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Human nature is one of disguise. One of the characteristics that humans exhibit more distinctively than other species is their simultaneous fear and need to both know and ignore their fate. Our form of consciousness, of self-awareness, of understanding our relation to what is around us is one that calls, more often than we'd probably like to confess, for the use of totems of support, disguises that carry their own meaning so that we can adapt that meaning to our selves. Uniforms, brands, ideologies that relieve us from having to create our own fate. But our fate is something we write along our most difficult journey: the one towards within. It's the one trip that one has no companion for, no flags to fight under, no uniforms to disguise the fear that lies inside, because there is not the figure of the other, there's only one with one's inner world. Only one's own judgement towards oneself. It's also the ultimate journey: all the territorial advances within are instantly rewarded in how we navigate what's outside. A known and charted self is probably the best tool for the unknown and uncharted others. A never ending journey it is as well, precisely because it interacts with the infinite others.
In the back and forth that is the odyssey of developing one's self, a word comes to mind that I take from "Vigil", a song by the band The Mars Volta. They say "all the centrifugal ways our lives fall in and out of place", and I relate to that very specifically. One's journey within has the necessary scenario of those others, an environment that pulls us out continuously of our interior exploration, in an endless mutual influence.
This work is a reflection of that nature of human development. External structures in centrifugal motion around an axis that one tries to keep stable. But the axis can’t be always perfectly stable. It all creates an imperfect mechanism through which one relates to both sides of their existence: what’s inside and what’s outside.
Here's a guide to the various ways you can engage with this artwork:
· Press s to save the current image
· Press t to alternate between seeing the shape that centrifugal entities create or seeing the entities themselves rotating around the axis of your life
· Press y to clear all the ghosts from the past that don't let you see the trail left by recent events
· Press l (from "loop") to freeze the loop of life and to resume it
· Press q to stop the centrifugal entities and to resume their movement
· Press m to change the rotation behaviour of the entities. It alternates between adjacent steps or seemingly random placement around the axis of your life.
· Press p to slow down strongly the movement of the centrifugal entities. Typically interesting to see the slow-motion shapes that emerge, somewhat different than what emerges when things spin at full speed. Just like in life: smaller time scales contain many things we don't get to see because we are running around with no time for reflection.
· Press r followed by + or - to increase / decrease the rotation speed of your life in small increments.
· Press v followed by 1,2,3 to change the axis of rotation. If your life has more than one axis, try v 4 or 5. You start to have centrifugal shapes that are not so easy to follow. In this case, reflect on whether you should look at life from one axis at a time.
· Press a followed by either 1,2 or 3 to enter auto mode, or a 0 to disable auto mode. In auto mode, the piece will automatically change among different parameter sets: different centrifugal speeds, rotation axes, clearing up ghosts from the past, alternating between the shape of your life and the individual elements, etc. The three modes are as follows: "a 1" will automatically alternate between individual entities / full centrifugal shape; "a 2" will also intervene in the axis of rotation and other potential life changing effects; "a 3" is mildly audio reactive (it will ask for permission to use the microphone), and will trigger changes when it detects significant audio events in your life. Music changes my life, and the piece reflects it in this way.
· Press d followed by 1 to 3 to add the same amount of clusters of centrifugal entities, or 0 to go back to the initial state. If you want to have a much more complex life than the one the piece shows you, you can ask to see how your life is in such a scenario. By default the piece has 1 cluster of entities. But what if you believe you can juggle a more complex life? Then try to increase this parameter. This will, however, create a very slow life, so unless you have a very powerful platform (metaphorically, a very highly self-tuned and inspected being, and more literally in real life a pretty beefy computer to run it), you'd better change the performance parameters to actually see the effect. Otherwise, the simplification mechanism will bring your complexity down quickly and you won't see much of that higher-order life.
· It has also colour controls: press z for brightness, x for contrast, g for gamma, b for blur, n for noise followed by + or - to alter their values. You might get some simple variations that you might enjoy.
· &pd=2: sets the pixel density of the final image. The higher the value, the larger the image size. Certain browser/computer combinations will be able to go higher than others. Experiment.
· &pdpg=2: sets the pixel density of the base drawing layer. The effect that you can get by changing this separately from the "pd" URL parameters is that if you set pdpg lower and pd higher, you will get fine grain noise & texture in the final image overlaid on a low resolution drawing. Might be interesting for those nostalgic of low-res graphics. I find it does yield an interesting texture for certain combinations. Experiment.
· &autoAudioVolThreshold=0.01 is the minimum audio level that will trigger a change in your centrifugal piece, if you have auto mode 3 set. If you find your piece is not reacting at all, maybe you need to lower this value.
· &auto=0 (0,1,2,3): this is the same parameter that you can indicate via a keyboard command. You can set it via URL in case you always want to see your piece in some of the auto modes. It is 0 by default.
· &overrideperformance=0 (0,1):This is set to 0 by default: the piece checks the performance and if it detects it's below a certain threshold, it will apply a number of measures to improve performance: remove entities from your life, lower resolution and other measures. But if you want to create a high res file, it probably is a good idea to disable all checks and let your life run slower, but you'll get a more complete picture. To disable all performance checks and measures, set this parameter to 1.
· &performanceMaxFrameTime=200 This is the milliseconds that each frame is allowed to use to render. If your life renders more slowly, and the performance check is enabled, it will apply the measures described previously. You can increase the performanceMaxFrameTime parameter to allow for more time per frame. Setting it to a very high value has a similar effect to setting overrideperformance=0
· &nClusters=1 to 4. Sets the number of clusters. See explanation above in the "d" parameter.
· &ra=0 to 5 to set the axis of rotation. Trying above 5 will actually stop the rotation in your centrifugal life. Kind of like trying too many things at once and you break apart.
Finally, this piece is all about introspection, inspecting oneself, listening to oneself, accepting what one is and has and understanding this is the base for any development or construction or any other metaphor one may try to pursue in life. To this end, it is essential to find peace in oneself. If you find peace in yourself, you will see things in a different light. You are advised.