can it scale to the universe → notes

can it scale to the universe → notes

First morning - Warm up exercice: Take an object and propose a way to scale it. Then, exchange your ways of scaling with other people around. 




Micro-dictionary always good to have around but is now obsolete with smartphones.

Decode the Unicode Map. 
Unicode is made by an international consortium, a list of every single existing character in the world, then encoded in a new encoding format. Potentially an infinite list. But also a kind of catalogue/ repertoire. A good way to remember every Chinese ideogram when China will disappear in a far far future. Unicode version 6 now: some pictograms have been added like astrological signs, snowmen (a white and a black one), some American signage pictograms. Its a social and cultural process. An attempt to be exhaustive… but some pictograms/characters/whatever don’t go to the Unicode because it has some political agendas. It’s  difficult to add some new glyphs because you need to justify its use, its meaning for the letters, not the description of the glyphs. Latin characters are at the begin of the list as it started with ASCII.

We could try to propose new caracters to the official unicode list (but it’s a difficult process) (but it’s exxxxiting):

A conversion calculator: it is a scale, how can we change the scale?



Interested in miniature books. How one can put a lot of info in small books.
Fake measuring tools. Rubber ruler. Measuring cups: the reference point is the pot.
Common volume, but not same weight. Different properties.


How to scale text as content? 
Experiment in readability
Letter jumbling experiment. How to condense text or expand it.
Font design for small sizes:
Isometric paper. Grid idea. Expand it in the space.
Pierre: Scale of the object or scaling the space.


Norms. Create a new unit of measuring. A new sign for it.
Physical or conceptual? Related to existing objects.
You need to convince us to use this unit. Social construction of the unit.
What is the difference between a dialect and a language? An army!
How can we accept this unit without brute force?
Ludi: Language of the three different rooms define their universe.


Scaling as a means of translation. What is lost in translation. 
Mechanical Turk. Asked 500 people to draw a straight line.
Magnifying glass.
Christoph: To copy a drawing, draw a grid above it. Easier to reproduce. More reference points.


Scaling at different levels an object. Aurélie shows an example of maps you can unfold at different levels.


Personal (egocentric) scales; scaling up and down ; the king unit
Le Corbusier’s modulor


Interested in limits. 
An architect, Pierre Hebbelinck, that measure every year the size of the families.
Measuring bodies:


Measure big things.
“Even  if you shrank down everything so that Jupiter was as small as the full  stop at the end of this sentence, and Pluto was no bigger than a  molecule, Pluto would still be over 10 meter away” — Bill Bryson
Example using football fields to measure crowds.
One billion dollars is hard to sense, need to convert to the human size.
Example to measure Earth’s life using arms = the human history stars at the nail.
Pierre: A catalog of gestures that connect to the human body
Aurélie: Bernard Werber: changing scales, new worlds appear.
Christoph: The message is always “there is something bigger”. Maybe we are just huge.
Scaling can be the tranformation of perception. A polygon scaled down become a point. Body limits. Reference points.
Church sculptures: they are anamorphic to compensate the fact that you look at it form below.


Relation between space and time. Picture you take with your camera, a representation of time. Slit-scan.
Pierre: how does it fit with the scale subject?
Pure Data, an idea of an application.
Christoph:  audio synthesis scaling and pitching. Interpolation. Granular synthesis  to do pitching. Making up things. Creation of data.
What might be in between?


Social appoach of measuring. Norm to communicate. Universality.
Perspectives, the way you perceive time or space.
No étalon. Étalon is the feeling.  Well-feeling scales → Gross national happiness.
To measure the subjectivity?
Attract by the abstraction — ex: fractals in geometry
Alex:  to measure the pain from 0 to 10 when you stay in a hospital
Christina: space and power; the space you take on the table is a measure for power.
Alex: Isabelles Stengers’ lab science.
Working on small systems and see how universal scaling questions are in there.
In a collective the response to scaling can be diplomacy.
Looking at the parameters that make it don’t scale. 
eg. a typeface printed on rotative press:;a=blob_plain;f=iceberg/specimen-autopia.jpg;h=5c3e452c40f989f1b27fda969eb5bf1d5d15419a;hb=HEAD

It is important to test those ideas, les mettre à l’épreuve.


Find a way to articulate with someone else process.

An object that is in a different universe in the same time (scale converter).

Exercise: Draw 10 cm

A centimeter, a liter of water. The reference point is the sea level at time T.
A fiction you build around a physical experience.
Trying to be more scientific than the body of the king.
Inventing a norm.
Expand yourself in the world.


