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Cyclic Vacuum Cannon by James Paterson – Presstube

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Not many artist working with code share their process. This is particularly unfortunate since most of the time the process plays an integral part in the project. To this day, and it’s been around 11 years, the work of James Paterson aka Presstube still puzzles me, how it is derived and made. “Cyclic Vacuum Cannonis” is James’ new project, in process, documented in detail as it’s developing. All of us at CAN are very excited to see where it goes, not to mention a ton of useful tips are included for anyone that wondered how this (art/code) work is made.

Wtf is a Cyclic Vacuum Cannon?

Good question! Here’s the original drawing that sparked the idea: it depicts a swirling vortex of detritus contained by a membrane. As the contents of the membrane make their way around on a circular breeze they come in contact with a launch pad that shoots them outward with great force. The recoil of each launch propels the cannon in the opposite direction (picture a 2 year old firing a 12 gauge). I imagine the Cyclic Vacuum Cannon as a thruster that can be strapped on to things to make them move around, or as a weapon, or both.

Now that this is crystal clear, lets have a look what has happened since. In the first (0) part, or the initial screencast, James breaks up the concept of drawing the Cyclic Vacuum Cannon into its constituent parts, take a crack at naming them, and think out loud about their responsibilities & relationships. This process of imagining a potential cast of objects helps him get a better understanding of what he is doing design-wise. This is followed by by the project setup dirty work (1): Setting up an open source repo, getting familiar with the tools, and putting together a workspace / workflow so he can start building the fun stuff! It is still early days and by the looks of it there is yet so much to come.

He’ll continue to publish the progression of the project in bite-sized screencasts and git pushes. Stay tuned for updates:@presstube or follow on GitHub. Of course if you are unfamiliar with James’ work, I suggest taking a few days off from everything and digging into to the Presstube archive asap.

Cyclic Vacuum Cannon – Part 0: Brainstorming from Presstube on Vimeo.

Cyclic Vacuum Cannon – Part 1: Setup from Presstube on Vimeo.