Thursday, December 29, 2011

Boring fashion colors

Fashion color software
I looked around me and I wondered ... are fashion colors really so boring nowadays or am I imagining it? To check my intuitive impression I wrote two simple Processing sketches:
  •  Color picker - you point your mouse at the clothes of people. The colors are stored as a list of RGB values.
  • Color plotter - you combine the RGB lists from several photographs into one long list. Then this program plots the color values. One row is the original sequence. One row is a sorted sequence.
This is a follow-up on the fashion outliers observation experiment. The results are consistent.

In 2011 there are not many outspoken fashion colors at all.
Summer colors are brighter and more outspoken than winter colors.
Colors in the Netherlands are different from colors in Germany. There are more browns in Germany no tasteless pun intended). There are more blacks and blues in The Netherlands.

There is no color correction. Light color should be calibrated before using the program. It is possible that the camera makes the colors more bluish and less outspoken. This is something for future development.

Rotterdam July 2011 

Amsterdam October 2011 

Rotterdam August 2011 

Monchengladbach December 2011 

Rotterdam December 2011 

Processing code - Color picker

This code is based on the following program:
Color Picker by Andres Sanchez, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 and GNU GPL license.  Work:

PImage myImage;
PFont myFont;
color mouseColorS;
String colorPick;
String[] colorList = new String[0];
color blackCorr = color(0,0,0);
color whiteCorr = color(255,255,255);

void setup() {
  myImage = loadImage("r8.JPG");
  size(min(1000, myImage.width),min(700, myImage.height));
  myFont = createFont ("Helvetica",24);

void draw() {
  float rS;
  float gS;
  float bS;
  float rC;
  float gC;
  float bC;

  // drawthe image to the stage
  image(myImage, 100, 100, min(900, myImage.width), min(600, myImage.height));

  // find the color under the mouse
  color mouseColor0 = get(mouseX-1, mouseY-1);
  color mouseColor1 = get(mouseX,   mouseY);
  color mouseColor2 = get(mouseX+1, mouseY+1);
  color mouseColor3 = get(mouseX+1, mouseY-1);
  color mouseColor4 = get(mouseX-1, mouseY+1);
  rS = red(mouseColor0)/5 + red(mouseColor1)/5 + red(mouseColor2)/5 + red(mouseColor3)/5 + red(mouseColor4)/5;
  gS = green(mouseColor0)/5 + green(mouseColor1)/5 + green(mouseColor2)/5 + green(mouseColor3)/5 + green(mouseColor4)/5;
  bS = blue(mouseColor0)/5 + blue(mouseColor1)/5 + blue(mouseColor2)/5 + blue(mouseColor3)/5 + blue(mouseColor4)/5;
  mouseColorS = color(rS,gS,bS);

  //draw a rectangle filled with that color;

  // ad3d the text labels

  text(round(red(mouseColorS)), 100,15);

  text(round(green(mouseColorS)), 100, 35);

  text(round(blue(mouseColorS)), 100, 55);

  //hex value

  text(hex(mouseColorS), 100, 75);
  colorPick = Integer.toString(round(red(mouseColorS))) + " " + Integer.toString(round(green(mouseColorS))) + " " + Integer.toString(round(blue(mouseColorS)));

void mousePressed() {
  if (mouseButton == LEFT) {
    text(colorPick, 100, 95);
    colorList = append (colorList, colorPick);
  else if (mouseButton == RIGHT) {
    saveStrings("colorList.txt", colorList);
  else {

Processing code - Color plotter

String[] textLines;
int nr;

void setup() {
  int i;
  textLines = loadStrings("colorList.txt");
  nr = round(900/textLines.length);
  size(textLines.length*nr, 600);
  for (i = 0; i < textLines.length; i = i+1) {
  rect(i*nr, 0, (i+1)*nr, 600);

void draw() {
String[] pieces;
color[] colArray = new color[textLines.length];
color pick;
int i;
int j;

  for (i = 0; i < textLines.length; i = i+1) {
    pieces = split(textLines[i], ' ');

    pick = color(int(pieces[0]), int(pieces[1]), int(pieces[2]));
    colArray[i] = pick;
    rect(i*nr, 0, (i+1)*nr, 300);
  colArray = sort(colArray);
  for (i = 0; i < colArray.length; i = i+1) {
    rect(i*nr, 300, (i+1)*nr, 600);

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Esoteric bookshop

I regularly passed this anarcho-esoteric bookshop and publisher. This was on the corner of the Benthuizerstraat and the Vinkenstraat : Uitgeverij Drukkerij Cagliostro. As you can see the books in the shop windows have been censored (protected?) by Google.

 Usually I walked by on Saturday - and then the bookstore was closed. When I found the time to visit on a workday the place had been sold to a new owner. I will never buy one of those weird books. And I will not get to know an interesting person. It is a great pity. These were the books on 20 January 2010.

Esoteric - Golden dawn - The hermetic museum - Vril - Building your own telescope - Starting out: modern benoni
New world order - Illuminati - Brave new world - The Syndicate: The Story of the Conspiracy Behind World Government - The unseen hand - Zpower: Zero point energy - Electricity and magnetism
Tarot and magic - Nicola Tesla - The chemistry of explosives - Meditations on the Sepher Yetzirah - Magnetic energy to heal the planet - Hoodwinked: watching movies with eyes wide open - How to lie with statistics
Occult - Mind control - Codex magica - Mind control, NLP and hypnosis - Media sexploitation - The big lie: 9/11 and the government complicity in mass murder
Quabalah - Magick - Embracing the dark: the magic order of Dragon Rouge - Fire & Ice - Quabala - Opium lords
Tarot - Underground - The tarot of the bohemians - The magical tarot - Meditations on the tarot - The biggest secret - Behold a pale horse
Rothschild Money Trust - 700 Kinderrijmen (700 children's rhymes) - Tesla said - Obama: the postmodern coup - America's secret establishment: The order of skull and bones - Konstantin Meul: Scalar waves - The plot to seize the white house - The legalized crime of banking - Places of the Soul: Architecture and Environmental Design as a Healing Art - A guide to German flying discs of the second world war

You immediately recognize some classics. And you see a clear prediction the the current financial and banking crisis. And during an earlier visit - on 23 August 2009 - the books were different. So there were some sales going on. A pity I never could buy one of these weird classics. They were not too expensive.

We still have one esoteric bookshop on the corner of the Witte de Withstraat and the Schiedamse Vest (why are those shops always on corners?) but that is a very tame, New Age and incense type of shop. This one was more feral and punk. The authentic anarchist thing. 
 Identity theft handbook - Vril - Starting out: modern benoni
 Excel 2007 Data Analysis for Dummies - A catalogue of angels
 Conspiracy theories - Solar technologies - Body language
 America's secret establishment: The order of skull and bones - A guide to German flying discs of the second world war - Places of the Soul: Architecture and Environmental Design as a Healing Art - The biggest secret - The energy revolution - The Seven Seals: a Practical Occult Experience - Build your own solar: cells, oven, car
Billions for the bankers - Rhythms of the brain - Langs Rotte, Maas en Schie (Along some Dutch waterways) - Fotografie en de natuur (photography and nature) - Luftwaffe fledglings 1935-1945

Finally I on 14 July 2010 I went by again - the store again being closed - and this time I photographed the books that were published by this specific publisher: Cagliostro Verlag Rotterdam - Uitgeverij Cagliostro Rotterdam. We have lost a tiny monument of Rotterdam:
 B. de Spinoza, Populaire bijdrage voor zijn Leven en Leer - Dr. Rudolf Steiner, Erster Naturwissenschaftlicher Kursus - Erklärung der Natur - R. Steiner, Occultisme en esoteriek
 Gedichten, D. Huisman - Die wahrheit über die anthroposofie und deren verteitigung gegen die unwarheit. - J. Mol, Graag verlaten - Basilius Valentinus, Les douze clefs de la Philosophiques
Denkschrift - Der esoterische jugendkreis - Rudolf Steiner, Theosofie - Briefe über die köningliche Kunst

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Fashion observation experiment

Since reading the book Zero History by William Gibson I've been paying more attention to fashion. Previously I had totally ignored it. Now I realize that:

  • It's an important part of our culture.
  • It limits our means of self-expression severely - at certain times you can only buy certain types of clothes - or only certain colors. Especially if you don't have the money or time to get more specialized clothes.
  • It might be an interesting subject to observe and analyze - because you see it in huge amounts all around you.
Recently I've started observing fashion actively. I'm only a beginner without knowledge and without a frame of reference. So the easiest way to start was to observe outliers. Establish a subjective baseline by looking at the crowd and then record anything that is different.
Now this is my first result:

Boring baseline
Interesting outliers
  • Dark colors - black or dark blue
  • Artificial materials
  • Stuffing and isolation - balloon style
  • Informal - generic
  • Bright or light colors
  • Attention to detail - caps - shawls
  • Formal, classic or idiosyncratic
  • Too cold for this season

Further observation may yield more useful criteria. And may answer some obvious questions:

  • Relation between age, income, gender, race and fashion choice?
  • Relation beween what is worn actively and what is being sold in the shops right now?
  • Relation between temperature, humidity and wind speed and fashion choices?
  • Relation between part of the city and fashion preferences?
  • Relation between weekday and time of day and fashion preferences?
  • How to quantify  and analyze the data?
Interesting questions that I would never have thought about before reading Gibson's book.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Psychogeography bingo

User guide
  • Explore – Below you will find 50 psychogeographic observations. Go out and explore. Rediscover one of the observations. Document it in pictures or text and mark its number.
  • Get bingo - You get bingo when you fill any column, row or diagonal.
  • Profit - Document your bingo observations in the comments of this blog. Provide pictures if possible. Do this before 1-1-2012. We will try to send the first few winners a random book from the Rotterdam secondhand book market. It may be in Dutch but then it will have pictures.

The Psychogeography Bingo was compiled for the Suffolk Psychogeophysics Summit in August 2011. It was distributed in several places near the Suffolk, like: Ipswich, Aldeburgh, Orford Ness and Grime's Graves.
Later it was distributed in London and a few samples were inserted into books in the Rotterdam public library. As was to be expected ... no one replied. Now is the season for games and puzzles. So I give it one more try on my weblog.

Bingo card 1 - Advanced difficulty level - Weirdness and poetry
1 - You are reminded of figure from history (architect, physician, alchemist, visionary, madman).
2 - The power and energy of myths even though we know that they are not correct.
3 - The most powerful force in the making of primitive religion.
4 - Impenetrable micro­geographies.
5 - The rain which greeted him twice on that day.
6 - Protected border, chain-link fence. You're on camera, obviously.
7 - They had a circus here, with a high wire, tumblers, clowns and animals.
8 - Anonymous poetry, urgent and anxious. The city composing its own disposable legend.
9 - It is more disturbing when heads start reappearing.
10 - We came across a building that is difficult to interpret.
11 - The groaning language of the landscape itself as it speaks to me when I go walking.
12 - Strange squares with trees growing in them.
13 - This is where the city drops its shroud of culture, straightens itself out and settles down for hard-nosed business.
14 - A real outing to an unreal place. You learn the awful secret: “There is no there.”
15 - A pastoral landscape, as depicted on the label of a honey jar.
16 - Archeology.
17 - The presence of this sealed building traveled with us.
18 - Cognitive overload in the landscape.
19 - The moon that likes to pass over this place,  hidden behind clouds.
20 - An area that wanted to disguise its true identity, to deflect attention from its hot core.
21 - The sight might seem to darken the landscape as when a cloud suddenly blocks the light on a right day.
22 - You came close, but you couldn't pin it down with absolute precision.
23 - A bleak topography of absence. Areas of neglect and desolation.
24 - The gates that act like circuit breakers, disturbing the energy generator of the undisciplined body mass of the city.
25 - Stylish industrial debris.

Bingo card 2 - Advanced difficulty level - Weirdness and poetry

1 - Pre-molded concrete objects (lintels, pails, lampposts) with lichens growing on them.
2 - The road to the distant forest, where a small light was twinkling from time to time last night.
3 - Nobody can decide how long the road is.
4 - Reflections of sodium lamps. The road at night is a joy, a thing of spirit.
5 - Ancient trackways, elements of the mega­lithic, primitive mounds and encirclements.
6 - Narrow streets, memories seeping out of walls.
7 - Doomed buildings on the brink of oblivion.
8 - Heretics.
9 - Black and jagged against a lowering and stormy sky.
10 - Hallucinatory half-country.
11 - The point where the city loses it, abdicates, gives up its ghosts.
12 - That cherished place which this road is leading to.
13 - Weeds, clumps of grass, roadside planting.
14 - Computer generated graphics.
15 - Never acknowledged as a coherent identity it nevertheless lingers in the infrastructural unconsciousness of the city.
16 - Trash, dirt and dust. Rubbish blown against a perimeter fence.
17 - Pilgrims.
18 - You feel the presence of the sea behind the buildings.
19 - Grotesquely stacked humans, a tainted spot on the map, a hellhole.
20 - Looking down into the swampy wastes of the river.
21 - The fear of the human dead.
22 - Places outside the guidebook, places you have never visited and have not even heard of,
23 - A random dude.
24 - A TV-monitor playing real-time absences. Somewhere unknown, twenty-four hours a day.
25 - This word kept on passing through my head. I think the landscape was actually  trying to tell me something.