Taking on Christophs idea.
4 parameters


Reference point: Pioneer plate


Miniature books


By the generally accepted definition, a miniature book is one whose height and width do not exceed three inches, that is 7.5cm. Although often thought of as predominantly creations of the 19th and 20th centuries, miniature books date back as far as the introduction of moveable type.
The first printed miniature book on record is an Officium Beatae Virginis Maria (5.2cm x 4.5cm) printed in 1475, a mere 20 years after Gutenberg printed his 42-line Bible. The National Library of Scotland actively collects miniature books with a Scottish connection.

These books became more popular in the last few decades of the 19th century because they were portable and easy to conceal. One could carry a vast number of books in a small case for when one travelled. Many are bound in fine Moroccan leather, gilt and contain excellent examples of woodcuts, etchings, and watermarks. More popular topics at that time were dictionaries, language translators, religious stories and readings, and, occasionally, tourist guides.
Subjects range from the Bible, encyclopedias, music, stories, rhymes, famous speeches, and the miniaturization of well-known books such as The Compleat Angler, The Art of War, and novels about Sherlock Holmes. Many are now collectors items, with prices ranging from a few hundred to many thousands of US dollars.

Oh my! There is a Miniature Book Society :

Record of the smallest book, a Japanese book:

Linfiniment petit, une esthétique

Défi artistique et technique, la tradition du livre miniature existe depuis la nuit des  temps. Elle se retrouve dans toutes les cultures, et a donné naissance à de véritables chefs dœuvres. Ainsi, on connaît lexistence de rouleaux  babyloniens minuscules qui datent de 2150 avant notre ère. Un des  ouvrages les plus réputés est lOfficium Beatae Virginis Maria publié à Naples, en 1486.
Essentiellement religieux, le livre miniature, au delà de sa valeur esthétique, a une portée philosophique majeure à lépoque de la Renaissance. Celle de  représenter lunivers sur un support invisible au plus grand nombre. Daprès les Pensées de Pascal (1669), lhomme est incapable de voir les extrêmes, coincé entre linfiniment grand et linfiniment petit. Thème abordé par Jonathan Swift dans Les voyages de Gulliver, où lhomme mesure le monde à sa propre échelle, mais est amené à créer des objets qui défient les limites biologiques de sa perception. Le «minuscule» subjugue parce quil est inatteignable, secret, exclusif. Très vite, aux alentours du XVIe siècle, ces petits objets deviennent  des possessions de luxe, occupants les étagères des demeures royales.

Marguerite Tiounine, Le Japon bat le record du livre miniature”,

Wikipedia research

Stenotype, stenographers

A stenotype, stenotype machine or shorthand machine is a specialized chorded keyboard or typewriter used by stenographers for shorthand use. In order to pass the United States Registered Professional Reporter test, a trained court reporter or closed captioner must write speeds of approximately 180, 200, and 225 words per minute (wpm) at very high accuracy in the categories of literary, jury charge, and testimony, respectively.[1] Some stenographers can reach 300 words per minute. The website of the California Official Court Reporters Association gives the official record for American English as 375 wpm.[2]

Shorthands that use simplified letterforms are sometimes termed stenographic shorthands, contrasting with alphabetic shorthands, below. Stenographic  shorthands can be further differentiated by the target letter forms as geometric, script, and semi-script or elliptical.

Shorthand systems can also be classified according to the way that vowels are represented.


An abbreviation (from Latin brevis, meaning short) is a shortened form of a word or phrase. Usually, but not always, it consists of a letter or group of letters taken from the word or phrase. For example, the word abbreviation can itself be represented by the abbreviation abbr., abbrv. or abbrev.
In strict analysis, abbreviations should not be confused with contractions or acronyms (including initialisms), with which they share some semantic and phonetic functions, though all three are connoted by the term abbreviation in loose parlance.[1]  An abbreviation is a shortening by any method; a contraction is a reduction of size by the drawing together of the parts. A contraction of  a word is made by omitting certain letters or syllables and bringing together the first and last letters or elements; an abbreviation may be made by omitting certain portions from the interior or by cutting off a part. A contraction is an abbreviation, but an abbreviation is not necessarily a contraction. However, normally, acronyms are regarded as a subgroup of abbreviations (e.g. by the Council of Science Editors). Abbreviations can also be used to give a different context to the word itself, such as PIN Number (wherein if the abbreviation were removed the context would be invalid).

