A new arrival in the office today- I’ve borrowed a monitor from my (wonderful, generous hearted, angelic) brother, so that that there’s a screen larger than eleven inches to edit the video clips on when I’m working up here. I spent remarkably little time either writing or editing today, but in a suitably postmodern fashion I did film myself finishing editing the footage of myself writing from yesterday. I also added a couple more clips to Vimeo from the filming in Somerset. I’ve never worked with dual monitors before, so I must admit to wasting an embarrassing amount of time flicking windows between screens, just because I could.
Mid-morning I met Prof. Ewan Klein and his wife, Mimo, for a hot chocolate and a chat about abstraction and creative writing. I discovered that Ewan used to work in the English Dept at Newcastle University (where I currently work when not in Informatics) before coming to Edinburgh. Recently, he has been researching abstractness and vagueness, which he explained to me using ‘mornings’ as an example: how do we individually define when ‘morning’ is, and how does that affect our interactions with each other. I decided that morning started about an hour before sunrise, Ewan thought 5a.m. He’d used computer agents to represent different interpretations and run a programmes to see how they overlapped and interacted. You can read more about that here. Mimo teaches writing skills to academics, and will be going to teach creative writing in South Africa next year as part of a charity project. The three of us talked about the writer’s toolkit, and some of the possibilities of different visualisations which could come out of it.
On the way back to our respective offices in the Forum, we ran into Prof. Stuart Anderson. The toolkit came up, and the conversation went off on a fantastic tangent about (amongst other things) modelling narratives and writing collaborative narratives in gaming environments.
After lunch I went to visit Prof. Robert Fisher, who I’d discovered was a creative writer as well as a researcher. I meant to also ask him about his work in machine vision, but we got caught up in discussing his writing (dystopian futures: right up my street), so I’ll pick his brains over that another time. I love hearing about people’s stories/books — it’s my favourite part of teaching. I sometimes think my perfect job would be slush-pile reader for a publishing house.
Clare and I did an on-site run through of next week’s workshop on Titles, to check that all the necessary connecting cables for my laptop were in the room and we knew how the projector worked. She’s now in charge of the powerpoint, and I’m in charge of remembering to use Firefox rather than Chrome to demonstrate the second version of Entitlement, otherwise it won’t work. Then I went back to the 5th floor and meant to write a list of everything I have to remember for next week, but ended up writing another list of edits for yesterday’s short piece instead. C’est la vie.
Here’s the footage from yesterday’s ‘tandem writing’ session down by the Christmas tree:
Reviewing the footage of myself editing footage of myself writing (phew, try saying that three times fast…), I discovered that the new monitor also sorted the issues I’d previous had of filming myself researching for my writing: that the camera couldn’t capture both my hands, face and the computer screen. With the keyboard and monitor separated, there’s less dead space in the panoramic capture. I also learnt that I can’t sit still when listening to music, and that speeded-up footage of myself chewing gum makes me look a bit creepy: