Existential Friday Newsletter

v58: Shipping in a Series (1 of 13)

p5.js Abstract Art

Over the past few weeks, we’ve been talking about what it means to ship. Shipping is the practice of showing up on a regular basis and doing something. Even though time is arbitrary, we tend to anchor production in time. If you do some reading online, you’ll find a range of recommendations on what (arbitrary) time period to use. You can ship something every day, every week, every month, etc. Ultimately, the time period doesn’t matter as much as producing on a schedule.

Regularly creating something, even if it’s only marginally focused, naturally leads to a series. Unfortunately, we usually associate creative activities with a body of work rather than a series. A body of work is huge and takes years or a lifetime to create. A series is more approachable than a body of work. Additionally, we’re likely to end up with a body of work if we successfully complete series after series.

The natural question is . . . how much work does it take to create a series? Is it 50 of something, 100, or is it smaller? I’ve decided that a series can start smaller and 8 to 12 pieces counts as a series. At a minimum, a series probably needs to be greater than one.  Like time, the number of pieces in a series has value mostly because we assign it value.

A compelling reason to create a series with a smaller number is that you can block off a period of weeks to move something forward. For example, a series of 12 pieces with a weekly schedule takes about a calendar quarter to create. Does committing to a project for a quarter seem manageable? My personal answer is yes.

This week I was looking back at my images and came across the picture below. It’s the first piece of generative art I made. It’s also the first one many people make because it’s a “getting started” tutorial online. Here’s a link to the tutorial if you want to make your own.

p5.js Abstract Art

This week I’ve been thinking about taking a quarter to ship differently. Rather than use EF for my wide ranging thoughts, I’ll include a piece of generative art, a few words, and, of course, the Miscellany section. I’m going down this path for the next 13 weeks because it feels like the thing to do.

Oh and I’m deliberately choosing 13 because I prefer odd numbers that aren’t divisible by five. (Except for the number eight . . . eight is my favorite number.)  If you don’t like 13, you’re not alone. Paraskevidekatriaphobia is a fear of the number 13. You can read about that here.


John Collins folds and flies some amazing paper airplanes. Check out this video with his boomerang and bat airplanes. Crazy.


Since we’re on paper airplanes, you might be blown away by the one Luca Iaconi-Stewart is building.


I don’t even need to tell you that I’m not into ice, but these pictures of frozen Lake Baikal are still pretty incredible.


0 0 vote
Article Rating

Leave a Reply

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments