GLOSSARY, Live Graphics Nightly


© 2007 2012 by Fred Lakin   (back to book site: )

Abstract Film      non representational cinema in which the only content is pure forms like lines, shapes, and colors. See Jordan Belson, Oskar Fischinger, Len Lye. [more at]

Académie de Graphique Improvisé (Academy of Improvisational Graphics)      established 1952 by Jean Paul Lagrange in Versailles, France[].

Adobe Visual Jazz Master      software instrument for improvisational graphics from Adobe, based on JP Lagrange's 1952 work, the S&M synthesis; often bundled with the GIG plugin (Gallic Interface Generator). []

Algèbre Visuelle (Visual Algebra)      virtually unknown monograph written in 1910 by the famous geometrcian Henri Poincaré; truly an algebra on and of images, a powerful para geometric formal tool for describing the structure, relation, quantity and quality of regions in a visual field.

Augment BlitzSchreiber      high performance one hand typing glove using Engelbart's binary chording code; manuf. in Germany by spin off company from SRI's Augmentation Research Center; usually called the "Augment Blitz" or just "Blitz glove" [ ]

bagbiter      1. Something, such as a program or a computer, that fails to work, or works in a remarkably clumsy manner. "This text editor won't let me make a file with a line longer than 80 characters! What a bagbiter!" ... The original loading of these terms was almost undoubtedly obscene, possibly referring to a douche bag or the scrotum ... [from:]

barrel      wrap around tablet input device, from the Académie; aka input barrel, chest touch panel, chest plate; usually wireless as shown.

beamer      person who performs graphics via projector, ie "throws a beam" of light

b3am3r b0yZ      sleezy little finger syncers who faked performing graphics for a brief period in 2002 before being caught, exposed, humiliated and forgotten (delete this entry and disremember you ever saw it)

Beamers without Borders      volunteer graphicists who use portable rigs to help facilitate communication in third world countries, especially diagrammatic conversations for situations in which the participants have little or no spoken language in common. ]

Belson, Jordan (1926-present)      American pioneer of Abstract Film. Check out: "Samadhi" (1967), "Thoughtforms" (1987), "Epilogue" (2005).

Big Throw Street Projector      the bad boy mo'jector from Crate. "The BT delivers 50 watts of portable power for throwing beam where electrical outlets may not be available      8000 blazing lumens, razor sharp focus, fine quality glass with wide angle for 20 foot images from 15 feet and farther. Battery powered, now you can take your imaging anywhere with the Crate BT and play for up to 8 hours. The BT provides beamers everything they need to perform when far from any source of electricity. Plus, the BT comes with a wall charger and 12v adapter for operation or re charging from your car battery. This street projector is for anyone who requires portable, credible, illumination."
      Native Resolution: HD2 1280 x 720 via 3 chip 0.8" DLP
      Power Requirements: Internal 12VDC power supply, 18 VA; 12V vehicle lighter adapter
      Size and Weight: 14.25"H x 15.75" W x 14.5" D, 33 lbs.

bit rot      Also bit decay. Hypothetical disease the existence of which has been deduced from the observation that unused programs or features will often stop working after sufficient time has passed, even if "nothing has changed". The theory explains that bits decay as if they were radioactive. As time passes, the contents of a file or the code in a program will become increasingly garbled. There actually are physical processes that produce such effects ...[however] The notion long favored among hackers that cosmic rays are among the causes of such events turns out to be a myth; see the cosmic rays entry for details. [from: rot.html]

blend      when two or more performers operate the same screen at the same time; how performing graphicists play together. [from:]

bletcherous      Disgusting in design or function; esthetically unappealing. This word is seldom used of people. "This keyboard is bletcherous!" (Perhaps the keys don't work very well, or are misplaced.) See losing, cretinous, bagbiting, bogus, and random. The term bletcherous applies to the esthetics of the thing so described ... [from:]

Blondy, Alpha (1953-present)      an African Rasta from Cote d'Ivoire; with12 piece band Solar System does reggae beat of African bent; political activist. Check out: "Science sans Conscience" (1982), "Apartheid Is Nazism" (1985), "Who are you" (2002).

Caballeros del Plan G, los      hip hop group from Monterrey, Mexico. Check out: "Más Rap Bien Hecho" (1998); "Mo's Infalsificables" (2002).

