Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Elegant Clean Energy Haiku

Drawn-on-film animation ©NFB

I got an email from the GVPL the other day to tell me the Japanese Design book I’d requested was available for pick-up. Unlike some of the history books on the reading list for our November trip to Japan, this book has lots of pictures, so it’s easy to remember some of the stuff I’m reading. For example, did you know the Japanese have at least twelve words for ‘elegant’? One of these words (suki: informal, subtle elegance) could be said to describe the clean energy haiku I hope to program a computer to write.

My plan is to have the computer illustrate the haiku it generates as well, in an appropriately suki manner, possibly reminiscent of the hand-drawn animations Norman McLaren produced at the National Film Board of Canada about sixty years ago. The classic McLaren animation, Blinkity-Blank, is an excellent example of his signature irreverent and playful style, which often features lines, dots and other abstract forms, along with people, birds and the occasional horse. And it goes on f o r e v e r. It was created in 1955, well before we all developed 22-second attention spans.