Fools Paradise Links

Fool’s Paradise is a virtual world based on the “Proverbs of Hell” of English poet and artist William Blake. Intermedia data structures inform its visual and musical composition, developed in collaboration between artist Paul Hertz and composer Stephen Dembski. Visually, Fools Paradise riffs on English Romantic gardens and the changing aesthetics of VR, from the CAVE to game engines and goggles. The virtual world offers forty-eight interactive pavilions linked by a network of paths. Each pavilion interprets a proverb as a song composed by Stephen Dembski for soprano, flute, cello, and spoken voice, as a mask (by Mark Klink), and as calligraphy (by Koy Suntichotinun).

Online resources for Fools Paradise II:

Paper from the proceedings of the xCoAx Conference in Madrid, 2018:

Description of Fools Paradise at

Video screen capture, 2018:

Video short of Fools Paradise I, live musical performance and VR, 2004:

Flickr album covering the development of Fools Paradise:

Ignotheory generative system:

Dick Higgins’ essay on Intermedia:

William Blake, The Marriage of  Heaven and Hell, 1790.

Videos of visual music, a form of intermedia:

Center for Visual Music

Làslò Moholy Nagy, Light Space Modulator (1930):

Oskar Fischinger, An Optical Poem (1938):

Mary Ellen Bute, Synchromy Number 4: Escape (1938):

Norman McLaren, Begone, Dull Care (1949)

Jordan Belson, Allures (1961):

John Whitney, Arabesque (1975):

Vibeke Sorensen, NLoops (1989):

Jack Ox, VR visualization of “Im Januar am Nil,” music by Clarence Barlow:

Other resources

A blog from 2008 about intermedia, edited by Jack Ox and Paul Hertz:

Semiotic Temporal Units at the Laboratoire Musique et Informatique de Marseille:

(/’fu:bar) expo in Zagreb

In Zagreb, Croatia, Siva Galerija recently presented (/’fu:bar), an exhibition of international and local artists involved with glitch art.  Works were collected via email and exhibited either as projections or as prints created on site. Here is the complete list of exhibiting artists. Several of my works were exhibited, including Situation Room, which was printed out for the occasion.

Situation Room at (/’fu:bar) 2015, Zagreb, Croatia

Situation Room (Paul Hertz, 2014) digital image based on “Obama and Biden await updates on bin Laden,” May 1, 2011, official White House photo by Pete Souza. Exhibition photo, at Siva Galerija, 2015, Zagreb, Croatia

This is clearly a new way of doing exhibitions, using digital materials that can be exhibited as media or as hard copy, with practically no intervention by the artist save for submitting work or giving permission. Where works are tagged with one of the various FLOSS licenses, even permission may be superfluous. You could be putting up your own show of FLOSS right now and totally ignoring the artists and it would be entirely legal (to the extent that FLOSS licenses are legal contracts). It is worth noting that the organizers of (/’fu:bar), though occasionally slow to send out notices, seem to have contacted all the artists and sent them exhibition photos. This courtesy of notifying the artist about exhibition and publication of their work and providing documentation where possible is a critical part of the Open Source ethic, it seems to me, and deserves to be mentioned in the various licenses. It may currently be an unwritten rule that not everyone cares to observe—or it may just be wishful thinking. More on that later. Meanwhile, I am pleased to have been included in this exhibition, and doubly so to have received documentation back.

Ubuntu 12.04: How to Install Processing

Processing can be downloaded and installed from As the supported platforms page in the Processing Wiki indicates, installation on Linux can be complicated.

In the following instructions, I’m going to assume you have a basic acquaintance with the Terminal and command lines, at least enough to get around the operating system. This is a really useful skill to acquire in Linux (and MacOS) and can improve your abilities as a programmer. In any case, if you can open a Terminal, you can probably get through the instructions here and on the pages I link to. You will need admin access to run some of the commands, specifically those that begin with sudo.