- Iain Sinclair – London Orbital
- James George Frazer – The Golden Bough
- John Rogers, Nick Papadimitriou –
- Igor Savchenko –

Thursday, December 8, 2011


I had high expectations of Repressed Spaces - The poetics of agoraphobia by Paul Carter. I imagined  expeditions through Gothic cities filled with frightening objects and Chirico spaces charged with threatening atmospheres.

The book is interesting but it does other things than I was looking for. It explores modern literature and psychology and circles agoraphobia but never takes the plunge. Still it has many interesting observations. For example I had never thought about this difference between real life and novels. The quote reminds me of the elaborate space and time rituals of spycraft:
In novels, it is always disappointing to find how easily characters meet. They seem to have no difficulty in finding each other. Within a page or two, on the slightest pretext, they are in conversation (or bed) together, plotting their fictional future, and the former history of possible meetings is wiped out.
I would like to read a novel about the prehistory of such novels, in which the question of meeting is posed. It would see through the illusion of being life-sized to each other. It would give the distance between people a name. Such a book would document the duration of such intervals. Its characters would live at different scales, depending on their nearness to the emotional epicenter. Perhaps the enterprise is unnecessary: city squares produce these effects spontaneously.
Agoraphobia inducing spaces in the Rotterdam concert hall. 
And below is a very interesting observation about the (un-) written rules of urban life. This one reminds me of the anonymous "dotmaker" who put his color coded dots on many Rotterdam traffic lights. And of the anonymous artist who wrote the word "hypnosis" on the WAIT-signs of Rotterdam traffic lights:
I must be six or seven years old. I am standing with my mother on a busy pavement edge. Next to me is a signpost: proud of my new skill in reading, I look up at it. I spell out: NO WAITING. How can I doubt that the words are addressed to me? Their accusation is plain: standing there, I am breaking the law. Ever obedient, I step off the kerb and, slipping from my mother's grip, run without hesitation towards my self-sacrifice in the path of the oncoming traffic ...
Rotterdam dotmaker graffiti - 2008
But the most interesting quotes were picked up by other reviewers. This one is really fascinating and this is exactly the kind of insight that I had hoped for:
In general, in both the cities and the countryside of the Austro-Hungarian empire at the end of the nineteenth century, anti-Semitic sentiment was hidden. The Jew who took care to avoid stirring it up could almost persuade himself that it didn’t exist, and that any anxiety he felt was groundless. In other words, the agoraphobia Freud felt arose not from the presence of a hostile force, but from its apparent absence. It was the menace of the emptiness that kept him in a constantly repressed state of anxiety.
Entrance to Jewish cemetery in Gorinchem.
And this one I´m going to do more with in a future blog post. This one reminds me of the classic Entrances To Hell website. That website changed my view of reality forever:
On this reading, agoraphobia stems from the prospect of places being opened up that are not places. The crisis occurs as a confrontation with make-believe spaces. The opening they promise is infinitely estranging. The enlarged access they offer produces a concomitant anomie. A sense of vertigo is accompanied by a fear of asphyxiation: maximum mobility accompanied by maximum petrification -- agora-claustro-phobia. The double-bind sensation arises from a sudden awareness of a lost relation. Characteristics of sociable space that had been taken for granted become conspicuous by their absence. Qualities of orientation, proximity and grouping, and their behavioural counterparts, gathering, lingering and the general gymnastic of a rhetorically conducted social existence, are missing.
Entrance to hell - places being opened that are not places.
  • Repressed Spaces: The Poetics of Agoraphobia by Paul Carter, Reaktion, 2002
  • Comforting Lot's wife: A review of Paul Carter's Repressed Spaces: The Poetics of Agoraphobia by Angela Rockel
  • Repressed Spaces - Review by Gerard O'Sullivan - Metapsychology 2003

Friday, December 2, 2011

Spam poetry

Good day my friend!
How are you?
I hope all well!

What you interests? 
Than you are engaged, your interests.

My name - Elena.
For me main is heart of the person!
My age is 28 years.
Do not reject my offer.

I shall hope that my letter will not be rejected by you.
I hope you have correctly understood me.
I shall wait your answer.