animated mosaic experiments

The reflecting pool honeycomb and frog emoji / kiwi grid are a couple of options I was exploring as I built the web design software I want to see in the world — one that makes it easy to arrange any kind of content on a geometric grid and play around with visual motif in order to make every piece of information that gets published on the web a little more unique and memorable.

As it is, when I’m trying to remember where I saw some piece of information I’ve got nothing to go on. Every tweet looks the same, every facebook post fits same rectangle, the only way to navigate is to scroll up and down, as if computers were limited to moving back and forth on a paper tape, so where was I just looking? was it up? no it was down… maybe it was this other tab…

YouTube seems to be a more visual medium, and you can scroll sideways in places, but the home page is still algorithmically arranged so nothing is in the same place as the last time I saw it, and the only way to search is by text string, so you’re supposed to know the name of the video you want or just channel surf. Recently I had this song stuck in my head and I could not remember the name for my life, so I type, “clowns car crash cross-dressing singer ” because that’s all I remember about it, but nothing familiar turns up and eventually I’m scrolling through my watch history from a year ago when I finally see the thumbnail (Yukon Blond’s Saturday Night is the video, it was worth it)

Anyway what I’m saying is it can be really hard to remember where you last saw something on the internet, even if you already downloaded some pdfs. Windows and Mac both have gone from demanding a well organized harddrive to a “type something into the box and hope the computer can guess what you want”, er, I mean “AI” approach

The alternative I’m suggesting is a web where the content publisher can choose to make big changes to how their page is structured — is your universe 4 sided or 6 sided? does everything face an origin at the center or is it all an infinite scroll with no beginning or end? Either way there’s a checkbox for element orientation, and a drop down menu that let’s you choose from different tiling patterns to build on. While most other design frameworks have gone through pains to get a toggle switch for ‘light mode’ and ‘dark mode’, my software allows for fine tuning light and color interaction on each page, hopefully with the effect of making each page a little more visually distinct, so it’s more recognizable when moving through history and file folders.

The effect of zooming into the pattern to reveal more white space, or zooming out to increase the density of the material, has a very noticeable outcome on the brightness of my laptop’s display. I later learned that controlling light is one of the primary use of many of the geometric patterns I’ve been using as source material — Persian and Indian architecture features these patterns carved in wood and stone and on top of cooling the air flowing through and keeping the sunlight in check, it provides a lot of meaning to a space — how familiar the patterns are, and yet how unique each one can be, such that seeing one you might immediately remember where you were the last time you saw it.

“While from within the jali one can view the happenings outside, those standing on the outside do not get a clear view of the inside. This allows the jali to be a perfect privacy provider, at the same time not cutting off those within with the world outside. 

The next step in developing the software is to get a function working that allows “painting” elements on the grid pixel by pixel, like you might in microsoft paint or minecraft. That is, allow selecting any set of tiles and editing the color (or ‘material’) of the group, or replace the selected tiles with text areas, photos and videos, iframes to other embedded content.

From there, the page is rendered as static HTML+SVG with no javascript so it’s cheap and relatively painless to serve the content from your own machine, or use free services like github-pages to quickly get your audio/visual compositions online with your choice of domain name.

So I’m intending for this to be a way to make visually distinct virtual spaces to keep important information that you don’t want to lose. That information could be family photos or a spreadsheet, either way, why not decorate the margins so that the thumbnail will stand out when you’re trying to find it again.

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