printing and constructing

The worlds thickest block calendar is finished. Last week was spend on printing the 2865 pages, perforating them and constructing the calendar. The printing turned out to be more of a challenge then expected.

The inner peace visualisation consists of several layers of circles with varying transparency. Printing those pages resulted in extra thick lines in other parts of the print. To solve this the layers had to be flattened and saved in a PDF 1.3 document. As it took me quite some time to figure out how this is done, this is how I solved it. I opened the document in Acrobat and saved it as a PostScript file. I then opened it in Acrobat Distiller and saved it as PDF/X-3:2002. The whole process took a couple of hours because hundreds of pages had to be flattened. It took the printer around 8 hours to print the whole document! Thanks again to Tiggelman, they’ve done a great job.

After the printing was done I went to the print workshop at St Joost art academy, thanks to John too. Here I perforated 1400 pages by hand with the nice stamp perforation. After I got the hang of it and managed to perforate 4 or 5 leaves at a time it only took me around 6 hours in total.

Then the pages and tab sheets had to be cut and drilled (also done by Tiggelman). I then had two big stacks of pages which had to put into the right order. I then added the tabs and noted the years on them.

The final challenge was to actually build the calendar by pushing the pipes through the drill holes and slowly building one big stack. I had to use small stacks of around 50 pages. The whole was secured by using a long piece of threaded end inside the pipe and rings with wing nuts. Inside the pipe was also strong rope to hang the calendar from the ceiling.

Looking forward to the exhibition: FINAL SHOW 20 april – 23 june at Lokaal 01, Kloosterlaan 138, Breda. Together with 200 other artists.

calendar perforation

Being able to tear of pages is an important part of the calendar. So I’ve been investigating the possibilities. At first I hoped the printer, Tiggelman, would just do it for me. Alas their perforation turned out to be too vulnerable. The nice people at St Joost art academy and office supplies Benoist gave me the opportunity to test two different systems for perforation: one with a blade and the other with punch holes:

The top page has a stamp perforation. The stack is one year. This gives me insight into the size and weight of the calendar. The total weight will be around 5 kilogram. The thickness will be around 32 cm.

I still haven’t decided which perforation to use. I will have to do it by hand whichever one I choose. But the ease in which the papers can be torn off will be decisive.

flickr problems

Downloading the big format photo’s from Flickr turned out to be more trouble then I expected. Downloading the small format pictures went like a breeze, as I explained here. But on almost all the big files I got this picture:

I suppose I got kicked out. I only realised this when I wanted to integrate the pictures in the pdf so that was a bit of a set back. I had to think of a way to download the photo’s and be able to link them to the dataset. I’ve used two programs to download all my pictures from Flickr: Bulkr and PhotoSuck. Both contained the Flickr photo id in their file names. I found and rewrote a script to list all the file names, loop through them and save the pictures under their id used in the dataset. I keep being pleasantly surprised by Java and Processing. Eventually I only had to download only on picture by hand:

The next step is scaling the differently sized pictures to match the width of the pdf. I think I might also use the titles and tags of the pictures in a subtle way, I’m not quite sure yet.

test prints

Today I went to make test prints and the results look very promising.

The people at Tiggelman repro were very helpful. They suggested I use a paper called Reviva which has a nice newspaper look. The lines I use in my design are only 0.4 pixels thick and the lighter ones were barely visible when I printed them on my printer. But at Tiggelman they’ve got a very good printer which can print those lines and gives very sharp prints in general. This is necessary as lots of lines are very subtle. They will print a test stack of 500 pages and do all the manipulations like drilling and perforating. I’m really looking forward to holding that first stack in my hands.

days of my life

I’ve been programming hard to shape the pages that will represent my life in the calendar. I’ve used Marcos’ statistics to make a nice backdrop for my pages using the average of stress, energy, mood and inner peace values. Layered on top of that are the distinguishing values for the above parameters. I’ve also already incorporated the diary, haiku’s and photographs. It might take some tweaking still but the basics are there. See for yourself:

And a day with less data:

So the horizontal lines is the energy, diagonal is stress, the V or upside down is the mood and the white circles represent inner peace. All vary in colour and repetition depending on the value. I do love the different patterns that are drawn. Quite surprising.

working with data

I’ve been experimenting with the design and data visualisation using the personal data values: mood, stress, energy level and inner peace. Depending on the data value the lines, shapes and tone of each visualisation varies. This will create a different structure for every timeslot in every day.

Inner peace will be a big organic and mysterious shape.

Energy and stress level will be pictured using horizontal an vertical lines respectively. The upper image is average energy and stress level. The lower is low energy and high stress.

Mood will be an arrow head/smiley pointing upwards or downwards. It is the most upper layer, clearly visible on the peace shape.

This is an experiment with combined output for 4 timeslots using real data. It gets a bit busy and the lines in different directions are making me feel a little giddy. So work to be done but it’s a promising start.

working with images

The calendar contains 863 photographs taken over the last eight years. Some days have multiple pictures most days have no pictures. Using a double loop I loop through the days again and for every day I loop the entire array to get the days where I took more pictures.

Once I knew I could detect all the images for every day I had to reconstruct the file name from the csv file containing the photo meta data which I created with the phpFlickrSync application which I described earlier. I wanted the pictures on my hard drive so it will be more stable once I start creating the pdf files. For that purpose I discovered this great Processing function called saveStream(). It takes just a file name and an url parameter. In my big loop I downloaded the files in medium size and renamed them to the index in the array with photo data. In fifteen minutes I’d downloaded and renamed all the 863 pictures. This is part of the result:

virtual to paper

I managed to convert the micro-diary to PDF output. It’s quite moving to see my virtual diary which has spend almost eight years in a database printed on paper. There’s is no layout yet, that will follow later. I have to make sure the it is technically feasible and then I can start tweaking the appearance.

Update @ 11/3/13 I’ve now got a 2867 page pdf file of A5 format:

looping through the years

I’m starting a new data visualisation project. It uses some eight years of data from the numuseum website. In 2005 I started with a micro diary (255 characters per day) using custom software to update it every two hours. In 2006 followed my energy level and in 2008 inner peace and stress were added. All could be updated every two hours using the custom software. There are almost 900 pictures and around 60 haiku’s.

All this data will be integrated in an off-line visualisation: reversed calendar. This will take the form of an enormous tear-off calendar, where every leaf represents a day. There will be 2865 leafs in the calendar.

So I first have to get my head around the data sets. Luckily statistics wizard Marco Altini is helping to sort things out. He uses the very powerful program called R. Which can give you quick insight into data correlations. It was a bit embarrassing to discover how sloppy my data is. Notations have changed over the years and errors cause my program to halt.

At the moment I’m designing the leafs and doing some initial data accessing. I started out with the micro diary. I use Processing and Java to read in the data and at a later stage create pdfs for every day which can then be printed and made into a real tear-off calendar.

My idea is to make a big loop going through all the days from 27-4-2005 till 01-03-2013. I use the Java GreogorianCalendar class for that. The diary is in csv format consisting of a date and text string. I then compare every date with the date text string in the loaded data. It took some time to get the formatting right so the data can be compared as strings. I now have the first data ready to be incorporated into the pages. The printed output looks like this:

maandag 25-02-2013 // date of the page
Things are looking clear today.<br />Why does everything go more slow then you hoped? // diary text
p. 2861 // page of the calendar
dinsdag 26-02-2013
I hope I will learn the art of not worrying.<br />A nice conversation, new perspectives.
p. 2862

I want to share a little bit of code with you that I’m not using in the application but which might come in handy sometime. It lets you compare a date string to the incremented date (calStart):

Date d = new Date();
// make date
String myDate = “30-11-2005″;
DateFormat sdf = new SimpleDateFormat(“dd-MM-yyyy”);
d = sdf.parse(myDate);
catch(ParseException e){
Calendar tmpCal = new GregorianCalendar();

if(tmpCal.compareTo(calStart)== 0){