kottke.org posts about John Stone

Time merge mediaFeb 05 2008

Someone made a video overlay of the 134 times it took him to get through one level of hacked version of Mario World.

Oh, and how that relates to quantum mechanics:

But, we can kind of think of the multi-playthrough Kaizo Mario World video as a silly, sci-fi style demonstration of the Quantum Suicide experiment. At each moment of the playthrough there's a lot of different things Mario could have done, and almost all of them lead to horrible death. The anthropic principle, in the form of the emulator's save/restore feature, postselects for the possibilities where Mario actually survives and ensures that although a lot of possible paths have to get discarded, the camera remains fixed on the one path where after one minute and fifty-six seconds some observer still exists.

Some of my favorite art and media deals with the display of multiple time periods at once. Here are some other examples, many of which I've featured on kottke.org in the past.

Averaging Gradius predates the Mario World video by a couple years; it's 15 games of Gradius layered over one another.

Averaging Gradius

I found even the more pointless things incredibly interesting (and telling), like seeing when each person pressed the start button to skip the title screen from scrolling in, or watching as each Vic Viper, in sequence, would take out the red ships flying in a wave pattern, to leave behind power-ups in an almost perfect sine wave sequence. I love how the little mech-like gunpods together emerge from off screen, as a bright, white mass, and slowly break apart into a rainbow of mech clones.

According to the start screen, Cursor*10 invites the you to "cooperate by oneself". The game applies the lessons of Averaging Gradius and multiple-playthrough Kaizo Mario World to create a playable game. The first time through, you're on your own. On subsequent plays, the game overlays your previous attempts on the screen to help you avoid mistakes, get through faster, and collaborate on the tougher puzzles.

Moving away from games, several artists are experimenting with the compression of multiple photographs made over time into one view. Jason Salavon's averaged Playboy centerfolds and other amalgamations, Atta Kim's long exposures, Michael Wesley's Open Shutter Projekt and others. I'm quite sure there are many more.

Dozens of frames of Run Lola Run racing across the giant video screen in the lobby of the IAC building.

The same kind of thing happens in this Call and Response video; 9 frames display at the same time (with audio), each a moment ahead of the previous frame.

Related, but not exactly in the same spirit, are projects like Noah Kalina's Noah K. Everyday in which several photos of the same person (or persons) taken over time are displayed on one page, like frames of a very slow moving film. More examples: JK Keller's The Adaption to my Generation, Nicholas Nixon's portraits of the Brown sisters, John Stone's fitness progress, Diego Golberg's 32 years of family portraits, and many more.

Update: Another video game one: 1000 cars racing at the same time. (thx, matt)

Update: More games: Super Earth Defense Game, Time Raider, and Timebot. (thx, jon)

Update: Recreating Movement is a method for making time merge photos (thx, boris):

With the help of various filters and settings Recreating Movement makes it possible to extract single frames of any given film sequence and arranges them behind each other in a three-dimensional space. This creates a tube-like set of frames that "freezes" a particular time span in a film.

How You See It overlays three TV news programs covering the same story. (via waxy)

Update: James Seo's White Glove Tracking visualizations. The Slinky one is mesmerizing once you figure out what to look for. Seo also keeps a blog on spilt-screen media.

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