constraint-based ideas for videomaking and writing

definitions, examples, opinions, explanations


New Website

I've been working on a new website ( Not many words yet, but you can check out some recent projects there...

The title sequence of "Wowie", a short film that I created with Florina Titz, will be playing Monday, March 15th at SXSW.

CLICK HERE to watch the "Wowie" titles or CLICK HERE to watch the whole movie.

Also, check out the NY Times article about the SXSW Titles Competition, which features Wowie:

NYTimes: SXSW Honors Film Title Makers

Leaving Thursday for the festival... looking forward to it.



a year

I haven't updated this blog in a year. But I think I'm going to start now.

If you haven't heard from me in a long time or whatever, then you should know that I'm attending the University of Iowa MFA program in film/video production. So far I've enjoyed it quite a lot. I'm teaching an introductory to filmmaking class and have been taking a few classes a semester. Emily moved here and began working as a paraeducator in a high school. She's gotten a substitute teacher's license and will start working in that capacity soon.

In a couple weeks Emily and I will visit New York City. I have a couple friends from the Hungary Fulbright experience that live there. It should be an adventurous spring break.

Emily and Jared and I have formed a band and we played a show. It was really great and fun. That was recently.

I'm working on doing things and talking about them after rather than saying that I'll do things and never get around to them. I hope that sentence made sense.


March 31, 2008

I haven't posted for almost four weeks. Here are some updates.

There was a prime number fashion show on March 12th. You can see some documentation here. I would highly recommend that you start this video in the middle: 6.30 or 7 minutes in. There were two shows, and I like the documentation of the second better than that of the first. In time, I will edit the video down so that you don't have to start in the middle.

For the past three weeks I have been working on my final report for the Fulbright scholarship. I am writing about the way in which Paul Erdos has been remembered in popular literature (such as The Man Who Loved Only Numbers) and in less accessible literature (such as Paul Erdos and his Mathematics). I have learned about the Hungarian filmmaker named Kardos Istvan who has created biographical sketches about more than 70 scientists and mathematicians, including Paul Erdos and many other significant figures. I have obtained a copy of the Paul Erdos sketch, which is about 50 minutes long. There may already be an English version of the film, but if there is not then I will organize a translation of it.

There are many interesting differences between the accounts of Erdos by his collaborators and that contained in The Man Who Loved Only Numbers. The title of the latter is representative of the larger conflation of facts: Erdos was not only a mathematical genius, but also a compassionate and caring human being interested in the lives of his collaborators and their families. He studied biology, history, and politics, and it is said that he could tell you more about the history of your own country than you could. I believe that The Man Who Loved Only Numbers is not meant to overlook Erdos' generous and kind character, but unfortunately his eccentricities are accentuated to the point where they overshadow his humanitarianism.

Once I learned about this story, I hoped to make a documentary about it. But a few things stood in my way. First off, some of the professors that I talked to didn't seem interested in being in the film. They had already been asked about him a lot, and one professor told me simply, 'I've said everything that I wanted to say.' This disappointed me at first - or rather I was disappointed by it - but then I realized the wisdom in their stance. I would be yet another American trying to represent Erdos. Or, now that he's dead, I would be making representations of people's ideas about Erdos. It seemed like I might just be adding misrepresentation to the fire.

One of the professors told me about an existing film interview of Erdos that was done in Hungarian. I did a little investigating and found that there is no English translation of this piece. I watched the piece with a translator and was pleased. The film has a distinctly Hungarian style: slow pacing, simple shots, and even long moments of silence (which are rare in many American films). The filmmaker asks Erdos questions and waits for him to mull over the answers to express his opinion. This is distinct from the other film about him, 'N is a Number', which has a more retrospective flavor.

I am working on translating this video into the English. I do not know Hungarian well enough to take this challenge solo. So I'm asking Hungarian friends to help me out. How many hours do you think it takes to translate a 50 minute movie? How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? And then the turtle would say, 'Three,' after biting in.

My report also includes a wandering description of the various films that I've created over the past seven months. Many things are in production and post-production, and I wish I could turn in a paper at the end of May that had a more complete version of my project. But I guess it doesn't matter that much what I write down... It's just what I produce.. the films/videos.

I am getting hungary now, it's almost 8pm. Perhaps I will make a list of projects that I'm working on in the next post. There seem to be an infinite number of them, or else they just seem to grow and multiply.

p.s. You're probably wondering what I've been reading lately. I just finished 'An American Childhood' by Annie Dillard. I loved it. A personal story about childhood. It makes me realize how important it is to make things wholeheartedly and with passion. Things can be trivial if you make them that way, or you can delve into their beauty and importance. Before that I read some of 'The Better of McSweeney's', then 'The Audacity of Hope' by Barack Obama, then before that 'The Great Turning'. Obama's book is well written and clear. I like most of his ideas, though I don't always agree with him. I have great respect for his clear and thoughtful way of going about politics. He talks honestly about the good and the difficult, and I admire that. I will probably vote for him, come November.


To note:

The website has been updated. Check out my section for pictures and videos of the beginning of the Prime Number Fashion Phenomenon. It's huge! And real!

Many other public art projects are happening in Budapest this week. Check the Interventions in the Everyday website obsessively for updates throughout the week. Between ten and fifteen people will be working on their projects. Many nationalities are represented, including Hungarian, German, Norwegian, Spanish, Scottish, and American. Pay attention to the details, and you might receive more than you asked for.


words on a flier

Here is a flier that you might see around town, if the town that you live in is budapest:




7pm MARCH 12th 2008


1063 KMETY GY 26-28

Hungary has produced some of the great mathematicians who have worked in number theory, including Erdos Pal (1913-1996), Turan Pal (1910-1976), and Alfred Renyi (1921-1970). These men worked on problems that often involved prime numbers. For instance, without using the arsenal of mathematical analysis, Erdos proved that there is always a prime between n and 2n, where n is a positive integer (Chebyshev's Theorem). Moreover, he showed that the number of primes less than or equal to x is approximated by x/ln(x) and that this becomes increasingly accurate as x goes to infinity (The Prime Number Thoerem).

It is no surprise that prime numbers have recently entered Hungary's fashion vocabulary. Our vibrant new company, Prim, has created trendy shirts that feature "2", "3", "5", and "7" – the prime numbers that we know and love. Additionally, we're showing off some less-well-known-but-just-as-cool prime numbers on trousers and shirts. Come see these t-shirts in a fashion show. Bring a friend. Catch the buzz! Check out the revolutionary new mutual embrace of fashion and mathematics!!

7pm MARCH 12th 2008


1063 KMETY GY 26-28"

Also. You might become familiar with this catch phrase:

'Some say primes are the fabric of the integers. I say they look good on fabric.'

This SUNDAY ! Oktogon! Be there!


Signs Test

Yesterday, I posted signs on billboards around Budapest. Here is what they looked like:

In the first picture, the woman is saying 'What is the sexiest number under 1000?' In the second picture, the woman is saying, '967 is hot' or '967 makes me hot.' I will try to turn the second picture 90 degrees. I'm not sure how to do this yet...

Next week, on Sunday March 2nd, the advertisements at the three trams stops between Nyugati and Kiralyi will have similar additions. They will become advertisements for the prime number project. If you're in Budapest, you should check it out.


for the young and the wrestleless

The following image may break your mind, especially if you're in the fashion industry. It is a cartoon drawing of my designs for t-shirts for the prime number project. You can pre-order shirts at webstc(at)gmail(dot)com. They will go quickly. Or the act of them going from my hands to others will probably not be quick, but shirt distribution will occur at a high rate once they are finished. They will be shown in Epreskert at the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts, near Bajza utca. If all goes well, there will be a fashion show on or around March 12th. More details will be forthcoming on the Interventions in the Everyday website ( The shirts will be made from high quality fabric, assembled by a woman who lives in Budapest. There will be between 40 and 50 shirts total for the first printing. The designs will either be sewed on by hand or silkscreened.

Be part of the fad. It's fun to be cool!

Today I went to the wholesale fabric store and found out that the fabric was twice as expensive as the retail stores in town. Budapest, I misunderstand you sometimes, or else I don't understand at all. But perhaps buying at a retail store would mean there is more color variety. It would not necessarily be bad, and not overly expensive either. I will have to do some researchando.

Things to do:
- Finish signs
- write fliers
- buy fabric
- write artist's statement about this work and post on
- eat a burrito
- have fun
- make 2 prime numbered hemp necklaces with wooden beads
- see if they look cool enough to make more
- read at the library
- make soup and relax

In other news:
I'm showing a short video at the Szolnok gallery. It's a small thing part of the exhibition of three other art students' work. The opening will be on Friday, February 1st, at 6:30pm. All are welcome.

Yesterday I wrote and recorded the song 'Paper shapes / visors on' for the postcard music project. the project involves five people. Each person writes a song, then sends the lyrics and chords to the other participants. Everybody makes their own song to the lyrics and chords without hearing the original song. It's really fun. I like it a lot. We haven't been using postcards much, though. Mostly just emails. Nevertheless, it's great to let your imagination roam on someone else's lyrics. My sitatuion is interesting because I don't have a guitar or other musical instrument. I just have my voice and the computer program called Garageband. So I'm the synthesized portion of the project, you know? Like the recording of 'Paper shapes / visors on' has organ, a horn section, two types of church bells, and a full drum set. Because you can do that in garage band. I wonder how it will sound when it's on a stereo. Like will the horns sound really digital? Since I have so many synthesized instruments, one of the songs I do will be straight up rap. I'll just drop a beat like it's hot, and turn one of these little ditties into a P. Diddy. Boo yah, grandma.

Here are the lyrics to my song. I just played Ab and Eb repeatedly throughout the song. Enjoy it. Make your own song. it's fun to do.

1st verse.
When I met you (flourescent light)
I had the feeling I had the feeling

I didn't feel when we were apart
I had a feeling I never knew
about the feeling

When we were apart I never knew
I lost the feeling
paper shapes stencils feelings
I lost the feeling

Paper shapes stencils feelings
capers shouts paper plates
(I lost the feeling x2 or 3)

2nd Verse.
Hold my hand, "do you feel it?"
You say, "Yes. I feel your hand, dude."
I'll say, "Backatcha, I do too, I do too."
And we'll be quiet.

CHORUS (without "(I lost the feeling)")

(the sound of laughter)

3rd Verse and ending.
Think we're kids live down the block
know when to start, know when to st--

Think we're kids live down the block
know when to talk know when to stop
12 hours of sleep know when to stop
Look at the sky and lick our cones

We're such cool kids with visors on
with visors on with visors on (x2)

We're cool cool kids we wear pink shorts

we're such cool kids with visors on
with visors on with visors on (x3)

we're cool cool kids and we wear pink shorts

Previous Posts


I'm from Tacoma, Washington in the US. Between 2001 and 2007 I studied math and physics at Willamette University (BA) and Oxford University (MSc). I also made ten videos - documentaries, narratives, art projects. Currently, I'm studying video art at the Hungarian Academy of Fine Arts on a Fulbright Scholarship. My project is to incorporate mathematical ideas into films and videos.