Calcul Visuel (Visual Calculus)      defined by Jean Paul Lagrange, truly a calculus on and of images, and as such, a powerful formal tool for describing visual rate of change in one image relative to another; finally completed to rigorous definition in 1994. Poincaré's visual algebra was limited to image statics; only with the notions of a calculus could JP deal with change and thus the image dynamics at the heart of both film and performing graphics.

Callahan's Crosstime Saloon      legendary bar located just off Route 25A in Suffolk County on Eastern Long Island. Sadly, now defunct.

Chevaliers Visuels      graphic performers trained at the French Academy, so entitled after serving a 3 year apprenticeship and then being found worthy; aka Knights Visual.

computron      A notional unit of computing power combining instruction speed and storage capacity, dimensioned roughly in instructions per second times megabytes of main store times megabytes of mass storage. "That machine can't run GNU Emacs, it doesn't have enough computrons!" This usage is usually found in metaphors that treat computing power as a fungible commodity good, like a crop yield or diesel horsepower .... [from:]

concert graphicist      still waiting on this one ...
        Q: "How do you get to Carnegie Hall?"
        A: "Not by performing graphics, that's for damn sure."

conjunto      style of Mexican music, now in popular revival, featuring the accordion and based on polka and corridos; heavily influenced by German immigrants to Texas in late 1800's; see tropicalize

Control Machete      hip hop group from Monterrey, Mexico. Check out "Mexican Curious" (1997), "Humanos Mexicanos" (1997), "Toda la Casa," (2004).

Cray, Robert (1953-present)      blues singer out of Georgia, Oakland, France. Check out: "Smoking Gun" (1986), "Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark" (1988), "Renew Blues" (2001).

crotch tablet      input device, worn near the crotch; usually hung vertically from a belt; shown for right hand drawer with gunslinger keyboards on wireless belt.

daemon      [from Maxwell's Demon ...] A program that is not invoked explicitly, but lies dormant waiting for some condition(s) to occur. The idea is that the perpetrator of the condition need not be aware that a daemon is lurking ... Daemons are usually spawned automatically by the system, and may either live forever or be regenerated at intervals. [from:]

dagger      digital tagger; associated with gangsta graphics and vizrap. Not a graphicist; B&E cracker connotation, some daggers deface web sites. See "web banging".

D.G.      Dead Graphics. Pre recorded images shown to live audience. Derogatory. Big Ed sez, "Any jank poser pulling the D.G. should be killed." Ever generous, FMG´ simply sez: "You know, I've seen both, and, myself, I just prefer the L.G."

dualie      someone possessing the rare ability to draw with one hand and type with the other at the same time; all known dualies are left handed, drawing left and typing right.

Eli's Mile High Club      famous blues bar in West Oakland, established 1974 by Eli Thornton (~1934-1979); this historic blues venue has recently reopened []

emacs      world's most agile (except for NLS) and most programmable text editor. Written in, of, by, and for lisp. Also great for prose. Neal Stephenson: "... emacs, focused with maniacal intensity on the deceptively simple seeming problem of editing text. If you [don't worry] about how your words are formatted and printed      emacs outshines all other editing software in approximately the same way that the noonday sun does the stars. It is not just bigger and brighter; it simply makes everything else vanish."[from: was Command Line Neal Stephenson/dp/0380815931].
"emacs      [from Editing MACroS] The ne plus ultra of hacker editors, a programmable text editor with an entire LISP system inside it. It was originally written by Richard Stallman in TECO under ITS at the MIT AI lab [from:].
Check out: Stallman, Richard: "EMACS, the Extensible, Customizable Self Documenting Display Editor", MIT AI Memo 519a, March 1981 [ publications/pdf/AIM 519A.pdf]
[ AM: Get yours today: ]

Engelbart, Douglas C. (1925-present)      founded the Augmentation Research Center at SRI in 1961 where he developed the NLS system for augmenting the human intellect (in the course of which he also invented the mouse). "Humans use external symbols to help them think and that's when engineering comes in," DCE (1971). Check out: AUGMENTING HUMAN INTELLECT: A Conceptual Framework (1962); A RESEARCH CENTER FOR AUGMENTING HUMAN INTELLECT (1968), a truly amazing live demonstration of performing graphics in front of a thousand people, sometimes called "the mother of all demos" and still cool after all these years [see:]; and "Enhanced a2h: Moving AUGMENT files and browsing functionality onto Bootstrap Web," (2001).

ESB      Eat shit, bats. Illegitimi non carborundum. To assert one's worth in the face of detractors.

Euroflash      gaudy performing graphics hardware of the European lineage; also, a performer who uses such a rig.

