So Much Stuff!!

I have been meaning to write an update for a long long time… I am not ceding to the cult-of-busy but that has been the case. Lots has happened and I am writing this post with a 15 minute time box.

Since the last time you heard form me I have been to SXSW, WWDC, done some Google Adwords training in San Diego, launched the Black Heart Super Friends and am about to have a baby! On top of that Kashoo engaged in a strategic partnership with PayChex (3rd largest payroll provider in the US) and we just moved into a brand new office – exciting times indeed!

The Black Heart Super Friends is the umbrella under which I have decided to produce a bunch of projects focused at children. The idea initially started with Me and You, ACHOO! which is an interactive iPad application that was originally a physical book I made for my wife. Since those humble beginning I have also created a little app call the Monster Spotter for the iPhone that lets kids scan their room for monsters before they go to bed. And as if I did not have enough things to do I also started publishing a curated collection of public domain books that I think have value. Go check out the website, or follow BHSF on Twitter or like us on Facebook. Everything is free (without advertising) and the goal is to create original and challenging content that empowers young human beings.

What else… my company sent me to SXSW which was an amazing experience. I got to meet Ben Huh, Sir Tim Berners-Lee and generally got into a bunch of places to which I was not invited. I am not sure how much value, if any, the conference had in attaining the business goals of the company I work for; however, my LinkedIn profile gained some heavy hitters.


I also met this Kaiser Solzie and he sung me a song about Bill Murray…

WWDC was a completely different experience in so many ways. At SXSW I got caught up in the spirit and engaged in some guerrilla marketing and basically just let serendipity work its magic …. WWDC was a marketing black hole where people would not even take the free schwag I was trying to give away. The most valuable experience I had at WWDC was a sit-down UI/UX audit I was able to do with an Apple engineer. I received some really great advice and ideas about how we could improve our iPad application. A great little pearl that the Apple engineer dropped on me was: The user should always know where they are and how to get back to where they came from. I know that seems super obvious but go walk through the navigation of a few apps and see how often this left on the side of the road.

The Google Adwords/Analytics training I did with Cardinal Path in San Diego, immediately after WWDC, marked my evolution within the company to become our resident ‘growth hacker.’ I did not ask for this position directly but think it came out of a proclivity I have shown over the years to be involved in the business and marketing aspects of the company. I do hate that my job title is essentially a catch phrase and like to think of what I am currently doing as ‘technical marketing’ or something along those lines. Since starting in earnest in September I have managed to get our numbers moving in the right direction (for the most part) and have written a lot of Python in order to do data reporting and analysis. I am still looking for the magic bullet and will be sure to post about it here if I find it.

And the best for last! I am going to be a father… my wife is currently full-term and we are expecting to welcome a little human being into the world in the next couple of weeks (the official date is December 22 but I question their science). The idea of becoming a father was quite abstract for the longest time but sure feels real now. I have spent the last couple of weekends pre-cooking and freezing meals and started making an LED mobile… I will be sure to post about the latter once it is completed. I have no doubt that this is going to be the most challenging and rewarding thing I have ever done and believe that it will be a trigger for more creativity and higher quality production on my part, even though everybody tells me it is going to be so all consuming that I will not have time for any peripheral projects: challenge accepted.

My cat looking suspicious about his new "box"

My cat looking suspicious about his new “box”



Data Visualization

I love data visualization. There is something about taking the seemingly chaotic data found in a database or spreadsheet and giving it an aesthetic form that simply makes me happy. I think this appeals to me so much because it is a union of the dichotomy that has defined so much of my life: art vs science.

It is because of this joy that I recently agreed to take on a data visualization project even though I promised myself I would not take on anymore contract work – le sigh – the donkey is my spirit animal for a reason.

Here is a sampling of the 40 or so graphics I made for this project…









It is not a crisis, it is a renaissance…

It has been almost a year since I picked up a skateboard again for the first time in over a decade. Despite my age and pasty-white-programmer-physique I did manage to get a little of the ol’ juju back… I wouldn’t say it is like riding a bike but it has not been as hard as I thought it would be when I set out. And because I am an adult and can do whatever I want I decided to build a mini ramp in my backyard.

