Happy Birthday George Boole!

By James Titcomb 1:31PM GMT 02 Nov 2015

© Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2015

George Boole, the British mathematician whose work on logic laid many of the foundations for the digital revolution, has been honoured on the 200th anniversary of his birth with a special Google Doodle.

The Lincolnshire-born academic is widely heralded as one of the most influential mathematicians of the 19th century, devising a system of logic that aimed to condense complex thoughts into simple equations.

His legacy was Boolean logic, a theory of mathematics in which all variables are either “true” or “false”, or “on” or “off”. The theory preceded the digital age, with American Claude Shannon applying Boolean logic to build the electrical circuits in the 1930s that led to modern computers

Google’s animated Doodle  ( see link) above  illustrates the logic gates that are used in computing and are derived from Boolean functions.

The first “g”, the two “o”s, the “l” and “e” in the Google logo light up based on the logic gates underneath them. When the “x” and “y” in the second “g” light up, they are on, activating other letters at different times.

For example, when both x and y are on, the first “g” (x AND y) and the second “o” (x OR y) light up.

The “XOR” gate that activates the first “o” is known as an “Exclusive OR” gate, meaning it only turns on when one and only one of x or y are true.

Nowadays, this logic underpins all digital devices, existing in almost every line of computer code, and has transformed the way we live our lives.

For example, searching Google for two words, say “David Cameron”, includes an “AND” function, meaning both the values “David” and “Cameron” need to show up in search results.

Boole, who lived much of his life as a professor at University College Cork in Ireland, was also an early thinker on the theory of artificial intelligence, believing that all human thought could be reduced to a series of mathematical rules, and advocating machinery as a way to replace human drudgery.

He was born on November 2 1815 in Lincoln and died aged just 49 in 1864.

“Boole was a self-taught mathematical genius who is widely regarded as one of the most significant pioneers of the information age,” said University College Cork President Professor Michael Murphy.

“Some 200 years after his birth, he remains a beacon of academic excellence and the influence of his theories of logic and probabilities are as powerful today as they were back in the 1800s.”

The Doodle can be seen around the world in November 2, except for the US, Mexico, Italy and parts of the Middle East and Africa.


Work to date for group discussion of proposal

This post outlines my project proposal and looks back at some of work I have made since September.

The most recent is a video piece made for projection in combination with  ‘curtains’ of drawings on cling-film.

I’ve not done this yet though. I also need to reflect on this piece, specifically from a digital cultural perspective.

It could have ben made without digital technology but possibly is different as a digital piece. My reflections will be posted in full after the discussion….well not straight after!

Work shown was made most recent first.

 My key question is : how can digital technology contribute to the re-animation of action or event residue to demonstrate its co-existence with the present?

I am interested in the way we document and archive past events, the overlay of memory of past and present, and the fluid space in between.


  • To combine the use of digital technology with physical action, objects and images (remains of place, time and events) to produce work that evokes emotional affect in a viewer.

  • To use digital technology and traditional art practice to make manifest concepts such as impermanence, change, continuation and layered co-existence, rather than static archive.

Documentation video ( fragmented edit)

As below but with video projected through.


Documentation drawings on cling-film with digital projector


Layered traced drawings of documentation video below

Abstracted video documentation of action with cassette tape


Traced performance documentation images with fragments ( below) removed.


Print Residue 2 detail US 14.09.14150

Ink residue on glass plate after drawing monoprint ( from performance action documentation image)

Binary seals and tablets process150            Binary Clay tablet150

Clay tablet and cylinders with Hamlet quote ( ‘more things in heaven and earth’) in binary

Australia, David Medalla and the Michaelmas Fair

I had a frustrating day on Friday scanning slides. I faffed around as often happens when you do something you haven’t done before and then had to stop to go out to the post and video something of the fair before it opened, just as I felt I had got going. I put them together in a movie which does nothing interesting at the moment as they are all different scenes with nothing tying them together closely enough in time. Here is one though.Australian Slides0033 Resized 150Handwritten on the back is ‘ Mabel’ They remind me a little of Ed Ruscha’s swimming pools. Old Kodachrome slide film. I was too late for the fair, it had started, had to walk back as no parking and chimney sweep arrival,  but then couldn’t get the scanner to work properly and the sweep was late. Went outside to see the brush emerging, at his invitation………..IMG_0246

Is this a superstition? I feel it must be…or maybe just to show he’s done the whole chimney? Also scanned some cling-film. cling film scans0011 Resized This will not work for future projection, of course?, as the background is white not transparent  so spent a large part of yesterday covering the studio in white paper to take some photographs of the individual cling-film images hanging, for future projection.

I do like the way some of the other drawings are printed on to this one though…

This is turning into a bigger experiment.

Went to the fair to video something ‘in action’.

Rode the horses, walked round the mirror maze, shot corks from rifles, watched people spinning in drums, on Waltzers and at various heights and angles.

Discussed Health and Safety and insurance costs.

Saw the fair men jumping on and off the rides but when I got back realised I’d run out of phone memory for that bit …an astounding show against a backdrop of lasers and very loud adrenaline pumping music, so just a morsel rather than a full meal.

Lots of footage of Claire and other people’s bums as I was trying to film with my iPhone at waist height having seen the beginning of  ‘Metro Manila and its effective city arrival footage.

Not quite what I was after so will have to be edited (not my original intention). I like the chance element so much that I won’t see what i am doing until after incase I interfere with it. So I may have to discard or search for what I need when I’ve watched it back more.

A great evening though ( ‘You can take the girl out of Blackpool…..‘) and a wonderful antidote to the frustrations of the day.

The first time I have been to the fair without children, my own or other people’s, for 20 years! I wanted footage as this only comes once a year and then is gone.

Still there at midnight and by 7.30 am the traditional market is up and running in the Market Place. It’s one of the old ‘Mops’, a hiring fair post- harvest when everybody celebrates the cropping and stops after the hard work. It was always so tangibly significant to me when I worked in agriculture and had hauled sacks of grain and my nose was full of grain dust. Full of personal significance too as Sam was born a few days after its arrival in 1994 and other memories layer the repeated experience.

After our ride on the horses I mentioned a favourite Enid Blyton story to Claire, where the horses escape from the carousel and ride off into the countryside. She knew it too, from her childhood …another shared experience, as well as our father’s time in Changi. Fair 1 I reminded myself and her that I must find a field of suitable soil to make the earth binary piece.

I slept well after a Thai meal and walk home in the warm but heavy rain and, at some point,  thought of a shower of glass noughts and zeros to be distributed amongst friends and passed on as material digital ‘sharing’.

Yesterday I remembered David Medalla, who almost came to CSM to talk to the 4D students in 2010. The first video I found of him, when researching today was of Migrations at Tate Britain.

It starts with him on the boat from Tate Modern to Tate Britain…. Boats! Again! Not sure what this means.

But there is also a lecture I want to watch (at Stockhom Assembly  October 2013) and make notes from as below:

This set me thinking of showers of grain……a bit like D. Medalla’s bubbles but moving in a different way. Links: Australia, Phillipines, Singapore….

Week four – reflections on work so far

More here soon. Ha! Well, OK not ‘soon’ as it has taken me till now, 5th October, to sit down and write something.

It’s is not that I haven’t been doing and thinking and reflecting but ver..ry slowly in a turgid sort of way.

I have not felt activated by anything I am doing, obstacles are not challenges but obstacles!

So finally after two weeks of fever, fatigue and residual lethargy I have been able to be active, sociable and now feel able to write some of my reflections.

Obviously many of the fleeting thoughts have been left behind but I can inly trust in the process that the essential will rise to the surface of the settling pool and be available for contemplation.


Binary and Printing (and Drawing): Reflection

The binary clay seals I made finally dried out and I had a go at printing with them.

Not really successful as they were not fashioned smooth enough to use on paper and the ink was absorbed by the clay so even printing on fabric was not really successful.

I will try using the relief on some clay but suspect as they were not fired it will crumble and break as this already started to happen when the ink was applied.

So the question is:

Do I source a kiln ( Helen S?) , make some better ones, fire and try again or do I shelve the idea?

They were interesting objects and visitors generally saw some references I had hoped for.

Several comments about the ‘things used in the da Vinci code’! ( is this a good reason to watch it again?!)

I had a notion of making some in glass which would be really enjoyable but very time consuming if not really relevant.

I still do like glass as a material for all the tranformed, not really one thing or another  ( solid/liquid), constantly moving, reflective, transparent reasons.

And I love working with Helen in the studio!

I love the place and, as you will come to understand, ‘place’ means a lot to me – sparks off all sorts of ‘stuff’.

SO I think I enjoyed making them and the binary text thing is still lurking, as you will see later, but I am not sure yet where it ‘fits’.

I have been continuing with printing images made from documentation of actions and will upload images in my next post .

I am not sure what it is I am doing but I think I am Processing  the memory.

Working over and over again on the same image.

When I am tracing over the image, the result  become less accurate and so the image underneath is a more distant  represention of what went before.

Often when I am doing it I become bored with the repetition and am just doing it for the sake of doing it.

Not fully present in the action.

Similar to the way our bodies adapt to some sensations and so can distance our selves from, for instance , the feeling of our clothing and ambient sounds, in order to stay sane.

This then makes me think of maybe paying attention to all the forgotten experiences of our day to day lives…

and also to change my emphasis  more to ‘forgetting’.

I’ve written  before  ( BA dissertation )  Link??? about  fact and fiction in documentation and the fluidity of this but I feel my emphasis  this time is different.

My main concern is that I have been bored by this and by the results.

If I am then why would anyone else be interested! and I ‘m at the beginning of the MA!! Not a good time to be bored!

Also feeling very frustrated at not being able to go on the Liverpool trip or visit galleries etc the way I would like to.

Feeling devoid of inspiration and the things that make us perceive things differently.