Fabulous Thunderbirds, The      blues band out of Austin, TX. Check out: "Tell Me Why" (1981), "Can't Tear It Up Enuff" (1982), "Why Get Up" (1986), "Takin' It Too Easy" (1995).

Flashmaster Grandé (1970-present)      aka Melvin Gómez Williams; invented Hip Op, San Jose, CA, July 23, 1996. FmG´ named himself after his hip hop hero, Grandmaster Flash ("vizualized" version of the name). Check out: "Street Lights" (1996), "Throwin' beam like a dream" (1998), etc, etc.[]
[ AM: Yes, his name seems to be a cognate of the Macromedia and now Adobe "flash" animation software. And, yes, it is true, almost all vizrappers just love flash; look at their web sites. But FmG´ most emphatically does not      he chose the name to evoke flash the burst of light, and not that particular brand or style of software. In fact, he doesn't like it, considers it too restrictive, won't use it. Instead, his preferred tool for performing is vizraptran from]

FIIG      Federation International d'Improvisation Graphique. Much despised wanna be international ruling body for which no real graphicist gives a fig. Sends out cease and desist emails to all major public performing graphics events informing them they are not "FIIG sanctioned", and demanding exorbitant licensing fees. FIIG has been headed since its inception by the egomaniacal Bernard Ficklestein.

finger sync      to fake the live performing of graphics by moving one's fingers over input devices in synchronization with playback of pre recorded imaging (see Milli viz Vanilli).

Fischinger, Oskar (1900-1967)      German pioneer of Abstract Film. Did his early work in Germany in the 20's and 30's, then emigrated to Los Angeles before WWII. Invented the Lumigraph visual instrument. Check out: Allegretto (1936), Motion Painting No. 1 (1947), etc.

FmG´      Flashmaster Grandé

fractal      a shape which is recursively structured and thus looks similar at different levels of scale, as if constructed by the same rule at each level; often found in nature, such as coastlines, tree branches, and the edges of clouds (and also in many traditional mandala forms used for visual meditation; Oakboy is right). The Koch Snowflake shown here is one of the earliest fractals to have been described; see also recursion.

fratoire      digital chest tablet for input, hung over shoulders like a Zydeco rubboard; aka input fratoire, rubmouse. Usually wireless as shown although can also plug directly into a mobile performing rig like the Apple Walkabout. Manufactured by PGC in South Palo Alto, Bon Ton 'Ripherals Division; patent application important.

frob      /abrev for frobnicate/   To manipulate or adjust, to tweak. One frequently frobs bits or other 2 state devices. Thus: "Please frob the light switch" (that is, flip it), but also "Stop frobbing that clasp; you'll break it". [from:]

gangsta graphics      the dark side of vizrap (which is in turn the less well lit side of hip op)

ganja graphics      rasta imaging, almost always with music

ghetto blades      multi processor rig which uses the guts from old laptops set on edge and arranged side by side in a home made case; sometimes a plastic milk crate is used for the case, hence "blades in a crate"

ghetto mod      ingenious use and re use of computer components by denizens of the inner city

Gómez Williams, Melvin      FmG´

graff      street graphic, graffiti; not to be confused with bar charts

Gráficosista      graphicist of the Mexican lineage

Grandmaster Flash (1958-present)      aka Joseph Saddler, from Barbados via the Bronx. Check out: "The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel" (1981), "The Message" (1982), "Flash Tears the Roof Off" (2002).

graphicist      person who does graphics, especially performed live (term first coined by Alvy Ray Smith circa 1980, later co opted toward live imaging by FmG´)      first online magazine covering the performing graphics scene, still definitive in spite of Left Coast bias [see:]

graphics bar      establishment that serves liquor and performing graphics, patrons usually of the working class (see also visual salon)

graphitrons      graphic computrons, i.e a notional unit of graphical computing power dimensioned exactly in number of pixels times number of colors times variety of operations times operations per second. Graphitrons are also a function roughly of computrons on the graphics card times frame buffer size on the graphics card plus computrons on the motherboard, only roughly because fashion regularly redefines those two components and their relation. Finally, this usage is always found in metaphors that treat graphic computing power as a fungible commodity good, like pork bellies or SAE torque. [From]

gunslinger keyboards      input device consisting of very split keyboards hanging from a wide belt, one key module on each hip, positioned where hands fall when arms hang in the "gunfighter position". Good for walking around during performance as well as being wicked fast; also thought by a leading ergonomics expert (cf. Dr Hand) to put the least strain on arms and hand (to be very clear, Dr H endorses the position, not the keyboard). Shown wireless with crotch tablet. Manufactured by PGC in South Palo Alto; patent applications are important.

