and Code

That Was The Week That Was — 24th February 2019

Monday saw me deliver work for a wonderful new client that will be rolled out during an event starting on the 4th March in California. The deliverables included high res prints and a 4K video, all created from data in Houdini. It's actually the first commercial piece of work I've done in Houdini and I loved every moment of it. Lots of learnings of course, not least factoring in render time on a 4K video running at 24 frames a second. I made use of Gridmarkets — a cloud rendering service that allowed me to use 30 machines at once which really helped get the renders done. One render took almost two days though — a 28800 pixel wide one frame print render. Definitely worth the wait. With really fabulous comments from the client following delivery I'll be sure to use Houdini again in my work. I should also mention that I used Hitfilm to put the video together rather than Adobe Premiere or the truly awful Final Cut Pro — which should be renamed Final Cut Joke. Hitfilm Express — which is free — coped with the 4K footage without even blinking and the quality of the exports was superb.

Later that day Marc Thiele text me whilst at a conference to ask if I'd ever used Notch — something a speaker was talking about on stage. I said no, but then looked it up. It looks like a great way to make real-time interactive experiences especially at large scale. Only thing is it's Windows only right now. Certainly something for me to investigate further regardless.

On Tuesday I fired up Skype — not something I normally do — and did a talk for Winchester School of Art about my work and practice. I'm never normally a fan of doing talks over Skype — I don't like the lack of feedback — but the students were great and I'm looking forward to seeing the show they're all working towards this summer in London.

Wednesday was spent putting another talk together, this time for Craft in Manchester, which I was speaking at the next night. The theme was all about Form. I decided to start with a my love of the humble butter knife — something I only discovered last year. The point I would be endeavouring to make is there is wonder in even the most mundane of things, even everyday cutlery.

Craft on Thursday night went well — the other speakers were great and the audience were lovely. The butter knife intro went well — think I'll be using more cutlery inspired intros in future talks for sure. After the talk Lawrence — one of the organisers — and Victoria took my out to Little Yang Sing in Chinatown, via witnessing a scuffle in the street. Oh Manchester, don't ever change. Actually do change — add some bloody green space in the city centre for God's sake.

Friday morning was full of surprises. Firstly the client I had just delivered the work too had already paid the invoice — pretty much immediately. Then I get a surprise email from an artisan carpet manufacturer in India who supply to some high end places in New York and elsewhere. They wanted to talk to me about creating a collection for them. At first I viewed the email with a little suspicion — probably wrongly — but after getting some assurances from them and learning a little more about them, this coming week we'll be doing a video conference call to chat about the possibilities...

At some point on Saturday I came across this Open Culture tweet, detailing why John Coltrane's Giant Steps was such a seminal record, and why it still remains an incredibly complicated piece to play. I watched in awe as the piece talked about pattern and mathematics and the thinking behind this classic piece of Jazz. As I write this I have it spinning on the platter, yet this time my appreciation has been magnified ten fold.