The project was built with plans from this website and took me (and my 13 year old helper) two days to finish.



I will post a video of me shredding the gnar when I get some more time on the ramp. In the meantime, here are some of the skateboard and snowboard videos I made with my friends way way back in the day.




Full Circle

One of the first posts I ever made on this blog was about a children’s story that I wrote for my wife called Me and You, ACHOO!

Last June while  I was taking a iOS training course I decided to take this story and make it into an iPad application. I just recently launched the app into the App Store along with some marketing resources. The app website can be found at

Along with the website I created a (somewhat creepy) promotional video… go buy a copy and help me live the dream!

Lonny Potter

I have always enjoyed working with video. When I was young the only way I could access video editing equipment was through the media program at my school. In order to create my own video editing stack I would have needed two high-end VCRs, two monitors and an editing board – all of which were forbiddingly expensive at the time. Fortunately that all changed as personal computing became more powerful and OSX more media friendly. In my early twenties I gained access to a Mac tower and was able to make some videos.

A good friend of mine, Lonny Potter, is a very talented musician and allowed me to make some music videos for him. This first one is called Lord Willing and represents my very first interaction with iMovie (or any digital video editing software for that matter). The footage was shot with a MiniDV camera and then run through an old video toaster board where it was mixed and projected onto a wall and then re-filmed. The mixed and re-filmed footage was then edited into the music video shown below. The video was shot in 2000/2001.

This second video was made a few years later, around 2003/2004, and is a little more polished. I ran numerous filters on each scene to increase colour vibrancy and intermixed the film with some Flash animation. My favourite shot(s) in this video are of Lonny spinning on an office chair that I rigged a camera mount onto. I had a lot of fun making this with him and think it might be time to take another swing at it. Unfortunately the original data for these was lost on a hard drive so these hosted low-res versions are all that exist.

20 Questions

I was recently asked to do a 20 question interview for the Kashoo blog. If you are interested in learning a little bit more about me you can read it here: 20 Questions



Too old to know better…

Inspired by the life of an old friend, this 34 year old pasty white computer programmer started skateboarding 3 weeks ago after a 12 year hiatus – the video below is the result of this experiment so far.

Thank you for helping me to rediscover the joy and pain of this sport that I love ♥

An accidental software project(s)

I had been interested in playing around with the Twitter API for some time (after seeing a demo by Jer Thorpe) and it was during the swine flu scare in 2009 that I decided to see if I could pull some data out of Twitter and measure the ‘hype’ around the unfolding events (you may have noticed by now that the pandemic is something I think about from time to time). I created a little Processing app that continuously polled Twitter every minute and measured the average time between the most recent 100 posts containing the term Swine Flu. I then graphed this data while showing a new random Tweet every minute. The results were interesting in that the data seemed to ebb and flow throughout the day… I think at this time there must have been a lot more Twitter users in North America and hence the bias to our time zone.

The swine flu passed and the next chapter in this saga begins a couple of years ago while I was hanging out with my friend Bradley Shende who is the founder and CEO of M2O Digital Agency. Fridays after work at M2O have become known as Beer’O'Cock – an informal gathering of techies and creative types that talk about all manner of things over a couple of cold beers. It was on one of these occasions where we got to talking and the subject of Twitter came up. Bradley is somewhat of a social media guru and we spiralled into a conversation building thought ladders to the moon. Bradley told me about an experience he had using Twitter Fall  as the back drop to a charity music performance where the crowd started a conversation with the band and each other – it sounded quite wonderful. Nothing came directly out of that night but it was not too long before Bradley called me up with what sounded like an opportunity to create a Twitter wall application that would be shown outside of the NHL hockey arena here in Vancouver. The idea was that fans could engage with the wall while they were inline outside of the stadium…. the only catch was that Bradley contacted me with less than 24 hours before the deadline – not one to take anything laying down I hacked up my old swine flu Twitter meter project and produced a rough Twitter wall version through the night.