Measurement Shorthand symbol or abbreviation
Writers often use shorthand to denote units of measure. Such shorthand can be an abbreviation, such as in for inch or can be a symbol such as km for kilometre.
The shorthand in applies to English only in Afrikaans for example, the shorthand dm is used for the equivalent Afrikaans word duim.[11]  Since both in and dm are contractions of the same word, but in different languages, they are abbreviations. A symbol on the other hand,  defined as Mark or character taken as the conventional sign of some object or idea or process[12] applies the appropriate shorthand by substitution rather than by contraction. Since the shorthand for kilometre (Quilômetro in Portuguese or Χιλιόμετρο in Greek) is km in both languages and the letter k does not appear in the expansion of either translation,km is a symbol as it is a substitution rather than a contraction.
In the International System of Units (SI) manual[13] the word symbol is used consistently to define the shorthand used to represent the various SI units of measure. The manual also defines the way in which units should be written, the principal rules being:

Committer : anne laforet - Wed, 28 Aug 2013 13:15:02 - X marks the spot

x      x

 x    x

  x  x


  x x

 x   x

x     x

(drawing x on the plotter)


The body units group

    1. Irregular Regularity
    2. Compared Sizes > Units
    Pens and people
    3. Human Measurement or Value

The expansion/compression and fractal mapping group

Novlang: to reduce the spectrum of expression.
Fort fort plutôt que très fort.
Secret codes.
Fractals: how a structure is repeated in itself. Connected to the idea of seeing big ideas in small usual objects.

Committer: christop - Wed, 28 Aug 2013 15:16:24 - increasing speed

Google Maps‎
Désolé, aucune carte de cette région nest disponible à cette échelle. Essayez deffectuer un zoom arrière. Désolé, aucune carte de cette région nest disponible ...

Committer : Alexandre Leray - Thu, 29 Aug 2013 10:18:56 - Not beeing able to find an hpgl emulator, it is time to test out for real the plotting of our GPS tracking.

→ Open Street Map

The idea is to work on maps as it is a field that encompasses all the different aspects we are interested in:

(Google capture)

Committer : Pierre Huyghebaert - Wed, 28 Aug 2013 14:11:00 - Pierreh goes with his smartphone in the garden walking then running back and Vespucci produced a gpx track, it's an xml file, with long-lat, timecode and elevation informations. We beautifulize it with

We start with an exercise that is about creating a map of the neighbourhood of rue Gallait. The exercise consists of creating a map of the disctrict with a limited amount of points. A hundred for example. How do you select what you want to put in there? What is left?

Committer : Vincent Moisan - Wed, 28 Aug 2013 12:55:45 - first test of a map printing on super plotter (A3 format)

To do so we decide to use Open Street Map data as it offers to anyone the possibility to reappropriate and contribute.
Marie decides to create an account instead of using the Relearn account. It seems more convenient and it is a small investment for future contributions.

France / Italy / The rest of the world
Three types of elements: points, lines, polygons

Exporting open street maps to SVG

Committer : Ludi - Thu, 29 Aug 2013 15:30:16 - Let's test Alex and Christoph gpx plotter from my trace

Human Scale

What happens if the size of a human is the size of difficult thing to imagine.
Prime numbers, infinity, world population…
Dimension vs time.
Different value as a unit.
A flexible unit.

Other kind of maps: MeTaMap ?

Bienvenue sur MeTaMap, ce site créé par lassociation Labomedia et le CRIJ (Centre Régional Information Jeunesse) de la Région Centre, en collaboration avec la Maison Populaire de Montreuil et le Laboratoire LMA de luniversité Paris 8, vous propose de placer sur la carte photos, vidéos, textes, sons et flux, afin de livrer votre perception de votre territoire, relater un moment vécu, partager des réflexions sur son environnement.

According to Gilbert Simondon, a needle is a way to identify a civilisation technologic state.

A human as a bit.
A human as a pixel = crowd viewing.

Antoine Gelgon - Wed, 28 Aug 2013 13:19:11 - Nous avons pris une image (into the public domain by Pearson Scott Foresman) d'une empreinte digitale. On a réduit la qualité de l'image pour suprimer les détails indésirables. Dans le même répertoire de l'image, on a créé un fichier .sh contenant un script Autotrace :
autotrace -background-color=FFFFFF  -color-count 2 -centerline -output-file=$2 $1
Enfin avec le terminal on a exécuter le script:
bash Fingerprint.png finger.pdf

Committer : Damien - Fri, 30 Aug 2013 17:29:20 - If Your Body Was The Art Libre Licence codes and picts

Center of the Universe


Here is a stamp. 
Its aim is to mark the center of the universe. 
You can use it wherever you want. 
The font is OSPs Univers Else. : );a=blob_plain;f=OpenStreetMap/experiment/UniverStamp.png



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