Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Fractals and Spam


I’ve always had trouble coming up with titles for my images. Often, it seems that I’ve spent as much time trying to think up a name for an image as I’ve spent creating the piece. When title inspiration eludes me, I resort to simply naming them by the date and sequence – 20060905-01, for example, and tell myself that I’ll work out a decent name for the thing later.

As a result, my parameter folders are filled with whole blocks of unmemorable numeric titles. This make for a mess when I browse through saved parameter files because my visual memory processes are geared toward associating images with descriptive names, not strings of numbers.

A partial solution came to me from an unlikely source - Spam. My spam filter dumps all e-mails from non-approved senders into a special quarantined folder, but I still have to skim through them every day or so to make sure I’m not missing any legit messages. That’s when I noticed that a lot of spammers use made-up nonsensical names in the “From” or “Subject” lines.

Most of them don’t get much consideration – “Pr0n”, “PHmdARMA” and “AMvBBtEN” don’t really work as image titles for me (But one never knows..). Every now and then I do find a real gem. A few that I’ve either used lately or have filed away for future reference include “Zed Thill”, “Sang Bourgeois”, “Xhobitol”, “Freddy Kruger wears Rolex”, and my current favorite, “Grunting Strontium”.

So you see, I’ve found a use for spam after all..


Blogger Susan(mathsinger) said...

I just render all mine out into folders by month and then browse through the thumbnails. The file names are unimaginative, but I can usually find stuff quickly. I think of it as a visual index. Google's Picasa makes this especially easy. If I have a good name, I just tack it onto the date/version name.

9/06/2006 10:27 PM

Blogger John S. Meade said...

Years ago a group named "Procul Harum", Latin for the "uncommonly far out there" but colloquially the "Lunatic Fringe" sang a song named -- "The Devil Came From Kansas". I was there (Kansas) when the song came out ("Turn up your radio (KOMA) and let me hear the song" -- V. Morrison). I can attest to the validity of the supposition. You may not see where I'm going with this yet but already I've mentioned a naming convention and a singer. I'll get back to this ref later.

Here am I addressing a more or less scientific community about one of the most important magical operations there is – assigning a true name. Goes all the way back to Adam (OK Kansas? Happy so far?) But this is the major distinction between us and the rest of the art world. In so much as a tree is a tree and a drow is a drow (Sorry Topeka!) and a rose is a silly thing to name an even sillier war after, but what about our stuff? Nobody else has the difficulty of naming something because they all work from some preconceived gut feeling. We twiddle and layer and palletize way before we realize something is being said or there is a need for a name.
Now I hold this to be true and pretty much self evident -- all artists follow the beat of a different drummer, on the other hand -- our drummer not only has rhythm but she beats it out to a funky complex number over a transcendental waveform bar – not just a “rhythm” but an algorithm and that on binary bongos.

Anybody who's seen my stuff in the last few years (and my guess is “the present company” is excluded) can ponder that I must spend a lotta time on naming (“Where >>does<< he get those wonderful toys?”). Truth is the Muses (actually they're retired Hamadryads from the dogwoods in my Dad's estate) stare over my shoulder and urge me to commonly keep my faith in the uncommon distance, and they read a lot (despite their aversion to paper)... there's this mailbox in my dreams...

For the rest of the artists, “Nice_tree_#23,418” is good enough, but for us truth in naming is the higher calling. How we do it is pretty much up to how much we pay attention to the magical. And for those who never did, well you're reading this for some reason – maybe this is it.

Tonight, look for your mailbox. Don't discount the silly.

9/07/2006 9:22 AM

Blogger Tim said...

Actually, John summed up my personal naming method: gut feeling. I look at the image and give it a name which describes the impression I get from looking at it. Short is best, like nic-names for people. Sineteeth, orangescreen, rootrock, blueslice, needleflower, arcsinegreen, stampbox...

It's almost as if the image tells you its name, but really you're just becoming adept at listening to your own thoughts and taking the loudest and clearest to be the name.

Far out, eh?

9/07/2006 10:07 AM

Blogger sharkrey said...

I have seen several random name generators, but this is the best I've seen by far:

9/09/2006 2:17 AM


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