And as you might have noticed from Bradley’s email reply (which I love) we did not get the go ahead from the higher ups and the Twitter wall did not make its big debut that night. It was at another Beer’O'Clock that we started talking about the election and the possibility that we could do something really cool with Twitter data around the Canadian election. Bradley has some connections in television and we thought this data might be attractive to different news outlets. I used a similar technique that the one I was using when I was measuring chatter around the swine flu; however, this time I multithreaded the application and had each thread monitoring a different political party. The results were pretty great and I put extra effort into making it pretty. Unfortunately, once again, we had the door slammed shut in our face at the last minute – there were too many questions around whether this data violated election rules and nobody was ready to make the jump (anybody who was able to make that decision anyway). If you notice the screen shot, taken on election day (and know about Canadian politics), you will see that the chatter ended up being a pretty good approximation of the results.

At this point I was getting pretty fed up with all the dissapointment… the short time frames I was presented with for these iterations did not help my happy meter either. Some time passed before I heard from Bradely on the subject again and when I did he was asking me if I wanted to develop the Twitter wall a little more so that we could use it at Illuminate Yaletown. I have always been a big fan of this event and appreciate what it does for the digital media arts in Vancouver and happily agreed. And unlike the last two iterations I had well over a month of runway to get it ready.

With all the extra time I was able to add a feature that allowed people post photos to the wall as well as some admin controls; however, the coolest thing I was able to implement  was gamification – that is, I created a bunch of hash tags that would trigger animations of different items. My personal favourite was #catparty which triggered a bunch of tiny kittens to drop down the wall.. I also like #pigsfly that would see winged pigs fly across the screen.

Outside of some power issues experienced by all the artists in our section of Yaletwon the Twitter wall ran without a hitch. It was really gratifying to see so many people interact with the wall. People were posting pictures of themselves up onto the wall and then taking pictures of themselves in front of the wall with their picture on it – you can imagine how silly this got. It was also a great opportunity to gain some insight on how to make the product better. One of the issues that became apparent was the we did not have a way to change the search terms we were tracking with the wall once it was running. It also became apparent that we needed to make the tweets run in a cycling queue – up until this time we were only displaying Tweets as they came through the pipe. This worked fairly well but sometimes when the data flow was low there was not a lot tweets flowing down the wall. I ended up just shoving the most recent 50 Tweets in a loop and pushed out the oldest one when a new one came in. This worked really well because most of the people who stopped to interact with the wall did not stay long enough to notice that some of them were looping and when they added a tweet it would be pushed onto the queue and they would see it in a couple of minutes.


At this point it is history the Twitter wall is pretty robust and on a whim we decided to bring down to a British Columbia American Marketing Association (BCAMA) event that Bradley was organizing. It was nothing spectacular but it took very little effort on our part and we figured that if there ever was a well suited event a networking event for marketers was it.

As a result of the demo we gave at the BCAMA event and because of Bradley’s remarkable salesmanship we were presented with the opportunity to demo our Twitter wall at the BCAMA’s annual marquee event, the Vision Conference. We felt this was a wonderful venue to display our creation in front of BC’s marketing community – what could be better? Once again we we had a few weeks between the time we got the go ahead and when when the event was taking place so we were able to add some more features. And as part of this iteration I asked my very talented friend Geoff Spears to jump in on the project. Geoff had expressed some interest in contributing to the Twitter wall during our Illuminate Yaletown performance and I knew that he would bring a lot to the project. Geoff did some work improving the aesthetics and solved a technical problem that allowed users to display photos from any URL posted. Geoff also had each tweet display the icon representing the brand of mobile device the tweet came from. During this iteration my focus was on creating admin tools – admin users can add tags and block problematic users by tweeting special commands to a specific account – there is an endless list of features we want to add but just need a reason to devote some of the very limited time we have.

And that is where we currently stand with this accidental software project. I am not sure what, if anything, is going to come next but I am proud of what we made and think that if I can get my partners in this little venture to sign off I am hoping to Open Source the project.

Two years ago today…

Two years ago today I married my favourite human being on the planet. This marriage venture has turned out quite well and I continue to evolve and grow with the help of my partner… I feel like if I keep it up I might just turn into white light when I die and flash across the Universe.

I love you Caitlin Kopperson.

Here is the speech I gave at our wedding….

No man or woman is an island entire to themselves and my life serves as a testament to the love and support of my friends and family. I do not know what I have done to deserve a life so rich in art, science, adventure and love but I start each day with a humble prayer to gods that don’t exist and thank my lucky stars for I am truly blessed.

Caitlin Kopperson… I love you. Thank you for flipping over rocks on the beach and pulling me out of the muck. Your love raises me up and I am so excited to explore the future together. Life’s great adventure. And we will accomplish all of our dreams because they cannot stop love like ours – they have never been able to.

In my short time on this planet I think I have managed to figure a few things out, and I would like to share some of my observations with you.

Life is unpredictable, finite and beautiful. Humanity stands impotent against an ocean of sublime chaos. Each person’s trajectory through time and space is a miracle in of itself. There is a golden thread that runs from the moment of creation until the very end of everything that connects us all. We are all connected.

And in this vast and seemingly endless universe, I believe, there is no room for any person to impose their way of existing on any other. So live your life in full confidence the way that brings you the most joy and happiness. If you can do this without hurting anybody or stopping them from pursuing their own joy and happiness then I believe you will ride life straight to perfect laughter. And anybody that tells you different is wrong. To quote Dr Suess, “Be Who You Are and Say What You Feel Because Those Who Mind Don’t Matter and Those Who Matter Don’t Mind.”

So please love one another. Our time is limited. And time is the most precious of resources. You cannot buy, own or trade it… you don’t even get to know how much of it you have. And all those shiny things and stacks of money that seem so important right now are meaningless in the face of oblivion: I promise you. Timeless fortunes are made in friendship and family which are measured in love. You are all my wealth and I am the richest man to ever walk the face of this planet.

Thank you for coming to celebrate with us today.


Kashoo wins Most Promising Start-up

The company that I work for, Kashoo, won ‘Most Promising Start-up’ at the BC Technology Impact Awards (BCTIAs). We also managed to make the front page of the business section in the Vancouver Sun – not a bad week by any stretch.

Winning the award felt really great. It was nice to get some recognition after putting in so much hard work. Startup life is a grind and I am proud to be part of such a small and talented team – lean and mean (but we are actually quite nice).

Stage Plot

I have decided to start posting some of the projects that I have worked on in the past. I have quite a few and will try and get through them in no particular order.

This is a little Javascript application I wrote way back around 2004/05. When I was younger I occasionally worked doing special effects lighting and stage rigging for electronic music events. While working with some good friends on a rather large event (large for the west coast of Canada) I noticed a stage manager running around trying to gather a whole array of dog-eared paper from various artists and groups. When I had a chance to speak with him he spoke about the challenges of getting the different stage setups that would be required for each of the artists to perform.

The problem is as such. Because there are multiple performers on a given stage they are slotted back to back throughout the whole day. The goal is to minimize the down time between each performance and each artist needs different equipment setup on the stage. Some artists use turn tables and others may need a drum kit and guitar stands, etc. To make the switch between each artist as painless as possible the stage crew has what is known as a stage plot for each act. The stage plot shows what kind of equipment they need, where it should go and what kind of cables need to be run to each location. Getting this information from each artist can be difficult logistically and… we’ll… difficult because they are musicians. When the information does finally get gathered it is on a single irreplaceable piece of paper covered in chicken scratch.

At the time rich web applications were still in their infancy; however, I had recently seen some code posted somewhere the utilized Javascript to make some interactive graphics. I thought it was really cool and that fact that it would run in all browsers without downloading anything was a real selling point for me… I still think this is why Javascript will be unstoppable :-)

Long story short, I created a prototype for an application that would let artists fill in this information on the web and have it accessible to the stage crew. I never got past this mock-up but still think the idea has value. I could see this application being very well suited for the web and iPad. You could have the artists fill this information out online through an embeddable form and then feed the data to an iPad app that could be used insight by the crew.