But being aware that if my analysis is to be of the human memory vs. digital memory, what I am doing is engaging in the Processing part of the PROCESSING, STORAGE, RETRIEVAL procedure.

I felt comforted by this and have tried not to think too far ahead.

Experiments with analogue materials: Reflection

I really enjoyed playing with the materials and after finally getting my old Mac to read the files and uploading them into an ancient  version of iMovie I enjoyed messing around with editing.

The only problem is that I find the software ‘clunky’ and am a novice so the edit is rubbish.

Again it’s fine for playing around with but it would be good to make something that wasn’t scruffy.

Making the piece with Claire was interesting as it made me think of ‘what is collaboration?’

Her thoughts were interesting as we discussed the nature of archive and the possibility of filming in my loft ( where all my personal family memory-keeper’ stuff is mostly ( apart from the bits I am trying to edit and file)

Of course as this MA proceeds I realise that in ‘clearing crap’ during the summer I have thrown away things that would now be useful.

The less relevant life documentation with un-recognisable places and people that now I am interested in.

Anyway, back to the videos.

I liked the two short edits but the orientation of all three videos makes the reading completely different.

I took them to my Monday leisure Bodicote House Art Group for their critique as an objective audience and  their  interpretations were interesting, orientation featuring in their understanding of what was happening.

Peter commented that the music on the third edit was somewhat overwhelming and I agree but I really like the visuals and the sound of the tape clattering which of course can’t be separated from the rest of the soundtrack as they were recorded together.

I am tempted to re-make but I dislike the idea of repeating and rehearsal and more than the minimum of direction as it takes away the chance, spontaneity  and resulting raw affect which may arise.

When filming on my iPhone there were several other videos which I have discarded, the other with me filming and Claire W ‘playing’ with the tape.

I’ve since tried to project the video so I can ‘draw into it’ but much faffing about with the projector and it still won’t read the file.

I am increasingly frustrated by my ineptitude with the tech. esp as this is a MA Fine Art Digital and I feel as if I haven’t a clue.

Spent a lot of yesterday afternoon trying to download various converters and use them to convert M4V file into something readable but to no avail.

I have passed to my son and his pc but fear that it may be protected, not ‘something to do with my ancient Mac OS’ .

What I have done is to draw/trace  from stills on my laptop which has been useful in the continuing ‘processing’ of the documentation.

More of this in my next post.




Week 1- Binary and printing

My thoughts for some time have been regarding units of memory, digital or embodied.
I am interested in the concept of prints used as a means of fixing memory.
What is fixed and how fixed is it rather than a drawing which is more fluid, inchoate, temporary?
The impact of our ‘digital age’ is likened that of the invention of printing press in the 15th Century and so to Enlightenment and Reformation in Europe.
As I am moving back, re-examining and re-presenting work it felt appropriate to investigate the some of the earliest examples of prints.
Rather than those made directly with hand and mouth,40,000 years ago I wanted to explore those mediated through another material, an interface, between hand and the print made.
I used Sumerian cylinder seals 

I wanted to reduce ‘something’ to composite units: Text to binary.
At night, a fragment of remembered speech/verse/text came to me as I fell asleep.
I cannot remember if I heard it/ spoke it/read it.
I typed the few words into Safari on my phone and found the full quotation:

‘There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.’
William Shakespeare – Hamlet Act 1, scene 5, 159–167

and converted it into binary notation:

01010100 01101000 01100101 01110010 01100101 00100000 01100001 01110010 01100101 00100000 01101101 01101111 01110010 01100101 00100000 01110100 01101000 01101001 01101110 01100111 01110011 00100000 01101001 01101110 00100000 01101000 01100101 01100001 01110110 01100101 01101110 00100000 01100001 01101110 01100100 00100000 01100101 01100001 01110010 01110100 01101000 00101100 00100000 01001000 01101111 01110010 01100001 01110100 01101001 01101111 00101100 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100001 01101110 00100000 01100001 01110010 01100101 00100000 01100100 01110010 01100101 01100001 01101101 01110100 00100000 01101111 01100110 00100000 01101001 01101110 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 01110010 00100000 01110000 01101000 01101001 01101100 01101111 01110011 01101111 01110000 01101000 01111001 00101110

The initial small positive and negative cylinders have a small amount of the binary notation inscribed.

Below is a monoprint of part of the text and also the residual imprint on the glass plate after the print has been removed.
This latter is, of course, not reversed whereas the print is.

Using prints of the documentation images from Unscheduled (2010) seen in my first post, I made monoprints and photographed the prints and the residue as below.
This time the digital ink prints I used to draw from were in black and white and of rather poor quality.
It was hard to determine the lines I wanted to follow.
The lines I made did not follow the original as exactly as before.
Some lines were made which I realised afterwards did not follow the original thread but were joined as I saw them as I was making this drawing.
The print became more of a construction based on an original than a representation.
It was not even made from my memory of the drawing or of the original performance, but an act of piecing together the fragments of visual information I could retrieve from the paper copy to make an image on the paper and the glass plate below it.