First, download Processing. On Ubuntu 12.04, the 64-bit architecture is appropriate. It downloads as a .tgz archive, typically into the Downloads folder in your Home folder. You can extract the archive by double-clicking in Ubuntu’s file system browser or extract it from the command line in a Terminal with tar -xf processing-2.2.1-linux64.tgz. Once you have extracted the folder processing-2.2.1, you’ll need to decide where to locate it. I created a new directory, Developer, in my Home Folder, and moved Processing to it just by dragging and dropping. You could also install Processing in the /opt/ folder, though this requires an admin account and use of the Terminal.

If Processing just ran out of the box, you could double-click and run the processing script in the processing-2.2.1 folder or point a Terminal to the folder and type ./processing and hit return (the latter is the approach I recommend). That is unlikely to work because of incompatibilities with the downloaded version of Java in Processing and the default Java environment on Ubuntu. You can resolve the incompatibilities in two steps: installing a new version of Java and adjusting Processing’s directory structure. After reading the supported platforms page in the Processing Wiki, I decided that it made the most sense to install Oracle Java 7.

Installing Oracle Java 7

Information on issues with Java can be found in Ubuntu Help. Take a moment to read the section on Oracle Java 7. Because of licensing issues, Java has to be downloaded and installed from Oracle. Fortunately, there is a tool to simplify this process at The documentation is clear and simple, and I leave you to it. Once you’ve installed Java, run the Java environment variables installer, too. FWIW, here is my command history for this process:

35 java -version
36 sudo add-apt-repository ppa:webupd8team/java
37 sudo apt-get update
38 sudo apt-get install oracle-java7-installer
39 java -version
40 sudo apt-get install oracle-java7-set-default
41 update-alternatives --display java

Adjustments to Processing

Once you have Oracle Java 7 installed and set as the default version of Java in Ubuntu, you’ll still need to modify Processing to use the newly installed version instead of its own. First, copy Processing’s fonts to the newly installed version of Java. You’ll have to change the command lines to reflect the directory structure for your particular installation of Processing. Oracle Java 7 directories should be the same.

cd /usr/lib/jvm/java-7-oracle/jre
sudo cp -R '/home/ignotus_mago/Developer/processing-2.2.1/java/lib/fonts' lib

Next, in your Processing directory, rename the java folder.

cd '/home/ignotus_mago/Developer/processing-2.2.1'
mv java java_old

Now create a symbolic link (symlink) to Oracle 7 Java’s java binary:

ln -s /usr/lib/jvm/java-7-oracle/jre java

At this point, you should be able to run Processing from the Terminal with ./processing. It works for me. YMMV, but I suspect that it should work in most cases. Getting all of Processing’s libraries up and running and getting Processing to run in the Eclipse IDE in Ubuntu are topics I expect to tackle later.

GlitchSort for Processing 2.0

I am happy to announce the release of a new version of GlitchSort, 1.0b10, for Processing 2.0. GlitchSort is a versatile glitching application that began as a sorting algorithm demo for my class at SAIC, Code Sourcery. Up until a few weeks ago, Processing 2.0 suffered from a memory leak that prevented GlitchSort from working. Now that the leak is fixed, I have no excuse: here’s the update. See the GlitchSort Page for details.

SPAMM Cupcake

SPAMM Cupcake is an online show of new media art curated by Ellectra Radikal and Systaime Alias Michaël Borras that was streamed live for the week of Feb. 28–Mar 5, 2013, to a storefront at the corner of Bowery and Kenmare streets in Manhattan, at the invitation of Mark Brown. Ellectra instigated a few months of conversation on FaceBook and eventually some 50 artists participated. The video for my work Snapper is shown here (thanks to Steve Stoppert for the videos, and to Dafna Ganani for making them available on FB). You can find the original animated GIF on the SPAMM Cupcake site, of course, and in my portfolio page of GIFs. Snapper is a work in my recent series on glitch and social memory. Some still images can be viewed on my Glitch Nation page. SPAMM Cupcake has several sites on Facebook, including its group page, the New York City event page and a new page documenting Cupcake.