You can check out a live version of this prototype here.


I gave a lecture today on data visualization at the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) which is pretty cool.

The slides can be found here: Lecture Slides

And some additional resources here: Data Visualization Resources


What kind of software would Charles & Ray Eames create?

I have always had a passion for design. In my own home I will only eat with certain cutlery and will only drink out of certain glasses. At restaurants I ask for my wine in a rocks glass and I carry with me a small number of fetish items each and every day. And if this is not enough to convince you take a look at the book ends I have been packing around with me since I was a child… I latched onto these things when I was about 5 years old and have had them with me ever since.

I decided to write this post because I have been thinking a lot about design lately. I just finished reading the biography of Steve Jobs and I cannot help but feel my passion for design rekindled. And it was through this rekindling I realized that I have failed to fully recognize that the principles of design can, and should, be applied to software development. Do not get me wrong, I have always strived to build good software and feel pretty confident that the applications and websites that I have poured out of myself have had good aesthetics (despite often very choked budgets) and a high degree of usability but for the first time I find myself asking what kind of software would Charles and Ray Eames create?


What I am trying to speak to is design as a form of innovation. Low cost high performance hardware exists in abundance and despite the fact that there are millions of software developers out there banging out apps almost nobody is breaking new ground in computer science (excluding of course the well funded labs of places like Google and academia). The point I am trying to make is that the only difference between calculator app number one and calculator app number two is the design. The design is what defines the aesthetics, usability and user experience… a major reason why calculator app number one sells over a million copies and calculator app number two never sells fifty.

And when I speak of applying design as an art and craft towards software development I am not just talking about creating nicer graphics or slicker drop-down menus – I puke into my mouth a little bit every time I visit another web 2.0 website that looks like every other one – I am talking about trying to envision new ways that people can interface with these beautiful machines.

With the rise of the touch screen, mobile computing, visual recognition, artificial intelligence and machine learning the possibilities of what can be built  are only limited by passion and imagination – as I suppose they always have been – technology has become the hunting ground of the artists and innovators.

Some of my experiments in software with design are as follows. The first is a touch screen lighting control I made for my good friends at Urban Visuals that is used for an installation they built in the Keefer Hotel.

The second is a software sketch I made to try and work out an idea for a rhythm generating interface. To create a sound the user simply clicks and drags in the application window. When the user releases the mouse button a rectangle is created. The rectangle will immediately begin to fall and when it strikes the surface it will create a sound. Currently the sound is generated based on attributes of the rectangle. The frequency gets lower the wider the rectangle is and the length of the sound produced is based on the rectangles height.

This idea is very early in formation and I hope to have time to develop it further in the future.



me and you, achoo

The following is a series of photos describing an adult themed children’s book I created for my wife  during 2008. I am currently working on another similarly themed project and hope to have the time to complete it soon.  I hope you enjoy what you see.

me and you, achoo

dedicated to the woman i love and the donkey inside: christopher erhard luft – december 25/08

it was day like any other, the cars puffed and polluted.

the people slaved, their souls diluted.

from afar and through the air a bird landed without a care.

the bird carried a friend, a rhino-virus that would see the world END!

amongst the people could be heard a dry whining wheeze, lots of coughing and the occasional sneeze.

two young lovers who first kissed on a beach decided it was time to get out of harms reach.

having planned and prepared neither was scared, into the wilderness is where they would dare.

chaos ran rampant, the cities were on fire. they wondered if they would make it… the situation was dire.

they packer their bags and said “fuck the bills it’s just you and me baby, lets head for the hills.”

they set out on their boat passing jellies and whales. they were glad to be afloat as history wrote this tale.

through all of their trials and tribulations they made it. Yahoo! me and you…

(It would appear I am missing a photo…)


Sangari E-Reader

A project I have been working on part-time for the last year has recently been launched. The project involved building an eReader application for Sangari Global Education through a company called 8 Leaf Digital Productions. The basic idea was to take a large body of content, with associated resources, already in existence and deliver this data to eReader tablets with the available content to the user being dictated by access levels. Working with Ryan Nadel from 8 Leaf Digital we designed the system and started down the  bumpy road of turning an idea into reality.

