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Diary, July 2013

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Saturday, July 6, 2013


Saw a lot of art today. At 13:30, I bought the book Het Londen van de Beatles (The Beatles' London by Piet Schreuders, Mark Lewisohn and Adam Smith, ISBN:9789038890517, from bookshop Polare for € 4.99. I am not a great fan of the Beatles, but I found it interesting because it describes 467 locations in London and surroundings that are linked to the Beatles. I am often intrigued by people who approach a subject from a unique point of view.

When I went into bookshop Broekhuis, I heard a lot of noise coming from the third floor. There was an opening of an art exhibition related to the Bridges conference. (Earlier this year I had a short email exchange with someone attending this conference.) I only found the work of Jennifer Townley interesting. I paid a short visit to Photo gallery Objektief and at galery Beeld en Aambeeld, I studied the polyhedrons made from paper by Ulrich Mikloweit. They were not for sale, but must represent a great value as he has obviously spend many hours working on building these.

Next I went to gallery WVIII to see the work of Billy Foley. There were four large painting and seven smaller paintings. The smaller paintings are recent works made in the past year, with very light strokes in bright colours. The four larger works resemble works he made a long time ago, using mostly black paint with some red accents. Again, I was surpriced by his works.

In Tetem, I went saw Untitled. Zimoun & Scheidler. At first I thought there were hidden loudspeakers because I could not believe that the sound was made by the little soft balls bumbing against the carton boxes. There were also some young children walking around and making a video as part of a workshop, I guess. Interesting to see how they experienced the art works on display. I also studied the little mechanic works by Léon van Opstal and I was impressed by the paintings by Anya Janssen because at first I thought the paintings were just pictures. Very special.

Next, I went to to the building of ArtEZ Institute of the Arts to view some the final exam work of the art students. With these kind of exhibitions there is always a lot of works that cannot attract my attention for a split second, but there I talked a little with Nicole Urban about her work "Little Lava Factory, refined", mainly discussing the random generator that she used in the Arduino controller. I argued that it must have been a pseudo-random generator. I mentioned that there are images that look random, but are not random at all. But when she pointed at her work "Rhythm Incubator", which had glass bottles with small cotton balls being blown around by a small computer fan, and asked me if the moved at random, I could but agree with her.

I talked with Corrie van de Pol about her ceramic tiles with geometric patterns. Quite interesting. I mentioned her the diagonal mazes.

I watched some people play the game Tellit with Friederike Borngässer who designed and produced the game. Very clever idea. Would not surprise me if it is becoming a popular game. I also watched the animation by Leo Pfeiffer, shown a dark room. Quite impressive, a little dark story, reminded me of game Dear Esther. I also talked with some one who had a huge collection of old negatives and slides. Finally, I talked with Gerda van de Glind about the pictures she took of dinners and someone diaries. I showed her my diaries and told her a little about my diary writing. She seemed to find it interesting.

I found it a quite refreshing afternoon to look ata all these forms of art. It really makes you think and see things differently.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Peter Struycken

I went to visit Peter Struycken to study his collection of publications (books and magazines) related to his works. He had about three shelves. I spend most of the day going through these publications, taking pictures of those parts that contained interesting information (including front, title page and such) with the aim to process these at home. While going through the publications, I encountered some doubles. Struycken suggested that I could takes those home. I did not find all of them very interesting. I took the following home:

We also had some interesting conversations. He is very much into mixing and selecting colours. He want to focus on selecting six colours and paint those on a square divided in six by six smaller squares such that all colours touch exactly four times. He even wants to restrict himself further by keeping the hue the same and only variate the brightness and the saturation. He already made two of those paintings. He explained it was was difficult to find an arrangement of the colours such that your eye is not caught by a pattern. Even before we talked about it, I already had started looking for patterns in one of the paintings on the wall.

While going through the publications, I also found a booklet about the collection Eyck in the Hedge House, which contained a picture of Komputerstrukturen 2. In this picture is clearly visible that it has the annomality I described before. So it seems that the reproductions are correct (I did not yet compare them in detail) and the annomality was introduced by Struycken himself. He was a little surprised about it, when I told him. It was very nice staying with him and talking about all kind of things. We hope to meet again in the future.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Six colours in a six by six square

Yesterday while driving home, I already realized that the number of touching edges on n by n squares equals to four times the number of combinations of n colours. So it seems possible to colour such a square with n colours, such that all colours touch at exactly four places. I was also challenged by the problem of finding a placement that has the least number of recognizable patterns. Today, I wrote some programs to find these. The first program finds all the unique solutions that do not contain diagonal squares with the same colour. The program found 285014 solutions. With unique solution, I take into account that there are eight ways to rotate/mirror a square onto itself and there are 720 permutations of six colours, resulting in 5760 different representations of a unique solution. (In some cases the number could be lower.) The second program takes the results of the first program (read from the file FSwN.txt) and filters this on certain conditions.

If you do not allow that a square is placed between two squares with the same colour, or otherwise said, when you do not allow squares with the same colour at distance two, then there are only 36 unique solutions left. But these contain a lot of knight moves. If you allow at most two of such two jumps in different directions and using different colours, there are 491 unique solutions. If you look to the maximum number of knight moves per colour and combine these these solutions, you get the following table:

 0      0    0
 1      0    0
 2      5    0
 3   1041    0
 4  51436    4
 5 197075  128
The four solutions from the 491 solutions with at most four knight moves per colour, all contain a 'square' of four knight moves, which really jumps out. If you do not allow these, and do not restrict the maximum number of knight moves, then there are 16 solutions. But 15 of these solutions contain a 'triangle' configuration consisting of two squares at distance two that are connected with a knight move with a third square. The one solution that does not have this, looked very similar to the configuration that Peter Struycken used in one of the paintings that he showed me yesterday. But this solution has some other patterns, that once you have seen them, cannot escape your attention.

If you allow one 'square' of four knight moves and a maximum of five knight moves per colour, there are seven solutions. Maybe this is acceptable if you use the least saturated/grey colour such that your eye would not easily catch it. The four, the one and the seven solutions are displayed below with six 'ugly' colour. (Of course, the results presented here depend on the correctness of the programs.)

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(Corrections to the results)

Sunday, July 14, 2013


I discovered some serious errors in the results presented last Tuesday as a result of an off-by-one error in the first program. The corrected version found 290510 unique solutions, which is a little more than the 285014 mentioned before. As a result of this, there are 61 (instead of 36) solutions without jumps at distance two. And if you allow at most two such jumps in different directions and with different colours, there are 611 (instead of 491) solutions. If you look to the maximum number of knight moves per colour and combine these these solutions, the corrected table becomes:
 0      0    0
 1      0    0
 2     13    0
 3   1053    0
 4  52119    4
 5 199294  142
There are 27 (instead of 16) solutions with no square of knight jumps and two (instead of one) have no 'triangle'. If you allow one 'square' of four knight moves and a maximum of five knight moves per colour, there are nine (instead of seven) solutions.

Peter Struycken when seeing the results of last Tuesday, remarked that many of the solutions contain an adjecent pair of rows or columns that have many of the same colour combinations. In the 611 solutions there are no solutions that do not have any such same colour combinations. But there are 184 that do at most have two for each adjecent pair of rows and columns. Futhermore, I discovered that many of the remaining solutions do contain a pair of rows or columns that have an equal sequence of at least three the same colours. There is only one solution with no equal sequence of three or more the same colours. There are 78 solutions with at most three same colours. There are also many solutions where many of the four combinations of two colours occur in the same directions. By excluding the solutions that for all combinations of colours have them all four in the same direction, the number of solutions is further reduced to 50. (The extended filter program.)

Below a selection of these solutions can be made to add combinations of extra restrictions. To prevent a 'wheel' pattern of two colours around the central four central squares, select 'None' or 'At most one' with squares of four horse jumps. Many combinations of restriction return no solution at all.

With respect to jumps at distance two there are: None, at most one, or at most two in different directions and with different colours.
With respect to the number of triangles: .
Allow at most five horse jumps per colour.
Max number horse jumps for all colours: (range 22 to 29).
Squares of four horse jumps: .
Max number same colour combinations for all rows and columns: (range 6 to 16).
No same sequence of three colours in a pair of rows or columns.
Max number colour combinations that occur twice in same direction: (range 6 to 14).
Max number colour combinations that occur three times in same direction: (range 0 to 7).

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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Going into the city

At the MediaMarkt shop, I bought the Extremely Loud, Incredibly close DVD for just € 5.99. I also went to gallery WVIII to look at the painting of Billy Foley again. I talked a little with the lady watching over the paintings. We discovered that three of the four large paintings where present at the exhibition of 2008. The fourth was made last year, which I found a little suprising, because it seems that the last years he has focussed on smaller works with brighter colours.

Yesterday, Annabel found that a version of the Chinese Wooden Puzzle is sold by Dille & Kamille. I went to check it out. They cost € 13.95, which I found a little too expensive to buy one. On their online shop it is sold as Puzzel Tetris, Hout, 40 Stukjes (Tetris puzzle, wood, 40 pieces). I do not understand why it is named after Tetris, because three of the eight types of pieces are not found in the original Tetris game. The description with the puzzle mentions that there are six ways to solve the puzzle. I do not understand what they mean with this. There is a description under the pieces that explains it. I can hardly believe that the mean it to be number of ways the pieces can be put in the frame, because that is many times larger. I did some internet search and found Tetris 1 on and Wood Intellegence (note the incorrect spelling) on It seems that all of these are produced in China.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


I took the train to Amsteram and arrived just after noon at the Stedelijk Museum to visit the library. In the past days I had compiled a list of almost eighty books and publications related to Peter Struycken that I would like to see. I printed my own request slips and spend some time cutting them in the train. The people were a little surprised that I came well prepared. They were very helpfull with getting all the books. Everytime when I had almost processed a stack some of them came in to bring another stack, without me having to make any remark. This allowed me to focus completely on scanning through the books and taking pictures. I finished just before the library would close at five o'clock.

I visited bookshop Polare (Selexyz Scheltema) and bought two books:

I also paid a very short visit to bookshop Polare (De Slegte).

Friday, July 26, 2013

Permuting the colours

I wonder what would have been the effect on permuting the colours when attempting to fill six by six square with six colours. I wrote a program that assigns some badness score to different permutations of the colours. The idea is that the colours are selected in a circle with respect to the hue, meaning that each colour has two neighbours. For example the neighbours of purple are red and blue. One could simply rotate the colours or reverse the order of the colour, resulting in twelve different ways of assigning the colours. If we presume that those colours are basically the same, because the pattern of neighbouring colours will everytime the same there are still 60 ways left in which the colours can be arranged with different neighbour patterns. Below the first row gives the orginal solution with the colours rotated. The second row gives the 'best' solution according to the program and the third gives the 'worst' solution.

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When looking at these, I do not really see a great difference in quality between the different rows. It surprises me how different some of patterns in each row look, while they are basically the same with except for rotation of hue. Maybe the algorithm contains an error. Probably the 'badness' metric used is not good enough with respect to what we as humans consider bad. I have made some attempts to make all colour look balanced, such that only the hue would matter, but for some reason certain combinations of colours are more prominent than others. I also think this is quite subjective, maybe also with respect to your favourite colour. I notice that my eyes often follow the trails of red, purple and blue squares.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Flowers in magnolia

I count four flowers in our magnolia and two more buds. I also discovered a seed pod. About two years ago, it also had one seed pod.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013


This morning, I pruned our magnolia in the back garden. I found some more flowers, most of which were on branches that I needed to cut away. I also found some more seedpods. While standing on a ladder, I talked with our neighbour about the height of the chestnut tree in the back of the garden. It is now almost as tall as our willow tree. (In the picture it looks taller, but that due to the picture taken from a low point of view and the tree being closer.) Because the tree is within one meter of the boundary of our properties, he has the right to request it to be cut down according to Dutch law, at least when the tree is not older than twenty years. He suggested that it could be moved to a forest. I think, I will cut it down and leave the trunk, with the idea that it my sprout some branch again. The lawn looks rahter dry, but it mostly because it has been overgrown by moss. In the past years I just let the lawn alone and some plants (weeds) have appeared. Among these are about seven small oak trees.

Osho: Nirwana, The last nightmare

In the afternoon, I finished reading the book Osho: Zen en de religeuze ongelovige, the Dutch translation of Osho: Nirwana, The last nightmare by Osho (Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh), which I started reading on June 17, the day I bought it from bookshop Polare (De Slegte). The book contains transcripts of ten talks Osho gave at different times. In a certain way, I found it an interesting book, because it made me think. But I also find that it has a lot of nonsense in there. Osho studied and later also taught philosophy at some universities, but it seems that his understanding of the subject is limited and that he has the habit of interpretting statements made by philosophers and religious leaders, including Jesus, to support his own ideas and often to ridicule them. The same is true for the many ethnic or dirty jokes, of which only a few are really funny. Tonight, I read a lot about his life and realized that he is even more controversional than I had thought.

This months interesting links

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