Guy, Buddy (1936-present)      legendary blues singer and guitarist, from Louisana via Chicago. Check out: "The First Time I Met The Blues" (1958), "My Time after While" (1966), "When My Left Eye Jumps" (1967), "Mary Had a Little Lamb" (1968), "It's a Jungle Out There" (2001).

hacker      [originally, someone who makes furniture with an axe] 1. A person who enjoys exploring the details of programmable systems and how to stretch their capabilities, as opposed to most users, who prefer to learn only the minimum necessary ... 2. One who programs enthusiastically (even obsessively) or who enjoys programming rather than just theorizing about programming. ... 6. An expert or enthusiast of any kind. One might be an astronomy hacker, for example. ... 8. [deprecated] A malicious meddler who tries to discover sensitive information by poking around. ... The correct term for this sense is cracker. [from:]
"To programmers, `hacker' connotes mastery in the most literal sense: someone who can make a computer do what he wants      whether the computer wants to or not." [from:].

Hancock, Herbie (1940-present)      very influential jazz pianist & composer, from Chicago via Oakland. Herbie brought rock, funk, soul and hip hop into jazz (and vice versa); also a practicing Buddhist of the Nichiren school. Check out "Takin' Off" ('62), "Future Shock" & "Rockit" ('83), "Future2Future" ('01).

Hand, Dr      aka Robert E Markison, MD. Noted hand surgeon, artist, and jazz musician; also inventor, machinist, cobbler, and tailor (for real; his only serious competitors in the Renaissance guy MD category are Doc Savage and Buckaroo Banzai). Associate Clinical Professor of Surgery at UCSF School of Medicine. REM sez interface users are "small muscle athletes". And that all such tool users should take a more active role in crafting those tools. "Are we too stupid to design happily to maintain brain hand linkages in a divine, precious system? ... The metaphor of shoemaking is so important to me because I'm building my ease with comfort from the ground up, 'cause that's ... my interface, the shoe, between me and the ground" [ from Justin Hall's great interview:]. Check out: The Injured Hand by Robert Markison (Editor, 1990), Powerful Seeds (music for poetry jazz CD, 2002), "A Creative Collaboration between Doctor and Patient" (article, 2006).

Heidegger, Martin (1889 1976)      German philosopher who did careful description of human consciousness as, first, simply "Dasein"      "there being"      thanks to which then "there be" people, places, things. It's a ground/figure thing: Dasein is the self illuminating clearing that knows itself and thus what appears in it. From this orientation Heidegger investigated tools, drawing the distinction between "ready to hand," an object perceived as a tool thing we can use, ready to handle; and "present at hand" when a object although yes a tool is yet not ready to handle, i.e. broken or behind glass, etc. [ AM: And what about "already in hand", the immediate handling activity, tool in use not separate from user? ] Check out: BEING AND TIME (1927)

Hip Op      the original performing graphics street projected artform invented by FmG´ on July 23, 1996. That visual singularity event opened the door (into mainstream popularity) for many different styles of live beam throwing, and Hip Op with generosity of spirit welcomed them all.

Hood Lights, The      San Jose based hip op crew with a growing national following. Check out: "Rizzle Vizzle" (1998), "I Got the Big Pixzzels, Baby" (2003). []

imagist      graphicist, old school


Interhood to Wu Tang Wang Clan Cluster deleted to reduce load on server; see full text LGN.




Mac OS X, what can I say? It rocks. Sweet GUI on the outside, sour Unix on the inside, so good together. Very handy when I disagree with the GUI, which is often

Plus, X11 for OS X is amazing. Thanks to for continuing this venerable window system, the folks at Apple who make it work for OS X, and the always helpful members of the Apple X11 users mailing list

Carnegie Mellon University Common Lisp, great I said it at the beginning, but it bears repeating her, much grattitude to the implementors/maintainers of CMUCL and GNU software. Thanks to them and to Wade, vmacs lives and I used it to draw write this tale.

And, yes, Neal Stephenson is right, emacs does outshine all other editors in the same way that the noonday sun outshines the stars rms and the rest of the GNU crew, I owe you.

Which is why I live there. Or in visual emacs

© 2007 2012 by Fred Lakin   (back to book site: )