The content we had to work with was in the familiar form of books containing chapters. We shifted our thinking a little and tried not to worry about the books and turned chapters into lessons. With this new paradigm we were free to group sets of lessons together in order to create units which were the substitute for the idea of a book.

My role in the project (outside of architecture) was around third party integration, data processing and the construction of a API that the accompanying Android application could communicate with to download various resources. A good friend of mine, Geoff Spears, was brought into the project quite late and did an amazing job of delivering a robust Android application to consume the data – many of the challenges I faced on this project were alleviated by having Geoff join the team.

Throughout the project, as is the case when building anything new, we faced a few challenges and as a result came up with some innovative solutions. I thought this would be a good place to talk about those challenges and their solutions.

The data processing for the Sangari project was originally supposed to be done through a GUI with associations between data packages being made by a human operator. The larger idea being that an administrator could login to the web application, upload some data and then use the tools we built to process that data. There were some issues around communication on the project and when we did finally receive the data to be processed we realized that it was far too complex to be processed by a human and a bulk uploading system had to be implemented. With looming deadlines and a large body of data to process I tried to think about ways in which I could make this task easier on myself.

The JDBC backed paradigm that I had already developed for this project with presented some real challenges when we were faced with late changes to the data model. The number of data objects we had grew by three fold and the idea of writing boiler plate JDBC code for all of these objects made my stomach curl. It is a pain to do this stuff the first time around let alone having to go back and do it all again.

I started looking at the relationships between the data objects we were processing and noticed a pattern. The data could be related in an n-tree type of manner; however, because the project was being developed with what I would call an uber-agile  methodology I was trying to make sure we did not have too many constraints in the way we put it together. I wanted to make sure we had the flexibility down the road to make associations across any of the objects and not introduce any duplication.

I broke everything down so that each data object held an individual piece of data. Along with the primary piece of data each table also included a auto generated ID for the primary key and time stamps for when it was created and last updated. This increased the number of objects we were dealing with but it did allow for me to handle each object in a generic manner. All the data was related using join tables which gave me the relational flexibility without data duplication that I was looking for. The real beauty that came out of this was that I was able to write a small set of methods that could handle all these data objects and their relationships regardless of their type.

Without flooding this blog with too much code and still giving you an idea of the type of flexibility this scenario gave me look at the following method I used for inserting a join between two tables. There is more logic around how I decided to make a join happen but this method covers the underlying principle… no matter what data field we were processing I could use the same generic methods to handle the communication with the database. The strings passed in were used for the name of the table and the main data field. The individual IDs were returned form the database after the represented objects were inserted.




As you can see by the following entity relationship diagram the data model I ended up with was moderately complex with only ‘has a’ dependencies. After processing the data for the project this small set of methods I had written inserted approximately 80K separate pieces of data without any errors and a similar set of methods was used for updating and extraction. Although this design could do little to alleviate the complexity of processing the data it did make the job of interacting with the database less tedious and provided me with a lot of flexibility in how I could treat the data as the project evolved.



Another major problem we faced as we plodded forward working on this project revolved around native PDF processing on the Android tablet. There was very little native PDF support on the Android platform and the PDF render time was unacceptably slow. To get around this problem we decided to pre-process the PDFs and turn each page into a PNG. All the meta data normally stored with the PDF for that page, along with extra data created by our process, was included with the PNGs representing a chapter as a JSON file that mapped said PNGs to the relevant data. The resulting group of PNGs and JSON file was then zipped up and delivered to the reader via an API.  A multi-threaded downloader on the client allows for a fairly seamless experience when browsing the content. So far the reader has been distributed to 1000+ teachers without any major issues.