The events and documents and chats have been flowing so furiously I have barely had time to check out all the works at SPAMM Cupcake. I’m posting this as a way of gathering the documentation and declaring my intention to be a less involved with FB commentary about the show and more involved in experiencing the work in the show.

Navigation Menu with current page disabled

In creating my new portfolio pages, I have relied on other people’s code. I’ve already mentioned the Photobox jQuery image gallery, which drives the slideshows on the new pages. From multiple sources, I figured out a better way of using CSS to create navigation menus than what I’ve been doing before. The core idea is that the link to the current page should show up in the navigation menu but should not be active. Typically, you’ll want to either pull it out visually, to flag the page you are on, or dull it it down, to indicate that it is not available to be clicked. Ideally, the cursor should not change to the active pointing finger over the inactive link.

I relied on multiple classes before, and had to do lots of markup editing. By adding some jQuery code to the CSS, you can get the menu working with minimal fuss.


#navmenu a {
   color: #90c7fe;
   text-decoration: none;
#navmenu a:hover {
   text-decoration: underline;
   color: #fe596e;
#navmenu {
   color: #838390;
   padding-left: 1.5em;
   padding-top: 0.5em;
   font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;
   font-size: 0.8em;
#navmenu a.current-page {
   color: #fedc7b;
   text-decoration: none;
   pointer-events: none;
   cursor: default;

JavaScript (jQuery)

$('a.current-page').click(function() { return false; });

The JavaScript should be included either on a page load or at the end of the page, just before the <body/> tag. To use the markup, just enter something like this:

<div id="navmenu"> 	
<a href="glitchez.html">Glitch Nation</a> | 
<a href="gifz.html">GIFs</a> | 
<a href="datascapez.html" class="current-page">Datascapes</a> | 
<a href="birdz.html">Ornithology Suite</a> | 
<a href="studiez.html">Field Studies</a> | 
<a href="treez.html">Tree Scrolls</a> | 
<a href="noiz.html">Blue Noise</a>		

The key to it all is shifting the “current-page” class to the navigation link for whatever page you are on. The CSS takes care of the appearance of the disabled link and the JavaScript disables the cursor response. The code may not work in IE (but what did you expect?). Of course, you’ll have to include jQuery, probably with something like this in the header:

<script src="//"></script>

New Portfolio Pages

We are currently adding some new portfolio pages, starting with selections from Paul Hertz’s recent glitch works, Glitch Nation and Datascapes and Noisefields. We’re using some elegant code from Yair Even Or, a jQuery plug-in called Photobox, to provide a zoomable slide show of images. We will add new portfolios of work from Paul Hertz, Alma de la Serra and Darrell Luce, and possibly even from our mentor, J.T. Pescador, as time goes on.

Update: there’s a whole series of new portfolio pages, with a navigation menu: Glitch Nation, GIFs, Datascapes, Ornithology Suite, Field Studies, Tree Scrolls, Blue Noise.

Ponente Acquired by Block Museum

The Mary and Leigh Block Museum, home to a notable collection of digital prints, has acquired a print of Ponente, a recent algorithmic work by Paul Hertz. Ponente is one of the Sampling Patterns series of works exploring blue noise. Ponente is constructed from multiple layers of blue noise in varying scales and densities, altered by low frequency waves and coloring rules.

Algorithmically-generated image, Ponente

Ponente, 2011, archival inkjet print, 18 x 29 in.

Deadpan Acquired by Addison Gallery

In January 2013 the Addison Gallery of American Art acquired the first suite in the new edition of Paul Hertz’s suite of digital prints Deadpan, or, the Holy Toast. Printed at 16.2 x 14 inches on 22 x 17 inch Hahnemühle Photo Rag Paper in a limited edition of five portfolios plus two artist’s proof portfolios, this new edition reveals the full detail and complexity of the images. Prints are available individually or as a full portfolio. Please use our contact form for inquiries.

The master printer and Galapagos print

The master printer and Galapagos print