The following is a piece I wrote for a second year art class back in University. There is a certain naivety to the piece that brings a smile to my face; regardless, I still think there is something to explore here.

The human understanding of the universe has increased dramatically through out the last 200 years. Art in its current incarnation is a tool that continually eases the shift of paradigms through culture by bringing concepts and issues of importance to the front of the collective consciousness. Throughout the 20th century various art forms, most notably cubism and futurism, have explored objects in relation to time and space. This new way of thinking was brought about by the advent of sequential photography and film. Artists like Picasso and Duchamp used these ideas to change the way humanity understands the universe. Time and space became malleable objects to be manipulated and explored. With the widespread distribution of scientific knowledge and computational power the populace is primed for a paradigm shift in the way it understands the universe. Art will be the catalyst for this shift in thinking, and it will best be induced by exploring an objects relationship with respect to other objects as opposed to the environment, or a static time line.

The human experience is exactly that and as such subject to the limits of human senses and perceptions. It is only by the grace of human kinds ability for intelligent, rational, and imaginative thinking that the essence of the universe can begin to be deconstructed. Through the work of Einstein humanity learned that time is relative, then Schrödinger (and his cat) showed us that by observation alone an objects course in the universe is altered, and as a result inexplicably tied to that which observes it. Most recently Wolfram, who would have you believe that his work has no basis in previous thinking (one needs to merely glance at the work of Conway, Mandelbrot, or Julia to know this is not true), explores ideas of emergent properties and self-organization through simple rules based in computation. What we have learned from science is that the universe is an infinite set of systems within systems with nothing existing in isolation. The first law of thermodynamics tells us that energy can neither be created or destroyed; energy can only change form. Every action echoes throughout time and space for eternity.

The theme for art being produced should enforce ideas about the unique human position in time and space. The only point of reference for an individual’s existence is another human being. People need to be reminded about the insignificance of their existence compared to the scope and breadth of the universe. The universe is believed to be 13.7 billion light years across and contain about 7 X 1022 stars. The goal of this ideology is not to devalue human life, or make light of existence, but rather to emphasis the uniqueness and value of each and every individual life on the planet. This should be reflected in art and the goal of art should be to make people aware of their mortality.

Religion was a useful tool in the development of modern civilization; however, it has become a dangerous and outdated entity and must be removed as such from the collective consciousness. Religion is at the heart of every major conflict that has ever taken place in the history of humanity and continues to fill that role today. It becomes increasingly difficult for a society to justify the oppression and exploitation of another without the idea of divine right. Conversely, it is difficult for a people to be exploited and oppressed when the idea of equality and mortality exists. Through the conscious effort of comprehending non-existence the value of human life may increase.

In the absence of the concept of god(s) we are not left with Existentialism or Nihilism as our only alternative. By rationally deconstructing the purpose of life we can come to some realization about the meaning of life. The purpose of all life is to reproduce. All organisms, by design, exist for the sole purpose of passing their genetic information forward through time. From the perspective of the genetic material it does not matter if an individual organism survives to pass on its unique encoding but rather that the species as a whole continues its journey through time. Natural selection has led to the evolution of complex life forms that are capable of controlling determining factors in their environment. A by-product of human kinds ability to alter its environment is the unsustainable strain on the planets resources as the population grows out of proportion. Human beings need to realize that the long-range survival of the species is of the highest priority and the responsibility of every living person on the planet. The consumeristic nature of modern society must be altered so that the individual sees their self-interests in the health and well-being of the planet as a whole. The purpose of life gives it meaning.

Being unique in our position in time and space the individual experience at any one given moment in time is not reproducible. The goals of contemporary art should be to bring about peak experiences by exploring this fact in reality. The experience of a piece of art should reflect that irreplaceable moment in which it is being experienced. It should re-enforce the insignificance, fragility, and the importance of the individual. The viewer(s) and the artwork as distinct objects interacting for a unique moment in time.